100 books like Sensemaking

By Christian Madsbjerg,

Here are 100 books that Sensemaking fans have personally recommended if you like Sensemaking. 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 How to Win Friends and Influence People

Alex Edmans Author Of Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit

From my list on living with purpose.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Professor of Finance who specialises in purposeful business and purposeful living. My work on the former shows how companies driven by purpose are ultimately more successful than those driven by profit alone. My interest in the latter stems partly from the former, but also from 20 years of teaching MBA students at MIT, Wharton, and London Business School. While my day job is to teach finance equations, often even more important to my students’ career success and life happiness is living with purpose. There are many self-proclaimed gurus on this topic who shoot from the hip, so I am particularly interested in books based on scientific research.

Alex's book list on living with purpose

Alex Edmans Why did Alex love this book?

Originally published in 1937, this was the original self-improvement book. Carnegie described it as a “practical, working handbook on human relations”.

After reading it, you might think that none of his tips are earth-shatteringly surprising, but you may not have thought of them before reading the book. This is indeed the mark of a great book – something that makes lots of sense after you read it (and so you’re most likely to put it into practice) but you wouldn’t have guessed yourself; and certainly would not have framed it in as clear and convincing manner as Carnegie.

By Dale Carnegie,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked How to Win Friends and Influence People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Millions of people around the world have - and continue to - improve their lives based on the teachings of Dale Carnegie. In How to Win Friends and Influence People Carnegie offers practical advice and techniques, in his exuberant and conversational style, for how to get out of a mental rut and make life more rewarding.

His advice has stood the test of time and will teach you how to:
- make friends quickly and easily
- increase your popularity
- win people to your way of thinking
- enable you to win new clients and customers
- become a…


Book cover of The Art of War for Executives: Ancient Knowledge for Today's Business Professional

Wayne Moloney Author Of The Wentworth Prospect: A novel guide to success in B2B sales

From my list on B2B salespeople to stay relevant and successful.

Why am I passionate about this?

Everyone survives by selling something whether we wear the title or not. Selling has been my career, even before I was a salesperson. I started my career in engineering but quickly realised my passion was in developing business, not designing industrial ventilation systems. Helped by a boss who also saw I was better suited to roles other than engineering (he wasn’t so polite) I went on to enjoy a successful career spanning 4 decades working in Australian, Asian, and European markets that embraced all facets of sales and business development. Helped by great mentors and learning from the experience of others, I have endeavoured to give back by mentoring business owners, salespeople, and writing.

Wayne's book list on B2B salespeople to stay relevant and successful

Wayne Moloney Why did Wayne love this book?

Sun Tzu’s classic text, The Art of War has been a ‘go-to’ handbook for scholars, politicians, and military leaders for centuries.

In more recent times, politicians, entrepreneurs, business leaders, and sports coaches have turned to this classic for invaluable commentary and guidance of strategy, leadership, competition, cooperation, and organisation.

Krause puts Sun Tzu’s concepts in context with the business world to save the reader having to ‘translate’ the instructions on how to wage war to how to conduct business successfully.

By Donald G. Krause,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of War for Executives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For years, business schools and professional consultants have turned to Sun Tzu's 2500-year-old Chinese text for its useful commentary on such topics as leadership, strategy, organization, competition and co-operation. The wisdom of Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" is now made accessible to the modern reader. Not simply a new translation, this book provides an easy-to-follow interpretation of the classic document. It reveals the brilliance of Sun Tzu, and shows how to win on the battlefield of modern business. The tone and insight of the original classic remain, whilst incorporating the ideas of contemporary business philosophers, such as Peters, Drucker…


Book cover of Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends

Wayne Moloney Author Of The Wentworth Prospect: A novel guide to success in B2B sales

From my list on B2B salespeople to stay relevant and successful.

Why am I passionate about this?

