Recommended reading: Disruptive technologies and the fan-based economy

Marketing Week reviews the latest books for marketers.


Connected World

Philip Larrey

Author Philip Larrey is a Catholic priest and chair of logic at the Vatican University. ‘Connected World’ features his conversations with a wide range of thought leaders such as Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, and Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy, in which they consider the philosophical implications of the artificial intelligence revolution. Covering areas such as design, data and industrial systems, this is an interesting read for anyone concerned with where business – and the wider world – is heading.

Radical Candor

Kim Scott

Endorsed by Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, this book serves as a guide to anyone that wants to sharpen their management skills. Author Kim Scott draws on her experience as a CEO coach in Silicon Valley to argue that “many managers are either obnoxiously aggressive or ruinously empathetic”. Offering practical guidance and actionable lessons, her core message is that it is possible for CEOs to be successful while retaining their humanity.

The Growth Director’s Secret

Andrew Brent

According to Brent, the key to good growth is becoming the dominant “autopilot brand” in your sector. These brands are more likely to be profitable because consumers shopping on autopilot tend to buy at full price and stay loyal with much less marketing effort. The key? Owning “moments of maximum emotional impact”.


Zoe Fraade-Blanar and Aaron M Glazer

Drawing on a diverse range of case studies that include Disney, Ikea and Maker’s Mark whiskey, this book considers how businesses are reshaping their marketing around fan communities. It analyses both the opportunities and the pitfalls of the ‘fan-based’ economy as digital channels allow marketers to build powerful fanbases that can make or break their brands. Essential reading for businesses that want to understand the history and psychology of fan culture.


Where am I going and can I have a map?

Jonathan Black

For anyone plotting their next job move, this book offers advice on how to think about and advance your career. Author Jonathan Black, who has been director of the careers service at the University of Oxford for the past eight years, encourages readers to see the “bigger picture” and understand where they are heading not just next year, but in 10 years’ time. Black also offers practical advice on how to network, write applications and perform well in interviews.

Disruptive Technologies

Paul Armstrong

This books offers an “evaluation and decision-making framework” for companies that aim to assimilate and optimise the latest technology. Covering everything from blockchain to artificial intelligence, author Paul Armstrong aims to provide a “roadmap” for how businesses can assess and respond to new tech innovations. An important read for marketers that feel overwhelmed by emerging technologies and are searching for strategic guidance.

Hit makers: How things become popular

Derek Thompson

In a world where everyone can see what everyone else is reading, playing and watching, large audiences inevitably cluster around products that find their way into the national consciousness. But how do you achieve this level of popularity? Author Derek Thompson poses the question as he explores what makes a hit.

Ecommerce website optimization

Dan Croxen-John and Johann van Tonder

Seeking to address the reason why 95% of website visitors don’t buy, this book explores the power of subconscious ‘System 1’ thinking in the decision-making process and how this relates to conversion rate optimisation (CRO).