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My Summer 2017 CX Reading List

Summer is the perfect time to catch up on some good books. Slower workdays and vacation time mean that people are looking for interesting reads.

Though it is tempting to grab the latest Clive Cussler adventure or Nora Roberts romance, many people are choosing to learn a little on their downtime. A quick review of Amazon and New York Times’ best-seller lists show that customer-related books are in hot demand. Here are just a few of the most popular titles this summer that have (sometimes subtle) connections to customer strategy:

Leadership & Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box
By the Arbinger Institute
Both the print and audio version of this book are still going strong since it was originally published in 2000. As of this writing, it ranks #2 on Amazon’s sales list. The concept of self-improvement to lead others is really a journey toward better relationships. Employers and employees, customers and brands, and even one’s relationship with his or herself is never-ending. The popularity of the book shows that people want to get better at interacting with others in all parts of their lives.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k
By Mark Manson

It wouldn’t seem from the title that this book is a good read for people interested in customer centricity. According to its blurb, the author wants people to “stop trying to be ‘positive’ all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.” Authenticity and honesty is more important than fake positivity. In my experience with customer experience, I’ve found that consumers most value honest, genuine communication from companies, even when it’s not good news. So I can see why this book is so popular.

Outliers
By Malcolm Gladwell

You can always count on Gladwell to get people thinking about things a little differently. The book, which came out in 2008, shows how circumstances early on in life play a role in the success of people like Bill Gates and the Beatles. It’s the concept of customer lifecycle management. If you want customers to be high-value and loyal over the long term, give them the tools they need to succeed and act as a trusted advisor from the beginning. They may not be your best customers now, but know who has the most potential and hang on to them. And the same is true for employees, too.

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are
By Seth Stephens-Davidowitz 

By itself data is powerless -- it’s just ones and zeroes. But given context and application, data becomes enormously powerful insight that can be wielded for good or evil. And this books shows how deep exploration of information leads to a better understanding of our humanity.

Big Data is everywhere and at our fingertips. But it can be hard to harness and turn into actionable insight. Research from NewVantage Partners in January found that 86 percent of executives report that their organization has taken steps to create a data-driven culture, but only 38 percent report success. The thirst for data is never quenched, even on vacation.

I look forward to being able to read these books on my upcoming summer vacation. What CX-related titles would you recommend?