Everyone survives by selling something whether we wear the title or not. Selling has been my career, even before I was a salesperson. I started my career in engineering but quickly realised my passion was in developing business, not designing industrial ventilation systems. Helped by a boss who also saw I was better suited to roles other than engineering (he wasn’t so polite) I went on to enjoy a successful career spanning 4 decades working in Australian, Asian, and European markets that embraced all facets of sales and business development. Helped by great mentors and learning from the experience of others, I have endeavoured to give back by mentoring business owners, salespeople, and writing.

Wayne's book list on B2B salespeople to stay relevant and successful

Wayne Moloney Why did Wayne love this book?

The business world is obsessed with big data and artificial intelligence. 

Big data is collected for analysis. Analysis through AI. It lacks to ability to capture emotion and to be successful long-term, businesses need to connect with their markets at an emotional level.

Lindstrom uses real-life case studies to show how looking at the little things; how people use items and why, and observing what others don’t see in a home, a workplace, or a community can help better deliver concepts that big data just can’t see.

By Martin Lindstrom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times Bestseller named one of the "Most Important Books of 2016" by Inc, and a Forbes 2016 "Must Read Business Book"

'If you love 'Bones' and 'CSI', this book is your kind of candy' Paco Underhill, author of Why We Buy

'Martin's best book to date. A personal, intuitive, powerful way to look at making an impact with your work' Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow

Martin Lindstrom, one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World and a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, harnesses the power of "small data" in his quest to discover the next…


Book cover of The Yes Syndrome: A Complete Guide to Selling Professionally

Wayne Moloney Author Of The Wentworth Prospect: A novel guide to success in B2B sales

From my list on B2B salespeople to stay relevant and successful.

Why am I passionate about this?

Everyone survives by selling something whether we wear the title or not. Selling has been my career, even before I was a salesperson. I started my career in engineering but quickly realised my passion was in developing business, not designing industrial ventilation systems. Helped by a boss who also saw I was better suited to roles other than engineering (he wasn’t so polite) I went on to enjoy a successful career spanning 4 decades working in Australian, Asian, and European markets that embraced all facets of sales and business development. Helped by great mentors and learning from the experience of others, I have endeavoured to give back by mentoring business owners, salespeople, and writing.

Wayne's book list on B2B salespeople to stay relevant and successful

Wayne Moloney Why did Wayne love this book?

The YES Syndrome could have been written yesterday.

But it was first published in 1982. Proof that the basics of good selling are not new, but have been the foundation of successful, ethical selling for decades, if not longer.

Combine the timeless customer-focused sales skills that Beveridge shares with the emerging technologies of the 21st century and salespeople will not only remain relevant, but indispensable and invaluable to buyers.

By Don Beveridge,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The YES Syndrome' is much more than simplistic selling techniques or more "HOW-TO." It is a unique, complete system, from the initial "customer needs analysis" through to the sophisticated 'customer focused proposal.' These systems work. They have been proven and Don Beveridge's concepts have been embraced by corporated America.


Book cover of Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon

Nektarios Oraiopoulos Author Of From Breakthrough to Blockbuster: The Business of Biotechnology

From my list on bringing new ideas to life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of technology management at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. I have interacted and learned from hundreds (or possibly thousands) of students and senior executives on how they develop new products and more broadly how they make better decisions in business and life. I am hoping that the books I shared with you will move you in that direction too. 

Nektarios' book list on bringing new ideas to life

Nektarios Oraiopoulos Why did Nektarios love this book?

I love this book because it gives an insider’s view of Amazon’s decision-making processes and culture that enabled all these amazing products to be created.

It shows that Amazon’s exponential growth for over two decades was not the outcome of luck, but of excellent management and leadership skills at every step of the way. Even if you are not interested in business, you will learn a lot about thinking in productive ways and making better decisions. 

By Colin Bryar, Bill Carr,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Working Backwards as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Essential for any leader in any industry' - Kim Scott, bestselling author of Radical Candor

Working Backwards gives an insider's account of Amazon's approach to culture, leadership and best practices from two long-time, top-level Amazon executives.

Colin Bryar and Bill Carr joined Amazon in the late 90s. Their time at the company covered a period of unmatched innovation that brought products and services - including Kindle, Amazon Prime, Amazon Echo and Alexa, and Amazon Web Services - to life. Through the story of these innovations they reveal the principles and practices that drive Amazon's success.

