Quick Book Review of the 17 Books I Read in 2016

by Cameron Ripley  |   |  Strategy  |  2 comments

3 min to read ✭ I wanted to provide a quick review and rating of the seventeen books I read in 2016 in case you are looking for any good reads that can support you or your organization on the marketing, entrepreneurship or leadership front. Non-affiliate links to amazon provided.

Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t (Rockefeller Habits 2.0)

Author: Verne Harnish

Rating (1-10): 10

Quick Takeaways: Incredible read for managers/leaders as you look to scale and grow teams. Great tools and recommendations to improve how you deal with people, strategy, execution and cash. Incredibly applicable and this book shaped our daily, weekly and quarterly operations like none other.


The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Author: Ben Horowitz

Rating (1-10): 9

Quick Takeaways: A must read for all aspiring and veteran entrepreneurs alike, Silicon Valley legend, Ben Horowitz provides incredible insights on dealing with the business challenges that aren’t covered in your normal text book and the mindset needed to navigate them.


How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life

Author: Caroline Webb

Rating (1-10): 7.5

Quick Takeaways: If you are a fan of neuroscience, behavioral economics and psychology in the workplace, this is one of the best pieces I’ve found recently. Former McKinsey partner, Caroline Webb, gives some great advice to finding not only more personal happiness, but more productivity, peppered with solid, applicable frameworks. It is quite long and can be a bit dry at times but definitely worth it as it has the potential to transform your day-to-day for a lifetime.


“Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth”

Author: Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

Rating (1-10): 8

Quick Takeaways: A great read for all entrepreneurs and marketers-alike who live and breath the world of customer acquisition and growth. I can’t count the times I have drawn on the white board the “traction channel bulls-eye”. This book has benefited both our own business and definitely our clients.


“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life”

Author: Mark Manson

Rating (1-10): 7

Quick Takeaways: Popular blogger, Mark Manson, shares his viewpoint’s on how being “positive” all the time is counter-intuitive to living a healthy life. He grabs the Millennial generation by the shoulders and profanely says you are not special, and one must embrace one’s fears, faults and uncertainties and get to the root of their own why and what makes them ultimately happy. Personally, I see it is a healthy reminder one is not owed anything and we are entitled to nothing. A fast, enjoyable, thought-provoking read but definitely language-wise, not safe for work.


The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future

Author: Steve Case

Rating (1-10): 10

Quick Takeaways: Incredible. I read the entire thing twice and key parts three or four times. A must read for every tech entrepreneur or social entrepreneur. Many of the startup elite have told their story, Case waited until he had a parallel to tie his journey of leading AOL to the future, the future which will soon be the internet of everything. My most recommended book of the year, I’ve told everyone about it.


Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent

Author: Sydney Finklestein

Rating (1-10): 8.5

Quick Takeaways: Based on over ten years of research and breaking down some of the greatest leaders in recent times (from Bill Walsh, to Larry Ellison, to Ralph Lauren and more) Superbosses is an inspiring and insightful read into some of the world’s top CEOs, coaches and entrepreneurs and how they powerfully lead their incredibly high performing teams.


Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

Author: Jake Knapp

Rating (1-10): 7.5

Quick Takeaways: Written by the Google Ventures team, Sprint provides a great framework that can be applied to your business or clients to help bring ideas faster and more effectively to market.


MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom

Author: Tony Robbins

Rating (1-10): 7.5

Quick Takeaways: Some love em, others don’t, but there is no arguing Robbins has exclusive access to the brightest financial minds in the world. A long but high quality read on markets, investing but more importantly,  healthy personal finance habits.



Author: Marcus Aurelius

Rating (1-10): 7

Quick Takeaways: Former Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, kept a journal of his thoughts while ruling the empire. A great Stoic piece and if you enjoy philosophy and haven’t read this, it is an absolute must.


Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

Author: Roger Fischer

Rating (1-10): 6

Quick Takeaways: I wanted to give this thirty year old negotiation classic a go. Some great takeaways, however, it moves slow and is a bit challenging to get through, especially if you have already studied this type of material in the past.


Built to Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You

Author: Joe Warrilow

Rating (1-10): 9

Quick Takeaways: If you own a creative/digital agency or service based business I highly recommend this read. The narrative approach is refreshing to the typical non-fiction, text book approach to business reads. This book hammers home the importance of building systems and procedures into your operation and keeping your main thing your main thing. I felt like they were telling my exact story.


Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable

Author: Tim S. Grover

Rating (1-10): 8.5

Quick Takeaways: Tim Grover, legendary trainer of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade and many more, shares his framework (are you a cooler, closer, or cleaner) and mindset coaching of what it takes to go from good, to great, to unstoppable. Inspiring is an understatement and be prepared to lesson and never want to quit.


Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Author: Peter Thiel

Rating (1-10): 8

Quick Takeaways: A fast-moving, highly informative read.  A great read for all innovative, tech-focused entrepreneurs.


Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal

Author: Oren Klaff

Rating (1-10): 7.5

Quick Takeaways: Some great and applicable ideas to leverage when presenting, sales pitching and negotiating. At times a little bit too NLP for my liking, however, it is an easy, fast moving read.


Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business

Author: Charles Duhigg

Rating (1-10): 6.5

Quick Takeaways: Duhigg, the author of Power of Habit, dives into productivity, neuroscience and behavioral economics with some in-depth examples. Some of the examples dragged a bit but a good read nonetheless. I personally liked his breakdown of the best type of company cultures and the data behind them, plus some strong team motivation nuggets as well throughout.


Summary of High Output Management

Author: Andrew Grove

Rating (1-10): 6

Quick Takeaways: I wanted to read the book because Ben Horowitz seems to reference it alot, however, it was longer, looked a bit older and the reviews weren’t amazing. Nonetheless, the summary is solid and has some solid takeaways, especially as team size grows.



Total cost for all of 17 books and game-changing ideas, $226.51.

Cameron Ripley


  1. Mark W, on December 27, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Thank you – I have read about half of the ones you reviewed and tend to agree with your assessments. I didn’t read the Steve Case book, and it will be the next one in my plans…. Ben H’s book was my fav this year…


    1. Cameron Ripley, on December 28, 2016 at 1:50 pm

      Ben’s book was great (especially during a challenging week). Definitely check out the Third Wave Mark and let me know what you think. cameron@communityboost.org.


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