People have been inquiring about the books that I am reading this year. To answer the question, here, in part, is a short list of must-reads.

Data and Goliath, The Hidden Battles to Collect your Data and Control Your World

By Bruce Schneier (2015)

Related Information
Bruce Schneier’s Blog, Schneier on Security
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The short list begins with Bruce Schneier, the world’s foremost security expert. Schneier’s blog is worth following. You will benefit from his new book, Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect your Data and Control Your World.

Schneier defines the powers that do more than collect and control our personal and business data. In my opinion, we cannot manage our businesses today without this knowledge.

The Second Machine Age, Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

By Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee (2014)

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Eric Brynjolfsson
Andrew McAfee
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My neighbor is a twenty-first century intellectual. She is an expert in the worlds of Zen, her business interests in China, and advanced technology. She recommended The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies.

I am grateful for my neighbor’s advice. This is one of my favorite books of the year.

Rise of the Robots, Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future

by Martin Ford (2015)

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Martin Ford
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We all know that the jobless future is already here. Ford writes one of the best books on the subject. Indispensible for marketers and business strategists.

Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It

By Lawrence Lessig (2012)

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Lawrence Lessig
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Lawrence Lessig’s book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It examines how we have allowed our democracy to be co-opted by outside interests.

I began following Lessig in 2002 when he championed free software. I admired him because he studied philosophy and law and worked for two influential conservative judges while championing democracy and ethics.

You can read about Lawrence Lessig’s 2016 presidential run anywhere in the media and Wikipedia.

Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team, 4th Edition

By Alina Wheeler (2013)

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Alina Wheeler
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A few books worth rereading time and again include Alina Wheeler’s Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team, 4th Edition; always top of mind. I define, design and market authentic brands and businesses in my professional life and Wheeler’s insightful toolkit showcases best practices. Since a company’s brand is its most valuable asset, excerpts on brand clarity are always worth sharing with clients.

Living on a Dollar a Day: The Lives and Faces of the World’s Poor

By Thomas Nazario and Renée C. Byer (2014)

Related Information
The Forgotten International Foundation
Thomas Nazario
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Thomas Nazario and Renée C. Byer’s searing stories and groundbreaking photojournalism in Living on a Dollar a Day, The Lives and Faces of The World’s Poor will resonate until poverty is eradicated.

Since adding Tom Nazario’s book to my list of Best Books of 2014, Nazario has won the 2015 International Book Award for non-fiction narrative writing. Byer has accumulated awards for her work on this book including the following:

  • 1st Place Environmental Picture Story BOP NPPA
  • 1st Place Documentary Book, IPA (International Photography Awards)
  • World Understanding Award Finalist (Pictures of the Year International)
  • Moscow Foto Awards, HM Picture Story
  • Scripps Howard Photojournalism Award Finalist
  • International Book Awards Winner for Nonfiction Narrative Writing

Look for Nazario’s documentary by the same title to be released this fall.

The Forgotten International’s Mission is to develop programs that will
alleviate poverty and the suffering associated with poverty both in the
The United States and worldwide, in particular, that experienced
by women and children. Please support The Forgotten International.

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Sign-up for Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. My favorite non-profit foundation is The Forgotten International.


Here are my 15 BEST BOOKS OF 2014-15 beginning with Jim Signorelli’s brilliantly inventive StoryBranding 2.0 to America’s master writer Laura Brown and How To Write Anything: A Complete Guide; to Thomas Nazario and Renée C. Byer’s searing stories and groundbreaking photojournalism in Living on a Dollar a Day, The Lives and Faces of The World’s Poor; to Kellmereit and Obodovski’s account of The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things; to Marc Gobe’s Emotional Branding; to Joey Reiman’s The Story of Purpose: The Path to Creating a Brighter Brand, a Greater Company, and a Lasting Legacy; to Kent Calder’s Asia in Washington: Exploring the Penumbra of Transnational Power; to Paul Taylor’s The Next America; to Jaron Lanier’s Who Owns the Future? to Charlotte Beyer’s Wealth Management Unwrapped, to Blyth’s Zen and Zen Classics; and Noah Horowitz’s Art of the Deal: Contemporary Art in a Global Financial Market.

I recommend that you sign-up for Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. My favorite charity is The Forgotten International.

Please enjoy my 15 most current reads:

Al-Qaeda: From Global Network to Local Franchise (Rebels)

by Christina Hellmich (2012)

Related information:
Reading University, Faculty Directory

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Dr Hellmich is a specialist in the Middle East politics (especially Yemen and the Arab Gulf) with a particular research interest in Political Islam, International Security and Global Health. During fieldwork in Iraq and the Yemen she has conducted extensive research into the role of Islamic preaching in the process of radicalization as well as gender relations and women’s health. Her recent work examined the contested nature of Al-Qaeda and changing notions of the Pan-Islamic ideal.

Art of the Deal: Contemporary Art in a Global Financial Market

by Noah Horowitz (2014)


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Horowitz exposes the inner workings of the contemporary art market, explaining how this unique economy came to be, how it works, and where it’s headed.