Through their wealth of experience…


Book cover of The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

Larry Osborne Author Of Sticky Teams: Keeping Your Leadership Team and Staff on the Same Page

From my list on for leaders seeking to build effective teams.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dr. Larry Osborne is a leadership mentor and practitioner with a rare mix of both theological and leadership expertise. He's been a mentor and major influencer for many of the largest and fastest-growing churches in the US while providing leadership to North Coast Church as it grew from 125 to over 13,000 in weekend attendance.

Larry's book list on for leaders seeking to build effective teams

Larry Osborne Why did Larry love this book?

This book is an OG classic that contains the seed thoughts for many of today's most popular books on management, leadership, and team building. I have often found it incredibly helpful to go back to the original source of today’s widely accepted truisms to gain both perspective and a better understanding of our modern-day leadership assumptions and paradigms. This book is a case in point.

By Peter F. Drucker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What makes an effective executive?

The measure of the executive, Peter F. Drucker reminds us, is the ability to "get the right things done." This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mold them into results.

Drucker identifies five practices essential to business effectiveness that can, and must, be learned: Managing time Choosing what to contribute to the organization Knowing where and how to mobilize strength for best effect Setting the right priorities…


Book cover of The Moment of Clarity: Using the Human Sciences to Solve Your Toughest Business Problems

Gregg Bernstein Author Of Research Practice: Perspectives from UX researchers in a changing field

From my list on understanding user research.

Why am I passionate about this?

After a career that took me from designer to design professor, I’ve spent the past decade leading user research practices for growing product organizations. I’m excited about user research because it positions us closer to the people we design for, and challenges us to capture and explain complex scenarios in service to them. Though there are many books that teach user research, my list of recommendations is meant to demonstrate why we research, how we make sense of what we learn, and where research might take us.

Gregg's book list on understanding user research

Gregg Bernstein Why did Gregg love this book?

Authors Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen run consulting company ReD, where they put ​​anthropologists, sociologists, economists, journalists, and designers together to deeply understand humans in service of their clients. In The Moment of Clarity, the authors share their methods and approach via rich case studies, including their impactful work supporting LEGO in better aligning its products to its customers.

By Christian Madsbjerg, Mikkel B. Rasmussen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Businesses need a new type of problem solving. Why? Because they are getting people wrong. Traditional problem-solving methods taught in business schools serve us well for some of the everyday challenges of business, but they tend to be ineffective with problems involving a high degree of uncertainty. Why? Because, more often than not, these tools are based on a flawed model of human behavior. And that flawed model is the invisible scaffolding that supports our surveys, our focus groups, our R&D, and much of our long-term strategic planning. In The Moment of Clarity, Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen examine the…


Book cover of The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA

Janet Vertesi Author Of Shaping Science: Organizations, Decisions, and Culture on NASA's Teams

From my list on NASA and space exploration, from a human perspective.

Why am I passionate about this?

Also known as “Margaret Mead among the Starfleet,” I’m a Princeton professor who has been embedded with NASA missions for two decades as a social scientist. I’ve observed missions to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, and beyond; consulted with NASA as a sociological expert; and written two books, with a third on the way. Growing up, I always loved science and technology, but not just for the ideas: for the people behind the findings, the passion they bring to their work, and the ways in which culture and politics play a role in how science gets done. Writing about this, I hope to humanize science and make it accessible for everyday readers.

Janet's book list on NASA and space exploration, from a human perspective

Janet Vertesi Why did Janet love this book?

What happens when a sociologist who studies white-collar crime and deviant behavior in corporations turns to one of the biggest technological catastrophes of the twentieth century?

Hauntingly, Vaughan finds that there were no evil masterminds, greedy administrators, or risk-taking rebels behind the Challenger launch after all—just a group of highly talented engineers doing their jobs.

I enjoyed her thick description of the routine checks, risk analyses, and exacting reviews that go into engineering a space shuttle, but they’re also deeply unsettling: because she shows us that the certainty that comes from our everyday activities can lead us all astray.

