100 books like Playing to Win

By A.G. Lafley, Roger L. Martin,

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

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most

Bret Lyon Author Of Embracing Shame: How to Stop Resisting Shame and Turn It into a Powerful Ally

From my list on healing shame and trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent many years deeply angry at my parents and not really understanding why. When I found out about shame, and how it was passed down from generation to generation, I was finally able to crack the code. Their “permissiveness” was actually neglect. Without meaning to, they had put their shame on me and I was still suffering from not really being seen. I made it my mission to help others heal their shame so they can be better people and better parents, and live fuller lives. I am the co-director of the Center for Healing Shame and co-author of Embracing Shame.

Bret's book list on healing shame and trauma

Bret Lyon Why did Bret love this book?

I love this book because it says that all conversations take place on 3 different levels. 

There is the content level, the most obvious; the emotional level, how important the subject is and the emotions around it; and the internal level of “what does this conversation say about me,” which is the shame level. This level may be the most important and the most hidden.

By Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen, Douglas Stone

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Difficult Conversations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 10th-anniversary edition of the New York Times business bestseller-now updated with "Answers to Ten Questions People Ask"

We attempt or avoid difficult conversations every day-whether dealing with an underperforming employee, disagreeing with a spouse, or negotiating with a client. From the Harvard Negotiation Project, the organization that brought you Getting to Yes, Difficult Conversations provides a step-by-step approach to having those tough conversations with less stress and more success. you'll learn how to:

· Decipher the underlying structure of every difficult conversation 
· Start a conversation without defensiveness 
· Listen for the meaning of what is not said 
·…


Book cover of Thinking, Fast and Slow

Anna E. Hampton Author Of Facing Danger: A Guide Through Risk

From my list on navigate danger in humanitarian work.

Why am I passionate about this?

I went to Afghanistan under the first Taliban government as a humanitarian aid worker. During the following decade, I experienced inadequate emotional, mental, and theological support from those who had sent me out. I began to research the field of risk and found a wealth of literature on how humans make decisions, how we see (or don’t see) danger, how to manage risk and fear, and more. We ignore the best practices and common sense of these fields to our peril. I am passionate about helping people not feel isolated and alone when they choose to serve in dangerous situations.

Anna's book list on navigate danger in humanitarian work

Anna E. Hampton Why did Anna love this book?

I laughed at Kahneman’s straightforward explanation of how my brain works without making me feel stupid. Apparently, humanness is normal, thank goodness.

He explains the complexities of System 1 and 2 thinking through storytelling, demonstrating what he is teaching about how our brains work. Even though I’d learned about these concepts through academic reading, I now feel like I “get it,” although even that statement is a product of both System 1 and 2 thinking and availability bias. Key takeaways: Intelligence and rationality are not the same, and the research is so substantial in how Systems 1 and 2 work that disbelief is not an option!

By Daniel Kahneman,

Why should I read it?

41 authors picked Thinking, Fast and Slow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The phenomenal international bestseller - 2 million copies sold - that will change the way you make decisions

'A lifetime's worth of wisdom' Steven D. Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics
'There have been many good books on human rationality and irrationality, but only one masterpiece. That masterpiece is Thinking, Fast and Slow' Financial Times

Why is there more chance we'll believe something if it's in a bold type face? Why are judges more likely to deny parole before lunch? Why do we assume a good-looking person will be more competent? The answer lies in the two ways we make choices: fast,…


Book cover of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott Author Of Every Shot Must Have a Purpose: How GOLF54 Can Make You a Better Player

From my list on improving performance and growth.

Why we are passionate about this?

We have been coaching and learning about peak performance for four decades. To learn from playing golf ourselves, coaching others to play better, and continuously staying curious and learning from others is a mix that we want to keep alive. It’s not only to perform well that matters to us, but that we also grow as a human being. It’s about excellence and wellbeing. What skills, what culture, and what foundation can make that a possibility? Our deepest wish is for all of us to access our own unique possibilities to be good and happy. 

Pia and Lynn's book list on improving performance and growth

Pia Nilsson and Lynn Marriott Why did Pia and Lynn love this book?

This book both confirmed and encouraged the best mindset to optimize growth. It’s about learning to create a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. Studies have shown that it’s a better way to be successful and happy in life.

“Qualities can be nurtured; our potential is unknown, and failure does not define you. Deal with it, learn, and praise the process."

The main keys are that it’s all about learning, learning, learning…no matter what happens to you. “Yet” is a key word, and hard work is required to succeed. Setbacks are opportunities for growth.

By Carol S. Dweck,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Mindset as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the renowned psychologist who introduced the world to “growth mindset” comes this updated edition of the million-copy bestseller—featuring transformative insights into redefining success, building lifelong resilience, and supercharging self-improvement.

“Through clever research studies and engaging writing, Dweck illuminates how our beliefs about our capabilities exert tremendous influence on how we learn and which paths we take in life.”—Bill Gates, GatesNotes

“It’s not always the people who start out the smartest who end up the smartest.”

