I would have loved to have gone to university and earned a degree in design, computing, or English but that’s not the way life panned out. Instead, I learned from the school of hard knocks, the university of life and taught myself much that brought me to where I am today, hence why I am sharing my bookshelf.
I owe much to books because, whenever I needed to learn a particular skill I would buy a book and dip into it as an eternal source of handy reference. In particular, SAMS Teach yourself HTML in 24 Hours was the one book that really opened up my path as a web professional and I still have that book today, some 23 years after I first brought it.
So, here I share my bookshelf with the world…
What I’m reading RIGHT NOW! (Yes, I have a few on the go at once)
The Seminal George Orwell novel from 1949. I hear it’s still banned in Belarus?
- The Hero Within: Six Archetypes We Live By
A look into the concept of archetypes and the characters we use and can use as personas in pertinent situations.
- Surrounded by Idiots
AKA “The Four Types of Human Behaviour (or, How to Understand Those Who Cannot Be Understood)”
- Teach Your Child How to Think
Edward de Bono’s great book about thinking; if it’s good enough for my eight year old daughter then it’s good enough for us adults – not a “children’s book” though.
- Lost and Founder
A guide to start-up business from Rand Fishkin, the guy who started Moz (SEOmoz) and whose keynote I saw at Brighton SEO in September 2018.
- Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines
Updated on Nov 2023, this is always worth a read, even if you think you know it all…
- Running Linux
I’ve always been a *nix/LAMP fan for my hosting and run an Ubuntu laptop so you can never have too much information on these systems
- Transforming your Risk Management Approach
A gift from a client, the author himself, nonetheless. Thank you, David Tinney (Technology Risk, Cyber, HR and Business Continuity Consultant)
- Digital Marketing Strategy: An Integrated Approach to Online Marketing
I think I saw this mentioned when I was on my CIM certification course so I picked up a copy to formalise my approach and see if I could learn some new tricks.
- SCRUM – The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
Jeff Sutherland is the co-creator of Scrum and this is a fantastic introduction to the framework – well worth reading for anyone in dev.
- Google Analytics
Written by Justin Cutroni, a Google employee and Google Analytics guru, I’d read his blog Analytics Talk before picking up his book so this is an authoritative tome on the subject. GA has changed a lot over the past few years so this 2010 edition is a little out of date but still worthwhile for a deep understanding of how “classic” Analytics works. It’s due for an update/rewrite and release in mid-2016.
- Learning Agile: Understanding Scrum, XP, Lean, and Kanban
I’ve always tried to put Agile into practice since embarking on a Joomla! CMS project back in 2006 and 2009. Today I’m formalising my focus and intend to get my Certified Scrum Master soon.
- Learn Python the Hard Way: A Very Simple Introduction to the Terrifyingly Beautiful World of Computers and Code
I used to programme in BASIC on the ZX-81 and BBC Model B many moons ago, so this is me getting back to my roots with a little Python programming.
Stashed away on the bookshelf of life:
- Alternative War
JJ Patrick’s incredibly well researched look into Russian meddling in western affairs. Take this red pill you want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes… Farage, Brexit, Trump, Oligarchs, the list goes on. And they’ve been the “red under the bed” for years!
- The Art of War
Sun Tzu’s seminal work on military strategy, applicable to all walks of life if you put your mind to it. A classic and ancient text on the command of armies but with great insights for all leaders.
- Confessions of an Economic Hitman
Interesting but dated, the original is anyway. And besides, some facts just didn’t add up.
- The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success
Darren Hardy’s delve into building up a resilient war chest…
- What I Believe – 3 Complete Essays on Religion
Thoughts on religion from British philosopher Bertrand Russell.
Another great Robert Greene study, this time on those who have achieved mastery of a discipline, science, art, etc. More formal and conventional than his Daily Laws.
- The 48 Laws of Power
Yes, I’ve demolished yet another Greene book. Still not as good as The Daily Laws but interesting nonetheless.
- The Psychology of Money
Morgan Housel’s take on the psychology of, er, money.
- Zero to One
Whatever you think of Peter Thiel’s politics and attitude this is an interesting take on technology from his successful background.
- Start with Why
Simon Sinek’s bestseller on a pretty basic notion. Lot’s of waffle and I don’t entirely agree with the premise. But good luck to him, he’s made a fortune of the back of it.
- Managing Time
A Harvard Business Review guide on time management.
- The Tempest
I thought I’d read some Shakespeare again after all these years to see if I could get my head around it and maybe kindle some sort of love for our greatest wordsmith. I didn’t.
- The Daily Laws: 366 Meditations on Power, Seduction, Mastery, Strategy and Human Nature
Fantastically practical, yet slightly controversial compendium of previous Greene works. I’ll be reading more…
- The Hobbit
Re-read this again with my daughter. It’s feeling a little archaic now, quite tricky to read aloud.
- A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century: Evolution and the Challenges of Modern Life
An exploration into how we’re all actually hard-wired to respond in certain ways to our environment, in a world of concrete, tech and complex social issues.
