I just went through the trauma of taking my daughter Molly to her first day of kindergarten. Hard to believe that she’s five already, but she was ready. She had her tote bag, 43 colored pencils, and a self-designed notebook cover: a picture of our family.
As I drove to work, I thought of the advice I gave Molly during breakfast: Never stop asking why, and always keep reading. I average about one book per week, and I try to keep the books positive. As I get older, I get more cynical, so I’m always up for a little positive reinforcement.
Here are some books that I’ve read or reread this summer. They are well worth the time:
“The Pursuit of WOW!” by Tom Peters. Whatever you think of Tom Peters, his books are always interesting. Once you get past the exclamation marks every three words, you’ll see that he knows what he’s talking about. I found myself taking copious notes on some great ideas about everything from creativity to effective meeting management.
“If It Ain’t Broke… Break It” by Robert J. Kriegel and Louis Patler. Almost 10 years old, this is one of my favorite books. It shows how thinking differently can make a difference at your company — and in your life every day. Read it and reread it.
“Free Agent Nation” by Daniel Pink. The number of people who work for themselves is growing every year. Former Al Gore speechwriter and current Fast Company contributing editor Dan Pink spent more than a year traveling around the country finding out what makes this new economy tick. It’s a terrific combination of sociology, economics, and case studies.
“The Customer Revolution” by Particia B. Seybold. A legendary e-business strategist, Seybold uses case studies such as Egg and Timbuk2 to create a compelling case for customer-centric marketing. A great book.
“Managing Knock Your Socks Off Service” by Chip R. Bell and Ron Zemke. If you come in contact with other human beings in your life, read this book. You will not only learn how the great service companies do it but also find out what you’re not doing to be an effective manager.
“Information Anxiety 2” by Richard Saul Wurman. The best nonfiction book I’ve ever read — that simple. It will make you think on just about every page, and that’s rare in any book. I’ve read it three times in less than a year. BUY IT AND READ IT.
“Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving With Grace” by Gordon MacKenzie. The author spent 30 years writing greeting cards at Hallmark. His belief in dreaming and creating a better workplace, and world, is truly inspiring.
“Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service” by Kenneth H. Blanchard, Harvey MacKay, and Sheldon Bowles. Think of what separates good service from great service. It’s all in this book. Mine is dog-eared, and I’ve passed it to dozens of people over the years.
Confession: I’m a big fan of people who write and speak the truth simply and without a lot of bull. Harvey Mackay is a great example of that kind of writing. Do yourself a favor, and pick up one, two, or all of his books. Here are three that will make you think and, more important, spur you to action:
- “Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive: Outsell, Outmanage, Outmotivate, and Outnegotiate Your Competition”
- “Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt: Do What You Love, Love What You Do and Deliver More Than You Promise”
- “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty: The Only Networking Book You’ll Ever Need”
Let’s start a book referral service. Please send me your favorite advertising, marketing, or creativity book, and I’ll share one or two each week. Let’s all get smarter together! Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.