Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Book 31: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

I wanted to feel great about being immersed in this book - I found myself loving the first half, nodding along, and taking good pauses. The more into the text I got the more difficult my ability to keep up.

Mr. Tolle is no doubt quite brilliant.

The half that I enjoyed lays out enlightenment, dissection between mind and consciousness, and how Being has been written about in many forms for thousands of years. I especially enjoyed his description of psychological time - an illusion of past and future because these are two sides of memory, not reality. That all that every really is in reality is this very moment...no this second...this very second. Bizarre, no?

The Power of Now is to let go and let Being, be. This is a book that made me go, "hmm." More than a hundred times, I am still doing it. Read it.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Book 30: Fierce Loyalty by Sarah Robinson

For only being 84 pages, this little number packs an awesome message about building community around purpose. Mrs. Robinson dissects not the how or why community building is powerful but what makes a community ... a community. Community creates fierce loyalty through belonging, predictable connection, and passion and pride. A community is brought together by common grounds of need, desire, and direction which creates an almost organic growth in masses.

Companies like Harley-Davidson and Ikea, and organizations such as TED are living examples of how community can create fierce loyalty. I am excited to merge this idea with my business - the components are there, we just need to harbor them. Stay tuned! Oh, and of course read it.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Book 29: Outliers by Malcom Gladwell

Seeing as this followed one I wasn't too stoked over by Mr. Gladwell I was more than pleasantly surprised. How much so? Well, I LOVED this book. Loved it. Why? Because he demystifies everything about successful people that I have been reading and searching out. In one sentence - successful people are created, not born.

Created as in literally born at the right time but then inserted into prime opportunity, created through time dedicated to a particular mission or idea, and created through something as simple as how we communicate with one another.

Mr. Gladwell traces back how by the time Bill Gates exploded onto the scene he had spent his 8th-12th grade years and long nights on the campus of University of Washington playing on computers the size of your dining room table. This amounted to approximately 10,000 hours of practice. He traces back how Mozart may have started composing music at age 4 but his first great piece of work was not composed until he was 21, approximately 10,000 hours of practice later. How willing are you to dedicate 10,000 hours of practice to your passion?

Mr. Gladwell connects the history of how rice is harvested and why Koreans, Japanese, and Chinese are better at math. I won't detail it for you but it has to do with their history of working time per year dedication, surpassing other farming communities by as many as 1,000 hours per year or more.

His points about success makes me happy because I know that there is no such thing as luck, and here are 285 pages to back it up. Read it.


Book 28: The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell

Another from my dusty bookshelf - the idea intrigued me thoroughly that there is a moment in an idea or concept where it tips and explodes. Mr. Gladwell explored ideas such as connectors, mavens, and salesman such as Paul Revere and Peter Jennings. He explores things like Sesame Street and Blues Clues and contexts like subway crime and the by-stander effect. I liked the book but didn't love it.

It is interesting that something as simple as cleaning the subway cars was the tipping point into dropping the New York City crime rate dramatically and how Paul Revere's 'popularity' is why when he rode in the night forewarning that the British were coming his impact created a natural call to arms.

All in all the book was a good read but I was looking for more of a 'butterfly effect' but perhaps real tipping points are not as dramatic as that. Read it.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Book 27: Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

Do not let the title of this book scare you into not reading it. A more appropriate title would have been, "Get More Living Out of Life" or some variation of that. Mr. Maltz was a plastic surgeon back in the day (1920's-1960's) and found something rather fascinating when he would change or alter someones appearance - they would emotionally change as well. He felt that it was his moral duty to be well versed in psychology to better prepare his patients for the emotional change that awaited the other side of their surgery.

The majority of his cases were patients who had experienced a traumatic accident or born deformity that had impacted them psychologically - taking away their enjoyment for life. For some the physical change brought about by plastic surgery was enough to bring their confidence selves back to the surface. For others though, they were convinced that the surgery had not even taken place and that their emotional scars were so deep nothing could remove their own stigma of who they perceived themselves to be.

He then goes on to explain his theories of failure mechanisms, success mechanisms, happiness, self-image, and self-confidence. Considering the book was published over 52 years ago I can't help but wonder if he is the father of modern processes for life fulfillment. I found myself immersed in his very basic ideas about perception and reality, hyper-consciousness, and how we hold ourselves back.

The majority of this book is echoed in the likes of Jim Rohn, Jack Canfield and Anthony Robbins among, I am sure, many others. I want to read it again. So clearly I recommend that you read it. 


