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
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.

July 12th 2020

Stop Killing Deals. How to avoid deadly assumptions and achieve sales excellence. George Bronten.

Stop Killing Deals. How to avoid deadly assumptions and achieve sales excellence. George Bronten. 2020.

The author has really hit to the core of much that causes sales initiatives to fail.  I agree with his three false assumptions:
Salespeople are born, not made..
Salespeople are disciplined..
Buyers and sellers are logical.

From these is built a solid argument on how to make things better.  A rigorous and proven sales process model with resources, better coaching from sales management and getting away from a reliance on CRM systems that have false assumptions.

The author also provides a plethora of useful tools to help an organization transition to to better way.  Along the way you learn a little bit about his product Membrain.   Its all good. I recommend this book.

July 8th 2020

Sell More Faster. The ultimate sales playbook for startups. Amos Schwartzfarb

Sell More Faster. The ultimate sales playbook for startups. Amos Schwartzfarb. 2019. ISBN 9781119597834.   A concise yet insightful books for the startup world.  The author has carried the bag in sales in companies from startup to growth and been successful at it.  Each chapter has good meat in it that any startup CEO should read and implement with care. I particularly enjoyed how to select the first sales hire  and then grow your sales force including a thoughtful no nonsense examination of compensation models.  After sales support ot reduce churn and to realize the growth of along term book of business was clearly laid out.

July 7th 2020

Karin Slaughter (fiction) novels.

I have been working through most of the Karin Slaughter books.  This includes  the  Will Trent series, Grant County series , Good Daughter series and a selection of different novels and short stories many of which are placed in the South.  These are very good crime novels with very strong female characters.  Her male main characters can have a flaw/disability.  The writing is crisp and flows  well. These are  “can’t put them down” type of reads.  I especially appreciate her insights into police minds and the struggles of female officers to gain respect.

I recommend this author

June 27th 2020

Gap Selling. Getting the customer to yes. Jim Keenan

Gap Selling. Getting the customer to yes. Jim Keenan. 2018.  ISBN 9781732891012.  Quite a useful read. The author makes a strong point that the sales discovery should be over one half of the sales process.  He feels that sales process problems could be reduced if discovery did a better job of extracting present status, desired future status and the gap between.  This book details what salespeople and managers can do to improve their sales process. This approach is very aligned with present ideas on value selling and managing as coaching.  Lots of  case studies and real world examples greatly help your learning.  Good use of your time.

June 21st 2020

Podcast Prospecting. The ultimate guide to winning high-ticket clients with a podcast. Steve Gordon.

Podcast Prospecting. The ultimate guide to winning high-ticket clients with a podcast. Steve Gordon. 2020. ISBN 978-0-9904941-2-6.

Quick but valuable read. The author has been successful in driving leads to his service business with podcasts. If you are thinking about this method, are already using podcasts the book provides some very useful ideas and methods. Very much a practitioners book; it is clear, concise and right to the point.  Wish there were more authors like this .

June 12th 2020

On Leopard Rock. A life of adventures. Wilbur Smith

On Leopard Rock. A life of adventures . Wilbur Smith. 2018. ISBN 9781499861280.  You can get lost in a Wilbur Smith adventure.  Full of swagger, adventure, lusty men and women, political intrigues and wildlife with the backdrop of Africa always there.  I have read my way through the The Courteney Series (16), The Ballantyne Series (5), The Egyptian Series ( 6), Hector Cross (3),  and his standalones (11). So it makes sense to read this, his autobiography. An early editor told him write what you know. Over 50 years, Smith writes what he and  his several generations of family have lived through and done growing up from early African colonization , the Boer War,  WW1 and 2,  Ian Smiths’s Rhodesia, Apartheid and Mandala, and now present day Africa.  He does painstaking research on all his stories and weaves in great backstories and histories.  He loves books and what they do for his readers.  And he has been wildly successful , yet he still continues to write.  This is very enjoyable and gives you even more background into his stories.

June 4th 2020

run_frictionless. Free a founder from a sales role. Antony Coundouris

run_frictionless. Free a founder from a sales role. Antony Coundouris. 2018.  A concise road map and workbook on how to build a sales system that allows a founder to step away from daily driving sales. Using four quadrants to lay out the building blocks with many examples and a  full case study the author takes you through all the work and stages needed to be followed.   The quadrants are

  • Who we serve
  • What we serve
  • Who we are
  • How we serve

Under each are many statements of work to be done, how to do it and why you do it.

This is a useful book for any startup founder or those who are still driving all the sales after many years.

There is a better  way.

May 25th 2020

Salesman on Fire. Carson V.Heady

Salesman on Fire. Carson V.Heady. 2020.  The fable of Vincent Scott.  It follows his fictional career in selling up to present day. Through a biographical approach the content is laid out in a day long visit with Scott.  Scott’s life as a sales phenomena is laid out in three previous books and this one continues the saga.   This contains some very useful sales assistance content as well as how “the Man’ can get you in larger organizations.  Very easy read and well worth it for the young and experienced salesperson.  There be dangers afoot youngster!