July 21st 2014

Enlightening Moments. Living Beyond the Frustration Cycle. Gary & Radha Bello

I'm Waiting. Fading. Floating Away.

Enlightening Moments. Living Beyond the Frustration Cycle. Gary & Radha Bello. 2011. ISBN  9780615526621.  I was introduced to Gary and his work by a mutual friend. After sitting with them for a few hours I was very intrigued by his views on life and living. Our meeting had to do with the present interest in Mindfulness in home and workplace. Gary has been helping people become more aware his whole life.  And Mindfulness is seeking to become more aware.  After our meeting Gary presented me with this book. It took me awhile to get to the thin but powerful book but I am glad I did. First he helped me see the difference between between aware of a situation vs reacting to it. Awareness allows you to surf the wave of the situation and come though it in a state of control and well being. Reacting leads to frustration, distracting and issue related behaviors.  Most of us are reacting. And let me say reacting does not work.  I also appreciated his weaving in of mediation and reflection in small doses/activities that really worked for me.  I am passing this book onto my sons as I feel it will be very valuable to them as much as it was to me.

July 15th 2014

The Smartest Kids in The World . and how they got that way. Amanda Ripley

English: Two pupils wearing the uniform of Ken...

The Smartest Kids in The World . and how they got that way. Amanda Ripley. 2013. ISBN 9781451654424.  The author ( a journalist)  became interested in this subject when she found that the US   elementary and high school students were not improving their academic scores at all over 40 years of different initiatives, whereas  countries like Finland, Poland, Korea and Canada made dramatic improvements. Also in the countries with the better results, the  business world is blossoming The insult to injury point was that the US is the second highest spender on education in the world.  How can this be?

A recent Macleans article  was titled The Dumbing Down of Education. Yet US high school students already are often graduated with inadequate skills to be useful citizens. How does this happen was her question? so she traveled to S Korea, Poland and Finland to talk with and observe students. The observations will impress you.

Its not because these countries have the best and most technology in the classrooms, just the opposite.  Its not due to a very regimented top down system – students have more choice in  these countries and are not always in school with only a focus on the 3Rs.  ( In the US math scores are decline steadily). They actually have free time.

Its not because the arts are downplayed to the sciences . Again the reverse is true, students obtain a well rounded eductionIt is true that these countries have very high admission requireemnts for teaching schools and often require the teachers to obtain a masters degree before teaching.  The teaching  schools have high standards and thus do not train way more teachers than they need.  And they pay teachers quite a high scale – often near that of a doctor.   So these countries attract and keep the best teachers – who can challenge students in the classroom

From Kindergarten on,  school is deemed very important with parents involved with their children mostly in the early years and much special education  available  so no student gets left behind.  Sports takes a decided back seat to none at all.

Prior to school leaving there is a very long and comprehensive high school graduation test that students must take to move onto other education.  In Finland it is over 5 days. In Korea it is over 2 days.  And they are serious tests.  You fail you can take it again next year. Full stop.

You will enjoy this book and if you have children it will give you lots to think about.

July 8th 2014

Soccernomics. Why England loses, Why Spain, Germany and Brazil win, Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski.

Cover of "Soccernomics: Why England Loses...

Soccernomics.  Why England loses, Why Spain, Germany and Brazil win, Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski. 2014. This is Freakonomics for soccer an updated edition by experts in the field.  How data analytics are driving soccer  forward toward a high skill, high strategy game, leaving  Canada, Africa, and England a bit behind.  The authors trace the impact of strategists and statisticians as well as the Dutch total soccer movement.  They look at all facets of soccer all over the world and pick Iran and the US as ones to watch , depending on what they do after the World Cup.  The impact of a World Cup on a country is surprising ( Its really a big party so everyone feels good – pretty poor Roi). A fascinating and insightful yet easy to read book.  You will learn a lot.

July 7th 2014

Unlimited Sales Success. 12 simple steps for selling more than you ever thought possible. Brian Tracy and Michael Tracy

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Unlimited Sales Success. 12 simple steps for selling more than you ever thought possible. Brian Tracy and Michael Tracy. 2014. ISBN ISBN  9780814433249.  Michael is the godfather of sales training , as well as being a self made millionaire in the field. If you ever needed an all–in-one sales book for the neophyte and the expert I recommend this book . He has such a clear easy going writing style that he draws you into the content.  Everything he talks about makes so much sense.  This is a book to read and reread, drawing the timeless ideas out to savour.  On top of this, he had made it really relevant to today’s sales challenges.

June 30th 2014

Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again. Selecting candidates who are absolutely driven to succeed. Dr Christopher Croner & Richard Abraham.

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Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again. Selecting candidates who are absolutely driven to succeed.  Dr Christopher Croner & Richard Abraham. 2014.  ISBN 9780974199610. I admit it,  I am an engineer and during my career I have been drawn to logic and  measurement tools that help in the sales and marketing process.  I have always rejected that it is an Art and you can rely on your gut for making hiring decisions. And  finally here is a book that provides insight and tools  to address the hiring process, backed up by significant research.   The A performers have drive ( a combination of competitiveness, a need for recognition and optimism) . These authors have sussed out how to identify the indicators of drive and incorporate it  into your hiring process.  A tool for every sales manager and entrepreneur to read and have handy. This is an excellent addition to the sales managers toolkit.  But you have to use it. I appreciate that it is short and snappily written so that any sales manager can get up to speed quickly.  Best advocacy of the importance of an industrial psychologist I have read.


June 20th 2014

When Buyers Say No. Essential Strategies for Keeping a Sale Moving Forward Tom Hopkins & Ben Katt.


When Buyers Say No. Essential Strategies for Keeping a Sale Moving Forward  Tom Hopkins & Ben Katt.2014. ISBN 9781455550593.  The authors are very seasoned sales trainers and it shows in the text.  The first chapter sets quite a task ahead in meeting the buyer who says no.  The next nine chapters provide a good review of  decent sales tactics which should almost eliminate the no. At Chapter 11 and on they get back to addressing the client who says no and provide real and useful tactics to meet all the questions you get at this stage and at  closing and the inevitable negotiations.  Decent notes on value as well . Any salesman can see themselves in these situations and will learn something from it.
The big takeaway for me with this book is that it equips buyers with key tactics to improve their sales success rate at a really critical point of the sale. This helps with building up their optimism to making each sale , one of the three attributes  of sales success (along with competitiveness and need for achievement) which all together some call drive. Having these tactics brings more control back to the salesperson which is also really important to sales persons self worth. As a sales tactics book it is as good as many that are out there.

Where it falls down is the lack of acknowledgement of the buyers process today and how sales can reduce the no’s by eliminating many more client issues before getting into  all the detail.  I see the use of this book with the weak middle of your sales team who just will not adapt to more modern methods or can not.

June 16th 2014

How to Get Your Competition Fired. ( without saying anything bad about them) Randy Schwantz.

Cover of "How to Get Your Competition Fir...

How to Get Your Competition Fired.  Randy Schwantz. 2005. ISBN 0471703117. A client recommended this book and I am pleased he did. The author really nails the challenge of moving an incumbent out of the picture. Coupled with the books on Insight Selling, Agile Selling and so on this makes it a full meal deal. Pre call research on the target is emphasized and Schwantz stresses the need to do pre call research on the incumbent.  Then he lays out a very comprehensive program of questions and responses to bring the prospect into a fuller awareness of what you do differently.  Very valuable book for sales leaders and top producers whether you are a shop of one or hundreds of salespeople.  Great one way read to across the country.

June 13th 2014

Brain Gain. How innovative cities create job growth in an age of disruption. Robt. Bell, John Jung & Louis Zacharilla

2008 Digital Cities Convention Taoyuan: John G...

Brain Gain. How innovative cities create job growth in an age of disruption. Robt. Bell, John Jung & Louis Zacharilla. 2014. ISBN 9781499228021. The third (and latest)  “theme” book from the Intelligent Community Forum  ( www.intelligentcommunity.org). This tackle how cities can support innovation and it is a big topic that is done quite well in a concise readable  manner.  I am always surprised when three authors can put together a well structured  book like this.  If you are in a community/city/state/country that understands the challenge of meeting the Broadband economy head on then the ICF books are very valuable to you. I enjoy reading the stories about cities that are figuring this out and how their survival/growth contrasts so sharply with ones that do not.   I also appreciate that the authors take the time to fully  debunk the various myths that abound in the popular press wrto growth, outsourcing, automation, occupy wall street and many more.

June 9th 2014

I Suck at Girls Jason Halpen.

TV Shows We Used To Watch - 1964-2006 BBC Top ...

I Suck at Girls Jason Halpen. 2014.  This is the author who leveraged a twitter feed of “stuff my Dad says” into a book and a brief TV series. Tthis book is the basis of a new series , “Surviving Jack” and it is an amusing tale of a young mans “growing up” under the “help” of a father with his own type of tough love. A quick read,  it has some funny moments and amusing twists.

June 6th 2014

Insight Selling. Surprising Research on what sales winners do differently. Mike Schutz & John Doerr


Insight Selling. Surprising Research on what sales winners do differently. Mike Schultz & John Doerr. 2014 . From the experts at RAIN Selling comes a book that is timely, current and essential. It is the result of asking a simple question. “In a world were some sellers are successful and many are not, what do the successful ones do better? ” The genius lay in who the questions were directed to?  Not sellers but the buyers. Not surprisingly, the answers can differ from many of the “sales books” previously written by successful sales people .  This puts  Shultz and Doerr againin the forefront of effective sales thinking and training. Reading this immediately after Jill Konrath‘s “Agile Selling ‘ and Linda Richardson’s “Changing the Sales Conversation” made this a perfect trifecta of innovative sales books.  Its simple – Sales leader sell insight  into the buyers business. The sales conversation and the sales person are often the deal maker , not the product.  Buyers appreciate salespeople who:

  1. Educate me with new ideas and perspectives
  2. Collaborate with me
  3. Persuade me we would achieve results
  4. Listened to me
  5. Understood my needs
  6. Helped me avoid potential pitfalls
  7. Crafted a compelling solution
  8. Depicted purchasing process accurately
  9. Connected with me personally
  10. Overall value from company is superior to other options.

This is a book for sales leaders and high performing sales people to buy read and take to heart.  No pages are wasted so this makes a good coast to coast air flight read