The Basecamp MBA Reading List

A look at what we’re reading.

Joan Stewart

What are you reading?

It’s a question most of us on the team hear frequently. Of course, there’s our previous books. But there are so many other amazing titles where we find wisdom and inspiration. With that in mind, we asked everyone on the Basecamp team:

Given your role at Basecamp, what one or two books/resources would you suggest to help someone prepare for the kind of work you do?

Some of the books we recommend. IKEA side table not required.
Some of the books we recommend. IKEA side table not required.

Before we share the list, it’s important to remember that gathering knowledge and applying knowledge are two very different things. Yes, these materials are rich with good advice and ideas on how to start your business and manage people, but they’re no substitute for real work and experience.

In lieu of Amazon (for this post), most of the links are to OCLC catalog listings, which will show you a list of libraries near you that have the item. We highly recommend checking out your local public library to borrow these materials. Your library could very well have these in convenient audiobook or e-book formats. If you don’t see the item in your local library, ask your local librarian about the power of Inter-Library Loans.

The second recommendation we would make would be to purchase these at a local bookstore. If you’d prefer to buy the books online, please use an Amazon Smile link to support a charity or use a referral link from your favorite podcast to support them.

Happy reading!

Business Books

Maverick!: The success story behind the world’s most unusual workshop
The Effective Executive
The Secrets of Consulting
Turn Your Ship Around & Turn the Ship Around
Poor Charles Almanack: The wit and wisdom of Charles T. Munger
Blue Ocean Strategy
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
Starting from Scratch
Killing The Sale
Lessons in Service from Charlie Trotter
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
How Full is Your Bucket: Positive Strategies for Work and Life
The Encore Effect
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Crucial Conversations
The Irresistible Offer: How to Sell Your Product or Service in 3 Seconds or Less
The Innovators Solution
The first year of Back to Work, with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin
Disney War
Must Reads: On Managing Yourself
Big Med by Atul Gawande in The New Yorker
Famous Names by John Colapinto in The New Yorker
The Cobra by Tad Friend in The New Yorker

Customer Service and Communication Books

Badass: Making Users Awesome
Radical Candor
Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers
The Amazement Revolution: Seven Customer Service Strategies to Create an Amazing Customer and Employee Experience
The Nordstrom Way to Customer Experience Excellence
Delivering Happiness
Thinking Fast and Slow
Elements of Style
Metaphors We Live By
On Writing Well
Wit: a play
Emotional Intelligence: Mindfulness
Susan David: Emotional Agility


a11ycasts with Rob Dodson
The a11yproject

Design Books

The Design of Everyday Things
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
Interaction of Color
Why We Love or Hate Everyday Things
Elements of Typographic Style
Sketching User Experiences
Understanding Comics
Nature of Order

Programming Books

Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code
Smalltalk: Best Practice Patterns
Learn to Program
Ben Thompson’s Stratechery blog

Fiction Books

Invisible Cities
Mezzanine: A Novel
Then We Came to the End: A Novel
Startup: A Novel

Other Books

Friendly Fire: The Accidental Shootdown of Black Hawks over Northern Iraq
Essential Manners for Men

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