brand, community, culture

Summer reading list for Dark Matter Matters

Ah, vacation… the time when the work shuts down for a few days and the Dark Matter Matters blog comes out of hibernation… 3 posts in 3 days!


A few months ago I wrote a post where I highlighted the top ten books behind Dark Matter Matters. In that post I promised to create a list of the books that didn’t make the top 10 cut, but are still pretty awesome.

So here, to celebrate the long holiday weekend, are some more books that have inspired Dark Matter Matters.

Books about how large-scale collaboration is pretty much the deal:

Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams

The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki

The Starfish and the Spider by Ori Braffman and Rod Beckstrom

In the open source world, there’s a legendary quote attributed to Linus Torvalds (yes, he is the guy that Linux is named after) “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” The first two of these books are the extended dance remix of this quote. Each has a unique take, but both show how mass collaboration is changing everything about our society and the way we solve problems. The Starfish and the Spider is a interesting look at leaderless organizations and is a nice book for anyone trying to understand how the open source movement (and other leaderless organizations) work, and why open source is so hard to compete against. It is also a nice complement to the Mintzberg article I wrote about in my previous post.

Books that will make you right-brained folks feel really good about your place in the world. Yes, you are loved, people:

A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

The Designful Company by Marty Neumeier

Creatives, rejoice! You will be inheriting the Earth. These books will tell you why. I wrote a review of The Designful Company in a previous post.

Books for brand and positioning nerds like me:

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Jack Trout and Al Ries

Differentiate or Die by Jack Trout and Steve Rivkin

Zag by Marty Neumeier

Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler

Say it with me… I LOVE POSITIONING… Really, any book by Jack Trout is worth reading. Go to any used book store, and you’ll find at least one– pick it up! The original Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind is still the best, but the two above are really good too. Designing Brand Identity is a beautiful book on exactly what the title says; I use this one as a reference as well. Finally, Zag is yet another great, and short, Marty Neumeier book.

Books about being interesting. You wouldn’t think it was rocket science:

Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want by Joseph Pine and James Gillmore

Conversational Capital by Bertrand Cesvet, Tony Babinski, Eric Alper

All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin

In our group at Red Hat, we’ve adopted the North Carolina State motto: Esse Quam Videri, “To be rather than to seem,” as our way of thinking about how we engage with our audiences. Authenticity, storytelling, simplicity. If these things don’t come naturally to you, the books above will give you ideas for how to really connect with your audience. I reviewed Conversational Capital in a previous post.

Books about the forest:

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore

The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

I wouldn’t recommend that you start a new business today without reading at least half of these books. They are all great strategy books that tell you how things work through the macro lens.

Books about the trees:

The Responsibility Virus by Roger Martin

The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton

Getting Past No by William Ury

Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley

Are you spending so much time tied down with organizational crap that you can’t ever see the whole forest? Any of these books will help. But ALL of them will really help.

That’s it! Don’t try to read all of these in one weekend. But if you do find things in these books that speak to you, write me a note on facebook or twitter, or comment here on the blog and let me know. Happy reading!

About Chris Grams

Chris Grams is Head of Marketing at Tidelift. He is also the author of The Ad-Free Brand: Secrets to Successful Brand Positioning in a Digital World.


2 thoughts on “Summer reading list for Dark Matter Matters

  1. Thank your for mentioning Zag in your summer reading list.

    I work for Peachpit Press and thought you and your readers would like to know that he just released his very first video, INNOVATION WORKSHOP: Brand Strategy + Design Thinking = Transformation.

    The 45-minute video presents concepts from his bestselling “whiteboard” books – THE BRAND GAP, ZAG, and THE DESIGNFUL COMPANY – plus downloadable exercises that will help you and your team work through brand innovation questions. Overall, this video expands to fill a one-day workshop (an $800 value!) for an extremely affordable price. Check it out below:

    Posted by Kara | July 6, 2009, 6:17 pm


  1. Pingback: In a fight between Chris Anderson and Malcolm Gladwell, I have five bucks on Chris « Dark Matter Matters - August 5, 2009

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Hey, I Wrote a Book!

The Ad-Free Brand: Secrets to Building Successful Brands in a Digital World

Available now in print and electronic versions.

%d bloggers like this: