Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Three great books for sales people and managers

On my 60th birthday, I asked my wife when I am allowed to become a "crotchety old man--DAG NABBIT!" She said not yet but she'd get back to me. I believe the secret to staying mentally young is to constantly feed the mind with new ideas. I have recently read three books that gave the old neurons a great workout and which offered some valuable insights for anyone in sales or sale management. Here are brief reviews of these books:

Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahnemen. this book reviews much of the current research into how the human brain functions. This book is packed with studies that delve into the decision making process and the motivations that drive us. Since we make our livings getting others to decide to buy our products or to motivate our teams to do what we need them to do, this book is a powerful tool for advertising professionals. Because of the sheer amount of data contained between its cover, this is not an easy book to get through, but it is well worth the effort.

Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. I chose Ideas and Eyeballs for the name of my training/consulting business for a reason...I think the key to success in advertising, and in any enterprise, is creativity. Creativity expands the world and helps us to find new ways to help our customers. Creativity is the well spring of value, generating new ideas is what we get paid to do. Jonah Lehrer's book explores the creative process and provides some valuable techniques for creating an environment that encourages the creative process. A easy entertaining book to read, Imagine helped me to understand my own creative processes.

It Worked for Me by Gen. Colin Powell. Like serving dessert, I saved the best book for last. This book is as entertaining as a novel, but still offers some great hands-on ideas about leadership and career success. Whether you agree or disagree with Colin Powell's actions or politics, you must admit that he is an extraordinary man. A ROTC officer from a small public college, he surpassed his West Point educated peers to become the leader of the US military machine and  then secretary of state. This book relates many incidents from his long career and the lessons he learned from them. Unlike many books by those who achieved greatness, Powell doesn't give the impression that he is coming down the mountain with all the answers carved into stone tablets. His title says it all, he is simply relating what worked for him in his long career. He not only writes about what success taught him, but also what he learned form his mistakes. This book is a series of short anecdotal chapters written in a simple conversational style that makes it hard to put down, I highly recommend this book for anyone but especially for those in, or those who aspire to, a position of leadership.


Jim Busch 

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