100 books like Diffusion of Innovations

By Everett M. Rogers,

Here are 100 books that Diffusion of Innovations fans have personally recommended if you like Diffusion of Innovations. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Fergus Craik Author Of Memory

From my list on how your memory works – and why it often doesn't.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a cognitive psychologist, originally from Scotland, but I have lived and worked in Canada for the last 50 years, first at the University of Toronto, and then at a research institute in Toronto. My passion has always been to understand the human mind – especially memory – through experimental research. Memory is fundamental to our mental life as humans; to a large extent it defines who we are. It is a complex and fascinating topic, and my career has been devoted to devising experiments and theories to understand it better. In our recent book, Larry Jacoby and I attempt to pass on the excitement of unravelling these fascinating mysteries of memory.

Fergus' book list on how your memory works – and why it often doesn't

Fergus Craik Why did Fergus love this book?

This bestselling book is not so much about your memory as how to implant lasting memories in others.

How is it that some events and pieces of information are amazingly memorable, whereas others are lost as soon as our mental backs are turned? In a series of entertaining real-life examples, the authors propose and illustrate ways in which information can be “made to stick.” These include some obvious ones like getting people’s attention and building on their existing knowledge – stuff they are interested in.

Other factors are less obvious; set up an intriguing puzzle, provide some really unexpected information, especially of an emotional kind, embed the new information in an attention-grabbing story. Of course knowing how to teach effectively also reveals much about how memory works!

By Chip Heath, Dan Heath,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Made to Stick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why does fake news stick while the truth goes missing?

Why do disproved urban legends persist? How do you keep letting newspapers and clickbait sites lure you in with their headlines? And why do you remember complicated stories but not complicated facts?

Over ten years of study, Chip and Dan Heath have discovered how we latch on to information hooks. Packed full of case histories and incredible anecdotes, it shows:

- how an Australian scientist convinced the world he'd discovered the cause of stomach ulcers by drinking a glass filled with bacteria

- how a gifted sports reporter got people…


Book cover of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Neil Archer Author Of The Social Network: Youth Film 2.0

From my list on Silicon Valley’s impact on everyday life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a fixation with films about or using digital technology: my work in this area is about trying to grasp the impacts of technological change on the world in which we live. In writing about The Social Network, I was gripped by the idea that a group of college kids could create something so contagious and monstrous as Facebook. More recently, I’ve been exploring the impacts of data on our understanding and management of sport. I’m also working on a long-term project about Pixar, a long-term fascination. I just love the idea that the films we and our children watch started out with a bunch of computer scientists, playing around with polygons.

Neil's book list on Silicon Valley’s impact on everyday life

Neil Archer Why did Neil love this book?

How did Hush Puppies become cool again? This is just one of the questions answered in Gladwell’s first and possibly still most influential book.

Gladwell is essentially a detective of cultural phenomena, which is probably why his writing has such an influence on what I do; both in terms of my book and my current work on sport.

While it never actually mentions computers, The Tipping Point, which analyses the social forces, networks, and mathematics that make things go viral (before the phrase ‘go viral’ went, well, viral) anticipates the impacts of Web 2.0. Little wonder that Sean Parker, of Napster and later Facebook fame, was so fond of quoting it.

By Malcolm Gladwell,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Tipping Point as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An introduction to the Tipping Point theory explains how minor changes in ideas and products can increase their popularity and how small adjustments in an individual's immediate environment can alter group behavior.


Book cover of Unleashing the Ideavirus: Stop Marketing AT People! Turn Your Ideas into Epidemics by Helping Your Customers Do the Marketing thing for You

Jonah Berger Author Of Contagious: Why Things Catch on

From my list on make anything catch on.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jonah Berger is a Wharton School professor and internationally bestselling author of Magic Words, Contagious, Invisible Influence, and The Catalyst. Dr. Berger is a world-renowned expert on natural language processing, change, word of mouth, influence, consumer behavior, and why things catch on. He has published over 80 articles in top‐tier academic journals, teaches one of the world’s most popular online courses, and popular outlets like The New York Times and Harvard Business Review often cover his work. Berger has keynoted hundreds of major conferences and events like SXSW and Cannes Lions, advises various early-stage companies, and consults for organizations like Apple, Google, Nike, Amazon, GE, Moderna, and The Gates Foundation.

Jonah's book list on make anything catch on

Jonah Berger Why did Jonah love this book?

Many of the books by Seth Godin are amazing, but this is a personal favorite.

