Small Spark Theory® Library

The Small Spark Theory® Library

Since January 2017, our hand-picked, Small Spark Theory® podcast guests have been recommending their favourite reads to our listeners, and on occasion, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing the authors themselves.

Here you’ll find the full bookshelf of recommendations episode by episode, ranging from business classics to new thinking on agency challenges and a healthy dose of fiction thrown in for good measure. Feel free to bookmark this page and check back monthly as each new podcast episode lands.

Happy reading!


(NOTE: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning I receive a small commission for any purchases made)

  1. Steve Parks gave us four cracking recommendations in episode: The Alliance by Reid Hoffman, Anti-fragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport and another thumbs up for previous recommendation The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.
  2. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is recommended by mindset coach Wendy Bollard together with a shout out for Small Spark Theory favourite, Atomic Habits by James Clear.
  3. Gareth Turner recommends  How not to plan: 66 ways to screw it up by Les Binet and Sarah Carter.
  4. To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Persuading, Convincing, and Influencing Others by Dan Pink recommended by Adam Graham of BD Matters.
  5. Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord as recommended by Joe Perkins of Chaptr.
  6. No book recommendation to see here!
  7. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie recommended by Kelly Molson of Rubber Cheese.
  8. Human Powered by Trenton Moss in as recommended in our conversation together.
  9. What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture by Ben Horowitz and Wanting: The Power of Mimetic Desire, and How to Want What You Need by Luke Burgis recommended by Daniel de la Cruz at Polymensa. Also mentioned in this episode is The First Minute by Chris Fenning.
  10. The Advertising Concept Book: Think Now, Design Later by Pete Barry recommended by Roland Gurney at Treacle
  11. The Win Without Pitching Manifesto by Blair Enns recommended by Mark Wellings from Grist, not forgetting Mark’s own book on Herne Hill Velodrome and the history of track cycling Ride! Ride! Ride!
  12. Story Dash: Find, Develop, and Activate Your Most Valuable Business Stories…In Just a Few Hours by David Hutchens recommended by Dr Kat Arney of First Create the Media
  13. I’m An Agency Owner Get Me Out Of Here by Jonathan Leafe recommended by Rory Spence at The Wow Company
  14. The Win Without Pitching Manifesto as discussed with Blair Enns
  15. Catalyst: Using Personal Chemistry to Convert Contacts into Contracts by Louisa Clarke and David Kean as discussed in this episode
  16. Organize for Complexity: How to Get Life Back Into Work and Build a High-Performance Organization by Niels Pflaeging recommended by Steve Parks of Convivio
  17. The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k by Sarah Knight recommended by Claire Humphris of Iris
  18. Scale at Speed: How to Triple the Size of your Business and Build a Superstar Team as discussed with Felix Velarde
  19. Be More Pirate by Sam Conniff Allende recommended by Sarah Yeats at Sledge
  20. Greener Marketing by John Grant recommended by Jennifer Crowley at Kin + Carta
  21. No book recommendation
  22. Happy Sexy Millionaire by Steven Bartlett recommended by Ash Jones of Great Influence
  23. Social Selling: Techniques to Influence Buyers and Changemakers by Tim Hughes recommended by Laura Hannan at Pitch121
  24. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There are no Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz recommended by Sarah Paterson from CommsPeople
  25. Atomic Habits by James Clear and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey recommended by Clare Rees
  26. Charlatan: The Fraudulent Life of John Brinkley by Pope Brock recommended by Ian Harris from Agency Hackers
  27. Slide:ology – The art and science of creating great presentations by Nancy Duarte recommended by Shan Preddy from Preddy & Co
  28. Insight: How to Succeed by Seeing Yourself Clearly by Tasha Eurich recommended by Alisha Lyndon of Momentum
  29. No book recommendation some podcasts from our producer Izzy Jarvis: Here’s the Thing, Desert Island Discs, The Adam Buxton Podcast and 2 Bobs
  30. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason and The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah recommended by Deepa Shah of Lab Eight
  31. Not a book, but a subscription to the Financial Times recommended by Design Business Association CEO Deborah Dawton
  32. Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why it Matters by Richard Rumelt recommended by Robin Bonn
