The business books that have influenced me the most

By Ted Wright August 19, 2019

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business books

By Ted Wright

I love peering into the minds of business leaders, especially when they discuss their greatest influences. I thought I would take a crack at that today. Here are the business books that helped direct my thinking on business, strategy, and word of mouth marketing.

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable — I may not be doing what I’m doing today without the inspiration from Seth Godin (I previously wrote that he has been my biggest business influence). And it all started with this book. Have the courage to stand out. Have the courage to be you. Let the right audience find you. Be the purple cow. I think I run a purple cow business!

The Influentials — This 2003 book brought Ed Keller’s seminal research to life and provided a mathematical foundation for much of what we do in word of mouth marketing today. He introduced the idea that the most influential people aren’t celebrities – they are the socially and politically active scout leaders, teachers, and business people in our local communities.

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact — I love books that have a strong basis in original research and this is a great one. Chip and Dan Heath show that our customers are willing to overlook the “potholes” along the way if we provide them “peak moments” that they remember and discuss with their friends. Important lessons for every business here.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience — Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi‘s famous investigations of “optimal experience” revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life. Csikszentmihalyi demonstrates the ways this positive state can be controlled, not just left to chance.

On War Carl von Clausewitz was a Prussian general in the early 1880s who defined the moral and political aspects of war. Vom Kriege (On War), was unfinished at his death but his most famous work. This might seem like a strange book in this list but it is one of the finest lessons in strategy ever written. The world has changed a lot, but the rules of engagement? Not so much.

The New Testament Again, probably an unusual entry in a list of influential business books but, from my point of view, Jesus was a word of mouth genius who used the power of WOMM to make sure his disruptive message would get to the people without having to rely on the broadcast channels of His day.

Those are a few of my all-time favorites. I’d love to hear about your list!

Ted Wright

Ted Wright is the founder of Fizz, the world’s leading word of mouth marketing (WOMM) agency. Ted is also an acclaimed WOMM keynote speaker and the author of Fizz: Harness the Power of Word of Mouth Marketing to Drive Brand Growth.


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