Books That Have Power

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past 10 years, or never watched tennis, then the author of this book really needs no introduction.  Rafael Nadal was the worlds youngest number 1 and youngest ever grand slam winner and his path to glory is outlined in this book.

Sure there is the standard “struggle through adversity” theme to the book, but one sure will be inspired to take on a task with focus after reading this book and if nothing else gain appreciation of just how great the best of the best truly are.

Take Home Message

If you ever wondered  what it takes to be number 1 in what you do then this book will definitely give you an idea.  From start to finish what one realizes is that one must go above oneself and focus on the moment that is being played and not let…

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Problogger – who me? – 3 must learn messages from the pros

This book delivers on making your blog better!

Problogger: Secrets for blogging your way to a six figure income by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett

Problogger focus’s on how to make a blog that will get traffic and keep readers interested.  Given their background, they are at least qualified to comment.  Both have very successful blogs and both seem to be doing it as their full time jobs.

Who should read this book?:  

If you are involved in writing a blog and want more traffic to promote your business or get engagement with you target customer group, then this book is a must have.  It does not overstate its message and keeps things relevant and practical, such that, it is immediately implementable.

Take home message: 

There is so much gold in this book that it is hard to focus on one particular area.  Originally I borrowed it from the library and ended up buying it for myself as it was so good.  I implemented a heading tip that they gave on one of my posts which resulted in over 500 people visiting my blog in just one day (up from the average of 10!).  If this doesn’t convince you, then the advice on how to monetize it through using not just adsense but also affiliate marketing programs, should.

If however you are more interested in your blog generating traffic for your business, it will also deliver.  Making sure you use appropriate tags on posts and different ways of engaging your customers to keep them interacting with your business online is the gold in this book for you.  The suggested method for this to occur is by asking questions of your readers.  Giving them roles within the blog to participate (moderators for example).  Further to this, following other related blogs will also allow for you to gain a presence and not view others as competitors but rather opportunities for engagement of like minded people.

Score out of 100/100

I can’t fault this book, it really was that good.  I felt it enhanced the quality of the blogs I have been posting (see riding for a cure – top 10 advantages of being a diabetic for illustration)and gave me a great instruction manual for how to make the most of what is becoming an enjoyable skill.   If you are interested in writing a better blog and possibly making some money from it, then this book is a must have for your library!
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Smorgasboards are great, but a Buffet offers more. Warren Buffet’s autobiography certainly fills you up!

Anyone for something from the Buffet?

The Snowball:Warren Buffet and the business of life. – Alice Schroeder

We all have heard of the worlds richest man Warren Buffet, but who among us could say they really have any idea of how he came to greatness?  This 700 page book is certainly an opportunity to get to know him better, even if it takes you 3 months to finish the book (which might explain why I haven’t posted in sometime!).

Who should read this book?

The book would be a good read for anyone interested in the stock market, someone who wants a long read, or if you want to know the sort of commitment one needs to rise to the top of your field.

Take Home Message

Warren’s story speaks to following your passion if you wish to be successful.  As it turns out, making money is what seems to be his (which is a large part of why he is so rich).   By reading this book one realizes that day trading is not going to get you the millions as it takes some serious research (and a lot of balls!) to successfully navigate the stock market.

His philosophy of being very ethical in his approach to his business is a key point throughout the book.  There are a few philosophies which he shares which are motivational.  One which springs to mind is – would you rather be bad at what you do and everyone think you are great, or great at what you do but no one know that you are.  An interesting question which is why this book is great.  I found myself questioning what motivates me in my quests as a result.

With all this being said it also gives confidence that even though certain people seem super human (through the help of the media), they all have their own flaws, illustrated by the fact that Warren had two wives throughout a large part of his life (and no he is not morman)

Score out of 100/80

This book is a great read but gets marked down simply because it is too long.  The author gives a good view into Warren’s life but focus’s too much on the business side of the equation and not enough on who the man really is outside of this.  If she had gone into a bit more depth on how he determines a good deal these days from a bad one, maybe this book would score higher.  Either way, biography’s on individuals who have made it, inspire, and motivate one to stay the course and go after your dreams.  This in my opinion is a good enough reason to spend three months reading this book.

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Rafa magic – Bottom line concentration is key

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past 10 years, or never watched tennis, then the author of this book really needs no introduction.  Rafael Nadal was the worlds youngest number 1 and youngest ever grand slam winner and his path to glory is outlined in this book.

Sure there is the standard “struggle through adversity” theme to the book, but one sure will be inspired to take on a task with focus after reading this book and if nothing else gain appreciation of just how great the best of the best truly are.

Take Home Message

If you ever wondered  what it takes to be number 1 in what you do then this book will definitely give you an idea.  From start to finish what one realizes is that one must go above oneself and focus on the moment that is being played and not let previous mistakes effect the game plan.  That is what Rafael Nadal illustrates throughout this easy to read but enlightening all the same, book.

Furthermore, he allows one to reflect on what approach they are taking in achieving their goals.  This ruthless focus is the difference between the best and the rest!

Who should read this book

If you want to be inspired to go after something with determination and will then this book is definitely a great read.   As many success authors have suggested, reading biographies of those who have achieved, allows one to follow in their footsteps through learning of their best practices.  With this in mind, one can’t go past this as a great biography to add some dimension to ones character

Score out of 100/85

I really liked the fact that their was a true sense of who Rafael is.  The commitment he shows to his sport has definitely helped me in my role both in Sales and also on the bike when I am riding.  I am reminded of the fact that no matter what, he always gets up and trains in same way because if he was to miss one day then that would set a theme that could result in many more days being missed.    However, his constant need to claim that he is from a humble background and keeps his humility by not embracing fame, made me feel like he was trying too hard to get this point across.  Further more, the co author, autobiography style seemed to flip back and forward so much that it lost continuity in places.   In any case, I would still consider recommending this book to anyone looking to improve in life, if nothing else to realize to be great will always require a need for one to be devoted.

