What I’ve Been Reading Lately…

I’m a bit of a cross media freak. Somehow, I end up getting a drumbeat about something I should read. Whether it’s messaging from TV, travel media, or a book suggested to me from a friend or colleague, I’m always looking to sink my teeth into something new.

But it’s not the literal suggestion that I link to, it’s about The Why I should read it. My ears are always open. It’s about what moves you. This is what I’ve been reading lately:

On the Edge: The Art of High Impact Leadership by Allison Levine

Allison Levine is a fascinating person who you wouldn’t imagine to be a rock climber. She gives advice about leadership through telling her tale of climbing Mt. Everest twice. Yes, twice. This is a powerful story: she didn’t make it all the way up the first time, but she made it home, then made it back out there to try again with success. But, the story wasn’t so much about persistence. In the book, Levine makes this clear: sheer desire plus lack of preparation is a deadly concoction.

We get caught up in whether or not we are passionate and motivated, but that’s not always enough. And neither is technique and ability. Getting results in a leadership position is about getting your nails dirty, and not ordering someone to do something that you wouldn’t do.

This is a compelling, earthy, gut-wrenching description of the illusions and the clichés put into building a firm. I found these analogies to not so much be about mountain climbing or anything physical–it’s about the emotional journey of leading a group of people, staying with them as the evolve, and accomplishing something that is challenging.

The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

I don’t often read books about sales anymore, but The Challenger Sale is chock full of disruptive thinking. It talks about why certain personalities are more capable of not just making sales, but developing accounts and providing sustainable, profitable revenue.

This book advises the reader to take control of the decision making process with a client, then tailor the manner in which you connect with the client and their decision making tree for resonance. This is a meaningful concept for me because resonance is linked to context, which is linked to all types of emotional intelligence issues. It’s what I see that most sales people just don’t get it.

Traditional selling is linear, with an emphasis on checking boxes off a list. Account building, however, is like a movie. There’s the initial setup, an understanding of the characters as they unfold, then there is a disruptive moment in the plot, a response to that disruption, and a recovery from that disruptive moment. This book goes into the disruption that takes place and is much more powerful that the average sales book.

Networking is Not Working: Stop Collecting Business Cards and Start Making Meaningful Connections by Derek Coburn

In this book, Derek Coburn has a simple message: stop collecting business cards like baseball cards.  It’s a very simple concept, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. We’ve all bought into this cliché that the more business cards we have, the more people we know, and the more work we have potential to land. This isn’t necessarily true.

We’ve been duped to think that volume is everything, but Coburn urges you to be strategic about finding people you can help and thoughtful about how you can help them, again and again. He argues that as how you create momentous impact within a network: when people catch on to how you’re grasping the subtlety of their needs and then looking for different aspects to meet them.

We buy into this collection of data about people. But going slower often makes you go faster. It’s a matter of taking the time to seek out the right people and forge meaningful, useful connections.

Have a book suggestion? Use the comment section to tell me what you’ve been reading lately.



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