Curious minds lead to creativity and innovation. Both are the hallmarks of great leadership and entrepreneurs. The guests of our award-winnning interview series Velocitize Talks routinely share their recommendations for books and podcasts, from business classics to creative fiction. Below you will find what Velocitize Talks influencers are reading and some of their favorites. The breadth and depth of these selected publications showcase the best in curious minds.
1. The Digital Transformation Playbook; Platform Revolution; and New York City Media Lab Newsletter
Nick Katsivelos, Director of Digital Advisory Services, Microsoft Design: ”The New York City Media Lab has two fantastic newsletters. One is mostly focused on AI. At the new R Lab, which is an AR/VR lab, they have another great newsletter on future interfaces.”
Published by NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, the AI Local News is one way to keep up to date on innovation and best practices at the intersection of AI and journalism.
Katsivelos also recommends two resources from Columbia and MIT. “The Digital Transformation Playbook,” by David Rogers, is based on the author’s years of teaching at Columbia, and “Platform Revolution,” by Marshall Van Alstyne, Geoffrey Parker and Sangeet Paul Choudary, shares how today’s top platforms have changed the lives and careers of millions.
2. Ten Arguments to Delete Your Social Media Right Now by Jaron Lanier
Andy Dobson, Head of Technology, Publicis•Poke: “The chasing after engagement that we have been doing for the last 20 years is not working for us as a society.”
Hyperconnectedness. Manipulation. Threat to society. Although people continue to blame social media for many issues, marketers realize the benefits in their media strategy. But the slow drumbeat of criticism toward the medium is echoing loudly—some from the same people who created it.
The author, Jaron Lanier, is an early Silicon Valley pioneer and author of “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now,” which synthesizes algorithms in technology. “I think Jared Lanier’s book allows you to take a very objective look at individual platforms,” Dobson says. “What that encourages us to do, without judgment, is ask ourselves how we would design a good relationship.”
3. Dapper Dan Made in Harlem by Daniel R. Day
Lucas Welch, VP of Corporate Marketing, Highspot: “It’s a wonderful full-circle example of someone who was originally ostracized, brought into the community, and then becomes the voice that can actually help other organizations find their way when they may have gotten lost.”
“Dapper Dan: Made in Harlem” is the New York Times bestseller based on the life of influential designer Dapper Dan. It has been described as a masterclass on how to create an industry-disrupting brand with grit, determination and flair. “The initial reaction of the fashion industry was, stay out of our business,” Welch says. “Eventually Gucci had the vision to partner with him, saying you can actually make us better. At the end of the day, you still have to generate revenue that we haven’t been able to tap into. So help us.”
4. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Fred Schebesta, Co-founder & CEO, Finder: “I regularly read ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.’ I go back to that book all the time: ‘Begin with the end in mind.’ It’s really a refresher of, I could do better, and here are some places I could improve.”
Named the #1 most influential business book of the 20th century, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” has sold over one million copies. It has also influenced a generation of leaders who have taken its timeless tips to heart. The praises and accolades are many; subsequently the author has built an online community with resources, events and training to provide powerful lessons for personal change.
5. Sapiens: A Brief History of HumanKind by Yuval Noah Harari
Adam Broetje, CEO & Founder, Odd Dog Media: “I sat down and kept turning every page. It really makes you think about our spot in this world a little bit differently.”
Written in 2015, “Sapiens” is a #1 international and New York Times bestseller that continues to rank in the Amazon books Top 10 list. It is a narrative on human creation and evolution that “explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be human.” Forbes writes, “Yuval Noah Harari’s celebrated ‘Sapiens’ does for human evolution what Stephen Hawking’s ‘A Brief History of Time’ did for physics.”
6. Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins
Russell Meyerowitz, COO, Brand Knew: “I think the mentality and his life story and how he’s been able to go up against adversity on a day-to-day basis drives a lot of what we’re doing. It’s phenomenonal.”
As the only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, David Goggins shares how he overcame both his childhood struggles and poverty through self-discipline, mental toughness and hard work. A New York Times bestselling book, “Can’t Hurt Me” and Goggins’ 40% Rule illustrates how anyone can push past pain, demolish fear, and therefore reach their full potential.
7. The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick
Phil Crumm, VP of New Client Strategy, 10up: “It’s a very interesting examination into the notion of talking to your customers.”
“The Mom Test” subtitle reads, “How to talk to customers and figure out if your business is a good idea when everybody is lying to you.” The book, by Rob Fitzpatrick, is hailed by many leaders as the best practical guidebook on how to create a product that your customers love by talking to them the right way. It is used as a curriculum at elite universities, with well-known startup accelerators and at top businesses.
8. Traffic Think Tank community
Jacob Stanley, General Manager & SEO Specialist, StudioHawk: “If you’ve got the money, you’ve got the best of the best all talking about SEO and things like link building and social media marketing tactics.”
Traffic Think Tank is a Slack-based SEO training and gated community featuring digital marketing courses, an academy, and members-only content. Founded in 2018 by Matthew Howells-Barby, Nick Eubanks, and Ian Howells, the community brings together hundreds of the top minds in digital marketing from around the world and likewise offers members access to exclusive videos, process documents, analysis templates and free tools.
9. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
Chas Lacaillade, CEO, Bottle Rocket Management: “Ben Horowitz is the partner of Mark Andreessen in the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. The book is fantastic.”
“The Hard Thing About Hard Things” shares advice on building and running a startup from the vantage point of one of the VC’s most successful entrepreneurs. Based on advice from his blog, Horowitz provides “practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover.” Regarded as one of the best business books of its time, it’s also a valuable resource for CEOs and leaders who have made mistakes and need to know what to do next.
What are the books you are reading? Care to add something to this list?