Favorite Reads

A list of some of my favorite reads:

On the bookshelf

How to be a good manager/startup executive

Crucial Conversations + Radical Candor
These two books profoundly changed how I communicate with people, especially when the stakes are high.

High Output Management
The bible on how to effectively manage a team, from the former CEO of Intel.

Startup War Stories

The Hard Things about Hard Things
Startups can suck, and this book doesn’t shy away from sharing stories about when it all went wrong (and advice on how to handle things when they do).

Founders At Work
Stories from the early days of an earlier generation of startups – Adobe, Apple, Hot or Not, Hotmail, Paypal, and more.

Cult Classics about Advertising and Copywriting

The Boron Letters
A series of letters from a famous copywriter, passing on his tricks and tips to his youngest son.

Scientific Advertising
Written in 1923, this book is the first recorded description of split-testing and coupon-based attribution.

Tested Advertising Methods
Copywriting advice from a naval engineer turned advertising man. Descriptions of his methods from a storied career writing some of the most successful copy of all time.

Ogilvy on Advertising
Principles of advertising from one of the most famous advertisers of the 20th century.

The Copy Book
A more recent compilation of the most creative ads ever printed. Very fun to flip through.

Breakthrough Advertising
Half of the charm of this book is that it’s hard to find. The other half is that Schwartz’s insights remind you that the best advertising puts itself in the path of an already existing desire in the marketplace.

Modern Marketing Science

How Brands Grow (Part 1 & 2)
Is it better to do highly targeted marketing at exactly the people you think will by your product, or should you market to as many people as you can possibly reach? This is one of the major ideological rifts in the marketing world, and whether they know it or not, most marketers are either in Mark Ritson’s camp or in Byron Sharp’s camp. (This is Sharp’s book… take from that what you will ;-))

Eat Your Greens
There’s a lot of myth and superstition in advertising and marketing. Here’s what the data says about marketing effectiveness.

Growth Marketing + Product Development

A description of all the major marketing channels, and a simple process for testing your way through them.

The Lean Startup
How to avoid building something people don’t want.

Hacking Growth
How to implement a ‘growth hacking’ (aka growth product) process at a post-Series-A startup.

Inside The Box
The only book I’ve read that teaches you to be creative, even if you’re typically “right brained”.

Purple Cow
Nowadays, highly creative marketing only gets you so far. Your product needs to stand on its own and be remarkable– or your business will fail.

Favorite Videos

Aretha Franklin & Smokey Robinson
“Around 1979, Aretha Franklin & Smokey Robinson appeared on the Soul Train TV show. Host Don Cornelius - God rest his soul - switched things up by asking Aretha to sing one of her good friend Smokey’s songs. What a beautiful, classic moment.” twitter link

Other Random Things

Solomon ad templates
I should write a blog post about these one day, but this is a fascinating contribution to the science of understanding what type of creative is effective.