My father used to tell me that there are three main factors that contribute to developing the person that you become:
What you read.
What you eat.
Who you spend time with.
I really took that advice to heart, especially when it comes to what I read. Reading positive material is one of those things that I know I should be doing consistently but I often find myself getting off track for days and even weeks at times. There are stretches of time when I can’t wait until tomorrow to continue a book that is really inspiring and other times when it’s almost painful to pick one up.
If you’re like me, then here are some quick tips to staying more consistent with your reading.
Get an Early Start
It’s easier to maintain your reading schedule if it’s one of the first things that you do you when wake up. Reading something positive before you begin the day will absolutely have an impact on what you are able to accomplish
Your brain will be more alert as you begin the day’s tasks and you will simply feel better about yourself.
The most critical time to stay consistent with reading is right after your finish a book. Having at least the next one planned out (i.e. already purchased and in your possession) makes you more likely to want to begin immediately.
Utilize the Margins
Highlight parts that speak to you and make notes on the pages to review later. You usually don’t get everything out of a book until you think about what you’ve read and, more importantly, think about how you will apply what you’ve learned. I use a highlighter with built-in tabs to easily mark pages that I want to revisit later. As a result, books that I’ve read essentially become reference materials.
Share What You Read With Others
Explaining the main concepts that you are learning will excite you and help solidify them in your brain. You will feel good about influencing other people positively and this will increase your desire to continue reading.
Ask Others What They Read
I get at least 80% of my reading material from talking to other people or from books that are mentioned in a book that I am already reading. Identify successful people that you admire and find out what they’re reading or what books they recommend. This will connect the act of reading to becoming the person that you want to become and that will help motivate you to read more and more.
Now, with that in mind, I wanted to share some of the best books that I read this year.
Main Topic: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization
Synopsis: The book describes five stages of the development of a “tribe.” Tribes are groups of between 20 and 150 people that are considered a living, breathing organism that is influenced by the way people feel about their interactions with each other and thus their purpose of existing together. The effectiveness of each tribe can be identified by listening to the “common language” that is used amongst members in their daily interactions.
The five stages:
Stage One = Life sucks.
Stage Two = Life sucks.
Stage Three = I’m great.
Stage Four = We are great.
Stage Five = Life is great.
The authors explore examples of organizations at each stage and dissect the details of what is contributing to the identity of that tribe.
Why I Recommend This Book: This is the BEST material I have read on how to build the right culture within a company. It’s one of those reads that will have you thinking “oh man I am SOOOOO stage three right now!” and opens your eyes to what is really happening in your world. The impact of sharing this book with your team is immediate and it will re-energize your overall purpose.
Main Topic: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others
Synopsis: Daniel Pink methodically proves that everyone is “in sales” whether they think/know so or not. In doing so, he redefines what being a salesperson really means as it relates to the psychology behind why human beings make decisions and how to actually have an influence on that process. He specifically challenges the “ABCs” of sales by transitioning from “Always Be Closing” to “Attunement, Buoyancy, Clarity.”
Attunement = the ability to bring one’s actions and outlook into harmony with other people and with the context you’re in
Buoyancy = how to stay afloat amid the ocean of rejection
Clarity = the capacity to help others see their situations in fresh and more revealing ways and to identify problems they didn’t realize they had
Why I Recommend This Book: I felt like I was writing this book as I was reading it (minus the prolific writing skills, of course!) because it was so in line with our core beliefs with regard to the psychology of selling. Pink is the best I’ve ever seen in providing legitimate evidence to sales concepts that are based on emotion rather than logic. Simply put, he gets it and this book will build your confidence that there truly is a science to improving your ability to sell anything to anyone.
Main Topic: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure
Synopsis: If you haven’t ever read Grant Cardone then this book is going to feel very in your face. This book is almost like rehab for not being the best version of yourself personally and professionally. There are plenty of practical concepts (like the “four degrees of action”) accompanied by real life examples to prove that your dreams and aspirations are possible. All of them hinge on the belief that “in order to get to the next level of whatever you’re doing, you must think and act in a wildly different way than you previously have been.”
The Four Degrees of Action
Take normal levels of action
Take massive levels of action
Why I Recommend This Book: Grant Cardone is a completely unreasonable person in terms of how much he believes he can accomplish. Reading this book will cause you to realize that you’re not thinking big enough right now about how far you and your business can go. There are times when you may even feel silly based on what you begin to dream about. Don’t stop! If you aren’t in business to achieve more than you’ve ever dreamed of then you won’t be fulfilled.
Main Topic: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
Synopsis: The authors do a deep analysis of thousands of salespeople to uncover “the secret” between top producers and what is average. Their research indicates that there are five profiles of salespeople in every organization. The purpose of the book is to debunk the myth that sales is “all about relationships” as well as to provide practical methods of identifying the type of salespeople you are dealing with, developing those salespeople to perform at their maximum capacity, and building healthy organizations that thrive. In short, the critical difference between top producers and everyone else is that they challenge the thinking of their prospects in such a way that positions them as the ultimate resource for that prospect’s needs to be successful. Thus, the sales conversations become less about whether or not someone is going to buy and more about how that salesperson is going to provide outcomes that may not have even been considered previously.
The Five Profiles
The Hard Worker
The Relationship Builder
The Lone Wolf
The Reactive Problem Solver
The Three Ts that define the ability of a Challenger
Why I Recommend This Book: Most sales or business people have heard of this book because it is extremely important. As prospects have more and more access to their own information, the importance of salespeople has diminished in the eyes of many. However, the new “problem” for prospects is not in finding solutions, it is in understanding what their problems are. The notion of “challenging” them to truly understand what it is that they need is a core tenet of what we teach our clients in the sales cycle. If you are looking to hire new salespeople, to develop the team that you currently have, or to do both then this book will be of more value to you than any personality test you could find. The concepts will also help you improve your sales playbook and specifically the types of conversations that your team is having with prospects and customers.
Main Topic: How Performance Analytics Delivers Extraordinary Sales Results
Synopsis: This book is organized as a fictional story with each chapter followed by an analysis and conclusion of what transpired. It defines four types of analytics that you can track and analyze in your organization. The main concepts will teach you to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) and provide a framework for how to track them appropriately. The dialogue in the story will walk you through why tracking data is so important, how to appropriately verify if data points are accurate and relevant, and how to get your team on board with the whole process. Business is an extremely competitive landscape and Data Driven provides the playbook for how you gain an edge by “taking smarter actions and predicting” outcomes.
Four Types of Analytics
Why I Recommend This Book: “Data” can sound like such a boring word to most salespeople because they don’t truly understand how data can improve their performance. Tracking and analyzing data is the same thing as watching game film (we should put a link here to the post that makes sports analogies) in sports. I normally don’t prefer business books that have a fictional story in them but this one is an exception because I am not naturally a data-minded person. We have implemented the lessons from Data Driven in ALL of our projects and it has become critical in achieving our objectives with clients. There is nothing more powerful than truly understanding why you will or will not achieve the goals that you have set for your organization.