Category Archives: Book notes

Book Notes: To Sell is Human

The capacity to sell isn’t some unnatural adaption to the merciless world of commerce. It is part of who we are. 

Daniel H. Pink. To Sell is Human.

INTRODUCTION

Book: To Sell is Human
Author: Daniel H. Pink
Read: July 2019

NOTES

Many of us now devote a portion of our spare time to selling – whether it’s handmade crafts on Etsy, heartfelt causes on DonorChoose, or harebrained schemes on Kickstarter. 

The conventional view of economic behavior is that the two most important activates are producing and consuming. But today, much of what we do also seems to involve moving.That is, we’re moving other people to part with resources so that we both get what we want. 

People are selling all the time, regardless of their job. 

The technologies that were supposed to make salespeople obsolete has in fact transformed more people into sellers. 

A decade of intense competition has forced most organizations to transform from segmented to flat (or at least, flatter) They do the same, if not greater, amounts of work than before, but they do it with fewer people who are doing more, and more varied things. 

As elasticity skills become more common, one particular category of skill it seems always to encompass is moving others.

TAKEAWAYS

We as human beings are always selling to one another. This takes the form of selling goods but it also is us trying to influence those around us either in decisions, tasks, or favors. In short, we must learn how to sell because it will help us learn how to advance within life. We must continually reinvent ourselves and by selling ourselves, goods, or opinions, we are persuading others. While we may not have a job that requires us to sell in the sense that we most interpret selling, we are still selling in some regard and should thus understand how and why we are selling ourselves.

Book Notes: The Art of Procrastination

Structured Procrastination: A person who gets a lot done by not doing other things. 

John Perry. The Art of Procrastination

INTRODUCTION

Book: The Art of Procrastination
Author: John Perry
Read: July 2019

NOTES

Grasping the concept of structured procrastination is only the first step in a program that can help procrastinators. Once we realize that we are structured procrastinators, not only do we feel better about ourselves but we also improve somewhat in our ability to get things done, because, once the miasma of guilt and despair clears, we have a better understanding of what keeps us from doing those things. 

The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. 

Structured Procrastination means shaping the structure of tasks one has to do in a way that exploits fact. 

Create a list of things you need to do, ordered by importance. You might even call this your priority list. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list. 

Procrastinators often follow exactly the wrong tack. They try to minimize their commitments, assuming that if they have only a few things to do, they will quit procrastinating and get them done. But this goes contrary to the basic nature of the procrastinator and destroys his most important source of motivation. 

The trick is to pick the right sorts of projects for the top of the list. The ideal sorts of things have two characteristics. First, they seem to have clear deadlines (but really don’t). Second, they seem awfully important (but really aren’t). 

One needs to be able to recognize and commit oneself to tasks with inflated importance and unreal deadlines, while making oneself feel that these tasks are important and urgent. 

Virtually all procrastinators have excellent self-deception skills. 

Perfectionism leads to procrastination. 

Perfectionism is a matter of fantasy, not reality. 

Perfectionism – It’s not a matter of really ever ding anything that is perfect or that even comes close. It is a matter of using tasks you accept to feed your fantasy of doing things perfectly, or at any rate, extremely well. 

TAKEAWAYS

Procrastination, when constructive, can provide us with the ability to get more done than we think. It is not about not getting things done, it is about systematizing and prioritizing the things for which we need to accomplish in a way to help as improve our productivity.

Book Notes: Verbal Judo

The entire basis for Verbal Judo is to treat people with dignity and respect. 

George Thompson. Verbal Judo.

INTRODUCTION

Book: Verbal Judo
Author: George J. Thompson, Jerry B. Jenkins
Read: July 2019

NOTES

Five Universal Truths of human interaction: All people want to be treated with dignity and respect; All people want to be asked rather than told to do something; All people want to be informed as to why they are being asked or ordered to do something; All people want to be given options rather than threats; All people want a second chance when they make a mistake. 

Ancient Greeks: Action follows philosophy and that what we believe will dictate our actions in life. 

By truly believing and advocating the philosophy of respect for others, we can maintain tactical position even in adversarial situations, while allowing others to disagree and keep their dignity. 

The philosophical foundation of Verbal Judo promotes using language to achieve a professional purpose and to do so with real power and empathy. 

Sympathy vs empathy: We can feel the pain of others by merely asking ourselves how we would feel under identical circumstances.

We must communicate our purpose but we are not required to respect wrongful action. 

The entire basis for Verbal Judo is to treat people with dignity and respect. 

In this life, the most important thing you have is your relationships with people. 

