My 2017 Summer Reading: 5 Books on Digital, Social Media and Entrepreneurship

They say that the best leaders are readers and I’m going to try to see if there’s any truth to this. 

Growing up, summer reading was the bane of my existence. Especially as a media studies major, TV was my preferred medium. Yes, that my parents very proud 🙂

Today, the summer means I’m reading, learning, growing.

Every leader has a clear schedule that includes several hours of reading.

Skip to My 5 Books for this Summer

Sure, being book smart doesn’t guarantee success but the best leaders are definitely readers, barring the outliers. Reading is the most efficient and effective way to gain insights, process information, and guidance to excel.

Learning from those who have succeeded makes leading that much easier.

Why try to change a working formula, right?

Especially in the marketing world, it’s critical to be at the top of the game. CMO’s are constantly being questioned, roles are constantly changing, and the skills are always advancing at lightning speed.

Of course, finding valuable content is always a challenge. The cloud is just packed with good content but it’s hard to really sift through the noise and select what’s the best. I’m talking content that is easy to consume, process, and packed with valuable lessons to succeed.

Reading a book to learn new skills on branding, marketing, and entrepreneurship seems a bit futile.  It’s as if I’m always behind on the times in the ever-evolving digital media landscape. Yet, somehow the in-depth nature of books offers me the best content in terms of personal experiences, case studies, and a well-deserved break from my digital life.

Why are these the best books? I’ve scoured the web, looking for books that cover topics of digital, social media and entrepreneurship. They need to really motivate and advance me as a professional.

These 5 books just rise to the top…trust me.

Don’t have time for all 5?

Choose any of them, I assure you that you won’t be wasting your time.

My 5 Books for Summer 2017

“Digital Sense” by Travis Wright and Chris Snook

I have to start by saying that I’ve heard about this book for a while, from Travis himself.  As a fellow Huawei Key Opinion Leader, we met in Paris (June 2016) and have been in touch ever since.


Chilling with @teedubyaw and @drkevincurran #hid16

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It’s no surprise that today’s marketing efforts involve a high concentration on customer service and engaging with potential consumers via digital channels. Similar to book #3 on my list by Jay Baer, these two authors view it as the ultimate opportunity for brands. I tend to agree.  After speaking to Travis about this book, I love the entirely new marketing system that the book presents. In short, the system is divided into two frameworks- Experience Marketing and Social Business Strategy- each are designed to help any brand strategically understand customer behaviors throughout the buyer’s journey.

In the book, the authors offer a simple system of “learn, plan, do” allowing readers to reach customers as they progress through the book. It also allows brands to discover, design and deploy new tactics.  operations. From what I’ve been reading in the reviews, Digital Sense is full of practical tips, exercises for readers to implement, data supported case studies, and knowledge that enables each reader to customize the information to suit their needs.

“Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers” by Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss is a known entity. He’s famous for publishing several top-sellers, like the 4-Hour Work Week. It’s rare to read a book that is a compilation of years of interviews that’s so coherent, user-friendly, and organized in a logical manner. In this book, Tim Ferriss did exactly that and creates a really practical handbook for entrepreneurs. Each interview offers a unique angle on the life of an industry leader, from their morning routines, to actionable steps to personal health, it’s all in this book. It’s meant to serve more as a resource for occasional reading but I’m pretty sure that most entrepreneurs will just take the time and read all 600+ pages.

“#AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness” by Gary Vaynerchuk

I’ve been part of VaynerNation for a while. I’ve read all of his books. Each one of them has offered me some serious value in advancing my career in the field of social media, digital marketing, and engaging fans and brands via social media. For me, this book is simply a no-brainer.

Similar to Tools of Titans, this book is a product of the Gary V video series and podcast.

The answers are short, the questions are real and the results are on-point.

Besides, as someone working in social media, any book with a title that includes a # gets extra credit. Using the newest media to boost more traditional media. Nice move.

“Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers” by Jay Baer

Honestly, I finished this book a few weeks ago. I loved it. Jay Baer is at the top of the content marketing scene. What’s great about this book is that he focuses on the most important part of social media for brands- the customer.

In today’s digital age, customers have acquired a very powerful voice. Brands that understand this angle and also use it to their advantage, will win.

How should a brand deal with complaints (there always are complaints)? What are some of the best practices? How can a brand turn their complainers into ambassadors?

It’s all in the book. How do I know this book is good?  As I was reading it, I was sharing the information with my colleagues. As soon as I was done, I lent it to them and each of them have required their customer service teams to read it.

“Unmarketing: Everything Has Changed and Nothing is Different” by Scott Stratten and Allison Kramer

As much as I’m a Gary V fan, I’m a Scott Stratten fan through and through. Proud to be one of the first listeners of their podcasts.

Scott Stratten and Allison Kramer break down traditional marketing tactics and focus on never forms of strategies, including listening to the customer or the potential consumer. Brands need to undo what they’ve been told. So, while the end-goal is the same, the approach is a bit different.

I’m also getting excited for their next book, coming up Fall 2o17: Unbranding

A must read: “Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content” by Ann Handley

Extra credit for anyone who hasn’t read this book. Every person involved in digital marketing, knows that content is king. How does a brand or an individual become a content king (or queen)? Ann Handley explains everything in this book. It’s a must read. I read it twice and refer to it often.

How should writers perfect their skills for today’s marketing style? How should brands tailor grammar for the new marketing styles? It’s all here. Big fan. #everybodywrites


They’re you go, my summer reading list is set. Reading these books on social media, marketing, and entrepreneurship will guarantee that your marketing efforts will improved. Maximize your downtime during flights, at the beach, or sitting by the pool to equip your marketing toolkit with the best practices, tips and tricks, to really rock it.

Which one of these five books is your favorite? Did I forget any books? I would love to hear your comments below.

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