Asia in Washington: Exploring the Penumbra of Transnational Power

by Kent E. Calder (2014)

Related information:
Johns Hopkins Faculty Directory

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In Asia in Washington, longtime Asia analyst Kent Calder examines the concept of “global city” in the context of international affairs. The term typically has been used in an economic context, referring to centers of international finance and commerce such as New York, Tokyo, and London. But Calder extends the concept to political centers as well—particularly in this case, Washington, D.C.

Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People

by Marc Gobe (2010)

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Emotional Branding explores how effective consumer interaction needs to be about senses and feelings, emotions and sentiments. Not unlike the Greek culture that used philosophy, poetry, music, and the art of discussion and debate to stimulate the imagination, the concept of emotional branding establishes the forum in which people can convene and push the limits of their creativity.

How the Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class

by John Hope Bryant (2014)


Related information:
Operation HOPE

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Business and political leaders are ignoring the one force that could truly re-energize the stalled American economy: the poor.

How to Write Anything: A Complete Guide

by Laura Brown (2014)


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Grounded in a common-sense approach, friendly and supportive, How to Write Anything is Internet-savvy, with advice throughout about choosing the most appropriate medium for your message: e-mail or pen and paper. At once a how-to, a reference book, and a pioneering guide for writing in a changing world, this is the only writing resource you’ll ever need.

Living on a Dollar a Day, The Lives and Faces of The World’s Poor

by Thomas A. Nazario and Renée C. Byer (2014)

Thomas A. Nazario:
Foundation Website
Personal Website

Renée C. Byer:

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Living on a Dollar a Day shares the personal stories of some these poorest of the poor, honoring their lives, their struggles, and encouraging action in those who can help. In making this beautiful and moving book a team traveled to four continents, took thousands of photographs, conducted numerous interviews, and researched information on the agencies around the world that strive to help the destitute.

StoryBranding 2.0 (Second edition) Creating Stand-Out Brands Through the Purpose of Story

by Jim Signorelli (2014)


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StoryBranding 2.0 is an innovative approach to marketing’s biggest challenges, making it an indispensable book for professionals, academics, and beginners alike.

The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown

by Paul Taylor (2014)

Related information:
Pew Research

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Drawing on Pew Research Center’s extensive archive of public opinion surveys and demographic data, The Next America is a rich portrait of where we are as a nation and where we’re headed—toward a future marked by the most striking social, racial, and economic shifts the country has seen in a century.

The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things

by Daniel Kellmereit and Daniel Obodovski (2013)

Daniel Kellmereit

Daniel Obodovski

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing Internet infrastructure. These devices are will usher-in automation in nearly all fields. The Silent Intelligence identifies and explores the ecosystem of Connected Cities, Connected Homes, Connected Health and Connected Cars.

The Story of Purpose: The Path to Creating a Brighter Brand, a Greater Company, and a Lasting Legacy

by Joey Reiman (2012)


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A proven methodology for building a purpose-powered organization
Some ideas are bigger than others, and the Master Idea—your company’s purpose—is the biggest. Whether addressing communication between leadership and associates, suppliers to manufacturers, sales force to customers, or brand to consumers, The Story of Purpose details a proven methodology for businesses, small to large, how to build a purpose-inspired organization to positively impact employees, customers, and the bottom line.

The Taliban Revival: Violence and Extremism on the Pakistan-Afghanistan Frontier

by Hassan Abbas (2014)


Related information
School webpage

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Abbas traces the roots of religious extremism in the area and analyzes the Taliban’s support base within Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. In addition, he explores the roles that Western policies and military decision making— not to mention corruption and incompetence in Kabul—have played in enabling the Taliban’s resurgence.

Wealth Management Unwrapped

by Charlotte B. Beyer (2014)


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In her new book, Wall Street veteran and Institute for Private Investors (IPI) founder Charlotte Beyer sheds light on the complex wealth management industry, outlines the responsibility that all investors have as ‘CEOs’ of their own wealth, and equips them with the tools to effectively manage their money.

Who Owns the Future?

by Jaron Lanier (2014)

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Jaron Lanier is the father of virtual reality and one of the world’s most brilliant thinkers. Who Owns the Future? is his visionary reckoning with the most urgent economic and social trend of our age: the poisonous concentration of money and power in our digital networks.

Zen and Zen Classics, Vol. 5: Twenty-Four Zen Essays

by R. H. Blyth (1966)

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This 5th volume of the series on Zen is a step forward in the direction of a universal Zen, a Zen which will include Chinese and Japanese Zen, and not omit that of Christian and Islamic mysticism, of Dante, Eckhart, Wordsworth, and Thoreau.

Click here to nominate your Book of the Year 2014.

Author of Living on A Dollar A Day, The Lives and Faces of the World’s Poor and Founder of The Forgotten International

My new interview series, REMARKABLE PEOPLE 2014 includes experts in technology, the arts, well-being and social good. It is an exciting group of creative thought leaders and enlightened personalities. Some are extraordinary examples of social responsibility; others are creating game changing paradigm shifts in their market segments.

I am extremely pleased to include Thomas A. Nazario, an attorney and advocate for the world’s poor and forgotten, particularly women and children.

