9 Awesome Business Books, Design Manuals, and Internet Optimization Guides

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9 Awesome Business Books, Design Manuals, and Internet Optimization Guides

Business is about more than just action. The most successful businesspeople – the Steve Jobs, Warren Buffetts, and Sergey Brins of the world – didn’t make it to where they are just because they stepped into the ring and made their moves.
Before they founded their businesses, they spent years researching just what made good businesses […]

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Business is about more than just action. The most successful businesspeople – the Steve Jobs, Warren Buffetts, and Sergey Brins of the world – didn’t make it to where they are just because they stepped into the ring and made their moves.

Before they founded their businesses, they spent years researching just what made good businesses tick. From specific design and business characteristics to overall strategy, they took abstract information and made it specific, building a complete business knowledge in the process.

While it’s hard to know what yesteryear’s top businesspeople were reading, it’s not difficult to tell what’s important today. These nine business, design, strategy, and optimization books deal with almost everything involved in online business. If you want to flatten your competition, check ‘em out, take detailed notes, and build your business knowledge too.

1. The Smashing Book

Smashing Magazine is one of the most respected online design publications, and their web design book is one of the best around. Packed full of useful advice, it’s a must-read for any designer looking to improve their rough edges, brush up on basic web design techniques, and ensure they’re a well-rounded professional.

Designed for everyone from newbie designers to experienced experts, The Smashing Book is an awesome companion to the uber-popular blog and a great read in its own right.

2. Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions

Landing Page Optimization is frequently cited as one of the most important optimization and online testing books out there. A classic in the online marketing canon, this go-to resource for A-B testing, website usability optimization, and conversion boosting is recommended reading for any marketer or designer.

Whether you’re designing websites for your own products or simply creating them for other people, the clear advice and detailed studies in Landing Page Optimization will help you hone your craft and boost conversions, enquiries, and client acquisitions.

3. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

Seth Godin is one of the most respected marketing and business authors on the planet, and his most well-known book, Purple Cow, is an essential read for online entrepreneurs and designers. Despite being classed as a “marketing” book, Seth’s work is free of any pushy marketing tactics and based around common sense ideas. Be different, be valuable, and be something people love. Be a purple cow, not a white and black one.

4. The Design of Everyday Things

There’s more to web design than CSS and color schemes. Sometimes the most impressive and effective design comes from offline objects, particularly everyday things. This detailed and impressive catalog of past, present, and upcoming designs explains why some designs work and others fail.

If you’re in the market for a book that refocuses your design skills, this is the one to pick. Quit looking for inspiration exclusively online, and let this collection of effective offline product design shape your abilities and personal style.

5. The 48 Laws of Power

It’s not a business book, it’s not a design book, and it doesn’t have anything to do with internet optimization. What makes The 48 Laws of Power essential reading for online entrepreneurs and designers is its value and strategy. Included are stories of powerful businesspeople, major strategic decisions, and strategies for ensuring that you’re in control, no matter how demanding a client or business partner may be. If you’re looking to avoid office politics struggles and long-term business battles, this is the book to pick up.

6. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More

Wired editor Chris Anderson released The Long Tail within the last five years, and it’s already become a must-read text for online entrepreneurs and internet-enabled change-makers. Based around the idea that the future of business isn’t in selling one product in quantity, but many products in small doses, The Long Tail addresses the future problems of online business and how they could be overcome.

If you’re involved in a product-based business, this book is essential reading. If you’re involved in a service business, read it anyway. For all-round online business wisdom, The Long Tail is unbeatable.

7. Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything

A favorite of Silicon Valley investors and social media entrepreneurs, Wikinomics addresses the potential of crowdsourcing and wiki-driven applications. Designed for both commercial and non-commercial wikis and crowd-driven applications, Wikinomics is recommended reading for entrepreneurs that work with multiple contractors, public crowdsourced projects, and marketing for mass products and services.

8. Web Design for Dummies

What’s that? You’re too elite to read a “for Dummies” book? Web Design for Dummies might not deal with Ajax development and complex design trends, but it’s one of the most valuable books on web design and development out there. From basic HTML to CSS layouts, PHP to basic design and layout styles, this book covers it all.

Sometimes it’s worth swallowing your designer pride and going back to basics. While Web Design for Dummies isn’t likely to turn you into a top designer overnight, it will give you the basic ability to create good websites and usable designs. If you’re training new staff, brushing up on your own skills, or creating an ultra-basic website, this is the book to keep open beside you.

9. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Robert Cialdini’s well-known text on influence in marketing and business has become one of the most popular books amongst businesspeople, marketers, and freelancers. Offering a range of insights and studies into just how different wording combinations, marketing styles, and descriptions can affect people, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is perfect for entrepreneurs looking to attract new clients, customers, and business partners.

If you’re struggling to hit targets or having a hard time acquiring new clients, this book is a must-read. Keep a pen and paper beside you and take notes on your weaknesses, systematically improving while you read through the book. Marketing issues and PR problems can be overcome, especially with Influence in your business inventory.

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