Social Media reading list


This spring I start teaching “Social Media” at BI – Norwegian Business School (Stavanger). here’s a happy reading list for anyone venturing into the field. 

Social media and digital are increasingly popping up as ‘items’ in several of our executive education programs. An increasing number of managers are happily using Facebook on their own time, but realize that their firm is nowhere to be found in the social media space. A larger number still have come to realize their company is simply not prepared for some of the digital challenges that are coming their way. While some (mostly the attackers) see great opportunity, many of today’s established firms are unsure how to deal with social, digital and disruptions.

For my students, for my executives and for anyone looking to understand more in this space, this reading list is for you.
I’ve added a selection of sources. Don’t hesitate in telling me if you believe something crucial is missing.

The Quick Read
If you only have a few hours or a few days to spare, this list is for you. It’ll give you the basics (and hopefully tickle your brain enough to make you keep reading down this list).

Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies (Li and Bernhoff)
This 2008 classic should be the starting point for anyone venturing into the field. It’s packed with examples, cases and useful tools like the POST method ,Social profile and more.

Open leadership

Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead (Charlene Li) 

Li’s second book, this one looks at social technolgies and what it means for your leadership role. It’s really the first book to take this view, and does a great job at it. Powerful work, this should be included into every executive’s reading list.
Leading Through Connections: IBM Global CEO Study
(IBM, 2012)


“In less than 5 years, your social channels will eclipse your website as a customer touchpoint”. That’s the conclusion of IBM’s CEO Study. The findings are remarkable in the growth rate of social technologies in the 1700 firms IBM interview. Read it.

Why Software is Eating the World
(Andressen, 2011)
Marc Andressen’s Wall Street Journal Essay lays out the most clear and coherent business case for all things digital. A must.

In-depth readings: Seek to understand digital 

Those four are the quick and easy reads. A great place to start.
But to truly understand the massive implications, opportunities and disruptions coming from the increasing level of digital, I recommend digging into these. These are the classics. In terms of the Internet age, they are old. But their implied age gives them perspective and insight in an industry that is moving faster than most.

Blown to Bits: how the new economics of information transforms strategy
Blown to bits(Evans and Wurster, 1999)
A personal favorite.

To prepare corporate executives and entrepreneurs alike for a fundamental change in business competition, warns the book.

“The authors think that the Internet can blow away practically any business, and examine how the new economy is “deconstructing” industries such as newspapers, auto retailing, and banking while creating new opportunities for others. …even “the most stable of industries, the most focused of business models and the strongest of brands can be blown to bits by new information technology.”, writes Amazon.

Truth is, Evans and Wurster foresaw the last 12 years of digital disruption, brought on industries like news, stocks, travel and retail. Reading this book 14 years later, and realizing most industries are just starting their digital disruption phase is an eye-opener.

Cluetrain Manifesto: the end of business as usual 
(Levine, Locke, Searls and Weinberger, 1999)
With the Internet just taking hold, these 95 theses were brought forward to help understand and examine the effects of this “newly-connected marketplace”

Summarizing, the authors write “A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies”.

Digital Darwinism: 7 Breakthrough Business Strategies for Surviving in the Cutthroat Web Economy
(Schwarz, 2001)
One author’s early attempts to understand how e-business (as it was called at the time, now it’s just business…), could succeed. The conclusion from his 7 case studies:  integrate the Web into every part of your business.

Here Comes Everybody: the power of organizing without organizations
(Shirky, 2009)
Great read on how social technologies drive new organizing principles. Very wide selection of interesting case studies.

Socialnomics: how social media transforms the way we live and do business
(Qualman, 2009)
A wide look at how social media has, is and will affect businesses around the world. Qualman’s focus is marketing and how digital ans social is driving change in society.

The Ultimate Question 2.0
(Reichheld and Markey, 2011)
“Would you recommend us to a friend?” That simple question, now well-documented as the most powerful question in all of marketing, fits perfectlywith the ideas and culture of digital and social. While orginally a marketing book, the Ultimate Question, is truly worth reading for anyone looking to generate connections, relationships and recommendations in the digital space.

Onwards, to the mix and merry of Social Media 

The field of what is today called social media is still developing and unfolding. Any reader will find a good stack of books claiming to be “The Bible” to Social Media. They are not.
But, some of them are truly useful, insightful and absolutely worth reading. Here’s my stack of recommendations.