A masterpiece of historical sociology, rigorously documented down to the last detail, this classic changed how I think about the role organizations can easily play in producing disasters.

By Diane Vaughan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986, millions of Americans became bound together in a single, historic moment. Many still vividly remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the tragedy. Diane Vaughan recreates the steps leading up to that fateful decision, contradicting conventional interpretations to prove that what occurred at NASA was not skullduggery or misconduct but a disastrous mistake. Why did NASA managers, who not only had all the information prior to the launch but also were warned against it, decide to proceed? In retelling how the decision unfolded…


Book cover of The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth

Marty Neumeier Author Of The Brand Gap

From my list on brand strategy.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my younger days I was a graphic designer and copywriter, approaching brands largely from a creative viewpoint. Over the years I’ve discovered that creative work is much more powerful when harnessed to business strategy, and business strategy is much more powerful when combined with exceptional creative work. I’ve characterized the gulf between strategy and creativity as the “brand gap,” which has led to eight books on branding and a school for professional mastery called Level C.

Marty's book list on brand strategy

Marty Neumeier Why did Marty love this book?

After Positioning, this is the most influential book in brand innovation. The authors show how scrappy startups can disrupt incumbents with products and services that seem “not good enough” at first, but end up reordering an entire industry. They also show how incumbents can defend against such aggressive moves. A seminal work.

By Clayton M. Christensen, Michael E. Raynor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Innovator's Solution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An innovation classic. From Steve Jobs to Jeff Bezos, Clay Christensen's work continues to underpin today's most innovative leaders and organizations. A seminal work on disruption--for everyone confronting the growth paradox. For readers of the bestselling The Innovator's Dilemma--and beyond--this definitive work will help anyone trying to transform their business right now. In The Innovator's Solution, Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor expand on the idea of disruption, explaining how companies can and should become disruptors themselves. This classic work shows just how timely and relevant these ideas continue to be in today's hyper-accelerated business environment. Christensen and Raynor give advice…


Book cover of Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders

Gary DePaul Author Of Nine Practices of 21st Century Leadership: A Guide for Inspiring Creativity, Innovation, and Engagement

From my list on contemporary leadership books that guide us in the new normal.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 2014, I was laid off from my management role at Lowe’s Home Improvement. Instead of starting another job, I took several months to reflect on my leadership experiences and researched how leadership has evolved in the 21st Century. Based on a detailed analysis of 14 books, including the five I recommend, I wrote my first book that explains how to practice 21st-century leadership (now in its second edition). After publishing, I’ve written another leadership book, several blogs, and have been a keynote speaker. I now host the Unlabeled Leadership Podcast, which helps listeners learn how everyday people practice leadership.

Gary's book list on contemporary leadership books that guide us in the new normal

Gary DePaul Why did Gary love this book?

After reading Captain David Marquet's book, I realized that Marquet had discovered a modern approach to leadership that differs substantially from traditional thinking.

What I love about the book is that it is a real-life story about how Marquet transformed the USS Santa Fe, a submarine with the worst performance record. Through empowering his crew and fostering leadership at every level, Marquet illustrates how giving up conventional thinking by relinquishing control unlocks the crew’s hidden potential. Doing so not only boosts morale but enables the crew to achieve remarkable results.

I believe that if you embrace Marquet's approach, you can transform your employees to be self-directed and high-performing. Read this book so that you, too, can lead others to take on any challenge and achieve extraordinary outcomes!

By L. David Marquet,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Leadership should mean giving control rather than taking control and creating leaders rather than forging followers."

David Marquet, an experienced Navy officer, was used to giving orders. As newly appointed captain of the USS Santa Fe, a nuclear-powered submarine, he was responsible for more than a hundred sailors, deep in the sea. In this high-stress environment, where there is no margin for error, it was crucial his men did their job and did it well. But the ship was dogged by poor morale, poor performance, and the worst retention in the fleet.

Marquet acted like any other captain until, one…


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