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Success stems from being persuasive. Getting better is the trick

Persuasion; arlene dickinson

This is one of those books that doesn’t necessarily jump out at you from the counter.  Arlene Dickinson, who those of you in Canada will probably know best from the “Dragons Den”, has written about her ability to persuade and what it is she thinks makes someone good at it, in the book titled “Persuasion, a new approach to changing minds”.

I began reading this with a cynical mind and had it given to me as a gift for Christmas but surprisingly there were a number of great points that she makes on persuasion and by the end it had also served as a motivational tool.

Take Home Message

Anyone can be persuasive, it is how you go about it that makes the difference.  The biggest point is that listening more than talking and really getting a sense of the other persons needs is paramount.  This is not brain surgery sort of info, but it is worth remembering as all to often when faced with tough situations, people always fall into talking as opposed to listening.

Another really key point was honesty.  I see it all the time with the big promises people make and the lack of depth they seem to have when selling to me, and remembering to open with some of your flaws allows you to connect with others in a way that being superficial simply does not.

Who should read this book

Anyone who is doubting what they are doing in sales, or any leader who likes to coach this.  This book will give more info into what a person who has already made it, really thinks.  Her story (which I won’t go into here), really is inspiring, and basically leaves you feeling that anything is possible should you go after it.

Score out of 100/90

Arlene seems to write well and has a number of great points that she makes, and the better part about it, is that she is not selling “how to be a better salesman”.  She has made it in a separate industry so her advice seems more authentic and practical.  Like most books that an author reflects on, she tends to be a bit self indulgent at times, almost stand offish in how she writes, which I guess takes some talent given she isn’t actually there reading the book to me.  I would however suggest, that at the very least, borrowing this from the library would be a worthwhile endeavor.  Myself, I am glad I have a copy.  It is one of those books that keeps sales and persuasion in perspective.

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Out of the Kitchen and into the Pizza Pan – Lessons that start with YUM – brands that is!

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This book surprised me from the get go.  Number 1 it had endorsements from a number of big name business leaders and its title TAKING PEOPLE WITH YOU by David Novak, definitely intrigued me.  As I read on I began to wonder how a guy who was leading the KFC brand of food stores and Pizza hut of all places, could possible help me in my career.
Well lets just say, I got schooled!

Take Home Message: Bottom line, if you are going to lead people, let them vent, inspire them with the vision and make it fun for them to participate.  Let them come to the table with suggestions and identify problems as this is a sign of commitment and also leads to innovation.  As the author correctly points out, if you are not changing and moving forward, the past is going to catch you.

Who should read this book: Give this book to any upper management for their birthday.  If you intend on leading and having people want to make an exceptional work place then the concepts in this book are a must for any guiding principles.

Score out of 100: 90  I had to knock 10 off as it was very focused on the world of YUM brand foods (KFC and Pizza Hut) so some of it seemed a little hard to stomach (Pun intended).  His rubber chicken award for great performance, might have inspired his college friends back in the day, but if I received something like that for my hard work, I would be a little pissed.  However the concepts are there and they are great guiding principles.  This is the sort of book worth rereading in 5 years time to remind oneself of how to stay a great leader and more importantly, to inspire others to join you in the journey.

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Time to influence and do it consciously

Influencer: The power to change anything; Authors: Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny.  Buy the book here!

Have you ever marveled at the ability of some people to sway peoples opinions and create situations that seem to benefit everyone without appearing like they have just done the biggest sell job?  Do you want the same ability?

Then this book is for you.

Who should read this book?

I can honestly say that this book is probably the most invaluable book for anyone who is trying to bring about change (i.e. everyone).  The obvious candidates are sales reps, managers, or CEO’s, but these skills apply as much to work as they do to community or households.  This could really make a difference in any area of your life.

Take Home Message

People typically “tell” others what should be changed as opposed to using several techniques to bring about change.  Through peer to peer selling, vicarious experience, community buy in and positive reinforcement once the skill is adopted, one is more likely to be able to change actions to the desired outcome.  The difference between those who are great at this skill and those that are not is simply, they use all these techniques at once and not just one.  As humans we gravitate toward the “tell” situation and when someone doesn’t listen or change, we tell more forcefully which only serves to strengthen the opposing view point.  A good example of this in the book was the case where a Japanese production line was doing twice the work of an American one in the same amount of time.  CEO’s tried to get the American line to lift there production by telling them to.  This of course did not work.  Not until several workers went to the plant in Japan and came back and told there experience in vivid detail did the workers consider the consequences of not changing.  This is a good example of how several techniques used all at once has far more impact than the usual “telling” situation that most of us fall into as a result of not having the necessary skills to influence.

Below is a good summation of the 6 suggested areas to target to bring about change.

Score out of 100/100

The book gets this score as simply put, it is likely to have the biggest impact in how I intend to move others in my life towards my shared goals.  It is not about getting your own way, but rather consciously using skills to make discussions around change, less painful and more planned.  I listened to this as an audio book and whilst there were some rather dry sections, the use of real world examples and how they related back to other simpler situations, helped ensure the practicality of what was being said, could be applied.

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