10 ecommerce books you should take on your summer holidays…

Summer is here! And although the ecommerce world never actually stops, it hopefully means that you will be taking at least some time away from the office for a well-deserved break. While we would never encourage taking work to the poolside, we do know that the entrepreneurial disposition is such that letting go completely can be hard – but put down the reports, because we have selected 10 ecommerce-relevant books than you can read on the sun-lounger (without annoying your other half)…

1. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose by by Tony Hsieh

When a new person joins Nosto, three things are guaranteed to happen – 1) We will welcome them with pizza and beer 2) they get a bag of Nosto swag and 3) Lari Lehtonen, Head of Support for Nosto will tell them to read this book. And with good reason too- written by the founder of ecommerce power-house Zappos, this book not only details his entrepreneurial path but some of the secrets to his (and his store’s) success. A must-read.


2. The 4 Hour Work Week (extended and updated edition) by Timothy Ferriss


Sounds ideal, right? The good news is even if it over promises and you end doing  six or seven hours, who’s going to complain?! Ok, but in all seriousness, this book by Tim Ferris is a classic- and one which will help you work smarter, rather than harder. It’s also nice to see a business book that concentrates on you doing less rather than more! And while you might not choose to spend the rest of your days in a hammock (although if you do read this on holiday then you might be tempted) by slimming down all the unnecessary bits from your work day, you can concentrate on the important stuff – like innovation for your ecommerce business.


3. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel


If the fact that it is a New York Times Bestseller wasn’t enough to earn this book its spot on our list (and in your hand luggage), it also comes firmly recommended for you by our Director of Marketing. Written by a force of reckoning in the business world- Peter Thiel, Founder of Paypal and early investor of Facebook- it explains why, in a world where the rate of competition is growing exponentially, we must look to innovate fearlessly and find the unique. If you are looking to dream big and differentiate then this is for you!


4. One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of Amazon.com by Richard L. Brandt


If ecommerce were a kingdom, Amazon would be its ruler- and to ignore the steps that lead to such an enviable claim would be a silly mistake for anyone in this business to make! This book by Richard L. Brandt argues that much of the company’s success is down to one man – Jeff Bezos, its CEO and Founder. An examination of both Bezos the man, and his creation- it includes interviews with Amazon employees, competitors, and observers. Use that infamous one click button to add it to your cart now!


5. Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire by Paul Smith


Storytelling is an art as old as humankind, yet many companies underestimate it as a business tool. What they don’t realize is that much of building a brand is about telling your tale – a lesson that companies such as Google and Guinness have conquered. How engaged they are with your story will decide how deeply your customers are engaged in your brand- this, in turn, decides how deep into their pockets they are willing to go for your products. This book by Paul Smith, guides you in this, one of your company’s most important endeavors.


6. Ask: The Counterintuitive Online Formula to Discover Exactly What Your Customers Want to Buy… Create a Mass of Raving Fans…and Take Any Business to the Next Level by Ryan Levesque


I mean, do I even need to say anything with a name like that?! Customers nowadays are me-centric, they want what they want and they won’t settle for less. Which means those of us in the ecommerce business have two jobs; find out what that is and then deliver it to them. And if someone can give you a formula to just that then, in the words of Nike, just do it. Luckily, this is exactly what Ryan Levesque, who has generated $100 million dollars in sales in his career, is offering by helping you to understand why it is people buy.


7. Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster by Alistair Croll & Benjamin Yoskovitz


Analytics can sometimes feel like they hide more than they reveal – a blur of numbers that confuse and confound more than they illuminate. But there is method to the madness, as long as you know the right way to look. Luckily, this book (which applies the lean principles) will help you to see the wood through the trees- in the form of the key metrics you should be focusing on. Thanks to Paul Rogers, ecommerce guru, for suggesting this one!


8. The Disruptors: Social entrepreneurs reinventing business and society by Kerryn Krige, Gus Silber

Business has often be seen as being at odds with social good but, fear not, this needn’t be the way – as is shown in this breath of fresh air book, which follows those that are breaking the rules of the traditional business world to bring it into a happier, healthier and more moral age. A good read to restore your faith in humanity, give you ideas as to how your business could do the same and excellent paired with a margarita.


9. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World Kindle Edition by Gary Vaynechuk

Social is increasingly becoming one of the most important platforms to interact with your customers, but with trolls, cat videos and more memes than you can shake a stick at, Gary Vaynerchuk isn’t lying when he says it is a noisy place! Luckily, he doesn’t just outline the problem but also the solution that will give you a fighting chance of standing out. And if you like a boxing metaphor then you’re in for a treat! It’s a knock-out!

10. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity by David Allen


It’s an oldy but a goody. First published in 2001 (but recently updated), this book is like a black Chanel dress-  it will never go out of style. First recommended to me by a university professor, then by my first boss, then by her husband and then again when I joined Nosto. There are card carrying GTD followers everywhere- and they tend to be the most organized, productive people you know. The premise is simple – it is a system that is meant to to organize your life and your to do list and so in such a way that it will free up enough mental space for you to become truly productive. And who doesn’t want that?

 *Ok, so full disclosure – I couldn’t leave this book out but I also think a list of 10 sounds better than 11, so that is why this one is a bonus book…*


Bonus book: Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson

My mom felt so strongly about me reading this book that she sent it to me in the post. It is a powerful message wrapped up in a simple way. Written in the style of a parable, it is a short and easy rood but this book has been teaching people introspection for decades. And the good news with is that if you’re holidaying with little ones, you can read this aloud and they won’t have a clue that you’re actually going through a profound moment of spiritual growth. How’s that for multi-tasking?

There we have it – I hope you opted for check in luggage because this is quite the haul! I hope they are helpful and/or enjoyable and please do let me know any you would add to the list by tweeting me at @LottieColtman

Like this? Check out our list of must-follow ecommerce Twitter accounts. 

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