My Best Future Thinking and Strategy Books of 2013

Here is my list of the best books I have read this year in case you need a little light holiday reading:

The Undercover Economist Strikes Back: How to Run or Ruin an Economy

As always a simple explanation of complex issues. I particularly liked the section on currency given all the issues around BitCoin at the moment

The Retail Revival: Reimagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism

Retail is under considerable pressure all around the world at the moment and this is a great book for looking at both issues and solutions.

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

A fascinating read that I devoured over a couple of days. Great insights into the Amazon Business through the lense of looking at Jeff Bezos. Contacts I have had with Amazon employees indicate there is some dispute about some of the historical issues but the present day is well reflected.

Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better

I saw Clive Thompson speak at the Maker Faire in New York in September and was immediately compelled to read this book. I was particularly intrigued by his concept of video becoming the new thinking tool as a successor/complementary system to language, and paper.

The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work

Another great piece of writing from Scott Berkun who describes his time in the distributed workforce at WordPress.com in a clear and entertaining way.

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

A great story of Joshua Foer’s journey in the world of memory championships. Have used some of the techniques since reading the book.

The Antidote: Happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking

Just had to buy this because of the title (which gives you some insight into the inner workings of my mind). A good coverage and thought provoking discussion of the issues.

Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder

Another book from the great and curmudgeonly Nassim Taleb. Not as good as previous ones in my view but still worth the read.

Please note that all the links to these books are Kindle book links because that is how I buy non fiction books now and I love the fact that if you really want to read one of these you can have it in 60 seconds.

In terms of fiction my two favourites for the year are:

The Windup Girl  BY BACIGALUPI, PAOLO

The Narrow Road To The Deep North  by Richard Flanagan

On my holiday reading list are:

A Naked Singularity

Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution

A History of the Future in 100 Objects

Not sure what that says about me and whether anyone would like to be on holidays with me but it is what it is

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Christmas and New Year and look forward to interacting with you in 2014

Paul Higgins

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Why Would You Publish a Book About the Future Without a Kindle Version? (or another ebook version)

Or why you have to remove all possible friction in your customer’s buying decisions

I went to Amazon to look at purchasing James Howard Kunstler’s new book yesterday after seeing a couple of recommendations from people in my social network that I trust.:

Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation

As far as I could tell there was only the hard cover version.

I don’t know about everyone else but I have stopped buying non fiction print version books.

That has happened for two reasons.

The first is convenience. I now carry an iPad almost everywhere I go and the Kindle application works fantastically well. For non fiction books the opportunity to dip back into them and find notes that I have made is important for my work and thinking. I am also constantly referring to my favourite books and authors and the convenience of being able to open up the iPad and show people the book is a nice thing to do.

The second is the ability to make a purchase decision when I want to and have the product straight away. Particularly for the non fiction books that I purchase it is highly unlikely that they will be available locally. Therefore I have to order them in which can take quite a while. The Amazon system is great in terms of being able to order and download immediately.

The fact that I could not get the book straight away means my attention has gone away from it and I may never return. I am constantly talking to clients and in my keynote presentations that they are not competing with their standard competitors any more. Now that my attention (and my money) has gone somewhere else it might not be focused on a different book, it might be focused on backing a Kickstarter project, or making a charitable donation, or buying a new music album. The demands for my attention are myriad and are coming from all sorts of places that were not there 5 years ago.

So why would you publish a book without an easily obtainable electronic version in this day and age. All you are doing is putting an obstacle in my way of buying your product. The same applies to lots of other product and service offerings. In a modern world you cannot afford to do that for long.

Paul Higgins

ps: I still buy printed versions of fiction books because I like the idea of reading in bed with a book and the same on planes for take-off and landings. We are all dinosaurs in some part of our behaviour!