The following are a list of books that have most impacted my business thinking over the past 10 years. Not all will resonate for you, of course, but if you are looking for a starting point, this list contains both timeless classics like Baseline Selling and Four Steps to the Epiphany as well more recent thinking such as Just Listen and David and Goliath. Not all of these books are obvious. For example, Just Listen is more about psychology than business but I found it to be inadvertently one of the best books on sales ever written. Hope you find this helpful. Please help me and others by sending your book recommendations below.
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Baseline Selling by Dave Kurlan
Selling is moving someone to make a change. It's a human instinct that's been with us since before we made fire. At it's core, it's more about how people think how they make decisions than it is about new techniques. Baseline Selling taps into this fundamental quality of selling. The baseball visual is merely a way to remember the key concepts. If you're visual and you learn from books, there's enough information here to catapult you to the elite 6% of sales people who really get it.
Just Listen by Mark Goulston
It's supposed to be a book about psychology, but to me, it's really a book about a key part of Baseline Selling - building the rapport and trust required to truly move people. If Baseline Selling is the fundamental sales book, Just Listen dives deep into the basepath between first and second and shows you not only how it's done, but why it works. When you finish this book, you'll understand the reasoning behind much of Baseline Selling and you'll also solve your relationship problems, improve your parenting skills, and develop a healthy and productive work environment. There's probably some world peace in there too because it's almost that good.
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
If you ever wanted to know how we really think, this is your book, from one of the most respected psycholologists of our time. Kahneman breaks down human thought into two distinct systems that act together - System 1 and System 2. System 1 works in the background and is very fast. It makes most of our decisions. System 2 is our conscious mind, works much more slowly, but can resolve conflicts and issues that System 1 can't figure out. That's what's so interesting. We think our conscious mind is in charge, but it really is there to serve our faster mind and only when called upon. When System 1 notices uncertainty and doubt, it calls about System 2 to help. But it doesn't always know there's a problem. When I tell you that "Ann approached the bank," he explains, you might conjur an image of Ann approaching the bank. Maybe she has money in her hand or a debit card. What you didn't realize is that System 1 gave you that image and didn't make you aware of the ambiguity of the sentence. It tossed out the alternative ideas completely. But if we put the sentence in context and I told you she had a paddle in her hand instead of a debit card, you might conjur another definition of the word, bank, and create a completely different image. You think you're aware of the decisions you are making but you are not. System 2 is effortful and will only work as hard as it has to. System 1 takes a lot of shortcuts it learned from experience and has no room for simultaneous interpretations. It simply chooses, or if you're lucky, it asks for your help. For some real fun, take this selective attention test. (If the video doesn't play, copy and paste the URL into another browser.) Join the over 10 million people who have tried this.
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
Drive by Dan Pink
Sales Shift by Frank Belzer
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Small is the New Big by Seth Godin
Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Give and Take by Adam Grant
Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish
The 8th Habit by Stephen R. Covey
Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steven Gary Blank
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins
Great by Choice by Jim Collins and Morten T. Hansen
The Man Who Lied to His Laptop by Clifford Nass
Focus by Daniel Coleman
Resonate by Nancy Duarte