Who has time to read books? We all should, but it's tough to know what is worth reading. As an Author myself, I have a unique point of view on what I look for in great books. On the first Sunday of every month, the Influential Marketing Book List will spotlight and review several new books relevant for marketers, entrepreneurs and those interested in business with ideas worth learning and sharing.
The first time I saw Guy Kawasaki, he wanted to know who called him an a**hole. He was on stage as part of a panel, simultaneously sharing advice and checking his Twitter stream for comments. He found one that was unflattering, and challenged the person to share their distaste verbally. By the end of the exchange, Guy had won over the crowd and his detractors – with the art of enchantment. A year later when I had my own book (Personality Not Included) coming out – I asked Guy to write the forward (which he did).
Whether you are a reader of Guy's previous books and blog or not, Enchantment is Guy's moment to share his secrets. Theories built up over his lifetime of influencing others are packaged in neat sections with titles like "how to be more likeable" and "how to overcome resistance." Best of all, Guy's writing style is always short on "bullshiitake" (as he entertainingly calls it) and filled with easily understood and implementable advice. Very few successful entrepreneurs have the ability to look at their success, break it down and present it in a way that anyone can learn from. This book will not only take you inside the mind of one of the most innovative entrepreneurs and marketers you will ever meet … it will give you amazingly useful advice on how to use his techniques for yourself.
Bottom Line: Guy's best book yet, filled with "how to" style information you can use immediately.
Tell To Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story
Reading this book is like slipping back stage into moments in pop culture that you have heard about, but never knew how they came to be. In this amazing book of stories, Peter Guber creates a powerful combination of a personal memoir from his more than 30 years in Hollywood and his time tested business strategy of using stories for success. From moments like sitting in his backyard listening to Carl Sagan share the story of Contact before he wrote it, to the real story behind how Gorillas in the Mist actually got made (hint – it involves Peter lying on the floor in front of a door) – Tell To Win has example after example to prove the power of storytelling for business success.
Whether you consider yourself more analytical or emotional, you'll find Tell To Win is one of those rare business books that is impossible to put down because of the compelling stories that Peter shares and the lessons they offer to anyone. This book is the product of a philosophy that Peter Guber has used to carry himself through a career that any of us (whether we work in Hollywood or not) would be lucky to have.
NOTE: Check out my post about 6 Lessons From A Hollywood Producer for more insights from Peter Guber's Tell To Win.
Bottom Line: A rare business memoir offering a powerful look into how storytelling can propel your career.
When Gary Vaynerchuck appeared in front of a live studio audience and showed Conan O'Brien how to spot the "earthy" flavors of wine by feeding him spoonfuls of dirt, it was clear that he was a guy about to change the wine industry. Gary earned that appearance through his growing reputation as a brash video blogger and social media enthusiast who used his own video blog called WineLibraryTV to supercharge his family liquor shop into an online wineselling powerhouse.
His first book (Crush It!) was all about attitude, encouraging anyone to "hustle" their way to success. In his second effort, The Thank You Economy, it is clear that Gary's philosophy is growing up. He includes more data, shares many corporate examples and manages to bridge the gap between encouraging people to act more intuitively with social media, and actually giving them to the tools and examples to sell it to a skeptical boss.
Ultimately, The Thank You Economy isn't just about why social media works. It is a story of a gifted entrepreneur who has found a way to take the lessons he has taught himself and share them freely. At the top of that list is Gary's own self-professed secret to success … that
he has mastered the art of simply caring way more than anyone else. Just a few pages into The Thank You Economy, you'll wish every business you ever had to deal with as a consumer had read this book.
Bottom Line: An unexpectedly sophisticated look at how caring more than your competitors is the new secret to social media success
This may be the most useless book you'll ever read. If you are used to reading useful books, you probably have a few expectations when you open any book. You might look for case studies, or data and statistics. It is possible you are looking for step by step instructions on how to accomplish a task, or new research that you can use to make a case to someone else. By all of those measures, chances are you will find Poke The Box to be completely useless. But consider this: being useful is consistently overrated.
Most of us spend too many months planning and not enough doing. We wait for the perfect industry leading example which we can then follow. And we generally avoid taking big risks. The message in Seth Godin's newest book/manifesto (and first of his new Domino Project) is as simple as you could imagine … go! A useful book would tell you how to go, but Poke The Box doesn't do that.
Filled with simple and profound ideas (ie – "it does hurt to ask the wrong way"), this book is not a guidebook … it's a spark. And despite its laserlike focus and lack of detail, this spark might just inspire the next big world changing idea. Poke The Box is your wakeup call to take the initiative and just go, because (useful or not) the future belongs to those who do.
Bottom Line: The most useless book that you'll ever read (but that you still need to).
If there was one underappreciated book that everyone working in a role that touches advertising should read, this would be it. Building on his considerable body of research into the power of emotions in advertising, Dan Hill's latest book shares ten powerful rules for what he calls "emotionally effective advertising." There are lots of books talking about the power of emotion or intuition versus logic (Blink, Predictably Irrational, and Sway). but what sets About Face apart is how Hill uses his research into human emotional reactions and facial cues to give you a better roadmap on how to read the signs that people are giving you (whether verbal or not). Reading some of the conclusions in this book will transform how you use and interpret data from a focus group, if you use them. Even if you don't, the lessons Hill shares will help to you get better and understanding and reacting to emotions that anyone displays, from your boss to your spouse. In fact, if everyone had to read this book in college – it would make life's relationships a whole lot easier.
Bottom Line: The 10 rules for "emotionally effective advertising" make this book a worthwhile read.
Review Philosophy (Why These Reviews Matter):
All the books that are reviewed in this series are worth your time. That's why you won't find any negative book reviews on this blog. As a Author myself, I have hundreds of book on my shelf and have researched hundreds more. I dozens of invitations to preview books and search online as well as looking at pitches to choose the 5 best books for marketing and busines readers every month to share here on this blog. Read my other book reviews at http://rohitbhargava.com/book-reviews/.
Disclaimer: I have personally purchased many of the books reviewed in this blog, however many others are provided by publishers or an author for review purposes. In each case, the reviews of every book represent my honest and unbiased opinion about the book and are not paid or compensated for in any way apart from recieving a review copy or advance galley copy of a book at no cost. I have also used affiliate links for Amazon throughout this post.
To recommend a book to be featured in the Influential Marketing Book List, send an email pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org.