September 28th 2020

Master and Commander series. Patrick O’Brian.

Master and Commander series. Patrick O’Brian.   These books ( 21)  were written from 1969 to 2004.  The author focussed on the topics of Royal Navy sailing man of war during the era of the Napoleonic and US independence wars.    The series follows the career of Jack Aubrey – captain and his friend Stephen Maturin – Physician, naturalist and secret agent.   The details of sailing from England around the world, exploring, fighting and surviving are fascinating.  These sailors were intrepid, rugged and aggressive. One has to admire their abilities to overcome so much.  The author did a lot of research to align this series with real events.  Great tales, intrigues, plots and lots of action, with a major focus on men and their attitudes.  The books in the series are:

Master and Commander (1969)
Post Captain (1972)
HMS Surprise (1973)
The Mauritius Command (1977)
Desolation Island (1978)
The Fortune of War (1979)
The Surgeon’s Mate (1980)
The Ionian Mission (1981)
Treason’s Harbour (1983)
The Far Side of the World (1984)
The Reverse of the Medal (1986)
The Letter of Marque (1988)
The Thirteen-Gun Salute (1989)
The Nutmeg of Consolation (1991)
Clarissa Oakes (1992) – (The Truelove in the US)
The Wine-Dark Sea (1993)
The Commodore (1995)
The Yellow Admiral (1996)
The Hundred Days (1998)
Blue at the Mizzen (1999)
The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey (2004).

September 24th 2020

How to Sell In Place, Closing deals in the new normal. Tom Searcy & Carajane Moore

How to Sell In Place, Closing deals in the new normal. Tom Searcy & Carajane Moore. 2020.  These two have a history of selling very big sales without f2F meetings over the years ( Co = Hunt Big Sales).  This short book concisely and clearly lays out how they have done this. For the reader, this is a prescription of how to move forward in today’s new normal.   I appreciate and recognize the logic in this approach as it reflects what we have learned over the years in doing much the same.  The online resources are useful but the reader needs to do the hard work in making it apply to their business.  With the present two books on Virtual Selling ( Jeb Blount, The RAIN group)  this one is a good complement.

September 12th 2020

Virtual Selling. A quick start guide to leveraging video, technology and virtual communication channels to engage remote buyers and close deals fast. Jeb Blount.

Virtual Selling. A quick start guide to leveraging video, technology and virtual communication channels to engage remote buyers and close deals fast. Jeb Blount. 2020  Wiley. This book was getting quite a bit of good press so I asked Jeb for a review copy. It came a few days ago.  I have read several of Jeb’s very useful books and I like the work he does.  This book does not disappoint.  Part of good sales technique is being efficient (do the right things) and being effective ( do them at the right time)  Jeb covers both of these very well. His ideas and guides are very current and much of what we do with present clients is contained here. A bonus is the plethora of online resources available to buyers of the ebook.  This is very good value and the content is presented in an easy to assimilate and use style.   Buy this book, read it once and then read it again. get to work.  Your commissions will soar!.

September 10th 2020

Virtual Selling. How to build relationships, differentiate, and win sales remotely. Mike Schultz, David Shaby, Andy Springer

Virtual Selling. How to build relationships, differentiate, and win sales remotely. Mike Schultz, David Shaby, Andy Springer.  2020. ISBN 97817348839.  In a time of virtual selling along comes this  book from the RAIN group with very timely advice.  They are quite experienced in selling and as a consequence they do a very good job.  Plus there is a ton of related tools/content on their website to help sales managers implement.   I like how current their thinking is wrto sprints etc ( Agile in the sales process)  Quick , easy read but very dense with useful content.

September 4th 2020

The Robert Hunter series. Chris Carter

The Robert Hunter series. Chris Carter. 2013-2019.  Robert Hunter is the lead detective in the Ultra violent Crimes Homicide Unit in LA police.  The stories involve the sickest of the sick killers.  Hunter  is a genius at solving these things, But make no mistake, non of these stories will feature in a episode of Criminal Minds.   Carter has no delusions about the venality and cruelty of the general public and he exposes it relentlessly.   Despite the vivid portrayals of gruesome subject matter the stories are very fast paced and well constructed.  This makes each novel hard to put down.

