4 Business Books That Blew Me Away in 2011
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So it is no secret that I love love books. Rumor has it that I don’t have food in my fridge rather it is filled with loads and loads of books…I mean who needs food when we have books! Anyway the purpose of this blog is not to talk about my
reading eating habit, but rather to share with you 4 books that literarily blew me away in 2011.
Now, the criteria for blowing me away is rather simple…if the book made me scream out loud or jump up and down in excitement or yell the word gbam…then it made the list. About 10 books fit the criteria above, but I was too busy to write about 10 different books (I need facebook time), so I had to use another criteria to refine the list to just 4 books. The refinement included a secret algorithm of several complex equations and horoscope readings that I am not privileged to share…However, if you run a business or manage resources in anyway then you definitely need to check out at least one of the books that made it through to my 4 Business Books That Blew Me Away in 2011.
#1 How To Sell Anything to Anyone by Joe Girard:
I stumbled upon this book while wandering around the hub media bookstore in Lagos. I had heard about the name Joe Girard before from numerous marketers and entrepreneurs, but had never quite brought my self to research the man. So it was a pleasant surprise when I saw a book hanging on the edges of the book store with the title HOW TO SELL ANYTHING TO ANYBODY by JOE GIRARD. I immediately made payment for the book and began reading and was completely mesmerized by the books simplicity and efficacy.
Here is why you need this book…Joe Girard holds the Guinness World record for most cars sold in a year. And what he does with this book is share with us some of the selling principles he learned on his fortuitous track to the record. From engaging customers to closing the deal with customers, Girard provides a full course menu for selling selling and even more selling. If you have ever been frustrated with selling a product or service then you have to check this book out. It is filled with tons and tons of selling principles. One such example is his law of 250 which states that “Everyone knows about 250 people in his or her life” thus each customer or client we interact with everyday is not just a single client but rather a client with connections with about 250 people. Understanding this and you begin to see why you need to create relationships with clients rather than business transactions. There are more nuggets of wisdom in this books and numerous occasions that would make you slap your head in amazement. Definitely a must read.
#2 Made To Stick by Chip and Dan Heath
This is a book written primarily to show people how to make ideas and products stick in the mind of their customers. If you are not pulled in by the introduction for the book then
get your head examined you are special cause it is quite awesome and I don’t want to spoil it for you. But you have to have to get this book if you want to know how to make your products memorable with viral marketing that sticks. It is done in a research type mode with several case studies and sample experiments, but what is key with the writing is the simplicity and clarity that is used to break down complex case studies. One such example discussed how an organization BEYOND WAR utilized damaged blackberrys and an empty bucket to create a powerful presentation that helped raise awareness about the danger of nuclear weapons. Below is an excerpt from the book, in which the organization leader Aincow utilizes the Blackberrys to explain the danger of Nuclear Weapons…enjoy:
“”he’d take a BB out of his pocket and drop it into the empty bucket. The BB made a loud clatter as it ricocheted and settled. Aincow would say, “this is the Hiroshima Bomb”…Next he’d drop ten BB’s into the bucket. The clatter was more chaotic. “This is the firepower of the missles on one U.S or Soviet nuclear submarine.” “Then he poured 5000 BBs into the bucket (one for every nuclear warhead in the world). The noise was startling, even terrifying. “Afterwards there was always dead silence””
If you are like me you would have been blown away by the effective use of BBs to make Aincow presentations more powerful. And if you were impressed, then get off your seat and get this book as it contains even more examples that you could utilize in your business to blow away your clients.
#3 Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner:
I had heard lots about this book. But frankly whenever I hear lots about a book I tend to get dissappointed and I expect nothing less when I picked up Freakonomics one hot summer afternoon (actually I really don’t know if it was hot summer afternoon but it sounds quite dramatic) and was immediately pulled in by the interesting titles “Why Do Drug Dealers Still Live With Their Moms?” “How is the Ku Klux Klan Like a Group of Real-Estate Agents” and “What do Schoolteachers and Sumo wrestlers have in Common.” But you may ask, what exactly does Sumo Wrestling or the Ku Klux Klan have to do with business? To be frank very little, but when written by the duo of Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner you would begin to see the subtle connections and subtle but important business philosophies at play. One of my favorite chapters is How is the Ku Klux Klan Like a Group of Real-Estate Agent, that chapter details the rise and fall of the Ku Klux Klan. Contrary to popular belief that Klan was not destroyed by brute force. Rather it was destroyed by making all the Klans secrets and rituals public. With the public sharing of the Klan’s secret information, their membership began to slowly dwindle and eventually dissipated. Dubner and Levitt argue that the Ku Klux Klan and Real-Estate Agents have the same structure, their survival and existence is based on secret information that is not shared with the public. They argue that if the public had the same access to listings as Real-Estate agents, then that industry will slowly dissipate. From a business stand point, you begin to understand why companies such as Coke fight hard to ensure their secrets stay secret. These are the sort of critical thinking and fun studies that can be pulled from Freakonomics.
Warning: Don’t expect an out and out business book laden with business principles, the business allusions are quite subtle but to the keen reader with an open mind, subtleness yields great dividends.
#4 Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson:
If you want to enter the mind of Steve Jobs and understand the way an adopted child, college drop out and tempermental jerk went on to create one of the most valuable companies in the world then you have to read this book. It is Steve Jobs exposed. What is really great and admirable about the book is that fact that Walter Isaacson did not try to paint Steve as a saint or a demon, but rather for who Steve Jobs is. The book is littered with powerful business lessons and principles that every aspiring entrepreneur can benefit from. It not only focuses on business but life in general. For example Steve jobs became the CEO of two companies Pixar and Apple at the same time and that was when he began experiencing his health problems….a warning that sometimes overworking yourself without breaks can lead to health issues.
But aside from his shortcomings Steve’s was exceptionally brilliant and talented at motivating and focusing a team. One of the principle he promoted at Apple was “simpicity is the ultimate sophistication” so from their business structure to their product design everything was made to be simple and easy. It was this simplicity that helped Apple become successful, but what took it to the top of the world was Steve’s knack for perfection. For instance, the first version of the I-phone had been completed and was ready to be shipped. But Steve while in his bed felt that the i-phone lacked the oomph factor so he made all his designers and engineers scrap the old design (which they had spent months working on) and begin working on a new design. His decision crazy at first, led to the creation of one of many of Apples most successful commercial products!
Again if you are someone stuck in a cubicle flirting with the idea of entrepreneruship or you are already an entrepreneur, then you would want to read this book. Because Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is the true bible of entrepreneurs!
I really do hope you find these books as helpful and informative as I did. If you have other book suggestions please do share in the comments section below, I would love to hear your thoughts and expand my
Ofili is an award winning motivational speaker, author, success coach and entrepreneur who blogs about life, success and entrepreneurial excellence. Follow him on BB pin:32A137F8, twitter ,facebook or subscribe to his blog for more success TIPS!” His latest book is titled HOW STUPIDITY SAVED MY LIFE, to find out how it saved his life click ofilispeaks.com/read-book
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