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Alec Saunders’ Reading List

Books I’ve read, and think are worth reading.  With links to Amazon.COM if you want to buy them yourself :)

First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman.  Excellent read.  Based on interviews with 80,000 managers in over 400 different organizations, the authors try to distill what great managers do differently from average managers.  Much of this is counter to what current management practice is, and some of it’s even counter-intuitive.

Never Wrestle with a Pig and Ninety Other Ideas to Build Your Business and Career, Mark H. McCormack.  90 practical tips for those who want to succeed in business.  Some of them are obvious, some not so obvious, and some counter-intuitive.  It’s an easy read, although McCormack’s continual use of the term “executive” when he means “sales person” takes a little getting used to.

dot.bomb: My Days and Nights at an Internet Goliath, J. David Kuo.  I was given this by a friend in the summer, and just now finished reading it.  Sometimes it’s hilarious, sometimes it’s instructive, sometimes it forces you to be reflective.  It tell’s the story of a Washington Insider who joins Value America (long since dead) at the height of the Internet retailing boom, and the ups and downs along the way, including having a CEO who’s a pathological liar, no processes, and no business model.

High Stakes, No Prisoners : A Winner’s Tale of Greed and Glory in the Internet Wars, Charles Ferguson. I read this some time ago.  It’s a great book.  Charles Ferguson tells the story of how he and the tiny team at Vermeer Technologies built Frontpage, and then sold it to Microsoft for over a hundred million dollars before the sales even started rolling in.  It’s a great story, and a great instruction manual for entrepreneurs on how to deal with VC’s, and potential acquirers.

Fights of Our Lives: Elections, Leadership and the Making of Canada, John Duffy.  Duffy develops a theme, which is that there are really only 3 strategies that have been used in Canadian election campaigns, and then goes on to show how they were used in five of the most important elections in Canada.  Along the way you get an interesting and entertaining recap of some of the seminal events in our history, and a good look at how voters have voted in French Canada versus English.  I loved the book!

The Marketing Playbook: Five Battle-Tested Plays for Capturing and Keeping the Lead in Any Market, Rich Tong and John Zagula. This is Rich Tong and John Zagula at the top of their game. Tong and Zagula invented the five basic marketing strategies that Microsoft employs. This book teaches you what they are, and how to apply them in your company. A must read for every tech marketer.

Cascading Style Sheets: The Definitive Guide, 2nd Edition, Eric A. Meyer.  This really is the definitive guide to how CSS 2 and 2.1 work.  Contains a complete reference, plus comprehensive information on browser support for specific CSS features.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity, David Allen.  This is the ultimate guide to getting organized, and working through the mass of distractions and interruptions in the day.  It’s mostly a paper based system, reflecting Allen’s own work style, but it adapts very well to tools like Microsoft OneNote.