July 2017 Reading List

July 2017 Reading List

Summer's in mid-swing and 2017 is racing.  Absolutely crazy I know, but there's a silver lining. August gives you a great opportunity to perform a self-audit - personally and professionally.  It leaves you with enough time remaining to redirect the ship or double down on what's been working.

Before we move on with the reading list.  I want to give you TWO updates I have in the works for the back half of 2017...

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May 2017 Reading List

May 2017 Reading List

I've decided to switch things up a bit.  Until further notice, I am going to be cancelling the DV Weekend Pickup - wah, wah, wah - but I am going to replace it with a monthly reading list.  

You can expect an edition on the last day of each month.  I will be ranking every book I read that month from most preferred to least preferred.  I think this new format will work two fold...

  1. It will benefit you by having a basis of comparison

  2. It will force me to be more subjective

Plus, I just really like lists.  Below is my first iteration...

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3 Ways Salespeople Kill Their Own Deals

3 Ways Salespeople Kill Their Own Deals

You know those days where you feel like the whole world is corroborating against you in order to sabotage your deal.  There are a slew of things we can't control that unfortunately dictate the way a deal shakes out. Quite honestly, it sucks, I'm with you.

Interestingly though if we truly internalize our sales processes along the way we can probably conclude many times we killed our own deal.

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CASE Model: 4 Steps to Ignite Your Sales Process

CASE Model: 4 Steps to Ignite Your Sales Process

Unpredictable lead flow?  

Erratic sales volume?  

Sales plateaued?

It’s quite possible you have what I call a sluggish sales process.  We’ve all been there at one point or another.  It’s a tough spot to be, stuck.  Stuck on what to do next, where to turn, and who to go to for help.  And the pressure associated is the WORST.

Below is an outline of the CASE Model specifically designed to ignite your sales process.

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The New Psychology of Success

DV Weekend Pickup #60

Mindset by Carol Dweck, Ph.D.

A tale of two mindsets - fixed vs growth - and more importantly what they mean to you and I.  We're all pretty sure mindset matters but are we totally convinced it's the single biggest thing.  Carol Dweck, Stanford University psychology professor does a remarkable job convincing us that whether you're a parent, teacher, coach, business leader, employee, it seemingly doesn't matter but possessing a GROWTH mindset is the only viable choice.

“Think about your hero. Do you think of this person as someone with extraordinary abilities who achieved with little effort? Now go find out the truth. Find out the tremendous effort that went into their accomplishment—and admire them more.”

Our society has praised natural ability and effortless accomplishments so much that we actual value it over achievement through effort.  There are so many problems with this type of thinking at a foundational level, I don't even know where to begin.  At the end of the day, if you're not valuing constant improvement, constant learning, and belief that skills can be developed then you're playing at a gigantic disadvantage.  The research does not isolate "fixed vs growth mindset" to one application, genre, vertical, etc as evident by the layout...

  1. The Mindsets
  2. Inside the Mindsets
  3. The Truth About Ability and Accomplishment
  4. Sports: The Mindset of a Champion
  5. Business: Mindset and Leadership
  6. Relationships: Mindsets in Love (or Not)
  7. Parents, Teachers, and Coaches: Where do mindsets come from?
  8. Changing Mindsets 

Since it's release in 2007 Mindset has become one of the benchmark non-fiction reads for our generation.  It has wide critical acclaim and comes on high recommendation from the iconic Bill Gates.  If you're struggling to get your head right, then I'd suggest picking this up.  As Dweck proclaims, "Genius is not enough; we need to get the job done."

Crush the day!

DV

If It's Not Fun, It's Not Worth Doing

DV Weekend Pickup #59

The Virgin Way by Richard Branson

A look into the mind of the one the most swash buckling and amazingly unique billionaires in history.  You'll get to hear the method behind his madness as he tells stories from childhood, the rise of the Virgin brand, and his home Necker Island.  In case you missed that, yes, he has called an entire island home for the last 30 years...

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

...located in the Caribbean and equipped to accommodate up to 34 guests at a time.  This is just the tip of the iceberg that has built the Branson lore as this over top adventurist, who prides himself on having fun above all else.  It shouldn't surprise you the book is broken into four parts - LISTEN, LEARN, LAUGH, and LEAD - each of which really embody Branson.  This is probably my favorite excerpt...

