October 20, 2014

Top 10 Technology Books

Can you believe that the first Web page is now more than twenty years old? That means that websites, blogging and social media have gone way beyond the point of being trends – they are as valuable to the future of your business as a phone.

And software has been around since the 1940s, although it didn’t become ubiquitous in small businesses until the 1980s with the explosion of the personal computer.  Even so, that’s 3 decades since software and computers started to become commonplace in small businesses.

But the past 5 to 10 years have seen the speed of technology change turn mind-blurring.  It’s like the whole world is on Fast-Forward speed. To help you navigate these changes and their effect on your small business, we’ve pulled together this Guide to best technology books. These aren’t necessarily best-sellers or most popular.  Rather, they are books on technology that can BEST help your business succeed in an increasingly technology-dependent economy.

“The Network is Your Customer” by David Rogers

the network is your customerIf you’re still wondering how you are going to leverage all the social media and technology tools to help you achieve your objectives, then you will breathe a sigh of relief when I tell you that the core message of this technology book is to focus on your customers’ behavior, not the technology or the social media tool. Rogers has distilled five behavior strategies that small business can focus on in order to leverage networked customer behaviors to create happier, more loyal customers.

Read our review of “The Network Is Your Customer.”


“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress” by Susan Gunelius

Complete Idiot's Guide to WordPressWordPress is the free and open-sourced platform that’s easy enough for the most technologically challenged novice and adaptable enough for some of the world’s biggest brands like CNN. WordPress powers 22% of all new websites.

This technology book covers the basics such as as well as more advanced topics like how categories, pages and tags are used. If you are new to blogging, you’ll gain a lot from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress even if you decide to use Blogger, Joomla or another platform instead. If you’re a WordPress user already, you’ll gain new insights that will take your content to the next level.

Read our review of “Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress.”


“The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture” by John Battelle

the searchThis is a big- picture technology book about the past, present, and future of search engines (in particular Google) and the impact it has on marketing, media, pop culture, dating, job hunting, international law, civil liberties, and just about every other sphere of human interest. John Battelle, who co-founded Wired magazine, focuses on the modern-day Internet juggernaut in the months stretching from its tumultuous initial public offering to the book’s publication in 2006. Despite being 5+ years old … this is a classic and worth reading  to understand Google’s power over the Internet.

Check out “The Search” on Amazon



“Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, and Transform Your Business” by Josh Bernoff

EmpoweredThis is a fantastic book about how an organization can manage employees who use social media to get things done. Empowered is a great read for the informed business owner. It’s grounded in Forrester research and studies from various sources, but it’s not excessively academic. You’ll learn about HEROes; employees who take initiative to solve customers’ problems through the same social media tools customers casually use. You’ll find savvy insights on IT and management roles. And find this particularly useful in a world now acclimated to cloud computing and SaaS.

Read our review of “Empowered.”



“Bricklin on Technology” by Dan Bricklin

Bricklin on TechnologyEntrepreneurs who are releasing an app or deploying software on the cloud will gain some valued perspective, particularly from Bricklin’s programmer experience. This technology book runs 400 pages, based on Bricklin’s past blogs from the year 2000 through 2009. The book covers a diversity of topics such as the recording industry, pricing, podcasting and how people respond to new media choices. There are a dozen chapters – each are a “mini-book” within the book and include things like: What Will People Pay For? Leveraging the Crowd, Blogging and Podcasting.

Read our review of “Bricklin on Technology.”



Learn How to Improve Online Marketing: Performance Marketing With Google Analytics by Sebastian Tonkin, Caleb Whitmore & Justin Cutroni

Performance Marketing with Google AnalyticsYou can now officially bury the old quote about not knowing which 50% of your marketing budget is delivering results. The authors of Google Analytics explain performance marketing and get specific about how to increase revenue by using search advertising, optimizing an existing website, prioritizing channels and campaigns, and measure the health of your brand. If you’ve been overwhelmed by Google Analytics, this book will walk you through the details and will help you increase the ROI of your web site.

Read our review of “Learn How to Improve Online Marketing.”



“The Age of the Platform: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Have Redefined Business” by Phil Simon

The Age of The PlatformThis is both a book and a big idea book about how Google, Apple Facebook and Amazon created platforms that allowed small businesses to play big. Phil Simon explores how these HUGE companies leverage their respective technologies to create entire virtual ecosystems that consist of developers, partners, users and communities. Simon takes the reader on a journey through these platform technologies in order to show the value of participation across platforms and how even small businesses can create their own platforms.

Listen to our interview with the author (or find on Amazon)



“The Third Screen: Marketing to Your Customers in a World Gone Mobile” by Chuck Martin

the third screenNo list of best technology books could be complete without mentioning the insane impact that mobile devices have made on our personal and business lives. Today, 94% of Americans own a mobile phone (a quarter of whom use it exclusively). Martin argues that a merging of trends in has caused a movement to a “third screen” after TVs and Computers. Martin explains how mobile phone technology is creating extraordinary possibilities for tailored promotions and apps that enable advertisers to literally become part of the customer’s phone.

