Peter Gillooly | Good Reads

I've been reading at least two books a month since 2012. Here are a few words about five particularly endearing ones, followed by a full reading list.

  1. Hidden in Plain Sight: How to Create Extraordinary Products for Tomorrow’s Customers by Jan Chipchase

    Jan Chipchase, formerly a design researcher at Nokia and frog, now operates his own shop (Studio D Radiodurans) from Tokyo. I’ve read this book 3 times, and each time the insights grow deeper. It’s a bible on design/customer research: Jan shows how deep lessons about user needs and behavior can be systematically derived by studying technology adoption and culture in emerging markets. “It’s only through actual experience that ‘use’ is defined.” His observational techniques and frameworks for providing insight are invaluable and unique.

  2. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Theil

    This book justifies the hype it received. Theil airs some powerful ideas, all flowing from the central concept that great companies are disguised monopolies with certain characteristics. Without going into a ton of detail, a simple but difficult lesson he imparts for all companies is to err on the side of focusing on small markets with viral potential. While the most common criticism is leveled against Theil’s opinion of the lean startup movement having a tendency to only produce incremental innovation, he makes valid points about how thinking extraordinarily large forces you to sacrifice some ability to test hypotheses.

  3. Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time And The Beauty That Causes Havoc by Arthur J. Miller

    I really enjoy art, but before I read this book, I viewed art as a totally separate domain from science. The central idea that Miller explores is how Einstein and Picasso both sought to represent the concept of space-time as something not intuitively what we perceive it. He delves into how both creators drew on diverse and apparently disconnected areas to create inspiration beyond classical insight. The biggest takeaway is that we are restricted by our perceptions, and that we must learn to think abstractly to solve big problems.

  4. Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field by Nancy Forbes & Basil Mahon

    "Historical physics" isn't exactly a hot genre, but Forbes and Mahon do an outstanding job weaving the lives and accomplishments of Michael Faraday and James Maxwell into an attention-grabbing read. Beyond making the world of electromagnetism accessible to the layman, the book goes into the two very different styles of genius that each man held. Looking back on the tools on hand, it's shocking that the experimentalist Faraday could derive so much information (which is partially a function of his own huge capacity to try different things.) On the other side, Maxwell succeeds by harnessing mathematics in a metaphorical sense to lend Faraday's theories credibility over other, much more widely acceptable theories.

  5. Value Proposition Design by Alexander Osterwalder

    I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention VPD. In my opinion, a far more useful book than it’s famous older brother “Business Model Generation.” Why? The key to building a good business model is to have a specific segment or niche identified, and a matching value proposition. The rest of the business model flows from here, but this first step often overlooked on your Average Joe's Business Model Canvas. Osterwalder uses this book to provide great step-by-step instructions for jobs-based segmentation, prototyping, and basic design thinking. While other books go into specific areas more deeply (e.g. The Innovator's Hypothesis,) this selection is a must-read starter for anyone who wants to innovate.

Full List:

Design, Product Development & Innovation

  • This Is Service Design Thinking / Stickdorn & Schneider
  • Change by Design / Tim Brown
  • Creative Confidence / Tom Kelley & David Kelley
  • Service Design: Practical Access to an Evolving Field / Stefan Moritz
  • New Product Blueprinting / Dan Adams
  • Discovery-Driven Growth: A Breakthrough Process to Reduce Risk and Seize Opportunity / Rita McGrath
  • Think Like A Freak / Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
  • The Innovator’s Hypothesis / Schrage
  • Creativity, Inc. / Ed Catmull & Amy Wallace
  • The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth / Chris Brogan
  • The Medici Effect / Frans Johansson
  • Freakonomics & Super Freakonomics / Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner
  • Non-Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas & Predict the Future / Rohit Bhargava
  • The Click Moment: The Rules of Randomness & How You Can Stand Apart / Frans Johansson
  • The Other Side of Innovation / Govindarajan & Trimble
  • The Lean Startup / Eric Reis
  • The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail / Clayton Chistensen
  • Reframe: Shift the Way You Work, Innovate and Think / Mona Patel
  • Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur / Derek Sivers

