Beach Reads: Nine Must-Read Books Recommended by CDPa Founders


By: The CDPa Team

What does a customer-centric data professional read when it’s time to relax on the beach or learn more about new industry trends? If you ask our CDPa Founders, the answer could range from a five-volume series on statistics and decision-making to classic page-turners like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Read on to see what our Founders are taking on their beach vacations, and check them out for yourself to discover new insights on how to best leverage your customer data.

Jon Francis - Thought leader and chief data and analytics officer

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know – Adam Grant

“Making better use of analytics and AI often requires challenging long-held beliefs, both on a personal level and on an organizational level. Adam Grant is giving me some good inspiration not only for myself, but also in terms of how I bring along my team and others on this transformation.”

Jeanne Jones - Vice President of Community and Customer Marketing, Amperity

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know – Malcolm Gladwell

“This is a heavy book that explores how humans’ ‘default to truth’ can have severe consequences, as seen in fatal police shootings, suicide, and sexual abuse. While it delves into weighty topics, it leaves the reader seeing the world in a new light: one where you approach people with curiosity, leave bias behind, and have an open mind. If you can take the time to listen to the audiobook, I recommend it. It’s got great original clips from interviews and is narrated by the author.”

Lynn Hemans - Vice President of Consumer Intelligence and Analytics, The Hershey company

Converted: The Data-Driven Way to Win Customers’ Hearts – Neil Hoyne 

Customer Centricity: Focus on the Right Customers for Strategic Advantage – Peter Fader

“These two books are must-haves for data professionals. Neil Hoyne’s book helps to turn data-driven insights into accelerated commercial value. Professor Fader’s book demonstrates that focusing on the right customers is critically important.”

Bhagyesh Phanse - Vice President of Retail Analytics, CVS Health

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

“We had International Towel Day at the end of last month (May 25th), so I’d suggest The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It’s a classic, but always fun to read!”

Chris Chapo - Senior Vice President of Data and Analytics, SKIMS

Emotion by Design: Creative Leadership Lessons from a Life at Nike – Greg Hoffman

The Kaiju Preservation Society – John Scalzi

“As a data geek, we often talk about quantifying and measuring the things people do that lead to them becoming high-value customers. Then we try to figure out how to get people to take those actions, assuming it will lead to them becoming a better customer. When I think about the brands that I admire the most (and spend the most with), the behaviors are a result of my strong emotional connection with the brand. I’m eager to learn more from Hoffman’s book about the craft of creating strong positive emotions.

“I must admit that I’ve already read my second recommendation. It reminds me a bit of the Michael Crichton novels of the ‘90s, and not just because of the Kaiju! The pacing and wit are super fun. The author sums it up best when he describes the book as a much needed ‘pop song’ of a novel, given all that’s happened over the last couple of years. For an extra treat, listen to the audiobook version narrated by Wil Wheaton.”

Peter Fader - Professor of Marketing at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Incerto – Nassim Nicholas Taleb

“Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a very opinionated/controversial character, but he has some irresistible ideas about statistical inference (and the common/powerful mistakes that arise from doing it badly.) The five books in this series are “oldies but goodies” that get better with time. There are differing thoughts about the right order in which to read them, as well as which one(s) to focus on if you only want to sample them. You can’t go wrong no matter how you do it.”

Happy reading!

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The CDPa Team

The CDPa exists as a forum for people who believe in responsibly using customer insights and data to drive customer-centric growth. Together we elevate the best practices and tools in a space for collaboration to drive personal development and commercial success.

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