Years ago I used to teach a class in which I was always one chapter ahead of my students. I was constantly on watch in case any of them were in danger of getting over-enthusiastic and reading a bit faster than I told them too — i.e., catching up with me. It was exhilarating and risky at once, walking into the lecture theatre knowing so little about the subject I was being paid to talk about.
I feel like this as a CEO every single day.
I’m still coping with it the same way, still reading slightly ahead of my team. Except that now it’s whole books rather than chapters. In each case, the book is basically the only thing that I know about the subject. I read one book on online marketing, and now it’s all I know about online marketing. I read one book on sales, and now it’s all I know about sales.
Basically, I’m trying to scrabble together an MBA reading list, except that it needs to appeal to a lazy person who only really reads on public transport, i.e. me.
Here’s what I’ve got so far:
The New Rules of Marketing and PR: This is an awesome book. It’s an easy and comprehensive guide to — just as it says in the title — modern marketing and PR. I’m going to say, “It’s basically all you need to know” and hope I’m right, because it really is all I do know about marketing and PR.
The Lean Startup: Another profound influence on the way I think. I’m actually considering requiring any new hires to read this book.
The New Strategic Selling: This is the one book on sales. It’s profound, but very dull. If there’s a more exciting version of it out there, read that instead.
Web Analytics 2.0: I’m trying to finish this one. It’s by my bed. The author must be the best writer out there on this (sorry) dry subject. I love it, in theory, I just can’t make myself finish.
Brilliant selling: This is going to be the second book on sales. When I get to it.
I’ve got a big gap in this list: pricing. We desperately need to review our pricing strategy, and I have utterly no idea how to do it. Or even whether the first part of that sentence is actually true. I need a pricing book. Any ideas?