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Best of 111in2011

Yes, one of this content free summaries about previous read books - but I think it would be nice if you had a small reading lists with some great books.

Best of Marketing
Ice to the Eskimos

Probably to most creative marketing ideas I’ve ever read about. Jon Spoelstra has excellent writing skills, it’s so much fun to read this book even if you’re not into basketball. He’s probably what you think a marketing guy should be. Creative, uncommon and full of power. If you want to read about marketing that stands out of common marketing then this is the book for you!

The Referral Engine

Not as loud as Ice to the Eskimos but filled with love and thought about your customers. Show love to your customer and he will probably learn to love you. I think this book is ideal if you work in some sort of service industry where you have direct contact to your customers. But even if you build some product, you can learn a lot about how to please your customer and why pens as advertising gifts probably won’t work.

Best of Organization
The E-Myth

Probably one of the most important books if you got more than one employee. Micheal E. Gerber shows you how you can organize your company so that you don’t have to work in the company but you can work on the company. This book is so full of useful ideas and their implementations that you probably won’t be disappointed.

Built to Sell

One could say that Built To Sell is a unofficial sequel to The E-Myth. John Warrillow tells this excellent story in this book about a guy who has a advertising company and he wants to sell it. Like The E-Myth this book shows how to make yourself dispensable in your company - and so got more time for other important things. Awesome book, even if you never will sell your company.

Best of Entrepreneurship
Running Lean

The best book, I read, about customer development. Ash Maurya explains demonstrates colorful how to find markets, test your ideas and track your objectives. Furthermore, the book is neatly organized and quite short. If you want to start a company then Running Lean should be on your reading list.

Best of Management
Rework

A book for people how value quality over quantity. The guys from 37signals explain their business philosophy in Rework and it’s excellent. It’s a down to earth approach on running a business - work less, but better - stay simple - hire reasonably. A magnificent book for small and medium sized business owners or new entrepreneurs.

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#54/111: Getting Real

What is it about?

How do you build a simple and easy product? The people at 37signals tell you how. They show you how 37signals work and how you can apply the same principles on your company and product.

What can I learn?

Half a product instead of an half-assed product: Build simple and easy products but make them great. One example is the iPod. At the beginning it lacked most functionality but it was extremely easy to use, simple and looks great.

Epicenter Design: You should start with the most important thing and then build the rest. For example, if you design a blog interface/design you should start with the headlines. Afterwards go to the actual content and at last do things like navigation, tags, etc. This approach forces you to think about the purpose of your product.

Design Blank Pages: Blank Pages are the first thing a new customer will see. They haven’t yet added content. Most designers neglect these first-time-pages. Don’t do that. Create a great welcome page for new customer with screenshots, how-to boxes and a let’s start guide.

Conclusion

Getting Real covers most of the topics of Rework. It is a bit more development focused and there are quotes from other authors. However, if you read Rework first, you don’t really need to read this book. If you read none yet  and you are a developer, read this one. Otherwise, Rework is the more appropriate choice.

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#44/111: Rework

What is it about?

Jason Fried and David Heinermeier Hansson wrote about their recipe of running 37signals. They explain what differentiates them from a lot of other software companies and why only profit matters.

Key points?

Stay simple: Not just their product is affected by this paradigm, they try to keep their organization simple and even their books. A major problem of later-stage products, like Excel, is that they are so big and bloated.

Be real: You probably know these our values pages of corporate websites. Often, they are utterly long and sadly only a few read them and even less people work by these standards. The simple solution is don’t talk. Act! 

Hire for real work: So you need a PhD in Physics from the best three universities who works 18h a day? Really? At 37signals they don’t care about your educational background. Can you do the job? Yes? Shows us. If you will succeed, you will be hired. Stay simple, don’t hire somebody just because she is too good not to be hired.

Conclusion

I loved this book because I’m not a big friend of high critical mass startups, i.e. “we just need 500mio users to get profitable!”. This book is down to earth, upright and refreshing. As hard as it be, we probably don’t get one million customers, we probably won’t get $250m in founding and there will be no exit with $10bn. Rework is for people who realize this but aren’t discouraged. Recommendation.