Back to School.
Depending on your age and child rearing status, these three words may be cheers to your ears or bring tears to your eyes.
Me, I’m slightly more of the “tears” camp as I feel the dread of all the homework, projects, and general busy-ness of the school year creep up on me as I loathe that last minute scurry around for the final few items on the School Supply shopping list. Successfully procuring the correct organic glue sticks and non-toxic-washable-bold-color-broad-tip-24-pack-markers is like the worst scavenger hunt I’ve ever been on so I gladly pay extra to purchase the supply box that is dropped right into my children’s classroom by Back To School Fairies.
Over the summer, I’ve tried to keep my kids’ skills up and encouraged them to read, read, read, and do the occasional math problem. My kids enjoy reading, for the most part, and I’m a firm believer that you are what you read – as confirmed by several studies published in the Harvard Business Journal, or The International Journal of Business Administration. This bodes well for my daughter who is reading books about famous women in history and literary fiction, such as Hatchet by Gary Paulsen – for which she has to write a book report that’s due the first day of school!
My eight-year-old son, however, is obsessed with Captain Underpants books. That explains a lot.
I’ve always got 2 or 3 books in progress at any given time. I usually have a book I’m referencing or learning from for sales coaching or training, one that I’m listening to on Audible that’s for deep thinking, and I try to mix it up with a non-business book too.
Taking the “You are what you read” thought to heart, I looked back into my Amazon account to track the last few books I’ve read or have in progress. As a side note, you can learn a lot about someone by looking through their Amazon Prime purchases!
In solidarity with our Back To School-ers, I’ve compiled my own sort of “Book Report.” Here are the last five books I’ve added to my reading list:
- I’m a big fan of Vanessa Van Edwards’ YouTube Channel and her website, ScienceOfPeople.com. Vanessa is a “Human Behavior Hacker” and studies what makes people tick. I’m obsessed with this topic as understanding humans should be what we all strive to do but is absolutely critical if you want other humans to buy the things you have to sell.
Vanessa recently released her first book, CAPTIVATE: The Science of Succeeding with People and it is no fluffy read. This is behavioral psychology, sociology, anthropology . . . every “ology” that helps understand how to connect and potential compel others. With chapters on how to deal with difficult people, speaking so others listen, and even how to lead people or turn people in – this is a solid workbook to help you improve those interpersonal skills and increase your emotional intelligence quotient.
- After watching her Ted Talk, I HAD to have more of Sarah Knight and purchased her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to Stop Spending Time You Don’t Have with People You Don’t Like Doing Things You Don’t Want to Do (A No F*cks Given Guide)
Yes, there is a language warning here. If you’re averse to the F-word, this one’s not for you. However, there is a certain freedom in letting go to use it. I’ve been fairly adept at not putting too much stock in others’ opinions of me or going to lengths to be a people pleaser. This “No F*cks Given Guide” goes a few steps further with some important lessons that are especially important for consultants, service providers, and business owners about HOW guarding your most precious commodity: your time.
If you’re a people pleaser or feel resentful about all your obligations, this read is for you.
- In direct contradiction to juggling multiple books at a time, I picked up Gary Keller’s The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.
Several friends recommended this book as it had a profound impact on their productivity and success in work and in life. The premise is that you focus on one thing. This seems so incredibly simple but yet nearly impossible to do as a business owner, a sales pro, or business executive.
I am in a constant balance to not overwhelm or over commit myself so I’m finding this book to be a challenge. The concept of “blocking and tackling” one task or activity at a time is one that I’ve been coaching my sellers and business owners on for quite some time but this brings that to a whole new hyper-focused level. I was struck with what Keller writes about his success in the first few pages, “Where I’d had huge success, I had narrowed my concentration to one thing, and where my success varied, my focus had too.”
If, like me, you’re juggling dozens of competing priorities, give this book a read and see how it impacts your productivity and results.
- This next book comes highly recommended by my 6th-grade teacher. Yes, shout out to Mrs. Bonnie Bassett who taught at Twin Lake Elementary and is my friend on Facebook. (How cool is it that we can be connected to our former teachers!)
Several weeks ago, she posted on Facebook that she was re-reading the memoir, Code Talker, by Chester Nez: The first and only memoir by one of the original Navajo code talkers of WWII. Mrs. Bassett helped fuel the love of reading in hundreds, perhaps thousands of children over the years. Anyone who had her as a teacher remembers her reading Where the Red Fern Grows and choking back the tears every single year. So, if SHE recommends a book, I have to read it, right!
I’m not a war or history buff but this book is full of incredible details of Native American culture and a way of life that I could never have known. During World War II, the Japanese cracked every code our military developed. So we enlisted Navajo recruits to implement a secret code that became the only unbroken code in modern warfare – helping assure US victory over Japan in the South Pacific. And here’s the really incredible part: this was kept a classified military secret for twenty-three years!
This book is eye opening – both in the ways of war but mostly, for me, in what life is or was like on Indian Reservations. History buffs and human interest lovers alike will enjoy this book.
- If you know me and this isn’t your first read of our blog, then you’ll know that I detest gimmicks or sales tactics. I truly believe selling is about service and rooted in problem-solving and helping people. That’s why I’m hyper critical when a new book comes out by another sales expert. I’m pleased, however, when that expert is Anthony Iannarino. I’ve been following him on TheSalesBlog.com for several years and scooped up his book, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need.
Here’s why I love Anthony and this book: it’s a handbook and he “wrote it for salespeople who are deeply interested in improving themselves and their results.” It’s not hype or based on the newest and flashiest way to manipulate people. He breaks the book into two sections: Mindset and Skillset. These are the two most important predictors of success in sales and YOU are the only one that can improve these factors or decide how to use them for your success.
With some new twists on time tested ideas and solid reminders of how to sell like a human being, Anthony’s sales guide is a fantastic handbook for sales pros old and new alike.
So, if you are what you read, what does my list say about me? Maybe it says I’m eclectic but hopefully, it shows my dedication to learning and improving my skills for the benefit of you and our clients.
I’m really curious about you and your reading list. What’s are you reading right now or what should we add to our list?
Comment in the section below!
Until next time, stop hoping and start SELLING (and reading too)!
PS – Here’s a bonus book. I’m listening to this one while driving. With the author reading her own material, Jen Sincero makes You Are A Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life – a light but powerful book to experience. If you ever have that flicker of doubt nibble at you then give Jen’s book a listen as her hilarious life lessons and stories give you hope and insight into believing in your own BADASS-ery.