Here at Rare Bird HQ, our shelves are teeming with the many books we hope to read this year. They’re not all related to what we do as the Midwest’s must trusted marketing company—some of us are diving into the words of Margaret Atwood, Patrick Rothfuss, Alice Munro, and other novelists and short-story writers—but we often recommend business- and marketing-related books to clients and prospects.
What follows is a concise list of the titles most-often read and recommended within our walls. If you want insight into what we do, how we think, and why, this is the place to start. You could also reach out to us—we’re happy to talk more about any of this!
The Traction Library
Developed by Gino Wickman and based on his book, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, these interrelated titles explore all aspects of the Traction Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), a comprehensive approach to management that is meant to help companies and their leaders effectively operate their businesses. What the Heck Is EOS? and How to Be a Great Boss are especially popular around these parts.
Packed with wisdom and career lessons and—take heed, you statistically-significant nerds—tons of analytics and research, First, Break All the Rules is built on Gallup’s famous study of more than 80,000 managers, showing in detail what the best leaders do differently.
The book that kicked off Donald Miller’s publishing empire, Business Made Simple, is a no-nonsense explainer of many aspects of the work we do. Several of his follow-up titles, such as Marketing Made Simple, are worth a look, as well.
Patrick Lencioni’s The 6 Types of Working Genius is the latest addition to our list, as every member of the Flock recently completed the 10-minute assessment so we can better understand one another’s work-related gifts and frustrations—with the goal of experiencing greater fulfillment in our work.
The 1-Page Marketing Plan cuts through the noise and delivers a welcome dose of simplicity. One popular quote from the book: “Struggling business owners will spend time to save money, whereas successful business owners will spend money to save time. Why is that an important distinction? Because you can always get more money, but you can never get more time. So you need to ensure the stuff you spend your time on makes the biggest impact.”
Ogilvy on Advertising is out-of-print, but not hard to find. It’s a classic for a reason. Most of its ideas endure, and the book also functions as a museum of sorts for 20th-century advertising.
A lesser-known but important book, especially regarding the handoff between the design and development teams here, is Laying the Foundations—an ideal book for web design companies (like us!) that explores how we might work more efficiently together.
Like Ogilvy on Advertising, the iconic (but perhaps dated) cover of History of Graphic Design might be recognizable to some readers. Newer editions exist, but they all feature more than 1,400 high-quality images that provide a clear-sighted tour of the graphic design field.
Finally, if you want to know more about crisp storytelling and clear messaging—both are central to nearly everything we do at Rare Bird—then you must add Writing Well and The Elements of Style to your to-be-read pile.
Whenever you shop for books and other non-digital media, you should visit Hamilton Book, one of our longest-tenured clients, where pristine copies of books by Thom Jones, Tayari Jones, Emily St. John Mandel, Richard Ford, and the aforementioned Margaret Atwood can be found for as little as three dollars.