In “Reading List,” we ask ecommerce professionals to name some of their favorite recent books and blogs and tell us why they read them. For this installment, we corresponded with Trevor Ginn. Ginn runs the baby and nursery store Hello Baby, and the ecommerce consultancy Vendlab. He also writes a blog covering a variety of topics, including ecommerce.
Trevor Ginn’s Top 5 Books
The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
“The Prince has always been a controversial work, and many have compared Machiavelli with the devil himself. Written in 1513, The Prince is a guide to being a successful prince in the cutthroat world of medieval Italy. As a prince you have a position that everyone coverts and this book is an unsentimental, practical guide to doing whatever it takes to stay on top.
“Even if you don’t like its sentiments, The Prince is undeniably insightful and has many parallels with modern politics and business.”
Getting Things Done by David Allen
“This book totally transformed how I worked. Getting Things Done is a practical guide to managing the workload of an information worker. Allen’s central principle is that people work better when they get things out of their head and write them down. By organizing tasks into contextual lists — e.g. at home, at work — we can see at a glance what we have to do and this removes the stress of having to remember, and inevitably forget, things. He has other sensible advice on boring but fundamental areas such as filing and calendar management. A great book for people looking to work smarter.”
The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss
“Ferris’ ideas on how to live your life are interesting and thought provoking. He starts with the premise that we all dislike working and would rather be doing something else, such as sky driving, playing golf or lazing around. Instead of just dreaming of our ideal lifestyle, he suggests a plan for making it happen. His ideas are not always that realistic, by inspiring nonetheless and he has some fantastic ideas on time management.”
The Long Tail by Chris Anderson
“The Long Tail provides a deep insight into the way the Internet works and where it is headed. Whilst offline business can stock only a few top selling products, the Internet allows customers to buy from an almost infinite selection. The ‘long tail’ refers to how the aggregated low volume sales of thousands of less popular products add up to be bigger and hence more important than the sales of the top sellers. The Internet’s ability to connect people with similar interests together, is causing a shift towards niches and opening up markets nobody even knew existed.”
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
“The original and best, Carnegie’s book is an absolute classic and an essential read for anyone who has to handle people. The book is positive and not at all cynical, giving folksy, yet invaluable advice — such as don’t criticize or condemn, be a good listener and smile! Like all good advice, this book reads like common sense. However, as George Bernard Shaw said ‘Common sense is instinct. Enough of it is genius.'”