The Business of Software Conference Summer Reading List

Now here is a reading list. We asked this year’s Business of Software Conference USA speakers

Please don’t think about it too hard, just reply with the first one that comes to mind:

  • What book has had the biggest influence on your business life?

As you know, they are a smart bunch of folks so we thought it would be interesting to hear what things they have read that have had the most influence on their career and thinking. They are well read, many have written books of their own and we wanted some new things to read on the plane out to Boston. (We can’t wait).

Want to know what some of the smartest people in town think are the most influential business books they have read, wait no more!

Joshua Seiden, Author

“‘About Face’ by Alan Cooper. I read that book in the 90’s, as I was starting to become interested in user interface design. It opened my eyes to the material and craft of user interface design–but more than that, it introduced me to a world view: that good software, indeed good products, start with a laser focus on serving user goals.

“Ultimately, that book led me to Alan Cooper himself. Alan took a chance on me and gave me my first job in design. So, for the book and more, I’d have to say that’s the book. (The recent editions remain awesome.)”

Joanna Weibe, Founder, CopyHacker

“How to win friends and influence people”.

Seth Godin, This is Seth

“I regularly encourage people to read “The Art of Possibility” by Ben and Roz Zander. It’s accessible, fun and life-changing.
Don’t forget rule six.
See you next month!”

Michael Sikorsky, CEO  Founder, Robots and Pencils

“Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need”

Bridget Harris, CEO & Co-Founder, YouCanBookMe

Paul Kenny, Founder, Ocean Learning

“The two I liked  most in recent years were Thinking Fast Thinking Slow and also Tom Kelley’s book The Art Of Innovation. Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm.

Alex Osterwalder‘s books have been the most useful in a practical sense for getting sales people to think about value rather than features and benefits. If anything, Value  Proposition Design is even more practical that Business Model Generation

Professor Rita Gunther McGrath, Columbia Business School

“I have to say it was during my first semester in my Ph.D. program when a professor gave us the assignment of reading the entire work of an esteemed scholar (a book a week).  My choice was Peter Drucker, so his books were hugely influential – if I had to pick just one, it would be “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” which came out in the mid-80’s before entrepreneurship was cool.”

Chris Savage, CEO Founder, Wistia

Scott Berkun, Man Without Pants.

“First that comes to mind is Innovation and Entrepreneurship, by Drucker.”

Natalie Nagele, CEO Co-Founder, Wildbit

“Book: for me right now is “Small Giants” by Bo Burlingham. All-time is probably “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey Moore.”


Jason Cohen, Founder, CTO, WPEngine

“It’s cliché but it’s true: The Effective Executive (Drucker). How to be an executive, which means someone who gets things done via an organization. Which is every founder whether alone or the CEO of a 100,000-person organization. Time-management, the limits of metrics, the limits of self, how to build an organization without 100% of the employees being “super-heros,” what leadership really looks like, the value of head-space and white-space, what it looks like to be effective instead of just busy. When you read a book that is decades old but reads like it’s addressing a modern tech company executive, that means the content is truly universal, and thus true.”

We’re also added a few to the reading list from speakers themselves…

Professor Rita Gunther McGrath


Seth Godin


Scott Berkun


Joshua Seiden

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