Deborah Hanus

Some of my favorite books - 2019 edition

Last year, I read almost all of the books I read early in the year when I was unemployed. By the end of the year, I was finding it a bit difficult to read as much as I wanted - so this year, I full embraced audiobooks, which have helped me to read more despite the fact that I actually have less time than I did last year.


I spent most of 2019 as Sparrow’s only sales person, and even now as the year comes to a close, I’d say that sales is still probably at least 60% of my job. These are some of the books that I’ve read this year.

Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount

To continuously close sales, you need to continuously keep the top of your sales funnel full. This was a great compilation of concrete suggestions to make it happen. I highly recommend this book to anyone getting started in sales.

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

This was a really nice compilations of tips to better understand the situation you are walking into and therefore, negotiate more effectively.

Flip the Script by Oren Klaff

It’s easier to talk to people when they see you as an expert in their field. This book shares a general framework to make people feel like you are one of them.

The Like Switch by Jack Schafer

It’s easier to get people to talk to you when they like and trust you. This book shares some concrete tips to make this happen.

Monetizing Innovation by Madhavan Ramanujam & Georg Tacke

I read this at someone’s suggestion. I’d say that it is a good book, but it is written for someone who is still in the very early stages of determining pricing and product market fit.


The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo

I really liked this book, because it is written by someone who became a manager early in their career, and thus, had to deal with a whole host of extra issues due to inexperience. It was really a nice balance of storytelling and advice.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

This was a really nice book that suggested concrete ways to form habits.

Scaling a Company

High Growth Handbook by Elad Gil

This is a really nice step-by-step of things to think about as a company is scaling. That said, I think it is best read as a hardcopy that you keep on a shelf and use as a reference manual. Listening to it as an audiobook at 1.5x speed was a bit brutal and not the best for retention.

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

While this is not explicitly about scaling a company, I found that reading it while we were trying to scale was helpful to get me to trust my gut feelings a little bit more, which enabled me to make decisions faster.

Powerful Women

When I read most leadership books, they are written about (and for) men, so I’m always on the look out for books about powerful women. These were all great, but I especially enjoyed Becoming and Black Fortunes.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

The Hungry Ocean by Linda Greenlaw

Black Fortunes by Shomari Wills

Things to Think About

This year, I joined a book club, which got me to read all sorts of books that I normally would not read. I usually read exclusively non-fiction. But most of these were really thought-provoking books that I think expanded the way that I think and approach problems.

The 5th Season by N.K. Jemisin

Passing by Nella Larsen

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas

How To Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings by Sarah Cooper

How To Be An Antiracist by Ibrahim X. Kendi

Ghettoside by Jill Leovy