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Category Archives: Books


For reference: Drive – The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us  by Dan Pink

I should really be an affiliate marketer since I like to tell people about stuff.  But I’m not… yet.

You know you want to…


Poke the Box.

Hey Jim, listen to this.


Everyone else, go buy Jim’s book, Attention: This Book Will Make You Money.

It just might.

I don’t even hire people, but I was completely captivated by the entire story that Phil Wrzesinski tells in his book “Hiring & The Potter’s Wheel: Turning Your Staff Into A Work of Art”.

Everyone wants to be on a ‘dream team’, where all the players are absolutely fantastic and everybody gets along.  But usually at work, ‘you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit’ (sorry, parent saying) which means that not everyone is perfect and you have to learn to deal with certain conflicting personalities.

That may still be true, but if you have the task of hiring, you certainly have a major influence on the overall character of your team, although it’s not as easy as just picking all your best friends.

First you have to start with the raw ingredients at the right amount and without impurities.  Phil’s detailed pottery analogy enables you to reach a deeper level of understanding about people and the process for bringing them on board.  Pottery is one of those subjects that everyone thinks they know something about but most don’t realize the specific intricacies involved in creating a quality piece of pottery.

Profound learning doesn’t require a lot of words, just the right ones.  And this book has them.  It’s small enough to sit and read during a lunch hour, yet deep enough to go back and study multiple times.  With 10 clearly laid out lessons, Phil packs powerful insight into a few pages.

Even if you don’t currently hire people, the lessons in this book provide basic principles that will help your interactions be more effective, no matter what you do.

Do you remember what a Linchpin is?

It’s a piece of hardware that keeps the wheels on.  Not on today’s cars, but on wagons many years ago.  Today, they keep all kinds of things together.  The linchpin has the highest usefulness to weight ratio of any other part.  Without one, your whole system falls apart.  It’s indispensable.

And that’s exactly what Seth Godin says you can be.

Quoted as being his “most important work ever” Seth’s latest book, Linchpin, cuts straight to the core of where making change happens: inside each individual’s brain and their ability to choose.

“This time it’s personal” he says.  Not personal for him (although it is very much so) but personal for you.  He wants you to make a personal choice.  He wants you to choose to make a difference.

When we understand that a simple decision is all that is necessary to get started, it doesn’t seem too far out of reach.  And when we believe the fact that we all have a little genius in us, capable of looking at something that others are stuck on and getting them unstuck, then we can begin to create our art – the thing that only we can do, that changes other people for the better.

I experienced linchpin-like change when I ignored my lizard brain that tries to keep me safe and in the status quo, and traveled to New York for Seth’s launch presentation of this book and to meet members of his online community that he created for his previous book, Tribes. It was a remarkable experience that needs a separate post.

Right now, I just want to say that this work of art from Seth is so packed with powerful concepts that it’s going to take a few readings and underlining to help me really understand and apply it effectively.  From my first read-through I know that I need to develop the skills of becoming indispensable to those around me. 

For me, more studying is necessary because he doesn’t provide a map, he doesn’t tell you how to do it.  He only explains the skills, abilities, and characteristics of a linchpin, and why they are so critical in today’s environment.   Without the map, the easy ‘how to’ answers, Seth makes attaining linchpin status more meaningful.  It takes real work to develop those abilities (for those who don’t already have them), but Seth makes a great case for why it is worth it.

I hope I’ve made the case for why you should read the book.

You may not have the same anticipation or excitement as I did in this video, but it makes the book so much better if you do.

 http://www.triiibes.com/video/anticipation-1#

You may have seen, a few posts ago, where I mentioned the free ebook put together by Seth Godin called What Matters Now.

Well, what matters now is that you buy the paperback version created by Triiibes Press.

One reaon is that all proceeds go to Room to Read a worthwhile charity that builds schools and libraries in third world countries.

Another reason is because the paperback version is the first book created by Triiibes Press, an entity conceived by a few members of Seth Godin’s online community (of which I am a member).  And you just may be seeing more amazing things being published in the future by Triiibes Press.

Why?  Because this community is the most remarkable set of individuals gathered together in one space that I know of.  They consist of a plethora of professions and skills, and span the globe, from Australia, the Canary Islands, to London and Slovenia.  They are so remarkable that I am traveling to New York next week to meet many of them in person.

Of course, many of us are also going there to see Seth’s new book release event, The Linchpin Session, but since we have a good reason to be there, we decided to plan a Triiibes conference also.  This is serious networking.

You wait and see.  Mark my words.  (I always wanted to say that.)  There will be some big things coming out of this loose organization of committed volunteers.  Because they are the kind of people who want to change the world.

