Archive | Book Review

Wealth Warrior by Steve Chandler

WealthWarrior-150x225Wealth Warrior is the most unique book I've read in a long time. I saw a friend who described it in their review as a written speech and not really a traditional book. That isn't far off. The chapters are short and sweet and they flow together as one long story. The content was very motivational and I found that reading this book in the morning before leaving for the day was the best way to leverage the content to make me better. While the ideas are not new to anyone who has read other “how to really get wealthy” books, I do think there were some fresh ways of describing those principles.

If you read this book you will create a bond with Steve Chandler. His voice shines through load and clear. His sincere purpose is to help the reader grow. Among my favorite of his principles was the strong focus on service. Since every dollar we make comes from someone else, the only way to make more is to serve more people more. Focusing on serving others will lead to wealth.

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Your Best Just Got Better By Jason Womack

Your Best Just Got BetterI recently completed reading “Your Best Just Got Better” by Jason Womack. This book is full of golden nuggets of productivity and personal growth. When the author says, Work Smarter, Think Bigger, and Make More; it means that with all seriousness. The book flows together to help readers move through a progressive education designed to take you from the beginning to the end. At the same time each section stands alone to give you actionable insights to make you better at what you do.

Also, Jason's sincerity comes right through the pages. You can tell that he cares about his clients and he cares about helping the reader grow. I've been reading personal development books for a very long time but there are still new ideas in this book and lots of good reminders.

One of my favorite insights is the idea of writing down ideal days. Jason suggests that you envision what a perfect day for you would look like. Write it down. I've heard this before but never taken the time to do that. Jason mentioned in the book that he has written down 100s of ideal days and lived many of them. This may sound a little silly but in context of what the book teaches it makes perfect sense.

I also love Jason's suggestion of pondering and creating an inventory of “I'm At My Best When.” When you truly understand what factors lead you to be at your best you can start to manufacture greater productivity.

Read this book and you will learn these and 100 other great ideas to make you better than you are now.

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Likeable Business by Dave Kerpen

Likeable Business

This week I finished reading “Likeable Business” by Dave Kerpen. When I found out I would be reading this book in 2013 as part of my book group I decided to first read “Likeable Social Media,” fearing that I might be reading a sequel without reading the first book. That wasn't the case.

I'm glad I decided to read Likable Social Media first because the book was awesome. It was the best hands on “how-to” book on social media for business that I've ever read and I've read quite a few.

Likeable Business is it's own book. It specifically addresses how any person or organization can become more… well likeable. Since likeability is a critical value in our growing transparent society, I think this material could really apply to anyone in any industry or personal pursuit.

Dave Kerpen outlines 11 principles of Likeable businesses. Each principle makes up it's own chapter. I love books that are laid out like that. It makes it easier to read in chunks and it tends to make a lot more sense to me.

Without spoiling the book let me say that Kerpen hit it on it's head. We all need to practice and develop these principles. One of these for example is Gratitude. Kerpen believes in showing gratitude and he is able to relate how this critical asset affects the bottom lines of business on and offline.

Another principle in the book is Authenticity. A lack of authenticity is not only foolish on the part of any individual or organization but Kerpen also shows that it is toxic and deceiving.

Before finishing this book I gave a copy to a business colleague  A few weeks later when we spoke on the phone he thanked me profusely. So, I give you my own endorsement and that of another internet marketing professional!

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The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

This book is the best book I've read all year. A clever book that addresses a highly relevant topic for individuals, organizations, and societies with just the right mix of science, case study, and how-to practical application.

The book is effective at taking on a journey of understanding habits. The first part of the book breaks down habits. What are they? How do they form? How can they change? This first part has a focus on the individual and forces you to start looking for and identifying the various habit loops in your life. As I was listening to the first chapter on audio, I was driving home from work. When I left the office I knew very well that I wasn't going straight home. I needed instead to go in an entirely different direction to teach a private class that night. Ironically, as I turned on the audio version of this book I clicked right into my habit and found myself outside my house before I realized that I had just lost an hour of time.

It seemed to me that as I continued reading, the author added some of the other critical elements of habit formation by using organizations and then communities and societies as examples. This allows the reader to understand habits in a full perspective while at the same time learning their various applications in all arenas of life.

Do you remember the last book you read that made you want to tell everyone you talked to about what you had just learned? This is one of those… be warned… or warn those around you because you won't be able to stop thinking and talking about habits and how they can change your life!

NOTE: I read this book as part of the 12 Books Group; the largest online business and only author-led book group in the world.

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Book Review: The Plugged-In Manager

During August 2012 I read “The Plugged-In Manager” by Terri Griffith as part of the 12 Books Group. This book is a unique perspective to making decisions and creating culture central to balancing the people, technology, and processes in an organization. The basic premise is to train the reader to understand the impact on these three things and outline a process by which the manager can keep continual balance.

