Some of my favorite places to work have also had a company bookshelf.  Whether it was because they had a commitment to sharing knowledge or constant improvement, I don’t think it’s a coincidence.  Books tended to be business, customer service, or design related, but there were other genres as well. A company that is concerned about its employees continuing education is investing in its own future.

When I started Launch Creative, I made sure to carry that forward – although in our case it’s more of a virtual bookshelf.  Whether you are trying to grow your business or grow your soul, books are an invaluable guide.

Here are some of my favorites from 2017.

Spoiler Alert – if you’re my client, you’ll be getting one from this list for Christmas.

How Not to Be Wrong.  The Power of Mathematical Thinking, by Jordan Ellenberg

A surprisingly readable book that explains how mathematics is part of everything we do and how to use that to our advantage.  While there are dry parts here and there, the author uses interesting historical stories, Powerball, and secret messages to explain how math makes life make much more sense.  Incidentally, AFTER reading the book, I saw that it is one of Bill Gates’s “Top 10 Favorite Books”.

Essential Muir – A Selection of John Muir’s Best Writings, Edited with an Introduction by Fred D. White

Unlike Walden, the writing of John Muir will make you want to get outside.  The Essential Muir is short, but packs a punch.  Muir writes of his outdoor adventures in a style that is similar to both a tour guide and a poet.  You can plan out your hike from his directions and picture the view from his description.

Sprint, by Jake Knapp

I have used Sprint time and again when planning out a new product, re-designing the user experience and flow of a website, and creating email sequences and landing pages.  The end results may be different, but the process is the same.  I highly recommend a Sprint as a way of focusing your vision and planning actionable steps.

Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert

This is more of a book about the creative process, but read in conjunction with Sprint or other practical books, it is an inspiring way to think big about your website, product, or writing.  Sometimes we let the practical stand in the way of envisioning something revolutionary for our businesses.  Big Magic is a much – needed jolt out of the every day.

Hooked, by Nir Eyal

A book about the psychology of “stickiness”, Hooked explains how to understand what triggers people to make decisions.  It’s a primer on user experience and product design.  Reading Sprint, Hooked, and Big Magic together when creating a new product or service will unleash some serious creativity and an awesome end result.