Monday, 6 June 2011

Most Thumbed Books

I afraid I have got a terrible habit of turning over the corner of pages of books when I come across something I think is interesting and scribbling notes, my girlfriends mum Alison who is a book collector would be horrified to hear about this I am sorry but, it is quite a good way of telling retrospectively how useful the book is.

This is a list of my top most thumb-nailed/annotated books and I thought this could be the start of a quest to find the most useful books for market researchers to read…
1. Where good ideas come from by Steve Johnson: 58 page turns… I found this book a really inspiring read.  At the heart of this book he explains how the sharing and cross integration of thought is the engine for generating new ideas. He looks at the issue in lots of different dimensions and I don’t think anyone reading this could not be inspired to go away and have some fresh ideas themselves. It encouraged me to take things like Twitter a lot more seriously as an idea generation medium. This industry lives on and it’s future survival is based on the generation of ideas so it’s a book I would encourage the whole market research industry to read.

2:  Yes 50 secrets from the science of persuasion by Noah Goldstein: 54 page turns….This book is a bit of a top of the pops compilation of famous social psychology experiments.  A fairly light read and many of the experiments discussed in this book regularly feature in other business books, but if you are unfamiliar with social psychology/behavioral science this book is a really great starting point. I think a really useful book for any market researcher to read.

3. Reality Is Broken by Jane McGonigal  45 page turns…A must read book for anyone into gamification, looks at the basic science of game play and explores what makes tasks into games and illustrates the power of gaming. If you can’t be bothered to read it check out her Ted presentation.

4. Mindset, by Carole S Dweck.   44 page turns.. This book is totally battered, been read by about 5 of my friends. Its basic idea is that the way you nurture children, employee, family relationships is not by praising and rewarding success and going around telling people how smart they are, it is by highlighting and rewarding considered effort, and to treat everything, the successes and failures in life as an opportunity to learn new things and learn how to do things better. Its good advice but people like Alex Fergusson and Jack Walsh who do this so naturally are the big winners both in life an in business. You might think reading this, that this book is one of those dreadful self help books.  Well it is, read it and it will change you attitude towards the genre!

5. The art of asking questions by Stanley L Payne: 37 page turns… I am perhaps so impressed by it because it was written over 50 years ago, but it is full of common sense about how to write effective survey questions that really has stood the test of time. I would say this is close to being a MR bible as you can get.  It is particularly thorough on the topic on making questions clear to understand and interpret that he even publishes a mini dictionary of words at the back of the book that he observed were liable to cause confusion and problems when used incorrectly in a survey.

 6: Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland: 36 page turns…In MR we all have a habit of over interpreting data, and making irrational judgements based on our biased points of views. As market research it is kind of helpful to be as objective as you can. This book will slap you into shape on that front and make you question all your opinions and how you formed them.

7. Information is Beautiful: by David McCandless: 33 page turns. This is probably the best know book on infographics and is one those books that transcends work, and sits nicely on a coffee table too!

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