LookBack 2017: 10 Books of the Year

27 Dec,2017


By Sanjeev Kotnala


Twenty-seventeen has been a slow year for me. I have not been able to ready the number of books that I would have wanted to. And it is all about focus. This year has been more about writing. The first book, a compilation of short professional and personal life that almost tripped us in some manner is complete ad pushed to the publisher. I am back to reading books.

This is TOP 10 Books for me from 2017. Quite a few of them here because I have picked them for read in early part of 2018. They come with sharp recommendations from few people I believe know what they are reading. This year the spectrum is wild and not restricted to any genre or subject.

Please note they are not in the order of preference or ranking.





There is no surprise when someone says that you need to rethink customer service and customer targeting mechanisms. That what must be important to you is ‘What the customers love and what they hate’. Its stands to logic that you can give your customers amazing experiences that they crave, only if you know their likes and dislikes. Customer service is much more than just a technical process; it’s a design process, and it too demands innovation. The book would help you to identify your customer type and create superior experiences across touch points.


KILLING MARKETING. ‘How innovative businesses are turning marketing cost into profit’ by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose


What they suggest is something common sensical in nature. We all must understand that in the digital world, we all are publishers and need to produce a regular stream of quality content. In their book, they talk about the new model of the marketing cost that seeks to build a strong emotional connection with the audience through the media experience the brand create with them. The new model focusses on events and experiences, meaning-driven data, understanding the emotional value the customers experience and organising for agility, not speed. All aimed to help develop strategies to identify powerful customer-centric media and experiences.




It is billed as a follow-up to his earlier successful book Contagious which looked at how products or fashions catch on. This time Jonah Berger touches raw nerves when he tries to argue that we wrongly believe that we have much greater control over your decision-making than you actually do. The reality: we all are subject to the power of social influence, and it could be a good thing for us. There is no arguing the fact that if we are conscious of these invisible influences on our behavior, we may have some way to control them.




Promise I haven’t read it and for some reason, am yet to order it. My experience with Erotic stories published in Juggernaut books held me back, I understand it is a completely different experience. However, I am made to understand that this is a bit different and not in the kinky way. What pulls me to it is this message ‘The idea of a bunch of widows reading erotic fiction in a community college course sounds excellent, and the cross-generational and cultural scope of this book is definitely intriguing’.


RESET: ‘My fight for inclusion and lasting change,’ by Ellen Pao


Ellen Pao sued the esteemed venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for discrimination. She lost the suit. This is that story of a whistleblower. A story that put focus on the overt white, male culture of Silicon Valley.


WILD RIDE: ‘Inside Uber’s Quest for World Domination’. By Adam Lashinky


No I have not read his earlier book Inside Aple, Shedding light on a very private company. Nevertheless, this one comes with huge recommendation for insights drawn from behind the scene world at Uber.


EMOTIONALLY AGILE: ‘Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life’ by Susan David


Get ready for Emotional Agility ( EA), maybe the next buzzword with recruiters who have by now blunted the juice out of emotional intelligence quotient (EQ). EA reflects, skill in managing yourself. It is the ability to change or maintain one’s behaviors in a way that aligns with what one values and intends. Read it and maybe there is a way to connect the dots and if the only thing, you take out is a simple learning,


OPTION B by Sheryl Sandberg


Everyone of us needs to read this book. It has a spectrum of emotions and incidents straight out of a personal world that keeps you involved.


CREATIVE CHANGE : ‘Why we resist it. How we can embrace it’ – Jennifer Mueller


The problem is not that there are no creative ideas, but our brains are wired to reject them as too risky, even when they pose no greater risk than more conventional ideas. The concepts helps undersatnd how creative ideas are formed, identified and can be nurtured.


Hit Refresh:: ‘The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone’ by Satya Nadella


Nothing is wasted, if you can without wiping off the past can Hit Refresh. World would be a different place and life so much better. However, some organisations and people do it. Some do it regularly enough. This enhances the possibility that person or organization can create in a long run, as nothing is lost. This makes to list more because of the Indianness and the author more than anything else. Some biases are always good to have.


Not in the list, but few more books that I would want you to consider are ‘HAPPINESS A STATE OF MIND’ by Gyalwang Drupka, ‘A Field Guide to lies & statistics’ by Daniel Levitin and ‘I AM A TROLL’- ‘Inside the Secret World of the BJP’s Digital Army’ by Swati Chaturvedi


Here are the lists I recommended in 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013


Sanjeev Kotnala, with nearly three decades of corporate experience, is founder of Intradia World; a Brand, Marketing & Management Advisory. His focus area includes Ideation and Innovation; he also conducts specialised workshops like IDEAHarvest, Liberate and InNoWait. For soft skill training, he follows SHIFT (Specific High-Intensity Frequent training), a process of continuous training with frequent shorter sessions. Email sanjeev@intradia.in tweet @s_kotnala web: www.intradia.in www.sanjeevkotnala.com. Kotmartial, Sanjeev Kotnala’s column on MxMIndia.com, appears every Wednesday. The views expressed here are his own.


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