"In the same way you cannot be 'almost unique' or 'partly pregnant', true passion isn't something that comes in half measures.  You are either a hundred percent behind the quest for excellence hundred percent of the time or you aren't really a player.  As a leader you cannot possibly expect your core brand values to be understood, embraced, and become ingrained in the psyche of your people if you yourself are not passionately and uncompromisingly committed.  I am sorry if this might come across as overly trite or preachy but if you fail to understand the significance of having and sharing such palpable passion for what you do, then the chances are that you really do not belong in a leadership role."

...along with Branson's chapter titled "K-I-S-S and Tell - Simplicity Wins Every Time."  Emphasizing the popularized phrase from the US Navy in 1960, "Keep it simple stupid."  I love the practicality and clear nature of his leadership style.  There is good reason why most say Branson is nothing short of lovable.  As he would say, "Screw it, let's do it."

Crush the day!

DV

The World's Most Popular Emotional Intelligence Test

DV Weekend Pickup #58

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves

Emotional intelligence (EQ) might just be the key to your proverbial kingdom, no matter what "it" is.  EQ is your ability to empathize with others and understand your inner self in order to guide your behavior and relationships.  There has been much debate through the years between EQ vs IQ on which is more critical to your performance in the workplace.  Personally, I am heavy in the EQ camp...

"The link between EQ and earnings is so direct that every point increase in EQ adds $1300 to an annual salary."

...because the ability to navigate your emotions as well as other peoples on a daily basis only seems to be getting more and more vital.  The world is seemingly more social than ever before with more exposure than ever before.  Bradberry's overarching layout is easy to follow:

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Self-Management
  3. Social Awareness
  4. Relationship Management

Each of the four sections comes with a 15-20 bullet point list of actionable strategies to help you raise your EQ.  If that isn't enough there's an online assessment that accompanies to help you benchmark your starting point.  I picked it up in the airport so I can vouch for it's quality as a travel read.  EQ has proven to be the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and strongest driver of leadership.  This is simply a strategy playbook to help you raise the bar.

Crush the day!

DV 

The Book Recommended By More Advertising Geniuses Than Any Other

DV Weekend Pickup #57

Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins

A business classic about inbound sales principles that has truly stood the test of time.  First edition was written in 1923, it has largely been regarded as a must-read in the marketing genre ever since.  Honestly, at 78 pages, there's really no excuse if you call marketing home.  But hey, don't take my word for it.  Legendary advertiser David Ogilvy once said...

"Nobody, at any level, should be allowed to have anything to do with advertising until he has read this book seven times.  It has changed the course of my life."

The overall thesis is that advertising has become so precise that it requires zero guess work.  It's now a systematic, well-tested, and highly predictable process that erases theories or opinions, and emphasizes proven principles (facts.)  Hopkins claims the only uncertainties lie in the people and products, not the method.

"Take the opinion of no man, whom know nothing about his returns."

Quickly reminding you that advertising is no lazy mans field.  If you want to maximize profits then understanding your data is of the utmost importance.  Science is about testing and experimenting hypothesis, as is advertising and marketing.  The book is full of insight but admittedly at times I found myself reading one sentence 10 times just to fully comprehend it.  The early 20th century terminology makes you work to find the magic, but it's worth it. 

Crush the day!

DV

Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

DV Weekend Pickup #56

Made to Stick by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

What exactly is a sticky idea?  What does "sticky" even mean?  The Heath brothers take you on a well researched journey answering those questions.  Taking it even further by showing you WHY some ideas stick, WHAT it looks like WHEN ideas stick, and HOW you can make ideas stick as well.  One of the most important lessons is perhaps...

"The Curse of Knowledge: when we are given knowledge, it is impossible to imagine what it's like to lack that knowledge."

...remembering the more research, time, and knowledge you obtain on any subject sometimes and often does make it harder to clearly explain.  "Curiosity occurs when we feel a gap in our knowledge," say the Heath brothers.  This is the gap we must fill for effective communicators.  Made to Stick draws on case studies ranging from Subway's famous Jared campaign to "The Sinatra Test" to silly urban legends.  All examples are intended to shed light on their 6 steps of a sticky idea...

  1. Simplicity
  2. Unexpectedness
  3. Concreteness
  4. Credibility
  5. Emotional
  6. Stories

...with #1 simplicity being the root concept for every sticky idea.  Finding the core of an idea comes first, otherwise you risk everything else that flows from it being less sticky.  This concept really hit home because it resembles a theory I've long been in support of regarding simplicity.  Overall, Made to Stick is a fun read that provides an actionable template for you to communicate ideas effectively.

Crush the day!

DV