Last week I was speaking to various audiences in Australia, as part of a trip organised by my colleagues from@VC_Australia and the Australian Marketing Institute. On several occasions I was asked to share my recommended reading list. Here is a collection of books that I think most researchers should read. Note, the numbers are not a rank order; the books are to some extent grouped by topic:
2. Predictably Irrational: Dan Ariely
This book is crammed full of examples of Behavioural Economics (or cognitive science to give it its less glitzy name). Ariely shows, via experiments, the way context changes choices, often against people’s best interests or intentions.
3. Nudge: Richard Thaler, Cass Sunstein
This book has become very important in politics and is pretty important to market researchers too. The book shows why it is hard to change people’s behaviour and the sorts of changes in the context or wording of a question that can result in real changes, for example by shifting a question from opt-in, to opt-out.
4. How We Decide: Jonah Lehrer
Lehrer cherry picks numerous stories and examples from neuroscience and associated disciplines to explore how people (aka consumers) make decisions. Lehrer shows, for example, how asking people to rate things can result in changes in preference.
5. Herd: Mark Earls
In this book, Earls shows how many aspects of life, including consumer decisions, are the result of social copying, rather than personal choice. Earls raises the question of whether it is sometimes worth asking people about their intentions, in cases where their behaviour is going to be largely determined by what people around them do.
6. Netnography: Robert Kozinets
Netnography is the application of ethnography to the online world of social media. Netnography is not large scale scraping and mining, it is human scale and involves getting very close to the conversations – and this book by Kozinets is the best introduction to how to conduct netnography.
7. Listen First! Stephen Rappaport
Rappaport makes the case for listening to online conversations, illustrating his case with great case studies and outlining a wide range of tools and approaches.
8. The Listen Lady: Annie Pettit
In a slightly quirky style, Pettit gives great, practical advice on how to set about listening to and utilising social media conversations for market research.
9. The Handbook of Online and Social Media Research: Ray Poynter
Yes, my book, but I do believe in it. This is reference for anybody wanting to conduct online research, qual and quant, and anybody wanting to come to grips with social media research, including social media monitoring, netnography, communities and more.
- 1. Thinking, Fast and Slow: Daniel Khaneman
Kahneman won a Nobel Prize for Behavioural Economics and has published many academic papers, but don’t worry, this is a really accessible introduction to many of the key mechanics that underlie Behavioural Economics, including a great introduction to System 1 and System 2 thinking.
Note, some books have different titles in different countries.
Here is my list, but I have only listed nine books. What would you include to make it a round ten?