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Must-Read Books for Marketers: “Have One, Leave One”

My neighbourhood had its annual street party last week and one of my favorite events was the “Have One, Leave One” book swap.  It’s simple: you bring a book that you enjoyed; you take a book that someone else enjoyed.  The event is community-spirited, efficient and usually brings out such generosity that every year there are about 100 books left over which are then donated.  The fact that the majority of the books had either kids or animals on the cover and that my copy of “Blink” was still there at the end of the day only served to point out the need for a more contextual version of this same tradition for my reading tastes.

So, in the spirit of the old fashion community book exchange, I offer up (with Kate’s permission): The One Degree first annual “Have One, Leave One” for Online Marketers.  It is summer, after all, and presumably we have some time for reading.  Also, as an online service, we will have to exchange the *idea* of books versus actual books, but the spirit will remain the same.


I’ll get us started by offering up a book I read recently and loved, Douglas Rushkoff’s Get Back in the Box. It’s essentially a book that urges companies to stop wasting their money on outside consultants and mass market advertising campaigns and get back to making a better product that meets their customers needs.  Here’s an excerpt from the back cover:

“Having too long replaced innovation with acquisitions and ad campaigns, many businesses have lost touch with the process – and fun – of discovery.  Indeed for all of their talk of innovation, most companies today are scared to death of it.  By returning to their core competencies, companies can offer their employees and customers alike the “social currency” they need to create value, meaning and fun for one another.”

He’s a bright mind who speaks his truth in a humorous way.  I found myself questioning a number of my held beliefs while I was reading it which for me is always a good sign.  I especially loved his turning Gladwell’s The Tipping Point upside-down by arguing that “viral” doesn’t occur because there are a few people who are influencers and can spread the word about a particular product or service.  He argues that all of us use good products and services as a type of “social currency” in order to meet our fundamental human need to engage with one another.  Great stuff!

There, I’ve left a book in the virtual exchange.  Who’s next?  What great marketing tome have you read lately?

Oh, and no books about dogs or kids. Save those for your own street party.