Summertime Book Recommendations: 2015 Edition

Hola Todos!

Things tend to slow down during the summer and I always take the opportunity to load up on some excellent new books. We need to learn – we need feed our heads with takeaways (I like to call them nuggets) to create our knowledge base. Books are excellent learning tools (please see the previous 2013 and 2014 Book Recommendation posts) but this year I have some non-book recommendations as well. Welcome to the 2015 Summer Book (and a bunch of other stuff) Recommendation List!

These are in no particular order – go to Amazon or Google to find further detail on these items.  If you have a more particular interest, drop me an email and we’ll go deeper into a more specific topic OK.


Dr. Dan-o


Book Recommendations

Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo – This book is truly excellent (I finished it a month ago) and is perfect for all my past and present Professional Selling students. This might be the best one-stop-shop for learning verbal and non-verbal presentation skills.

The Small BIG: Small Changes that Spark Big Influence by Steve J. Martin, Noah J. Goldstein, and Robert B. Cialdini – Professor Cialdini is the godfather of persuasion research and anything with his name on it has to be nuggetworthy. His masterpiece Influence: Science and Practice (on the 2013 list) is the best persuasion book every written.

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson – I’ve been hunting for a book that can define Passion for sometime and this one is solid. He does a mean TED talk as well.

Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life by Brian Wansink, Ph.D., – What can I say? I’m a little thick around the middle and I need some nuggets from Professor Wansink who in my eyes is the model academic. Not only is he fantastic in the classroom, he also writes rigorous double-blind peer-reviewed research in the top academic journals in addition to, incredible popular press books based on his research. Now that is how it is done!

Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen – For those of us who manager people – this is a book for you. For those of us you who depend on the evaluations of others for promotion – this book is for you.

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull – This is certainly the best leadership book written in the last year (period) and it might be one of the best leadership books of all time exploring innovation at creative firms – WOW.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk – this is Gary’s third social media book and it’s a good primer for those getting started in social/digital marketing (hint, hint Fall 2015 Direct Marketing/Social Media students).

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli – It wouldn’t be a Dr. Dan-o book recommendation list without something about Apple, correct? This book is a very interesting read and is a good yin to Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs yang. Schlender paints a very different picture of Jobs and spent significantly more time, as well as, time periods with Jobs compared to Isaacson’s 18 to 24 months.


CD/Audio Course

The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals by Hannah B. Harvey, Ph.D., (from the Great Courses) – I love storytelling and this 4-disk set is very, very comprehensive.

The New Yorker Articles

I’m a HUGE fan of the New Yorker magazine. While the topics can range to almost anything (truly anything), whatever lands in the magazine is done with amazing detail (i.e., New Yorker articles are more book-like than magazine-like). Here are some of my favorites from the last year or so (with links!).

Hollywood and Vine: The entertainment industry seeks the future in viral video by Tad Friend – An excellent viral video article…

The Virologist: How a young entrepreneur built an empire by repackaging memes by Andrew MarantzAnother excellent viral/social article…

Blockbluster: Who needs hits? by Kelefa Sanneh – An update to the Long Tail social media discussion…

The Cobweb: Can the Internet be archived? by Jill LeporeYes folks – stuff on the Internet never ever really disappears…

We Know How You Feel: Computers are learning to read emotion, and the business world can’t wait by Raffi KhatchadourianThis one will truly mess with your brain…

The Shape of Things to Come: How an industrial designer became Apple’s greatest product by Ian ParkerThis is without question the BEST profile ever written on Jony Ive. Moreover, it provides incredible back story to the development of Apple Watch…



I can clearly say that podcasts have been my #1 go-to source for picking up nuggets in the last two years. Moreover, podcasts are excellent when you’re doing mindless activities like commuting or cutting the grass. You can find these in iTunes or any of your favorite podcast players (i.e., Stitcher, Overcast). Here are some of my favorites…


The David Diehl Show: Sports, Tech, and a Bunch of other Stuff with Co-Host Dr. Dan-o – presented by Today’s Business – Of course my favorite podcasts is the one I helped create. David is an excellent friend and host and with Today’s Business, we created something unique that intersects the sports and tech world!

The HBR Ideacast – for those of you who had me in class – we read A LOT of Harvard Business Review articles. This podcast is on par with those articles…

Stanford’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders – It is absolutely amazing the caliber of speakers who appear on this show. I bet 50% of the books I purchased in the last two years are from ETL speakers.

Social Media Marketing with Michael Stelzner – This is probably the best “how-to” social media podcast out there…

The Marketing Companion Podcast with Mark Schaefer and Tom Webster – Since this podcast launched, I have not missed an episode…

NPR TED Radio Hour with Guy Raz – Spectacular! I also purchase a number of books from TED speakers. The other huge bonus with this podcast is it features multiple TED speakers on a similar theme. In other words, you get more nuggets from more people in a shorter amount of time…brilliant!

The Torch – presented by The Great Courses with host Ed Leon – from physics to history to business, The Great Courses has it all…

The Talk Show with John Gruber – the best Apple/tech podcast (period!) – the only Apple podcast that is influential enough to have Apple Sr. VP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller as a guest.


Documentaries (try Netflix or Amazon Prime)

Both of the following documentaries explore the “dark side” (AKA user privacy) of the social media world.

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4 thoughts on “Summertime Book Recommendations: 2015 Edition

  1. Hello, Dr. Dan-o!

    One of your first students at Seton Hall, here. Nice to see that things are well with you in Nuggetville! : )

    I’m looking into your recommendation “Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback”. I’m fortunate enough to say that I’m now entering year 3 of my dream job at one of the illustrious Big Four accounting firms, where the workload is challenging and standing out is even more challenging, and I love the career. Yet, I’ve always been apprehensive when it comes to asking for informal feedback that would help me to identify my development areas ahead of annual evaluations, project evals, etc. Fear of criticism and/or discouragement too early in my career, I suppose (even though I’ve never received a negative evaluation). So, this recommendation comes at a good time for me to work on reducing the fear of criticism in order to ask for the feedback that I want, and that will help me to get ahead.

    Thanks, again, for the recommendation. : )


    • Hola Renee – glad things are going well. The book is truly excellent. The one author Sheila Heen has done a number of interviews/podcasts so if you do a quick Google search, I’m sure you’ll hit something good!

      Dr. Dan-o

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