One of our newest clients at Argentum is a super sharp life-long learner. As the co-founder of a business that is breaking ground in a brand new category (and kicking butt), she’s interested in understanding more about consumers and human nature in general.

Being a skilled “observer of humans” is one of the tools I use to help my clients think smarter about their customers. There are four books I’ve read that have helped me in my own efforts to better understand human behavior.

1. Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Duhigg
This book provides a fascinating glimpse into the way habits influence human behavior. You can read my earlier blog post about the book.
It includes a link to an excerpt from the book as well as a link to an NPR interview with the author.
 
2. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die  – Heath & Heath
If you want to understand how to make your brand stickier and maybe even generate better Word-of-Mouth, this book is for you! When I was working with Procter & Gamble’s Tremor/Vocalpoint group on developing strategic consumer insights to drive Word-of-Mouth, they strongly recommended that I read this book.
 
I prefer it to Macolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point because it includes actionable steps you can take in addition to interesting anecdotes.
 
3. Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard, Heath & Heath
This book was a great follow up to The Heath Brothers’ Made to Stick. Reading it helped me both in business and personally to better understand why it’s so hard for people to change! And, better still, the best ways to go about making change happen. I wrote a blog post about this book, too, and the post also includes an excerpt.
 
4. Contagious, Berger
While Made to Stick is my go-to Word-of-Mouth book, Contagious is also interesting if you’re looking to learn more. This is an
excerpt published in Inc. magazine when the book first came out.
 
Bonus Round: Talking to Humans, Constable
Although I haven’t read this book yet, it’s next up on my list of business books. It’s come highly recommended from my colleagues in the Polsky Entrepreneurial Center at University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.