TAKEAWAYS

Part of understanding others is understanding ourselves. But in order to do that, we need to keep a level head in situations which can escalate quickly. Verbal Judo is the key and provides plenty of tools and tactics for pausing before responding (very important) as well as creating buffers to help others remain calm so a conversation does not quickly escalate.

Book Notes: The Culture Code

Group culture is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. 

Daniel Coyle. The Culture Code.

INTRODUCTON

Book: The Culture Code
Author: Daniel Coyle
Read: August 2019

What does it take to develop a good culture for people to thrive in? This is the question Coyle examines through in-depth research into some of the most successful teams and organizations on the planet. He looks to answer this question and through examples shows what creates both good and bad working cultures.

NOTES

THREE SKILLS TO BUILDING CULTURE:

Skill 1 (Build Safety) – How signals of connection generate bonds of belonging and identity. 

Skill 2 (Share Vulnerability) – Habits of mutual risk drive trusting cooperation. 

Skill 3 (Establish Purpose) – Narratives create shared goals and values. 

These three skills work together from the bottom up, first building group connection and then channeling it into action. 

Culture is a set of living relationships working toward a shared goal. It’s not something you are. It’s something you do. 

TAKEAWAYS

The Culture Code is a fantastic book about the keys to creating a culture both within a winning organization and around the individuals who help to build that culture. There are tons of great references to some of the best organizational cultures Coyle discovered as well as ones which failed at creating a culture for employees to thrive. This book is worth reading in order to help with creating or updating your organization’s culture, not to mention it is filled with valuable information with exercises and quotes from some of the greatest leaders of all time. This book had such an impact on me, I gifted it to over 20 people last year. Highly highly recommend.

Book Notes: Man’s Search For Meaning

When we saw a comrade smoking his own cigarettes, we knew he had given up faith in his strength to carry on, and, once lost, the will to live seldom returned. 

Viktor Frankl. Man’s Search for Meaning

INTRODUCTION

Book: Man’s Search for Meaning
Author: Viktor Frankl
Read: July 2019

The true story of Viktor Frankl’s experiences as a prisoner in a concentration camp during World War II. Through his struggles, he forms what it means to survive and defy all odds to conquer himself and his mind.

NOTES

If hundreds of thousands of people reach out for as book whose very title promises to deal with the question of a meaning to life, it must be a question that burns under their fingernails. 

I had wanted simply to convey to the reader by way of a concrete example that life holds a potential meaning under any conditions, even the most miserable one. 

“Don’t aim at success—the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to cause greater than oneself or as they by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run, I say—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.”

There was neither time nor desire to consider moral of ethical issues. Every man was controlled by one thought only: to keep himself alive for the family waiting for him at home, and to save his friends. 

On the average, only those prisoners could keep alive who, after years of trekking from camp to camp, had lost all scruples in their fight for existence; they were” prepared to use every means, honest and otherwise, even brutal force, theft and betrayal of their friends, in order to save themselves.

I was number 119,104

When we saw a comrade smoking his own cigarettes, we knew he had given up faith in his strength to carry on, and, once lost, the will to live seldom returned. 

Step by step we had to become accustomed to a terrible and immense horror. “delusion of reprieve”. The condemned man, immediately before his execution, gets the illusion that he might be reprieved at the very last minute. 

Fifteen hundred captives were cooped up in a shed built to accommodate probably two hundred at the most. We were cold and hungry and there was not enough room for everyone to squat on the bare ground, let alone lie down. One five-ounce piece of bread was our only food for days. 

The most painful part of beatings is the insult which they imply. 

I shall never forget how I was roused one night by the groans of a fellow prisoner, who threw himself about in his sleep, obviously having a horrible nightmare. Since I had always been especially sorry for people who suffered from fearful dreams or deliria, I wanted to wake the poor man. Suddenly I drew back the hand which was ready to shake him, frightened at the thing I was about to do. At that moment I became intensely conscious of the fact that no dream, no matter how horrible, could be as bad as the reality of the camp which surrounded us, and to which I was about to recall him. 

FAVORITE CHAPTER

The book, Man’s Search for Meaning, is broken into two separate sections. The first section, the autobiographical section of Frankl’s time in the concentration camps, and the second, the psychology behind his Logotherapy, parts of which he credits to Stoicism.

I would highly recommend the entire book, but the first section of it is what really speaks to the mentality he formed during the horrific events he endured in the concentration camps.

TAKEAWAYS

We have power over how we choose to respond to events. Frankl constantly reminds us through the book that even throughout these horrific atrocities which he faced, it was his mindset that helped him overcome much of the abuse.

I highly recommend this book to everyone as it not only speaks to the mental strength one can form, but also the fact that it is a life changing book.