- The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself
Let it go, let it go, let it go… A nice sentimental book urging us to drift, but not entirely practical for those with responsibilities and ambition.
- All Marketers are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low Trust World
Marketing guru Seth Godin’s seventh (2005) book on the power of authenticity and storytelling.
- Build a Great Brain
AKA: Control and Reprogram Your Brain, Unlock Your Unlimited Potential with Neurolinguistic Programming and Rewire Your Injured Nerves with Neuroplasticity.
Probably a good book but let down by the poor narration.
- Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialised World
David Epstein discusses how the way to succeed is by sampling widely, gaining a breadth of experiences, taking detours, experimenting relentlessly, juggling many interests.
- The Slight Edge
Jeff Olson’s motivational tome much in the vein of The Miracle Morning. All about fostering good habits and doing the things that will help you be part of the 5% not the 95%…
- Think and Grow Rich
The classic Napoleon Hill self-help book, from 1937 and 25 years in the making. A little dated in many places but the sentiment and motivations are all still relevant.
- Tribes: We Need you to Lead Us
Seth Godin’s 2008 book about, er, tribes. All you have to do is find one and lead it… allegedly.
The use of meditation with neuroplasticity to effectively reprogram yourself.
- The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness
Yet another bestseller, all American with so much filler. But there are simple truths in this if you get through all the guff.
Spencer Gallagher and Peter Hoole’s book on “how to run an agency” which I have to admit has been half-inched by my boss as his holiday read, disappeared for a few years and then got lent to another member of staff, then another one, and I still don’t have my £35 book back… *sigh*
Finally got another copy over two years later and finished it for myself. Well worth a read if you’re an agency owner and have the growth mindset.
- The Miracle Morning: The 6 Habits That Will Transform Your Life Before 8AM
Get up early and foster good habits, only by taking positive action will those dreams be realised. Hal Elrod writes a good motivator in this book with a big Facebook group of worldwide fans and supporters.
- Sleep Smarter: 21 Proven Tips to Sleep Your Way To a Better Body, Better Health and Bigger Success
A really good journey into how and why to sleep better. I listened to the audiobook, narrated by the author and it’s good fun, accessible and actionable.
- Black Box Thinking: Marginal Gains and the Secrets of High Performance
Excellent insight into the power of reflection upon failure. Doesn’t once mention “there is no failure, only feedback” but alludes to the same.
- Metahuman: Unleashing your infinite potential
Another Deepak Chopra book but not one of his best…
- Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of the classic book and I don’t like it!
- The Headspace Guide to Mindfulness & Meditation
Former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe’s commercial venture into zen… (App & subscription not included)
- Revelation: Connecting with the Sacred in Everyday Life
Russell Brand’s cracking little audio book only reflection on finding the divine in the mundane. (Read it twice it was so good).
- Daily Rituals
Mason Currey’s book of the habits of artists, scientists and writers; drink coffee, take drugs and go to bed early… no thanks!
- Creating Affluence
Another Chopra pocket A-Z, to be dipped into on a daily basis.
A beautiful book by Deepak Chopra on the power of coincidence and synchronicity.
- The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success
A lovely little tome from Deepak Chopra, the renowned Indian-born American author and alternative-medicine advocate.
- The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage
Recommended by a friend, this is an excellent story of Clifford Stoll’s time tracking an intruder in his systems. 25 years old now, it’s a great tale of classic computing.
- Give the Anarchist a Cigarette
I know it’s neither business, entrepreneurship nor a digital marketing book, but the late Mick Farren’s trip through the 1960s is a blast…
- Ghost in the Wires
The autobiography of Kevin Mitnick, once the world’s most wanted hacker!
- Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords
With my renewed PPC campaign management duties over the last year and a half I thought I’d brush up on AdWords again.
- Google AdWords
It’s an O’Reilly 2012 second edition and, because AdWords moves really quickly, it’s good to have a refresher after not using the platform for a few years (2014)
- Drupal 6 Themes: Create new themes for your Drupal 6 site with clean layout and powerful CSS styling
I know Drupal 6
is reachingreached its end of life on 24 February 2016 but I managed a portfolio of D6 websites from 2015 until early 2017. I dipped into this book to gain some insights into Drupal 6 theming so I thought that if anyone else out there was still in the same boat as me then this is a good reference point. I should really be pointing people to the book Drupal 7 Themes. In fact that should be Drupal 8 Themes.
- The Definitive Guide to Drupal 7
This really is a hefty tome, so you get your money’s worth for standard post & packing charges. It’s also pricey at nearly £40 new so I ordered a well-loved second-hand edition. It really is pretty comprehensive.
- Don’t Make Me Think
Steve Krug’s seminal work on user experience (UX). If you design websites, or do digital marketing, get yourself a copy! It’s been revised over the years so maybe I should take that advice myself.
- SAMS Teach Yourself HTML 4 in 24 Hours
When I first wanted to learn Hyper Text Markup Language THIS was the book that got me started; I think I brought it from PC World, Guildford, in 1997/1998.