31 Books Recommended by Ken Norton


Partner at Google Ventures

Ken is a partner at Google Ventures where he provides product and engineering support to more than 300 portfolio companies including Uber, Nest, Slack, Foundation Medicine, and Flatiron Health. Prior to joining GV, Ken was a group product manager at Google.

1. Positioning The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries, Jack Trout

The first book to deal with the problems of communicating to a skeptical, media-blitzed public, Positioning describes a revolutionary approach to creating a “position” in a prospective customer’s mind-one that reflects a company’s own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors…


2. High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove

In this legendary business book and Silicon Valley staple, the former chairman and CEO (and employee number three) of Intel shares his perspective on how to build and run a company.; The essential skill of creating and maintaining new businesses — the art of the entrepreneur — can be summed up in a single word: managing….


3. The Hard Thing About Hard Things Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup — practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog…


4. Meaningful The Story of Ideas That Fly by Bernadette Jiwa

“The most important book for your boss to read this year.”; — SETH GODIN; “Empathy, relevance, and affinity — three great concepts to help you make a dent in the universe. Jiwa explains a whole new way to innovate and change the world.”; — GUY KAWASAKI; “A must read for any entrepreneur or marketer….


5. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen

Named one of 100 Leadership & Success Books to Read in a Lifetime by Amazon Editors A Wall Street Journal and Businessweek bestseller. Named by Fast Company as one of the most influential leadership books in its Leadership Hall of Fame. An innovation classic. From Steve Jobs to Jeff Bezos, Clay Christensen’s work continues to underpin today’s most innovative leaders and organizations.


6. Competing Against Luck The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by Clayton M. Christensen, Karen Dillon, Taddy Hall

The foremost authority on innovation and growth presents a path-breaking book every company needs to transform innovation from a game of chance to one in which they develop products and services customers not only want to buy, but are willing to pay premium prices for.; How do companies know how to grow?…


7. The Innovator’s Solution Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael E. Raynor

An innovation classic. From Steve Jobs to Jeff Bezos, Clay Christensen’s work continues to underpin today’s most innovative leaders and organizations.; A seminal work on disruption—for everyone confronting the growth paradox….


8. Predictably Irrational The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely

“A marvelous book… thought provoking and highly entertaining.”; — Jerome Groopman, New York Times bestselling author of How Doctors Think; “Ariely not only gives us a great read; he also makes us much wiser.”; — George Akerlof, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics; “Revolutionary.”; — New York Times Book Review…


9. The Lean Product Playbook How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback by Dan Olsen

The missing manual on how to apply Lean Startup to build products that customers love The Lean Product Playbook is a practical guide to building products that customers love. Whether you work at a startup or a large, established company, we all know that building great products is hard. Most new products fail….


10. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

In the international bestseller, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, the renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think….


11. How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff

This book introduces the reader to the niceties of samples (random or stratified random), averages (mean, median or modal), errors (probable, standard or unintentional), graphs, indexes and other tools of democratic persuasion….


12. Getting Things Done The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

David Allen reads an all-new edition of his popular self-help classic for managing work-life balance in the twenty-first century — now updated for the new challenges facing individuals and organizations in today’s rapidly changing world….


13. The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman

Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we try to figure out the shower control in a hotel or attempt to navigate an unfamiliar television set or stove….


14. Team Of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Originally published: New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005….


15. Creativity, Inc. Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace

From Ed Catmull, co-founder (with Steve Jobs and John Lasseter) of Pixar Animation Studios, comes an incisive book about creativity in business — sure to appeal to readers of Daniel Pink, Tom Peters, and Chip and Dan Heath….


16. The Lean Startup How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.; Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty….


17. Yes to the Mess Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz by Frank J. Barrett

What Duke Ellington and Miles Davis teach us about leadership; How do you cope when faced with complexity and constant change at work? Here’s what the world’s best leaders and teams do: they improvise. They invent novel responses and take calculated risks without a scripted plan or a safety net that guarantees specific outcomes….


18. The Mythical Man-Month Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition by Frederick P. Brooks Jr.

Few books on software project management have been as influential and timeless as The Mythical Man-Month. With a blend of software engineering facts and thought-provoking opinions, Fred Brooks offers insight for anyone managing complex projects….


19. Inside the Tornado Strategies for Developing, Leveraging, and Surviving Hypergrowth Markets by Geoffrey A. Moore

In this, the second of Geoff Moore’s classic three-part marketing series, Moore provides highly useful guidelines for moving products beyond early adopters and into the lucrative mainstream market. Updated for the HarperBusiness Essentials series with a new author’s note…


20. Crossing the Chasm Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers by Geoffrey A. Moore

Here is the bestselling guide that created a new game plan for marketing in high-tech industries. Crossing the Chasm has become the bible for brining cutting-edge products to progressively larger markets….


21. Sprint How To Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp

From three design partners at Google Ventures, a unique five-day process for going from problem to prototype.; The companies that Google Ventures invest in face big questions every day: Where’s the most important place to focus your effort, and how do you start? What will your ideas look like in real life?…


22. Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER; WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER; The Globe and Mail Top Leadership and Management Book; Forbes Top Creative Leadership Book…


23. Inspired How To Create Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan

Why do some products make the leap to greatness while others do not? Creating inspiring products begins with discovering a product that is valuable, usable, and feasible….


24. Hooked How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

How do successful companies create products people can’t put down?; Why do some products capture widespread attention while others flop? What makes us engage with certain products out of sheer habit? Is there a pattern underlying how technologies hook us?…


25. The Halo Effect . . . and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers by Phil Rosenzweig

With two new chapters and a new preface, the award-winning book The Halo Effect continues to unmask the delusions found in the corporate world and provides a sharp understanding of what drives business success and failure….


26. Getting to Yes Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, William L. Ury, Bruce Patton

The key text on problem-solving negotiation-updated and revised; Since its original publication nearly thirty years ago, Getting to Yes has helped millions of people learn a better way to negotiate….


27. On Writing, a memoir of the Craft by Stephen King


28. Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug

Since Don’t Make Me Think was first published in 2000, hundreds of thousands of Web designers and developers have relied on usability guru Steve Krug’s guide to help them understand the principles of intuitive navigation and information design….


29. In The Plex How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy

Written with full cooperation from top management, including cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, this is the inside story behind Google, the most successful and most admired technology company of our time, told by one of our best technology writers….


30. Quiet The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Quiet by Susan Cain will change how you think about introverts forever. A Sunday Times and New York Times Bestseller. Our lives are driven by a fact that most of us can’t name and don’t understand. It defines who our friends and lovers are, which careers we choose, and whether we blush when we’re embarrassed….


31. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson’s “enthralling” (The New Yorker) worldwide bestselling biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs — the inspiration for the movie Steve Jobs starring Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, and Jeff Daniels, directed by Danny Boyle with a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin….


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