Canadian Innovators that are crushing it offers book recommendations — Q4’17

We launched the CanInnovateh Podcast (now renamed to CanInnovate)at the end of October 2017. The intent of the podcast is to highlight Canadian innovators that are changing the game. We had some really interesting speakers, but what I found more fascinating are the books they recommended. Some of these books are oldies but goldies. Some of them are new and really innovative thinking.

I thought I would put this list together to share with everyone! Especially as winter months hit. Curl up with a good book, fireplace and hot chocolate?

We can always use some inspiration, especially from innovators that are currently crushing it! I’m sharing the books in order of the podcast episodes, not based on popularity. Would love to hear your thoughts!

1. Feel the Fear and Do it Anyways by Susan Jeffers

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffers

Dr. Ann Cavoukian mentioned this book and how she read it many moons ago. After all these years, this book still left a massive impression on her.

Dr. Ann Cavoukian is recognized as one of the world’s leading privacy expert. She’s consulted with Facebook, the European Union and many others on privacy. Her Privacy by Design Framework that has been become the international standard and has been translated into 39 languages. ( So, hearing about a book that still resonates with her after all these years, is a definite worthwhile read. I’ve also been noticing lately, that there has been a few mid-twenty somethings from the UK, sharing this book on Instagram as a brilliant read.

2. Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Doneby Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan

Execution — The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan

Jake Phillips, one of the co-founders of Elastic Thinking highly recommended this book. In fact, he was suggesting that this is a book that should be introduced in high-school curriculums. It really provides a solid framework of how to get things fully executed with accountability and full transparency . It’s interesting to note that this book again, is an oldie but a goodie. If you look on Amazon it pairs it with Good to Great by Jim Collins (also on the list below).

3. Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Yves Le Goff, the other Elastic Thinking co-founder recommends this book. He couldn’t stop raving about this book and even mentions how he’s addicted to the Freakonomics podcast! This book provides a different way of thinking. Which is always a great thing, especially as it may inspire some creativity in our own lives, businesses and careers. Both, Yves and Jake also recommend a few other great reads. The Lean Start up by Eric Ries is on the list, along with Theory of Constraints by Eliyahu Goldratt. Both excellent reads especially for those in start-ups.

4. Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Without Losing your Humanity by Kim Scott

Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Ray Kanani, (raykanani) a serial entrepreneur and the founder of Coffee’s on Me ( highly recommended this book. A must read for those that want to be a better boss and a better colleague. I probably should’ve released this list in time for the holidays, so that you could’ve bought this book for your Secret Santa gifts! I got a chance to read this book and I have to tell you that the stories are hilarious! This book actually also crept up in the episode 06 recording with Rob Catalano from WorkTango ( Lots of valuable insights.

5. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

This book was highly recommended by Marc LaFleur from TruLocal ( He was sharing how this book is a must for anyone in the services industry. This book has been recommended a few times, but more importantly. When I was in the waiting area at Planswell.. guess what book was proudly sitting there? Yup… I even tweeted about it. You can hear Michael Wickware, Planswell CMO podcast here ( It’s very insightful as he even chats about how he’s channelling Kevin O’Leary!

Planswell sitting area

6. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Ben Walters, one of the co-founders of the Feedback App recommends this great read. In this episode (, one can hear about how one of Ben’s best practices is how he meditates for a few minutes every day. He mentions that he sometimes hides in the WeWork phone booth to be able to clear his mind, regroup and refocus as he runs his start up. Which is getting some massive press. I read this book… The art of sitting still and clearing your mind. In fact, I still practice this indirectly every day. Just silencing the mind to hear your inner thoughts and fears. That way you can let them surface and conquer them. For anyone going through the imposter syndrome, I highly recommend this book too. Ben also recommends Wherever you go, There you are: Mindful Mediation for Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn . So, if one of your new year’s resolutions is to practice mediation or mindfulness, here are two amazing reads!

7. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins

Good to Great by Jim Collins

This book was recommended by both Rob Catalano from WorkTango and Jake Phillips from Elastic Thinking. In fact, this book was also recommended as a great read by many business schools. It’s one of those books that you read and re-read throughout your career. There is so much valuable insights that no matter where you are in your life, you’ll always get some great value from it. It focuses on the secret ingredient that makes companies amazing…. spoiler alert — it’s the company’s culture. The fluffy stuff that is hard to measure but makes the world of a difference. It helps companies become more innovative, inventive and creative. All the employees are singing the same tune, motivated to make their place of employment something they can be proud of.

8. Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time by Bill McGowan & Alisa Bowman

Pitch Perfect by Bill McGowan & Alisa Bowman

Not to be mistaken with the movie! This is another recommendation from Ben Walters from the Feedback App. We all know the importance of being able to tell a story that really delivers a reaction. This is another must for any start-ups or those pitching for anything from job, promotion, presentations. I think I’m going to have to get this book as Ben won the WeWork Pitch competition!

9. Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business by Gino Wickman & Mark C. Winters

Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman & Mark Winters

Marc LaFleur, CEO of TruLocal highly recommends this book. He mentioned that this book was inspirational as it helped him gain clarity of the vision. He’s making a massive success for TruLocal as he’s redefining the traditional local butcher. Bringing us local butcher meats right to our door step. As Marc is going to be facing the Dragons on Dragon’s Den on Jan 18th, 2018, he knows what he’s talking about! This is going to be on my January reading list indeed. I’m dying to hear the verdict of what happens on the episode!:)


10. How We Can Win: And What Happens to Us and Our Country If We Don’t by Anthony Lacavera

How We Can Win by Anthony Lacavera

We had Anthony Lacavera on the podcast ( First, I was already a massive fan of Anthony back when he start Wind Mobile. Then this book hit the shelves and I was probably one of the 1st folks to buy this book. The folks at Penguin Random House was kind to send us two copies to give to the CanInnovate podcast listeners. Then I bought six copies and gave them as holiday gifts to my VC buddies, my dad and a colleague. It is such a great read about how we are perceived globally and what we need to do to be more competitive. This is one of the biggest reasons why I started this podcast (, was to change the perception and awareness. So, its no wonder that I became obsessed with this book!

11. How To Win Friends & Influence Them by Dale Carnegie

How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Matt Fernandez, the founder of Save with Sprout recommended this book. ( This book has been around for decades and was even a Woody Allen film. What is more impressive is how this book is still relevant today, even with the growth of social media. One needs to wonder.. Dale Carnegie provides six different rules. The last rule being (again.. spoiler alert “Make the other person feel important — and do it sincerely.”. Look how authenticity and transparency is growing in order for companies to connect with their markets. Still a magical book after all these years!

12. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
Matt Fernandez also passionately recommends this book. He talks about how Phil Knight put in every penny to make Nike happen. He truly believed in his vision. He openly shares his mistakes, his challenges and what he did to make magic happen! We all know how the Nike story turns out at the end, but do we know where it all began?


So, these are the recommendations from some the Canadian Innovators that are changing the game and conversation. 10 podcasts and 15 books highlighted. I hope you find something new to inspire you and your journey in 2018. We are all innovations in progress! I’ll try to put together a quarterly list. Would love to hear your thoughts and comments..