Great ideas aren't just ideas; they're like viruses. They spread from person to person in powerful, unexpected ways. The book explores this idea and talks about some of the factors that lead ideas to spread and some of the consequences of their diffusion.

By Seth Godin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Unleashing the Ideavirus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seth Godin examines how companies like Napster and Hotmail have successfully launched idea viruses - a customer-to-customer dialogue. He offers a recipe to creating your own idea virus and shows how businesses can use idea virus marketing to succeed in a world that doesn't want to hear from traditional marketeers anymore.


Book cover of A Matter of Taste: How Names, Fashions, and Culture Change

Jonah Berger Author Of Contagious: Why Things Catch on

From my list on make anything catch on.

Why am I passionate about this?

Jonah Berger is a Wharton School professor and internationally bestselling author of Magic Words, Contagious, Invisible Influence, and The Catalyst. Dr. Berger is a world-renowned expert on natural language processing, change, word of mouth, influence, consumer behavior, and why things catch on. He has published over 80 articles in top‐tier academic journals, teaches one of the world’s most popular online courses, and popular outlets like The New York Times and Harvard Business Review often cover his work. Berger has keynoted hundreds of major conferences and events like SXSW and Cannes Lions, advises various early-stage companies, and consults for organizations like Apple, Google, Nike, Amazon, GE, Moderna, and The Gates Foundation.

Jonah's book list on make anything catch on

Jonah Berger Why did Jonah love this book?

This book isn’t as well known as the others but is just as deserving of attention.

It is an underground classic in sociology that studies why things catch on using a study of baby names. If you've ever wondered why some names become popular or what drives all sorts of things to become popular, this book helps us understand why.

By Stanley Lieberson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Matter of Taste as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What accounts for our tastes? Why and how do they change over time? In this innovative book Stanley Lieberson analyzes children's first names to develop an original theory of fashion. Children's names provide an opportunity to view the pure mechanisms of fashion, unaffected by commercial interests that influence many fashions and tastes, says Lieberson. He disputes the commonly held notion that tastes in names (and other fashions) simply reflect societal shifts. There exist also "internal taste mechanisms" that drive changes in fashion even in the absence of social change, Lieberson contends. He explores the intricate and subtle ways in which…


Book cover of Borrowing Brilliance: The Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others

John Beeson Author Of The Unwritten Rules: The Six Skills You Need to Get Promoted to the Executive Level

From my list on advancing and succeeding at the executive level.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent many years as a management consultant to a range of big, global corporations, smaller companies, and not-for-profits. I also headed up succession planning and management development at two major companies. I decided to go into this field based on a strong conviction, a conviction that continues today: that leadership counts. Strong leaders benefit people in their organizations and, ultimately, society itself. Having worked with many senior leaders and led organizations myself, I know the range of pressures executives face and how easy it is to fail. Companies need a supply of capable, well-equipped senior leaders, and those who aspire to top-level positions need guideposts about achieving their career aspirations. 

John's book list on advancing and succeeding at the executive level

John Beeson Why did John love this book?

One of the success factors I highlight in my book is leading innovation and change.

Simply maintaining or marginally improving the status quo isn’t enough in most organizations. Many aspiring executives find the requirement to lead innovation intimidating, since by definition it means finding solutions that are different from what they are most familiar with.

Murray illustrates that the vast majority of innovations are not “bolts out of the blue.” Rather, they are often the result of taking a new idea out of one context (for example, a different field or industry) and then building on it.

The implication for me is that the successful executive needs to adopt an external perspective, i.e., looking outside his or her own organization, and find ways to identify new ideas—even if the practical application is not immediately apparent. 

By David Kord Murray,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Borrowing Brilliance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Most of us think that outstanding success derives only from groundbreaking innovation. But we're wrong. In fact, many of the most successful business ideas of our time have come about when someone has borrowed and adapted an idea from somewhere else.

In Borrowing Brilliance, David Kord Murray explains exactly how you can do the same. He demonstrates conclusively that new business ideas are simply combinations of existing ideas, and then sets out to show how you can solve current problems and create new opportunities by learning where to look for ideas and answers. In the process, he takes you through…


Book cover of Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Michael D. Watkins Author Of The Six Disciplines of Strategic Thinking: Leading Your Organization Into the Future

From my list on books for aspiring strategic thinkers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have devoted my career to helping leaders navigate challenging transitions into new roles, build their teams, and transform their organizations. Strategic thinking is a key foundation of my work as an executive coach and advisor at Genesis Advisers and a professor at the IMD Business School. Whether executives are taking new roles or driving large-scale transformations, they must be able to rapidly analyze the context, craft good visions and strategies, and mobilize people to realize them. I try to equip the leaders I work with with the mental frameworks, tools, and skillsets to adapt and succeed in the first 90 days and beyond.

