My Search And Business Reading List

Author: Gab Goldenberg

Here’s what I’ve been reading for the past few months. Most of these are excellent, and I encourage you guys to get your own copy.

1) The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. An excellent how to on business management as well as an entertaining read. One application I’ve been using it for is to minimize the chores I do for business.

2) The Knack by Norm Brodsky and Bo Burlingham. I knew Burlingham from his book Small Giants, but was I ever in for a treat with Brodsky’s writing. I’ve since become a fan of his Inc. magazine column.

3) Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. This is THE classic book on usability and conversion optimization. Failing all other education on the topic, buy this book. Even though I had read a lot on usability before buying, much of what I found here was new to me.

4) Call to Action by the Eisenberg brothers. The book’s a good primer to conversion optimization, particularly for people who are new to the field. Unfortunately, I bought it after reading blogs on the topic (including the Eisenbergs’) for ages, so I didn’t learn a lot of new stuff.

5) Why We Buy by Paco Underhill. Underhill’s book was an eye opener into the world of offline conversion optimization. People who can do so-called transversal thinking – taking an idea from one field and applying it in another – should love it. Plus it’s often entertaining with the numerous anecdotes he shares. He’s often self-promotional though, and it wears on you.

6) Landing Page Optimization by Tim Ash. This is a great how-to book that explains many advanced concepts in generally simple terms. One thing I really enjoyed and dog-eared was his list of things to test. Chapter ~7ish got a little dull because he explained math principles I’d seen before in school. But most folks haven’t taken a course on research methods or quantitative methods in CEGEP, so that shouldn’t be an issue. Besides which, Ash got me to understand the math principles behind multivariate testing (MVT), which are pretty important since there are different types of MVT. Note: There’s also some self-promotion that gets kind of annoying on occasion.

7) Web Design 4 ROI by Sandra Niehaus and Lance Loveday. This amazing book on conversion optimization opened my eyes to conversion optimization both figuratively and literally. Sandra was nice enough to give me a copy at SMX West, and I ate it up. This paired with Steve Krug’s book = 10% ecommerce conversion rate, guaranteed. I keep coming back to this book and lending it to family and friends.

I also owe Sandra and Lance thanks for their recommended reading list at the end of their book, which influenced many of these purchases.

8) Honest Seduction by Justin Talerico, Anna Talerico and Scott Brinker. I ate Ion Interactive’s book up. Partly because 80% of it was repeating the same ideas over and over, which got frustrating. But also largely because there were some brand spanking new ideas that I LOVED. These guys can convert traffic and it shows. If you’ve never created a segmentation-oriented lander, Honest Seduction will make you a true believer.

9) Online Shopping Through Consumers’ Eyes by Evgenii “Geno” Prussakov. This is another book I blitzed through. I won’t repeat my review, but it’s a fascinating, very digestible read full of charts and consumer insights.

10) Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. This book is entertaining and educational. If you’ve ever struggled with pricing or consumer psychology, you will LOVE Ariely’s book. He’s done experiments to research how we behave, and shows that we frequently aren’t the ‘wealth maximizing rational actor’ traditional economics would have you think we are. A classic.

11) Wikinomics by Dan Tapscott and Anthony D Williams. I put this down somewhere in the middle and have yet to pick it back up. Some parts are really brilliant, but others leave you asking whether this kind of thing can apply beyond a narrow range of industries. Borrow this if you’re interested.

12) The Influentials by Ed Keller and Jon Berry. The science and research these two put together is interesting for a while … then they get bogged down in sharing numbers while forsaking analysis. I was all the more dissapointed because Seth Godin’s testimonial was on the jacket and that influenced my purchase decision. (I generally love Seth’s writing, The Dip notwithstanding.) I put this book down a long time ago and have no desire to pick it back up…

13) The Dip by Seth Godin. This book was alright, but it felt like a small pack of chips. It’s modestly substantial, but you’re still hungry afterwards. I’d borrow this one from a library.

14) Meatball Sundae by Seth Godin. Entertaining and practical, this book really does provide some actionable insights for people to use. I loved it and have dog-eared a bunch of the pages to return to as well as written in several margins.

Still to be read: Getting Things Done, Trust Agents, Advanced Web Metrics With Google Analytics, Waiting For Your Cat To Bark,

Sidebar Story


  1. Thanks for sharing your list man. Interesting that you liked the Dip as I really didn't value it at all. I've read some of Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk and right now I think it is looking amazing. The same goes for Trust Agents by Chris Brogan. Other books I've actually read that I recommend: Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz The Four Agreements by Don Migeul Ruiz How to Be Rich and Happy by Tim Brownson None of these are specifically aimed at business, but they will transform the way you look at your own life and particularly, how you run your operations. Good to be back! - Glen

    Comment by Glen Allsopp - October 19, 2009 @ 10:24am
  2. Doh, should have read your comment for the Dip. It looks like we feel the same way ;)

    Comment by Glen Allsopp - October 19, 2009 @ 10:25am
  3. Thanks for the recommendations Glen. I own Trust Agents, like I said, n heard the name Crush It, even though IDK what it's about. Thanks also for sharing your other book recommendations. I'll have to look into those! Good to be back... where? On my site? Welcome back - I like your value added comments!

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - October 19, 2009 @ 9:11pm
  4. Thanks for the great list. I've added Landing Page Optimization and The Knack to my list of books to read. Having read Getting Things Done. I would probably recommend starting looking at Reading Zen To Done instead. It's a lot shorter and if you're already convinced that a GTD style system is something you're interested in, was equally helpful to me in terms of actually getting started and A LOT shorter. Mind you it doesn't have the same level of anecdotes or explanation as the book.

    Comment by Jeff Richards - October 20, 2009 @ 9:59am
  5. Hey Jeff, I already bought Getting Things Done, but I know from reading Leo's site that it's likely high quality content. Most of these folks preach the same best practices anyways, so...

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - October 20, 2009 @ 8:32pm

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