  33. Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff and Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers recommended by leadership coach Sally Henderson
  34. The Innovation Book: How to Manage Ideas and Execution for Outstanding Results by Max Mckeown recommended by Michelle Cook
  35. Ogilvy on Advertising in a Digital Age by Miles Young, recommended by Dave Corlett from Shaped By
  36. The Courage to be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga recommended by Emma Sexton at Hands Down Agency
  37. Ca$hvertising: How to Use 50 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone by Drew E Whitman and The Choice Factory: 25 Behavioural Biases That Influence What We Buy by Richard Shotton recommended by Roland Gurney from Treacle
  38. A Smile in the Mind by Beryl McAlhone, David Stuart, Greg Quinton and Nick Asbury recommended by Stef Brown of On Pointe
  39. Invisible Power: Insight Principles at Work by Ken Manning, Robin Charbit and Sandra Krot recommended by Phil Gripton at Waypoint Partners
  40. Do Listen: Understand What Is Really Being Said. Find A New Way Forward by Bobette Buster recommended by Catherine Allison of Master the Art
  41. Peter Czapp at Wow Company was another fan of The Win Without Pitching Manifesto by Blair Enns
  42. Deep Work by Cal Newport recommended by Julia Howe of Twentieth Century Fox
  43. Implementing Value Pricing: A Radical Business Model for Professional Firms by Ronald J Baker, Take a Stand for Your Brand by Tim Williams, Buying Less for Less by Gerry Preece and Russell Wohlwerth were all recommended by David Meikle, not forgetting his own book: How to Buy a Gorilla
  44. Fear Hack by Hillary Gallo as discussed in this episode
  45. The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google by Scott Galloway recommended by Jim Hawker of Threepipe Reply
  46. Technology vs Humanity: The Coming Clash Between Man and Machine by Gerd Leonhard, recommended by social selling expert Alex Low
  47. Competitive Advantage by Michael E Porter recommended by Iain Johnston of Hill Dickinson
  48. Small Data by Martin Lindstrom recommended by Pip Stock from Brandhook and Hearsay
  49. Not a book recommendation in this Christmas episode but a little productivity hack – this fabulous 15 minute timer from School of Life. What can you do in 15 minutes?!
  50. You are a Message: Meditations for the Creative Entrepreneur by Guillaume Wolf recommended by Kimi Gilbert of Future Factory
  51. The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences by Matt Watkinson recommended by Nick Phipps of Rawnet
  52. No recommendation
  53. Simple Tips, Smart Ideas by Erica Wolfe-Murray as discussed in this episode
  54. Sad Men by Dave Roberts and The Diagrams Book by Kevin Duncan recommended by Tony Walford of Green Square
  55. No recommendation
  56. No recommendation
  57. Pricing Creativity: A Guide to Profit Beyond the Billable Hour by Blair Enns as discussed in this episode
  58. The Elements of Style by Willian Strunk recommended by Claire and Alex Blythe at Red Setter
  59. A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin recommended by Erica Wolfe-Murray
  60. A bumper crop of recommendations from David C. Baker: The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday, Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott and of course, David’s own book, the Business of Expertise: How Entrepreneurial Experts Convert Insight to Impact + Wealth
  61. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, recommended by Katie Pattison from Hammerson plc
  62. The Power of Soft: How to get what you want without being a **** by Hillary Gallo, as discussed with Hilary in this episode
  63. The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing How We Think, Read and Remember by Nicholas Carr recommended by Tony Spong from AAR
  64. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely recommended by Katz Kiely
  65. Get Things Done by Robert Kelsey – as discussed with Robert in this episode
  66. Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant recommended by me
  67. To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Persuading, Convincing, and Influencing Others by Dan Pink recommended by me
  68. The Win Without Pitching Manifesto by Blair Enns recommended by Alex Sibille and Dan Sudron from Future Factory
  69. Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive by Patrick Lencioni and Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t by Verne Harnish. Recommended by Felix Velarde of 2Y3X
  70. Gravitas: Communicate with Gravitas, Influence and Authority by Caroline Goyder recommended by Catherine Allison of Master the Art
  71. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Essential reading recommended by Tim Duncan of TDC PR
  72. Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed recommended by me in our very first episode!