Michael's book list on books for aspiring strategic thinkers

Michael D. Watkins Why did Michael love this book?

I liked that this book highlighted how supposedly tried-and-true approaches to innovation fail to deliver results.

The book’s insights about how to drive radical innovation informed the advice I now give executives about how to approach organizational transformation, starting with an ambitious vision, communicating the “why,” and enlisting great people to go on the journey with them.

It helped me to understand that building organizations to develop disruptive technologies requires leaders to envision things that may sound crazy until they are realized. 

By Peter Thiel, Blake Masters,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Zero to One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What Valuable Company Is Nobody Building? The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won't make a search engine. If you are copying these guys, you aren't learning from them. It's easier to copy a model than to make something new: doing what we already know how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. Every new creation goes from 0 to 1. This book is about how to get there. "Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how". (Elon…


Book cover of Working-Class Network Society: Communication Technology and the Information Have-Less in Urban China

Margaret Hillenbrand Author Of On the Edge: Feeling Precarious in China

From my list on the cultural lives of China’s migrant workers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a professor of Chinese studies, and I’m especially interested in what the close study of culture can reveal about aspects of contemporary Chinese life that are usually dominated by the perspectives of historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and political scientists. I’m fascinated not so much by how cultural practices reflect social change but by how they sometimes make it happen, particularly in societies where overt political action is blocked. As my book picks show, I’m intrigued by the inventiveness and drive of people who create culture, often new forms of culture, under conditions of oppression, exploitation, and duress.

Margaret's book list on the cultural lives of China’s migrant workers

Margaret Hillenbrand Why did Margaret love this book?

This book made a big impact on me because it shifts the study of culture in working-class China from familiar genres such as poetry to the vast domain of the digital.

Qiu argues that a working-class network society has taken firm shape in 21st-century China, made up of migrants, laid-off workers, retired people, young people, and small-scale entrepreneurs. In one sense, these people are the “information have-less” because they belong to the social classes typically on the wrong side of the digital divide.

But Qiu’s book shows that cheap internet access and extensive cell phone penetration in China have enabled the “have-less” to create class identity through their use of information technology. From community-building to memory-making, the book really nuanced my understanding of digital networks as a transformatively cultural force.

By Jack Linchuan Qiu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Working-Class Network Society as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An examination of how the availability of low-end information and communication technology has provided a basis for the emergence of a working-class network society in China.

The idea of the “digital divide,” the great social division between information haves and have-nots, has dominated policy debates and scholarly analysis since the 1990s. In Working-Class Network Society, Jack Linchuan Qiu describes a more complex social and technological reality in a newly mobile, urbanizing China. Qiu argues that as inexpensive Internet and mobile phone services become available and are closely integrated with the everyday work and life of low-income communities, they provide a…


Book cover of How Stella Saved the Farm: A Tale about Making Innovation Happen

Ron Ashkenas Author Of Simply Effective: How to Cut Through Complexity in Your Organization and Get Things Done

From my list on simplifying your organization.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an organizational consultant, and a business writer, I’ve always been fascinated by Mark Twain’s comment that he would've written a shorter letter if he had more time. It’s a wonderful reminder that simplicity and clarity require hard work and won’t happen by itself. As part of the consulting team that worked with Jack Welch to transform GE in the 1990s, I saw firsthand that leaders actually have the power to simplify their organizations, and that it can make a huge difference. What they need is a playbook for how to do this, and that was my intention when I wrote Simply Effective. Since then I’ve seen “simplicity” become a driving force for business success. 

Ron's book list on simplifying your organization

Ron Ashkenas Why did Ron love this book?

Yes, Stella is a book – but it’s really a fable about how to cut through corporate inertia and bureaucracy to drive innovation.

When I first read it, I was blown away – a story about farm animals saving their farm from bankruptcy – with lots of clear and compelling messages. And it was actually fun to read. Since I first learned about it from one of the authors (we were working with a common client), I’ve recommended it to lots of other executives, and it’s made a difference.

