Since it's the season of giving, we figured we'd drop a little knowledge on you. While you've been running yourself ragged going to conferences, socializing in social media and just trying to hang on, you may have missed these titles.
"Twitterville" by Shel Israel
Newbies flocked to "The Twitter Book" for its pictures and step-by-step guide to the basics. But "Twitterville" stood out for a select crop of case studies demonstrating the network's utility as a business tool, a news feed -- even a lifesaver. Shel Israel introduces the concept of "lethal generosity," a social-media phenomenon where the most-serviceable user forces competitors to "follow you or abstain from participating."
"The Next Evolution of Marketing" by Bob Gilbreath
Gilbreath, a P&G vet and the brains behind the celebrated launch of Mr. Clean AutoDry, has an MO: marketing with meaning. His book introduces a three-tiered Hierarchy of Meaningful Marketing: solution, connection and achievement. Charmin's pop-up toilets in Times Square and Samsung's One World airport charging stations are highlights on his road to success in a participation economy.
"Googled" by Ken Auletta
Of all the Google books out this year, including "Inside Larry & Sergey's Brain," this is by far the most comprehensive. Auletta took his unfettered access to the search giant's Mountain View campus and turned it into a compelling tale of two self-assured businessmen and their drive to create a $100 billion company unparalleled in growth.
"Ignore Everybody" by Hugh MacLeod Call it this year's "Back of the Napkin." Hugh MacLeod's cartoons, originally conceived on the backs of business cards, draw more than 1.5 million visitors a month to his blog, GapingVoid.com. "Ignore Everybody" expands on a much-talked-about 2004 post titled "How to Be Creative," and offers 40 tips on pursuing your passions, whether you're a struggling artist or a corporate lemming.
"Emotionomics" by Dan Hill
Dan Hill and his team at Sensory Logic create positive emotional connections between brands and consumers. Their methods are highly scientific; at the core of their practice is a refined facial-coding system that quantifies and scores viewer's reactions to brand messages. Malcolm Gladwell spent several pages on the subject in "Blink," but "Emotionomics" tells us how to leverage emotion for consumer buy-in. A complex but valuable read.
"'I Love You More Than My Dog'" by Jeanne Bliss
Land's End vet Bliss shares her five-point strategy for generating loyal, effusive customers: Believe in them, be committed to them, be straight with them, be there for them -- and when you need to, apologize to them. Lush and Trader Joe's are among the cult favorites Bliss borrows from to make her case.
"And Then There's This" by Bill Wasik
The father of the flash-mob craze sets the record straight on the rise of viral marketing in America, when it works and when it doesn't. After visiting the frontlines -- stops include Viral Factory's New York office, a Ford Fusion-sponsored "flash concert," and the annual WOMMA conference -- Wasik concludes viral isn't for every brand. If you do take to the streets, he warns, don't assume you'll get instant cred and adoration.
"How Markets Fail" by John Cassidy
Cassidy may not have an answer to whether economic history is cyclical, but he is sure of one thing: Market crashes aren't self-correcting. His notion of "reality-based economics," which favors government regulation of the financial sector, contends the free-market model economists have been perfecting for 40-plus years is blind to human instinct and emotion, and dismisses the threat of events such as global warming, speculative bubbles and housing booms and busts.
"Trust Agents" by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
Securing influence and reputation on the web is as difficult as ever. Brogan and Smith recommend a combination of DIY attitude, endless networking in small but powerful groups and a refined set of people skills and etiquette to distance yourself from the pack. The guys sum it up nicely: "Why we trust people is the same; it's only the ways we come to be trusted that have been changing."
"Reset" by Kurt Andersen
Scads of books documented the recession's wreckage and woes, but few considered what happens next. Anderson's 72-page "Reset" is an expanded version of his "End of Excess" article that ran in Time magazine in March, which argues we've really had it coming to us since the speedy, greedy '80s. But instead of focusing on the grim, Anderson's message is upbeat: Now's the perfect time to build our future.