Don’t you?

Let me know if you want to join us and I’ll see what I can do to get you in.

Do you think there are a lot of people looking for a job these days?

There’s a better way to find one.

Do you want to have confidence in doing what you love?

There’s a way to make it happen.

My friend, Angela Lussier, did just that.  She decided to do something different, to break out on her own, to do what she was passionate about, and then write a book about it.

It’s called the Anti-Resume Revolution, and it’s an inspiring guide to getting and creating the rewarding career you want. 

This book is chock full of valuable information on a varietey of topics, from building a personal branding strategy to nailing the job interview, and from excelling during the first two weeks on the job to starting your own business.  But the real draw for me was Angela’s personal story and the stories of other everyday people who made things happen.  She weaved them masterfully throughout the book with a great sense of humor and in a way that kept me wanting more.   She was so authentic and open about how she felt during the the whole process that I felt as if I was experiencing this new adventure with her.

Angela definitely has talent and a drive to be unique and successful at whatever she does, but the down to earth way she shared her story made me feel like I could do something amazing like this too.  All it takes is a willingness to stand out, be a little different, and take some intiative to make your ideas happen.

She published the book herself using Lulu.com and even made an awesome video about how she did it.

What’s holding you back? 

Like the book’s mantra says: “Stop waiting.  Start creating.”

Well, he’s done it again.  Seth Godin has unleashed an idea virus.

People like him have tremendous clout and power because so many people follow his every move.  But he also is able to utilize his power effectively because he doesn’t abuse it.  He doesn’t ask people to do things very often.  Most of the time he is giving out things, like wisdom, helpful hints, big ideas, links to others’ big ideas, sharing stories of amazing people, and so on.  This builds his respect and increases the number of followers.

Then, when he decides to make a real splash, he launches a request to his fans, which then become his army.

Except this time, he’s not just promoting his own book , but he’s using a multiplier of 70 major thinkers who have huge followings themselves, to promote his book and to promote their material.

He has brought them all together to publish a free e-book called “What Matters Now” and has asked everyone to spread it, tweet it, blog about it, and share it (oh yeah, and read it.)

Seth has found a way to tap into millions of people by collaborating with many leaders.

Yeah, it may look like I’m just a follower, but there is so much to learn here.  And his message is that every one of us can be a leader.  That feels good.

So what are you waiting for?

Download the free .pdf: what-matters-now

One of my favorite bloggers, Chris Brogan, is releasing a new book, and I’m betting that it’ll be pretty good.  It hasn’t officially released yet (supposed to on August 24th) but it is already #30 on Amazon’s overall top seller list (passing up Twilight).  So a lot of other people think it’s going to be a good book too.

He doesn’t usually self promote, but on one day, yesterday, he made a big push.  Here’s his announcement:

http://www.chrisbrogan.com/the-big-push/

and here’s how to get the book:  http://bit.ly/buy-ta

I think his subject is going to be at the root of how things get done in the future – both online and off.

Trust me.  It’ll be good.

I’m your trust agent.

How can a person be completely devoted to a cause, committed to writing in his blog every day for instance, and then, in an instant, turn from his devotion to other interests?

Well, I don’t know for sure, but I’ve seen it done by other people in different areas of life and always wondered, “How can they do that?”  Now I know, or at least have a taste of what happens when a person turns from one thing to another, because I’ve experienced it myself. 

But I’ve experienced it many times, as probably you have too.  Whenever someone starts a diet and then doesn’t stick with it, or whenever a new workout routine is started and not continued.  People are constantly changing things about their life.

Instead of looking at these ups and downs of change during life as failures, I’ve learned to see them differently and take on a new perspective: they are all part of the normal terrain of life containing both peaks and valleys. 

Of course I gained this new perspective from a book (which is why I like books so much) with the same name: “Peaks and Valleys” by Spencer Johnson.  He was the author who wrote “Who Moved My Cheese?” which was very popular a few years ago and so has been read or heard of by almost everyone.  His latest book has a similar style, it is a short parable that teaches deep principles about life.  Another highly recommended book, because it is so quick and easy to read, yet it contains deep messages if you are looking for them.

For example, here are some of the main messages:

Peaks Are Moments When You Appreciate What You Have.

Valleys Are Moments When You Long For What Is Missing.

Peaks and valleys are not just the good and bad times that happpen to you, but they are also how you feel inside and respond to outside events.

The Path Out of The Valley Appears When You Choose To See Things Differently.

And since I’ve read the book, I am starting to see things differently.  So I must be on my way up to a peak.