Find “The Third Screen” on Amazon



“Digital Impact: The Two Secrets to Online Marketing Success” by Vipin Mayar, Geoff Ramsey

Digital ImpactDigital Impact answers the critical questions marketers have about connecting with and influencing consumers online. Authors Mayar and Ramsey reveal ideas that address digital marketing weaknesses and focus on two key frameworks: performance management (identifying the right metrics based on exposure, strategic and financial concerns) and magnetic content(essentially, the “content is king” message.

These frameworks are applied search, display, email marketing, social media, online video and mobile – each medium treated in distinct chapters explaining subtleties of its application. This is a serviceable workbook great for anyone just entering digital marketing and operating with a specific budget.

Read our Review of “Digital Impact.”



“iPhone and iPad Apps Marketing: Secrets to Selling Your iPhone and iPad Apps” by Jeffrey Hughes

iPhone And iPad App MarketingFeeling the fever to produce an app for your business? Then you’ll want to be sure to have this technology book on your desk. Written by Jeffery Hughes, an application developer and Associate Professor at the University of Vermont, this guide offers some surprising ways to strategically offer an app for a growing business. This is a great technology book for business owners who barely understanding scripting language and online marketing because it gives enough information to help you understand what’s important when you are hiring people to develop your app.

Read our review of “iPhone and iPad Apps Marketing.”



Of course, technology doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  It’s there to help you attract more customers, make it easier for them to buy from you and build and manage a thriving business.  Explore the 300 business book reviews in our Small Business Trends archives. — or check out some of our other Best Books Guides:

Best Management Books

Top Books About Sales

Top Marketing Books

 

13 Comments ▼

Ivana Taylor - Book Editor


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is Book Editor for Small Business Trends and publisher of DIYMarketers , where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is the President of Third Force, Inc., a marketing firm that specializes in getting your ideal customer to choose you. Ivana is the book editor for Small Business Trends and co-author of the book "Excel for Marketing Managers."

13 Reactions

  1. Thank you so much for including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to WordPress” in your list, Ivana! I see a few others on this list that I haven’t read but will definitely check out, too!

  2. Hi Ivana,

    We have the iPhone and iPad Apps Marketing book here at it’s very good. Lots of short, practical tips for getting started.

    Ivan

  3. I think it’s important to stress that these books are useful to all small biz owners. When I saw the title of “technology books,” I thought, “Well, that won’t be for me!” But they are. It’s not complex tech: it’s what we all should be doing, or at the very least, understand, while someone else takes care of it in our business.

  4. Susan: You have so many books for small business owners, so that is why you have to put them in different categories. I see the “tech” term as a tool for your business. The technology development during the years has helped us non-technical individuals to do great things, e.g., creating your own “printing press,” i.e., “content management system” with an online journal (weblog).

  5. Thanks Ivana! I’ll definitely check out the books on Search and Online Marketing. I hope you can come up with a list of books on social media ROI in the future. Cheers!

  6. Hi Ivana,

    Thanks very much for including “The Network Is Your Customer: 5 Strategies to Thrive in a Digital Age” in your list. I continue to be gratified by the response it has gotten from small business owners (along with nonprofits, large businesses, etc.)

    If your readers are interested, they can download a free sample CHAPTER at TheNetworkIsYourCustomer.com.

    best,
    David Rogers

  7. Your opening paragraph made me smile, then chuckle, Ivana! Not at you, but at the small business owners who still don’t have a website. Now, it isn’t kind of me to laugh at someone, so I’ll explain that I’m not truly laughing at anyone. But I have to shake my head — 20 years has gone by. Amazing. And yet there are biz owners who think the web is not going to change their biz. Did Lisa Barone share the stat that says 46% of SMBs still don’t have a website??? Some are leapfrogging to Facebook so let’s say that only 35% don’t have some online presence.

    Incredible. We listed out 15 free to low-cost website builders not long ago (link: http://smallbiztrends.com/2010/09/8-more-free-website-builder-tools-for-small-business.html ) and then people filled up at least that many in comments. I turn on WordPress sites for SMBs every week. They can upload via a few clicks on just about any host. Add a mobile theme, and a Facebook or Twitter plugin and you have a powerful force. So, I’m not laughing, but I am consistently amazed. Maybe these folks are buying yellow page ads or newspaper spreads.

    I want to see our fellow small biz owners succeed. That’s why I’m here on SmallBizTrends. That’s why Anita has built this company! If you have a biz neighbor without a website, encourage them to get with it. Their biz and our economy are at stake.

  8. TJ:

    I agree with your “chuckle”! ;) My advice to the small business owners who don’t have a web site yet (or want to update it with fresh material) is to ask themselves the “why” question about their business and then try to figure out there their customers are on the Internet. And then set up a hub.

    Yesterday, on my name-day (a celebration of your given name(s)), I registered a domain name (that I will transfer to the site to in the near future) and set up a site including writing a couple of blog posts within a couple of hours on a web site platform (including a blog tool, and hosting in one package) called Squarespace.

    Please check it out by clicking the link with my name (Martin Lindeskog) and you will come to a fresh new site! :)

  9. I’m humbled to be in the company of such accomplished folks. It’s only been out for a month but the response has been very positive.

    Anyone who wants to read or listen to a sample of the book can go here:

    http://www.theageoftheplatform.com

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