One of the key lessons from Stella is that truly transformative innovation often needs to be separated from the core business – with different resources, budgets, metrics, and expectations. Otherwise it’s going to be in competition with the core business – and it will end up getting the short end of the stick in terms of money and people.

Then when…

By Vijay Govindarajan, Chris Trimble,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How Stella Saved the Farm as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inspired by George Orwell's Animal Farm and the international bestseller Our Iceberg is Melting, How Stella Saved the Farm is a simple parable about embracing change and managing innovation in difficult times.

Bankruptcy, or the grim prospect of being acquired by a hostile human competitor, threatens Windsor Farm. But when a young sheep called Stella comes up with a bold idea, will the other animals be able to respond to her ambitious call to action?

Grounded in over a decade of academic research, How Stella Saved the Farm will resonate for organizations of all types, from global corporations to small…


Book cover of The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge

Joseph P. Forgas Author Of The Psychology of Populism: The Tribal Challenge to Liberal Democracy

From my list on why populism threatens liberal democratic societies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an experimental social psychologist and Scientia Professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. I grew up in Hungary, and after an adventurous escape I ended up in Sydney. I received my DPhil and DSc degrees from the University of Oxford, and I spent various periods working at Oxford, Stanford, Heidelberg, and Giessen. For my work I received the Order of Australia, as well as the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, the Alexander von Humboldt Prize, and a Rockefeller Fellowship. As somebody who experienced totalitarian communism firsthand, I am very interested in the reasons for the recent spread of totalitarian, tribal ideologies, potentially undermining Western liberalism, undoubtedly the most successful civilization in human history.

Joseph's book list on why populism threatens liberal democratic societies

Joseph P. Forgas Why did Joseph love this book?

This book is a real tour de force, applying the rationale of self-governing and naturally emerging evolutionary mechanisms to explain a wide variety of social, biological, cultural, and civilizational processes.

The book offers wonderful insights into such topics as the emergence of creative ideas, the growth of cities, the evolution of language, why state-controlled health care and education systems are often inefficient, the resilience of free-market economies, the rise of morality and trust as a consequence of natural social interactions, and much more besides.

Readable, entertaining, and full of incredibly useful information.

By Matt Ridley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Evolution of Everything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling author of The Rational Optimist and Genome returns with a fascinating, brilliant argument for evolution that definitively dispels a dangerous, widespread myth: that we can command and control our world.

The Evolution of Everything is about bottom-up order and its enemy, the top-down twitch—the endless fascination human beings have for design rather than evolution, for direction rather than emergence. Drawing on anecdotes from science, economics, history, politics and philosophy, Matt Ridley’s wide-ranging, highly opinionated opus demolishes conventional assumptions that major scientific and social imperatives are dictated by those on high, whether in government, business, academia,…


Book cover of The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths

Donald Cohen Author Of The Privatization of Everything: How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How We Can Fight Back

From my list on the battle between democracy and oligarchy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been reading, researching, and writing on the limitations of market capitalism and the unique and important role of government in meeting public needs for almost 30 years. I have come to firmly believe that we can’t – as a nation and planet – solve our most pressing problems without rebuilding trust in government and the capacity and authority of governing institutions. We can’t eliminate poverty, eradicate structural racism, protect our environment and the planet without democratic institutions that have the power to do so. We need markets, but transferring too much power to the market has created many of the problems we face today. 

Donald's book list on the battle between democracy and oligarchy

Donald Cohen Why did Donald love this book?

This is an important book that attacks head-on the mythology in American culture about the inherent superiority of the private sector over the public sector. 

It documents the many public sector investments, inventions, and innovations that created many of the things that we all use in our daily lives. It shows how, despite decades-long attacks on government, we actually can point to a unique and valuable role that government action has played, and continues to play, in meeting public needs. 

Mazzucato is one of the most important thinkers on this subject and has written a number of books that I’d also recommend if this was a longer list. 

By Mariana Mazzucato,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Entrepreneurial State as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this sharp and controversial expose, Mariana Mazzucato debunks the pervasive myth that the state is a laggard, bureaucratic apparatus at odds with a dynamic private sector. She reveals in detailed case studies, including a riveting chapter on the iPhone, that the opposite is true: the state is, and has been, our boldest and most valuable innovator. Denying this history is leading us down the wrong path. A select few get credit for what is an intensely collective effort, and the US government has started disinvesting from innovation. The repercussions could stunt economic growth and increase inequality. Mazzucato teaches us…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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