SheepThrowing Sheep in the Boardroom: How Online Social Networking Will Transform Your Life, Work and World
(Dutta and Fraser, 2008)

The Connected Company
(Gray and Wal, 2012)

Socialized!: How the Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social
(Fidelman, 2012)

11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era
Merchant, 2011

The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways To Use Social Media to Drive Social Change
(Aaker, Heath and Ariely, 2010)

The Social Media MBA: Your Competitive Edge in Social Media Strategy Development and Delivery
(Holloman, 2011)

Den Perfekte Storm (in Danish, for now)
(Svarre, 2012)

The Social Organization: How to Use Social Media to Tap the Collective Genius of Your Customers and Employees
(Bradley and McDonald, 2011)

Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges
(McAfee, 2009)

The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World
(Kirkpatrick, 2010)


This mix of readings should provide a good insight to most readers. It should be enough to get you and your team started on the one question that matters: how do we become a ‘social business’?

Join us for the upcoming six day course at BI or contact Christian Rangen directly to see how you can develop innovative digital strategies.

See Christian’s recent keynote talk on “Digital Business Models: the future is already here”

Social Media reading list

Educating entreprenurs

BI’s 2nd year course in innovation and entreprenurship: Time to write a businessplan (4 ½ months)
StartUp Weekend: time to write a businessplan, develop the idea, code it, pitch it to mentors, validate it, pivot it, meet with partners, get your first fans online and pitch it to the real world: 54 hours.

Comment from an aspiring innovator who has done both: “I learned more in 54 hours of StartUp Weekend, then I did six months of entrepreneurship classes”.

Having just completed a StartUp Weekend in Stavanger, I’m left with one question, “how do we reinvent our education in innovation and entrepreneurship around the principles of StartUp Weekend thinking”.

Welcome to Startup Weekend Part 1 from steve blank on Vimeo.

These principles:
– All action
– Get out of the building
– High Energy
– Done-is-better-than-perfect
– Pick your own idea/team
– MVP (minimum viable product)
– Identify customers
– Start building
– Pivot
– Validate

Are radically different than how strategy, innovation and entreprenurship is currently being taught. Doing strategy work often leads to long discussions on models and theories, while I have yet to see a single student group go out an interview potential customers.

Same with my innovation and entrepreneurship students; while they might have great ideas, the time to market, the time to action is so long and the level of energy is just dropping by the minute…

Enter, Lean Startup.

Eric Ries, the author of “the Lean Startup”, identifies five principles:

As a business school teacher and management consultant I help leaders grow, teams grow and companies grow. While most can learn the research and theories, few are able to bridge the gap and “make it happen”. For many companies, projects dwindle on. For students, the project work takes months instead of hours (and the result is more or less the same) and for most people, things just slow down…the energy saps, the fun wears off, creativity and passion slows….and then life gets in the way of awesomeness.

The Lean Startup movement is showing one way of gearing up speed, passion, energy and creativity. These principles can be used in both education and internal corporate business development.

Now, the question is how can we apply some of these lean startup principles to our innovation and entreprenurship education in Norway…..

Stay tuned.

Next; “What I learned from StartUp Weekend”.
Blogpost coming later this week.

– Chris –

Educating entreprenurs

Action research from StartUp Weekend Stavanger

We all learn tons from this weekend. Now, we want to use this learning to improve innovation and entrepreneurship education in Norway. I would love your input! Feel free to reply directly in the comments field.

1) What was your key learning from the weekend?

2) If you have any education (courses, training, lessons) in innovation, strategy, business development, etc; how would you describe your learning from StartUp Weekend compared with your other education in this field?

3) What would you recommend BI – Norwegian Business School and other business schools do differently based on your experiences from StartUp Weekend?

4) What’s your recommendation for future StartUp events like this? (feel free to Think Big)

Thanks, I’ll keep you posted.


Action research from StartUp Weekend Stavanger

Social Media as a Leadership Tool: the trailer

Social Media as a Leadership Tool: The Trailer from Engage // Innovate on Vimeo.

You can read the story behind Lederskolen’s Social Media session, watch the full video, read the tweets and download the slides right here.

Social Media as a Leadership Tool: the trailer