Summer is my favorite time of year. Warm weather, cookouts, vacations, and trips to the beach.

When I hit the beach I always bring two or three books. 

My goal is to learn something new, find a cool idea to share, or be reminded of a fundamental best practice that I’ve forgotten about.

In that spirit, I asked Aaron Gore from Arryved about his favorite books.

Below is Aaron’s lineup, and it is a doozy.

Aaron provides a short summary of each book, the impact it had on him, and how the lessons apply to the beer business.  

Grab your cooler, beach chair, and a couple of these books. You’ll be glad you did.

Blitz Scaling by Reid Hoffman

For anyone who is interested in growing their business over the course of months and years, instead of decades, this is the book you need to read.

It tackles the key questions of how to aggressively, sustainably grow into a category leader, without missing opportunities or yielding space to potential competitors along the way.

A lot of the lessons are aimed at industries with higher unit margins than beer, but on a micro scale, many of the key takeaways are still applicable to any growing business, regardless of your final aims

Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed

A life-changing book for me.

Matthew Syed talks about the way different industries approach failure, and how to avoid the perverse incentives created by the human need to assign and avoid blame.

Half business book and half philosophy/self-help book, Black Book Thinking is must-reading for anyone wanting to do process refinement and iterative improvement in the right way.

That Sh*t Will Never Sell by David Gluckman

An entertaining read, this one never pretends to be about education or insight at all. Instead, it’s essentially the journal of one man’s journey through helping create Kerrygold Butter, all the way through the modern day as an innovator in craft liqueurs.

How he breaks down the many products he has contributed to, however, provides an enormous amount of practical insights, observations, and approaches that can benefit anyone in the beverage space.

This one has been required reading for sales and marketing staff that I’ve trained for a few years now.

Brand Gap by Martin Neumeier

Anything that Martin Neumeier writes is effectively scripture in the branding and marketing space, and this one is my personal favorite.

Quick and easy to read, but presented in a way that makes it impossible not to come away smarter for it, it’s the perfect handbook to creating and leveraging a brand successfully in any industry. Given that brand differentiation is already the dominant competitive advantage for firms in craft beer, and is likely to become more so in the future, this is another “required reading” pick.

Acquired podcast

A bit of a long listen, but the hosts d a focus on a single, highly successful (and sometimes not) company, covering its history, its present, its business model, and its competitive advantages (using the 7 Powers model).

It’s always an entertaining listen, and you’ll come away not just better informed, but with novel business ideas and techniques that transfer surprisingly well between industries. I’ve learned more just from the Nintendo episode than you’d ever imagine, given the industry we work in.

The Voltage Effect by John A. List

Another look at sustainable scaling, John List is one of the best empirical economists out there, and this is the work he’s most known for. It discusses the importance of being sure that solutions work at scale just as effectively as they do in a specific, controlled environment.

For anyone looking at expansion or distribution, there’s a ton of value to be found here.




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