I particularly liked the chapter that discussed the practice of Stop-Look-Listen. It seems that we most generally miss opportunities to “plug-in” because we are in such a hurry to execute.
The case studies and examples in the book are both relevant and educational. Sometimes it seems that stories in these types of books are hard to apply to smaller teams or companies but Griffith did a good job of relating the stories to the core principles being taught.
During our Live Q&A webinar with Griffith, she also talked about some of the more common questions about the subject. The book also answers questions about generational differences to technology, application challenges in teams and companies, and the most common reasons people don't plug-in.
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Book Review: Smart Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey and Greg Link

I finished my reading of “Smart Trust.” When I first read “Speed of Trust” in 2006 I was profoundly impacted by the structure that was added to a relatively elusive topic. I keep a small paper with the thirteen behaviors of a High Trust Leader on my desk and refer to it often. “Smart Trust” seems like the natural follow up to all the HOW questions that were generated by “Speed of Trust.”

The five Smart Trust actions that this book teaches make a clear outline of how to generate trust in a team, family, or other organization. Simple, but not to a fault, these five actions make it easy to understand. They are, Choose to Believe in Trust, Start with Self, Declare Your Intent, Do What You Say, and Lead Out in Extending Trust.  While they sound straight forward on the surface, the book explores valuable examples and insights that help create a framework of putting it all together in a clear action plan.

The order of the five actions is not an accident. I suspect that I will need to go back to the book often to continue my journey in implementing trust in the various arenas of life as I move through the action steps.

The biggest take away from this book is a continuation of the first. Simply put, trust changes everything. It plays the biggest part in the bottom line and success of any relationship or organization. Creating a vocabulary around the principle allows us to discuss it among ourselves in terms that we all understand. These authors have done that and I believe that this is part of the revolution of restoring trust in our families, relationships, work places, communities, and countries.

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Robert Shemin’s How Come That Idiots Rich and I’m Not?

sheminI just finished reading Robert Shemin‘s “How Come That Idiot's Rich and I'm Not?” Robert has a unique voice that seeps from the pages of his book. The voice speaks of sincerity, expertise, and experience. I wouldn't call the book a one in a kind but if you are stuck in your life wondering why all your hard work and plans haven't equated to wealth (monetary or otherwise) then this might be a good read for you. I think you could also read books by Kiyosaki, Trump, and others but Robert Shemin is really good at plain talk about I would describe this as a fun read.

Robert talks about the 3 pillars of wealth. After spending the first half of the book re-educating the reader on his/her perception of “rich,” Shemin discusses the best practices in acquiring and building the three pillars. They are, Real Estate, Stocks, and Business.

One of key points that Robert drives in this book is the need to take action. This was a great reminder for me to begin with the end in mind and work toward a clear goal. As Robert teaches, each of us  needs a clear action plan that we can act on every day.

Do you need some reminders about true “Rich Idiot” thinking? Check out this book.

NOTE: I read this book as part of the 12 Books Online Book Group.

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Book Review: The Zigzag Principle by Rich Christiansen

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I read this book as part of the 12 Books online book group during the month of May 2012. I admit that when I first read the title I was a little confused. I love anything to do with entrepreneurship despite my rather poor track record thus far. The reason I was so excited to read this book is because the author has just an established track record in starting successful companies. Rich has launched over 30 companies with less than $10K in capital and among those over 10 went on to be BIG successes.

The book is really about helping entrepreneurs understand that the best way to get somewhere isn't always a straight line. In my reading, this major concept took a little while to sink in but as I moved from chapter to chapter I really discovered that the material is designed to give an entrepreneur a new type of road map that allows one to chart a course that is most likely going to lead to success.

The three main zigs and zags were critical components that talk about things that most of us understand are critical to success. Getting to profitability quickly, failing efficiently, adding resources, scaling the business, setting goals, and motivating a team. Most students of business are already familiar with these necessities but having them as part of an effective road map is the key to getting off the ground.

As I reflect on my reading of the book I feel like there were a few golden nuggets that will really stick out to me as I move forward in my career.

First, as elementary as it sounds, I think a key insight for me was the need to get to profitability before scaling the business. All too often I think people (myself included) are too eager to make the business big before we discover the key system that generates profits on a consistent basis. The Zigzag Principle taught me that you always focus first on a profitable and dependable model before you invest in scaling the business.

Second, Rich's insights about living a life of balance were really compelling. I have fallen victim one too many times to the attitude of “just this one big project” and I'll be able to spend more time with the family (or insert other life goal). There will always be one more project, trial, or other issue. As individuals we have to determine what our real goals are and create “guardrails” that keep us on our path and within our boundaries in business and every other aspect of life.

A great read and a great experience with the author as part of the book group. If you are reading this before March 25, I would invite you to join me in a live Q&A with the author. http://www.12booksgroup.com/may2012webinar

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