Hope to see you there!

I finally found what I’m looking for.  This is my newest favorite blog, along with this one running a close second.

They’re about building communities, and more about the personal side of it than the technical side.  The posts are short and to the point and provide great insight.

It turns out that community building is now a whole new industry with many available jobs, consultants, books, and communities.  Who knew?

Of course I knew it was a hot topic and something that many people were talking about, but I never dug deep enough to find the actual experts on it.  And I still think I’ve just scratched the surface.

Call me naive or disconnected or out of the loop, but it’s still true: the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know.

The world is one big place, with a lot of stuff happening.  And just watching TV only makes you think you know what is happening.

A while ago I posted about a group I joined where we were getting our Personal MBA.  It amounts to reading a bunch of the latest business books and having discussions about them, even sometimes having the authors speak to us in an online forum.

Well, we’ve actually called our version the Alt-MBA (for Alternative) and have been going gangbusters.  We’ve picked our own list of 25 books that we’re reading in 25 weeks, and our only graduation requirement is that we have to teach someone else something we learned.

Now, I’ll admit, I haven’t been keeping up with reading every book (actually the first few were ones I’ve already read) but I’ve still learned a lot from the summary presentations and the discussions, and will be catching up by purchasing a few tomorrow.

So what I really wanted to share today is this latest book presentation on Citizen Marketers by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba.  The presentation is by Cassie Pruett and is best viewed in full screen mode. (She does an awesome job.)  Check it out, it’s only 22 slides and will take you 2 minutes.

By the way, all our presentations are located on SlideShare and all of our podcasts are on iTunes.  A good idea would have been for me to share these presentations once a week when they come out, but since I just thought of it, I’ll try and catch up (we’re only on week 7.)

Anyway, Citizen Marketers is a good one about the new influencers and how it’s all about the online community and (digital) word of mouth these days.

Now go tell someone about it.

What happens when you write a blog post every day for two months and then all of a sudden stop?

Well, both of your readers get upset.

Or, nobody notices.

I’m hoping the later.

But here’s something that might be interesting.

Seth Godin doesn’t promote too many books from other people, only when it’s something he completely believes in.  And let me tell you that Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of the Acumen Fund, is one of his favorite people.  So when she releases her first book, The Blue Sweater, you know he is going to promote it as best as he can.

Here is his explanation of why you should buy her book.  (I wouldn’t doubt that he is the anonymous donor.)

I think this is interesting because we’re learning how possible it really is to change the world.  Maybe because there are so many parts of the world that have a lot of room for improvement, and we’re able to more easily connect those who can help with those who need the help.

I’m guessing that is what The Blue Sweater is about since the subtitle is “Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World”.

That looks like a good book to own.  Plus, by buying it, you are doing your part to change the world.

There are lots of books and web sites and people who give advice on how to give good presentations.  And if you give presentations (who doesn’t) it’s probably a good idea to learn as much as you can.

But even though there may be timeless principles on presenting a message, I think you’ll find that there are some new ideas that are challenging some of the old ones that have been around a while.

Check out this great post I found recently from Chris Brogan .  It seems to match some of the other concepts I’ve heard from successful presenters lately.

For the interested student, other current masters of presentations are:

 

Learn something different and make your next presentation a smash hit.

Fear of failure is overrated.

You’re likely not going to get fired over trying something new and radical.  So it’s not really failure that people are afraid of, it’s blame, criticism.

This is another great topic that Seth Godin elaborates on in his book Tribes.

He says that we’re afraid to launch that new idea or product or presentation because we’re worried, deep down, that someone will hate it and call us on it.  “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!” “What a waste of money.” “Who’s responsible for this?”

Sometimes the criticism doesn’t have to be that obvious.  The fear of hearing “I’m surprised you launched this without doing more research” is enough to get many people to do a lot more research, to study something to death, and then kill it.  Hey, at least you didn’t get criticized.

Seth admits, getting a bad book review hurts his feelings, and it is about enough to ruin his day.  But it’s not enough.  It’s not enough to ruin his day because his book got noticed.   He realizes that a bad review is a badge of honor because it means that he confounded expectations – he did something worth remarking on.

So the challenge, as you contemplate your next opportunity to be boring or remarkable, is to answer these two questions:

1.  If I get criticized for this, will I suffer any measurable impact other than feeling bad about the criticism?  If so, how does that feeling compare with the benefits from actually doing something worth doing?  Being remarkable is exciting, fun, profitable, and great for your career.  Feeling bad wears off.  If you’ve decided to take the remarkable path, answer this one:

2.  How can I create something that critics will criticize?

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