You want it all – the success, the income, the sales, the growth, the know-how. How you get there is another story; you can learn by doing, of course, or tap into the knowledge of others.
There are existing blueprints that can help you chart a course, books to boost your business: some are classics, some are destined to be classics, but all are indispensable, insightful must-reads.
- Suits and Ladders: Ten Proven Ways to Keep Your Job Safe (with a few jokes thrown in), released in 2014, is the product of Suzen Fromstein spending a year interviewing mid-to-senior level managers – 51 men and 51 women – from various industries, finding out what endears and repels the top brass. The “corporate survival guide” is applicable to salespeople, employers, employees, and entrepreneurs, arming them with knowledge of the basic behaviours that help people get ahead.
- The Go-Giver: A Little Story about a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg, and John D. Mann has sold more than 800,000 copies since its release in 2007. Their primary focus is showing how to give more in value than to take in payment, and how one’s influence is determined by placing the interests of others first. “It’s probably easier to get wealthy when you are a Go Giver,” notes Burg, “because you have a lot more people on your side. You have a lot more people rooting for you, wanting to help you, be there with you.” By way of example: it’s the great, successful restaurant that strives to exceed expectations, to provide that ultimate dining experience, and to make the customer feel good about themselves and good about the experience.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People is Dale Carnegie’s classic book on personal and business success, considered the grand-daddy of the self-help industry. For more than 70 years, the easy-to-understand, time-tested advice has included nuggets like talking about the other person’s interests, never criticizing publicly, and selling a product’s value to the customer instead of selling its features.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey has been credited with inspiring scores of CEOs and presidents since its publication in 1989. He outlines techniques for goal-setting and problem preparedness, and in prioritizing tasks distinguishes between the urgent, non-urgent, unimportant, and important. His advice on dialogue is: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” It was Covey who coined the term “Sharpen the Saw,” the idea of taking time to refocus and improve before returning to a given task. Covey, who died in 2012, was named one of Time magazine’s 25 Most Influential Americans.
- Secrets of Power Persuasion: Everything You’ll Ever Need to Get Anything You’ll Ever Want is Roger Dawson’s 1992 book that instills advice on how to persuade others to see your point of view, without the use of a hard-sell or force. It’s particularly important today, he says, when customers are typically no longer loyal to products or companies. Dawson asserts that humour can be used as a negotiating tool and to find common ground. Though it might be counter-intuitive, he suggests asking for a higher price that you’re used to getting, in order to be taken more seriously.
- The Third Door was recently released by Alex Banayan and is brimming with interviews from some of the most well-known and successful individuals, including Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Steve Wozniak, Larry King, and Quincy Jones. It was all in Banayan’s quest to see how they achieved their successes. The “Third Door,” the reader learns, is typically the roundabout path least taken, purposefully avoiding the typical routes that everyone else has decided to take.
With some or all of the above books, you can improve yourself and your business this summer – and enjoy yourself too.
Dave Gordon | Contributing Writer