Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Best Books

I've read a few good books since Nov. 30th. Here's a breakdown:

The Big Moo - Seth Godin and the Group of 33

Good book to get the creative juices flowing -- something to release your inner Godin. Moo is a compilation of short stories, case studies, and inspirational thoughts written by 33 marketing/innovation hotshots like Guy Kawasaki, Tom Peters, Mark Cuban, and others. The book isn't the meatiest read out there, but it's the perfect bathroom book for marketing execs.

My primary lesson: The best thing you can do to market your company is do something that is "remarkable" -- literally worth making a remark about. If what you do doesn't shock, offend, uniquely entertain, inspire, or otherwise break from the conventional in one form or another, you're going to have a tough time breaking through the clutter to grab the attention of your potential customers.

Leadership and Self Deception -- The Arbinger Institute

(I think I'm the last person on earth to read this book. If you haven't read this book yet, let me know so I don't feel completely out of the loop.)

Fantastic read. Great combination of warm fuzzies and practical, applicable business know-how.

My primary lesson learned -- " ... we can sense how others are feeling toward us. Given a little time we can always tell when we're being coped with, manipulated, or outsmarted. We can always detect the hypocrisy. we can always feel the blame concealed beneath the veneers of niceness. ... It won't matter if the other person tries managing by walking around, sitting on the edge of the chair to practice active listening, inquiring about family members in order to show interest, or using any other skill learned in order to be more effective."

We all know people like this, and they all suck. I don't ever want to be that person.

Purple Cow -- Seth Godin

(See The Big Moo)

The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team -- Patrick Lencioni

Killer book. It's kind of a parable that illustrates and remedies the core issues that keep a team from functioning at maximum efficiency. Lencioni uses a fictional management team filled with personalities that we all can relate with to show how to fix a broken team, or improve a good one.

My primary lesson learned -- Conflict is good -- nay, conflict is very good ,as long as it is focused on ideas and not people or personalities. This is a tough lesson, especially for all of us in Utah Valley where "contention is of the devil". A good team should argue passionately about ideas and strategy. If no one argues, ideas are concealed, resentment builds, and the best ideas don't come forward. The author also points out that unless everyone on the team has voiced a strong opinion, not everyone can feel committed to the solution reached.

Words that Sell -- Richard Bayan, Phrases that Sell -- Edward Wertz and Sally Germain
Paul Allen recommended these books to me when we started creating a storefront for the site. The titles sound cheesy, but these are great quick references for copyrighters.

My primary lesson learned -- Never underestimate the value of good copy. This book probably increased sales on our site 30%.

I've gotta bolt, but here are the other books that I've read recently that are worth a look:

Burn Your Business Plan -- David E. Gumpbert
All Marketers are Liars -- Seth Godin (Notice a trend here. I'm officially all caught up on my Godin reading.)
Inside the Tornado -- Geoffrey Moore


Anonymous RyanM said...

My favorite book on your list is Leadership and Self-Deception. I believe that a lot of things in life come down to relationships. If you can view relatioinships in the way that the book dezcribes then you are well on your way to success.
Great blog Jeff I just came across it.

12:19 AM  

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