Business Model Innovation

  • Business Model Generation / Alexander Osterwalder et al.
  • Ten Types of Innovation / Larry Keeley
  • How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free / Matt Manos
  • I F**KING LOVE THAT COMPANY: How a New Generation of Brand Builders Is Defining the Post-Amazon World / Bayard Winthrop & Randy Komisar

Philosophy / Psychology

  • Is There a Duty to Obey the Law? / William & Simmons
  • Antifragile / Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • The Black Swan / Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • Fooled by Randomness / Nassim Nicholas Taleb
  • Power: Why Some People Have It- and Others Don't / Jeff Pfeffer
  • Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain / Better Edwards
  • The Magic of Thinking Big / David Schwartz
  • Mindset: The New Psychology of Success / Carol Dweck
  • Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies / Nick Bostrom
  • Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges / Amy Cuddy
  • How to Get Rich / Felix Dennis
  • Ignore Everybody (and 39 Other Keys to Creativity) / Hugh MacLeod
  • Show Your Work / Austin Kleon
  • How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big / Scott Adams

Strategy / Management

  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things / Ben Horowitz
  • Good to Great / Jim Collins
  • Reinventing Strategy / Willie Pietersen
  • Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact / Peter Diamandis
  • Exponential Organizations: Why New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (and What to Do about It) / Salim Ismail
  • The Intelligent Investor / Ben Graham
  • Winners Never Cheat / Jon Huntsman
  • Early Warning / Ben Gilad
  • How to Win at the Sport of Business / Mark Cuban
  • So Good They Can’t Ignore You / Cal Newport
  • The Science of Success: Market-Based Management at Koch Industries / Charles Koch
  • The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership / Richard Branson
  • Three Rules: How Exceptional Companies Think / Michael Raynor
  • Smartcuts / Shane Snow
  • The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success / William Thorndike
  • The Obstacle is the Way / Ryan Holiday
  • David and Goliath / Malcolm Gladwell
  • What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars / Jim Paul & Brendan Moynihan
  • Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction / Philip E. Fetlock & Dan Gardner


  • Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable / Seth Godin
  • The Fortune Cookie Principle: The 20 Keys to a Great Brand Story and Why Your Business Needs One / Bernadette Jiwa
  • Converge: Transforming Business at the Intersection of Marketing and Technology / Bob W. Lord & Ray Velez
  • The Old Rules of Marketing Are Dead / Timothy Pearson
  • Resurgence: The 4 Stages of Market-Focused Reinvention / Gregory Carpenter
  • Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less / Greg McKeown
  • The Why Axis / Uri Gneezy et al.
  • Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products / Nir Eyal
  • The Tipping Point / Malcolm Gladwell
  • Start With Why / Simon Sinek
  • Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly / Bernadette Jiwa

Science / Tech / Health

  • Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It / Gary Taubes
  • Ending Aging / Aubrey de Grey & Michael Rae
  • Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts / Stanislas Dehaene
  • The Signal and The Noise / Nate Silver
  • Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy / Melanie Swan
  • Biomimicry Resource Handbook: A Seed Bank of Knowledge & Best Practices / The Biomimicry Institute
  • Biopunk: Solving Biotech's Biggest Problems in Kitchens and Garages / Marcus Wohlsen
  • Genetic Hacking: Your DNA Can Be Hacked!
  • The Edge of Medicine

Non-Fiction & Biographical

  • The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos & The Age of Amazon / Brad Stone
  • Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future / Ashlee Vance
  • Atlas Shrugged / Ayn Rand
  • American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House / John Meacham
  • The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty / Ron Chernow
  • Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. / Ron Chernow
  • Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! – Adventures of a Curious Mind / Richard Feynman
  • Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field / Nancy Forbes


  • Wool (series) / Hugh Howey
  • Jesus’ Son / Denis Johnson
  • Moby Dick, or, The Whale / Herman Melville
  • A Song of Fire & Ice (series) / George R. R. Martin
  • Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy / Douglas Adams

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