Get Caught Reading These Great Business Books in May

glasses reading book public domainSometimes the causes and topics that are honored with their own days, weeks or months are, at best, a little sketchy. But in May, we have something I believe we can all support:

May is “Get Caught Reading Month.”

I once heard a person say something to the effect that every important, history-changing idea comes from a book. I’ve never been able to find who said that originally, but I think it’s true. All the ideas that have shaped history have started out in books. Despite the proliferation of electronic media, I think this is true even today.

It’s true on a personal and business level as well, so in honor of Get Caught Reading Month, I’m going to point you toward some books that have been extraordinarily meaningful to me over the years. I consider them modern classics.

The Unexpected Tour Guide, by Jeff West. As a young man embarks on a career, his journey is interrupted and guided by a mysterious homeless man whose perception and insight border on the surreal. Here’s one comment from an review: “As a person who has been in sales for my entire (30+ years) career I can testify that Jeff’s book is based on true and timeless principles that build relationships and revenues.”

Adversaries into Allies: Win People Over Without Manipulation or Coercion, by Bob Burg. Drawing on his own experiences and the stories of other influential people, Burg offers five simple principles of what he calls “ultimate influence” – the ability to win people to your side in a way that leaves everyone feeling great about the outcome and about themselves. One comment from an review: “What I appreciate about this book is that it’s not just about influencing and persuading others; it’s doing so the *right way* so that people feel good about themselves the situation, and about you. This is a departure from many books I’ve read on influencing, especially in the realm of eeking out a sale.”

Be the Best at What Matters Most: The Only Strategy You will Ever Need, by Joe Calloway. Simplify, focus, and win by outperforming all your competition on those things that create real value for the customer. This is about substance, not flash, and the ultimate “wow” factors of high quality performance, consistency and relentless improvement. From an review: “This book had a big impact on how I lead my 100+ employee company. The concept of Be The Best At What Matters Most has driven me to focus my communications, our goal setting and our long term planning on those several things that matter more than anything else.”

Grow a Pair: How to Stop Being a Victim and Take Back Your Life, Your Business, and Your Sanity, by Larry Winget. We’ve all heard the phrase “grow a pair,” but Larry’s advice isn’t about anatomy – it’s about attitude. To get the success we want, we need to reject victimhood in favor of being assertive and finally taking some responsibility. From an review: “”Frankly I find this book incredibly disturbing…What I find disturbing is how right Larry is! He writes about how soft we have become as a society, as parents, so-called leaders and more. How the need to grow a pair is greater than ever.”

The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship for Weirdos, Misfits, and World Dominators, by Chris Brogan. The personal business revolution is upon us. Chris Brogan explains step-by-step how to build your business from the ground up, all without compromising the unique mindset and personal values that make you a freak in the first place. From an review: “Brogan gives valuable, actionable advice for seasoned and budding entrepreneurs alike, including soloproneurs, small business owners, as well as employeeproneurs. Check out the 6 steps for building discipline, 10 things to quit, garbage and gold questions, and lists of awesomeness (or helpfulness) to name a few.”

The Amazement Revolution: Seven Customer Service Strategies to Create an Amazing Customer (and Employee) Experience, by Shep Hyken. Hyken shares more than one hundred insightful examples from fifty role-model companies that prove these strategies can and should be implemented immediately – by any organization, large or small. From an review: “This book is a clear how-to with many hands-on examples, to-do lists, anecdotes, and more. In addition, Hyken provides two very useful appendices: (A) The ART of Amazement To-Do List and (B) Amazement Brainstorm Worksheets. Both of these appendices are practical and helpful.”

SNAP Selling: Speed Up Sales and Win More Business with Today’s Frazzled Customers, by Jill Konrath. Konrath shows how to overcome customer hesitation to get more appointments, speed up decisions, and win sales. Drawing on her years of selling experience, as well as the stories of other successful sellers, she offers four SNAP rules. From an review: “ [SNAP Selling] provides sellers with a set of strategies and tactics enabling them to speed up sales and win more business based on a solid framework. Contrary to many other sales books I have read, SNAP Selling spells out clearly for what type of prospects/customers these strategies and rules should be applied.”

Thought Revolution – Updated with New Stories: How to Unlock Your Inner Genius, by William A. Donius. Donius drove his bank’s eightfold growth over twelve years. And the surprising secret to his success is something we all have access to, right in our own two hands. It begins by moving your pen from one hand to the other. Whether you’re right-handed or left-handed, a whole world of change is possible. From an editorial review: “Thought Revolution is a revolution in how we think about, allowing us to train our brains to remove old obstacles and achieve our potential. Bill Donius’s work will be a staple for individuals and organizations wishing to be truly innovative in the years ahead.”

Now that you have my list of books you should be “caught reading” during the month of May, what are some of your own favorites? Share your ideas below, inquiring minds want to know.

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