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this…


Book cover of Confessions of an Advertising Man

Mark Beal Author Of ZEO: Introducing Gen Z – The New Generation Of Leaders

From my list on inspiring creativity, transformation, and innovation.

Why am I passionate about this?

For more than 30 years I have been immersed in creative public relations and marketing from campaign development and activation to effectively engaging the primary consumer audiences. Me and my teams developed campaigns around such major sports and entertainment properties as the Olympic Games, Super Bowl, and The Rolling Stones. No matter your industry, inspiration for creativity, transformation, and innovation can come from many sources including the compelling storytelling featured in the books that I recommend.  

Mark's book list on inspiring creativity, transformation, and innovation

Mark Beal Why did Mark love this book?

Often called the “Father of Advertising,” David Ogilvy pulls back the curtain on his career and the advertising industry in the mid to late 1900s.

Strategic and creative approaches to marketing that he and his colleagues took decades ago are still timely, relevant, and applicable in today’s social and digital media world.  

By David Ogilvy,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Confessions of an Advertising Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



A new edition of the timeless business classic featured on Mad Men—as fresh and relevant now as the day it was written

 

"We admire people who work hard, who are objective and thorough. We detest office politicians, toadies, bullies, and pompous asses. We abhor ruthlessness. The way up our ladder is open to everybody. In promoting people to top jobs, we are influenced as much by their character as anything else."  —David Ogilvy

 

David Ogilvy was considered the "father of advertising" and a creative genius by many of the biggest global brands. First published in 1963, this seminal book revolutionized…


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 The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads

Keith L. Downing Author Of Gradient Expectations: Structure, Origins, and Synthesis of Predictive Neural Networks

From my list on to keep an AI researcher awake at night.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been working in the field of AI for 40 years, first in graduate school and then as a professor. For the most part, I have had my head in the sand, focusing on the minutiae that occasionally lead to publications, the coins of the academic realm. When deep learning started exhibiting human-level pattern recognition abilities, the number of AI books for the general public began to swell.  Unfortunately, the science-fiction scenarios were a bit much. Since understanding, recognizing, and admitting problems are vital steps toward a solution, I find these books to be the most important warnings of the impending tech-dominated future.

Keith's book list on to keep an AI researcher awake at night

Keith L. Downing Why did Keith love this book?

Although it is now a well-known fact that many actors are fighting for our online attention, and will do just about anything to get and keep it, Wu puts it all in historical perspective by going back to the 1800’s and the beginning of print advertising. 

He then traces our relationships with ads across a century and four screens: movies, television, home computers, and finally the cell phone. For the same reason that I enjoy reading history books to try to make some sense of the world’s current political chaos, this masterpiece by Wu should ensure you that nothing about human greed has changed in any major way: the tools of exploitation just get more powerful and more addictive.

By Tim Wu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Attention merchant: an industrial-scale harvester of human attention. A firm whose business model is the mass capture of attention for resale to advertisers.
In nearly every moment of our waking lives, we face a barrage of advertising enticements, branding efforts, sponsored social media, commercials and other efforts to harvest our attention. Over the last century, few times or spaces have remained uncultivated by the 'attention merchants', contributing to the distracted, unfocused tenor of our times. Tim Wu argues that this is not simply the byproduct of recent inventions but the end result of more than a century's growth and expansion…


Book cover of Nudge: The Final Edition

Linda Ginzel Author Of Choosing Leadership: How to Create a Better Future by Building Your Courage, Capacity, and Wisdom

From my list on leadership that don’t have leadership in the title.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a lifelong educator who believes that everyone can create a better future by changing behaviors, practicing leadership skills, and improving outcomes across time and place—at home, work, and community. If you believe in lifelong learning, join me in elevating the courage, capacity, and wisdom of people everywhere through Choosing Leadership. This book is an accessible, educational tool that provides a structured approach combining individual written reflection with discussion to create collective wisdom in groups. Together, we can change the global conversation about leadership—from heroic mythic beings called “Leaders” to diverse human beings that I call “Champions.”

Linda's book list on leadership that don’t have leadership in the title

Linda Ginzel Why did Linda love this book?

This is the quintessential behavioral economics book by The University of Chicago’s most dynamic duo.

Leadership is all about change and Nudge (not to be confused with the Yiddish word, Noogde) has done more than most any other book to change both the academic world of economics and global practices.

The application of social psychology at the individual, group, and organizational levels is the magic behind the new field of behavioral economics. 

By Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*Once again a New York Times bestseller! First the original edition, and now the new Final Edition*

An essential new edition revised and updated from cover to cover of one of the most important books of the last two decades, by Nobel Prize winner Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein

More than 2 million copies sold

Since the original publication of Nudge more than a decade ago, the title has entered the vocabulary of businesspeople, policy makers, engaged citizens, and consumers everywhere. The book has given rise to more than 400 "nudge units" in governments around the world and…


Book cover of Duct Tape Marketing  The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide

Ian Brodie Author Of Email Persuasion: Captivate and Engage Your Audience, Build Authority and Generate More Sales With Email

From my list on small business marketing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and consultant on marketing and creating online courses. I’m obsessed with “cracking the marketing code.” Ever since I saw firsthand what a huge impact even small marketing changes could have on a business's success I’ve been determined to figure out what the really big impact but low workload changes are. I’ve written about some of them in my book Email Persuasion and I share others in my blogs and videos.

Ian's book list on small business marketing

Ian Brodie Why did Ian love this book?

Duct Tape Marketing is probably the best “if you could only have one book” guide to marketing for small businesses. Written by a guy who’s been “in the trenches” working with small businesses on their marketing for over two decades, it’s practical and actionable and keeps you firmly focused on what’s really important to succeed, not on “flavor of the month” tactics.

It’s a great book for non-marketing people. And it very much focuses on setting up systems and processes so we get consistent results from our marketing. In other words, the boring stuff we tend to avoid but that actually makes the most difference!

By John Jantsch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Duct Tape Marketing The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his trusted book for small businesses, John Jantsch challenges you to craft a marketing strategy that is as reliable as the go-to household item we all know, love, and turn to in a pinch: duct tape.

As a renowned marketing guru and small business coach, John Jantsch has become a leading advisor on how to build and grow a thriving business. Duct Tape Marketing shows you how to develop and execute a marketing plan that yields more revenue and ensures the longevity of small businesses.

Taking a strategic, systemic approach to marketing rather than being constantly won over to…


Book cover of How to Write Sales Letters That Sell

Ian Brodie Author Of Email Persuasion: Captivate and Engage Your Audience, Build Authority and Generate More Sales With Email

From my list on small business marketing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and consultant on marketing and creating online courses. I’m obsessed with “cracking the marketing code.” Ever since I saw firsthand what a huge impact even small marketing changes could have on a business's success I’ve been determined to figure out what the really big impact but low workload changes are. I’ve written about some of them in my book Email Persuasion and I share others in my blogs and videos.

Ian's book list on small business marketing

Ian Brodie Why did Ian love this book?

David Ogilvy said, “Drayton Bird knows more about direct marketing than anyone in the world,” and you can see why he said it in this book.

At some point in your marketing you need to get your potential customers to become paying customers. To actually part with their hard-earned cash. This book is a masterclass on how to do that in print – either on your website or in letters, adverts, brochures, or flyers. Bird’s writing has that amazing quality of charm, of being able to get you to buy without feeling you’ve been sold to. The book shows you how to get something similar yourself and is chock full of examples to learn from.

By Drayton Bird,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Write Sales Letters That Sell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The right piece of direct mail can produce excellent response rates and have an extraordinary effect on business. But why do some sale letters achieve spectacular results whilst others are instantly consigned to the bin? This book reveals the secrets of creating successful sales letters. Containing examples of real sales letters, it includes plenty of advice on what to avoid as well as what to include. Key topics are covered such as: the secrets of persuasion; planning a letter which will get replies; creating offers that get responses and timing mailings for maximum effect.


Book cover of Captivology: The Science of Capturing People's Attention

Ian Brodie Author Of Email Persuasion: Captivate and Engage Your Audience, Build Authority and Generate More Sales With Email

From my list on small business marketing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and consultant on marketing and creating online courses. I’m obsessed with “cracking the marketing code.” Ever since I saw firsthand what a huge impact even small marketing changes could have on a business's success I’ve been determined to figure out what the really big impact but low workload changes are. I’ve written about some of them in my book Email Persuasion and I share others in my blogs and videos.

Ian's book list on small business marketing

Ian Brodie Why did Ian love this book?

Of all the marketing challenges facing us today, the biggest by far is the immensely difficult task of getting and keeping the attention of our target customers in a ridiculously noisy world.

Captivology isn’t necessarily a marketing book per se. But it’s the best guide to the art and the science of capturing attention. It shows you what gets people to take notice of something, to pay it deeper attention, and then to keep coming back and devoting time to it. You can apply these lessons across all your marketing and of all the marketing ideas and concepts I’ve come across in the last decade, this one has had the deepest and most positive impact on me and the results in my business.

By Ben Parr,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


Why are we captivated by sites like Facebook and Instagram, but couldn't care less about MySpace Why do some musicians grow as popular as Beyonce, while others never make the charts Why do some nonprofits, such as Charity: Water, succeed in getting our donations, while other charities are ineffective And why can't anyone seem to ever get the attention of their kids

In Captivology, Ben Parr, former editor of Mashable and cofounder of DominateFund, reveals how and why our mind pays attention to some events, ideas, or people and not others. Vividly bringing to life the stories of entrepreneurs, musicians,…


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