I read:

  • The Hunter
  • The Crucifix Killer
  • Executioner
  • The Night Stalker
  • The Death Sculpter
  • One by One
  • An Evil Mind
  • The Caller

 

August 23rd 2020

Serve,Lead, Succeed! How servant leaders are reaching breakthrough sales. Max Cates

Serve,Lead, Succeed! How servant leaders are reaching breakthrough sales. Max Cates. 2020. ISBN 978-1-64718-615-9. I have a lot of time for books by this author.  This is the third book of his I reviewed and as ever, he is right on the front edge of sales leadership writing.  With the COVID pandemic I am working with many companies who are having a real struggle in this different marketplace.  WFH puts a traditional top down sales model out the window.   You need sales reps to be more independent, assertive and confident enough to take ownership of their success. I like the servant leadership model (Simon Sinak) and have been using it in our sales consulting practice.  Max’s book now gives me something to give to the sales leaders so they can recognize themselves and see how this approach will help them.  I really took my time with this book as it deserves a thoughtful read.  Could be a nominee for sales book of the year.   Buy it, read it and read it again.

August 11th 2020

The Witcher series. Andrzej Sapkowski,

The Witcher series ( 1-7) . Andrzej Sapkowski.  A Polish writer of sword and sorcery books, Sapkowski paints intense word pictures of other worlds that gently touch on ours.  There is a overriding arc to the stories which allows all the series to be brought together at the very end. Recurring characters, embedded stories and myths make the total more than each individual title. The titles are;   The last Wish, The Sword of Destiny, Blood of Elves, The Time of Contempt, Baptism of Fire, The Tower of Swallows, Lady of the Lake .

The books are full of action, and sympathetic characters.   Netflix has a TV series The Witcher.  There is a set of Witcher video games.

August 2nd 2020

Yellow Bird. Oil, murder and a woman’s search for justice in Indian Country. Sierra Crane Murdoch.

Yellow Bird. Oil, murder and a woman’s search for justice in Indian Country. Sierra Crane Murdoch. 2020. ISBN 9780399589157. This is why I like to read books by journalists, they can write.  The book is seemingly simple, one woman following and journaling the efforts of another to find justice.  But it is much more profound. In  these pages is likely one of the better illustrations of what it means to be Indian in North America. Plus an indictment of big oil in North Dakota.   The reader comes to  their own judgement in experiencing life along with the book’s characters.  The style is simple, and almost pedestrian as you follow the chronology.  But in this simplicity comes a slow compulsion to see how it all comes out.  Worth the read.

July 21st 2020

How Design Makes the World. Scott Berkun.

How Design Makes the World. Scott Berkun. 2020.  A journey into design literacy

The author poses  four powerful questions for us:

1. What are you trying to improve?
2. Who are you trying to improve it for?
3. How do you ensure you are successful?
4. Who might be hurt by your work, now or in the future?

In explaining design and the world around us he makes very telling and simple arguments.

What to ask of things you see around you:

What were they trying to improve?
Who were they trying to improve it for?
How successful were they?
What hidden constraints could explain its weaknesses?
Who were the powerful people who made these decisions?
Who paid for it?
Did people come first, or a technology, or an organization?
What message is the style sending to you? Who is included
or excluded from participating?
What systems is this design a part of?
Where in the natural world, or in another culture, might
there be a better solution for this problem?
Does this design create flow or conflict
What new problems does this design create if it’s
successful?
What are you going to do about all of this? (If in doubt,
start a conversation.)

 

Very useful book to anyone who designs and builds.

July 16th 2020

The End of October. Lawrence Wright

The End of October. Lawrence Wright. 2020.  A New York Times bestseller, this is a pandemic novel.  Closely paralleling the Covid-19 pandemic, this book offers a cataclysmic  view of when things all go wrong.  Take a pandemic with a 70% death rate, add in a Russian hack of all American power stations along with a major war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.  Makes for quite a doomsday novel.  Fast paced and timely its makes for an interesting albeit fatalistic read.