Amanda Ginzburg is the New York-based head of growth at co:collective, a creative consultancy and strategic transformation company that works with the likes of LinkedIn, Google, and Under Armour. Here, she shares the books that have inspired her both personally and professionally.
Amanda believes Muriel Rukeyser was correct when she said, "The universe is made of stories, not atoms". She spends her days thinking about how brands and businesses can use the power of story to change the world and their responsibility to do so at the intersection of people, profit and the planet.
Over the course of her career, she's worked with everyone from HBO and Corona to PUMA, IBM, Microsoft and De Beers. In her own words, Amanda reveals the five books that have helped her along the way. (Once again, we're pointing you to Bookshop.org to help support independent booksellers.)
1. The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton Christensen
Clayton Christensen is the OG innovation consultant for a reason. His ideas about why businesses fail despite doing everything "right" and the reasons innovation gets harder as you scale are timeless. I spend a lot of my time thinking about how companies evolve and helping them craft their strategies to reach new audiences, develop new products, etc., so the reminder to consider doing the opposite of what seems like an obvious next step is key. I read this book once a year.
2. Originals by Adam Grant
"In fact, the only sin which we never forgive in each other is a difference of opinion." – Ralph Waldo Emerson. Fighting groupthink in team environments is a consistent, swimming upstream style challenge. This book focuses on persuasion and how to convince people to take an unconventional path. The examples used are of fairly large scale, game-changing entrepreneurs and innovators, but the principles used to spread their ideas can be applied at every level.
3. Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of a Changing World by Anand Giridharadas
Mind-opening. This book illuminates the stories that some of the biggest and most successful companies of the last few decades have so effectively told us about the problems they are solving for society - and why they are uniquely qualified to solve them. Problems that, in many cases, they've actually caused or exacerbated. Giridharadas suggests that in a democracy, those who have been most heavily rewarded are also most responsible for helping those whom democracy fails. It's by a former McKinsey analyst who lived in this elite world. This one changed my worldview and my approach to how I think about helping companies be part of the solution.
4. Contagious by Jonah Berger
Explaining why ideas take shape, spread and embark on a life of their own, this book is a blueprint for how things become culturally sticky. It reads almost like a Malcolm Gladwell for marketing with a bit of sociology and psychology mixed in. Most of the insights are obvious, but that's actually what's great about it.
5. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
I couldn't put a list of formative books together and not include this one. It's a heartbreaking story of four friends coming of age in NYC, finding love and family amongst one another. It has absolutely nothing to do with business strategy, marketing or growth, but it is a tour de force in storytelling and everlasting human connection. The emotional resonance of her words sticks with you long after the last page.