Profile: Thomas A. Nazario is a professor of Law at the University of San Francisco and the president and founder of The Forgotten International, a non-profit organization that provides poverty alleviation throughout the globe. Nazario’s expertise in children’s rights has led him all over the world documenting children’s rights violations.

Thomas Nazario is the author of Living on A Dollar A Day, The Lives and Faces of the World’s Poor, the first genuinely comprehensive portrait of unimaginable poverty and suffering that also bears witness to the human spirit. His book will surely change your life from the minute you turn the first page. I can say that your compassion and resolve will change completely.

He writes about often overlooked communities around the world and helps us discover how we are far more alike than different. Living on a Dollar a Day is about our shared human condition, and Nazario reminds us that we must all continually pull together and care about one another, regardless of whether we seemingly inhabit different worlds.”

Mary Olson: How have your views changed as you look back on your experience?

Thomas A. Nazario: When I was young, I thought it was easy for people to grow and change, but as I have grown older and looked back on the people I have met and the experiences I have had, I have come to realize that people don’t change that much, at least in their character and in the way they approach life. I once told a friend this, and after she objected vehemently, I conceded that maybe people change up to 40%., but not much more than that, unless an epiphany comes their way, and that doesn’t happen too often because most of us lead quite sheltered lives.

I have often thought that it would be great to change people over the course of their life. To make good people out of bad, generous people out of the stingy, and peaceful loving people out of the hateful and violent, but somehow, either at birth or shortly thereafter, possibly through experiences that people have when they are young, too many of us get stuck in our ways. Of course that is fine if you are born to be a sweet and loving person. I have run into children who seem to have been born angels, and as I watched them grow, they usually remain so, and I think the same can be said about children who are quite difficult and mean spirited.

That isn’t to say that nothing can be done to help us all be better people. In fact, I spend quite a bit of my time trying to encourage people to be the best they can be, I am just suggesting that it is by no means an easy task, and I have yet to find the key that will open the hearts of so many of us to the love and compassion this world desperately needs.

MO: How do you see the way the world is emerging?

TN: Although I spend a lot of my time thinking about the problems confronting the world today and those we will face in the near future, I am actually optimistic. I am optimistic despite the fact that I am constantly hearing about wars in the Middle East, starvation and disease in Africa, poverty and exploitation in Asia, and of course, global warming affecting all of us. On top of this, I am very worried about the fact that the young people, who are likely going to be inheriting many of these woes, seem to be spending too much time on their Facebook or playing video games or texting friends or shopping. Nevertheless, the 20th Century was filled with great wars, millions upon millions of deaths, and poverty that was even worse than the poverty that exists today. So when comparing these two centuries, so far it looks like we are doing better, and as long as we continue to teach our children well, make medical and scientific advances, limit population growth, and try to put aside our differences to focus on the challenges before us, this world stands a chance. For now I will put my money on that.

MO: What are your thoughts as you look forward?

TN: Let me answer this question in a personal way. I have just turned 65, and although some people think about retiring at this age, I am simply not ready for that yet. The truth is that there is too much work to do, and at least with regards to the work I do, it has all been quite rewarding. I can’t see myself spending the rest of my life playing golf or traveling to scenic places around the world, and not continuing to do more to make the world a better place. I believe such work enriches people’s lives and brings meaning to a life well lived. My foundation, The Forgotten International, encompasses much of the work I do these days. The foundation works to alleviate poverty in several countries around the world, and in that regard also helps to relieve suffering, particularly that experienced by women and children ( For me there could be no greater effort. So I will continue to do this work until I cannot do it any longer. Please feel free to visit us on the web and contact me. Also please consider exploring a book we just published about the world’s poor. It’s called Living on a Dollar a Day. It is intended to introduce many of us to people who have long been forgotten and are in need of help. So if you are considering some mission for yourself in life, please give some thought to at least spending a portion of your time helping those around the world who have so little and suffer so much. You will find that you will receive far more than you give in return.


Summertime reading is usually not about building brand value and creating new business equity based on caring for people. However, I’d like to add a book to your reading list, Living on a Dollar a Day, The Lives and Faces of the World’s Poor, by Thomas A. Nazario.

I had an OMG moment when Nazario’s book arrived today.

I can speak to one of the most exceptional CSR brand models, Sumitomo Chemical to bring you closer to Nazario’s work. Sumitomo Chemical’s Group Companies of the Americas is based on an authentic business model that seamlessly incorporates 100 years of corporate responsibility into its commitment for a better tomorrow. Just use your imagination to connect the dots with Thomas Nazario.

Throughout my career, I have created global digital businesses and brands not only to drive wealth, but I am increasingly focused on creating business models that care about people as one of the primary ROI factors.

What do I think about the future of branding? Doing good is good for business. Nazario will lead you in the right direction. Just consider the options for increasing the long-term value of your brand.

Learn more about Thomas Nazario and purchase copies of his book for your Board and C-suite executives. Don’t hesitate to engage his foundation, The Forgotten International.

As the 14th DALI LAMA writes in Nazario’s book, “Unfairness in the human condition can only be remedied when people everywhere care.”