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book 26: The 7 Levels of Communication by Michael Maher

For any one who sells anything to anyone - read this book. Yet another book that tricked me into thinking via the title I was going to read about communication, well not exactly. The actual 7 levels Mr. Maher refers to are:

7. 1-on-1 meetings
6. Events and seminars
5. Phone Calls
4. Handwritten Notes
3. Email
2. Direct Mail
1. Advertising

Levels 1-3 are information zones.
Level 4 is the tipping point.
Levels 5-7 are influential zones.

By doing business from levels 4-7 alone, you can increase your active referral base and solely grow your business without spending a penny on ads or mail campaigns. I love it.

As a business owner you learn one lesson pretty quickly - cash is king. The more if it you can keep the better you are. And with 1-3% returns on most ad campaigns they are more of a liability than a wise investment.

The levels only account for 3 pages of the entire book - the other 164 pages are filled with strategies to implement the upper levels of influence. Want a quick sampling? Here it goes:

  • Plan your day and block your time the night before
  • Be ritualistic with your day, from start to end. Don't forget your affirmations and blessings book
  • First thing in the morning call 10 people from your community of people, just to say hello
  • Write Power notes every day and don't forget an actionable P.S.
  • Get in front of your ambassadors monthly and turn friends into champions
  • Memorize key questions for getting your community to think about sending you clients
  • Give, give, give - your time, your listening ear, your genuine interest of others
  • Use strategic success stories on your blog, social media, on post cards, and in your power notes
This is only a sampling - and to even decipher what it all means I highly recommend you read it. 


Drop me a note sometime, I am grateful you are here!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Book 25: The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason

Richest Man in Babylon has been on my 'to read' list for far too long. I added it to my queue before I had it in my possession and had to continue putting it off - alas it finally arrived and quickly became my Sunday read.

If I had read this little number before Automatic Millionaire, The Millionaire Next Door, and many items by Jim Rohn I think its impact would have been more profound. However, without this book my previous reads would ceased to exist as they do.

Mr. Clason sets his story in Babylon, circa 8,000 years ago and in order to teach the reader 7 rules for wealth and financial freedom so simple and so useful they were even preached in this ancient world ... supposedly.

Rule #1: For every 10 pieces of silver, keep 1 for yourself (a.k.a. save 10% of your income)
Rule #2: Control thy expenditures (a.k.a. do not spend money you do not have)
Rule #3: Make thy gold multiply (a.k.a. compound your savings)
Rule #4: Guard thy treasures from loss (a.k.a. do not purchase liabilities)
Rule #5: Make thy dwelling a profitable place (a.k.a. purchase your home)
Rule #6: Insure a future income (a.k.a. take responsibility for your income when you can not longer work by saving for your retirement today)
Rule #7: Increase the ability to earn (a.k.a. you can not work more hours, but you can make yourself more valuable per hour)

A book 86 years old and still relevant. Read it.


Book 24: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Habit was a fascinating read, one I will need to read again to really capture the whole picture. Mr. Duhigg breaks our habits into a 3-point routine: cue, habit, reward. Basically, for every habit is a cue we recognize to play out a habit that comes with a reward we can even crave in advance. 

Cravings might be a sugar-high, a gambling fix, even a runner's high. We actually experience the enjoyment of these sensations before we have even followed through with our habit - eating, gambling, running, etc. 

Most fascinating was how why a habit may not be predictable, it can be changed or altered no matter how ingrained a habit is. If you are conscious of your habit, you have a choice in how you participate with your habit. Such as eating too much, smoking too much, getting angry too easily, etc. 

The author even goes into details about how your favorite stores can predict your buying trends and cater to their desires before you even know you want to consume something. Have a rewards card in your wallet from a grocery store? You are rewarded to continue using your card, meanwhile the store is collecting immense amounts of data about what you buy and when. Those little coupon books you receive in the mail are actually curated just for you and your buying trends as to encourage more buying. All based on your simple weekly grocery shopping habits. 


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Book 23: Power Questions by Andrew Sobel and Jerold Panas

This little number was a fantastic read, and I am not just saying that has someone who's job is to ask questions. Yes, that's right, I am a professional questioner. In fact one of the definitions of my work is one who asks powerful questions to invoke purpose and direction. Among other things..

Contained in the 202 pages are 327 powerful questions. What makes a question powerful? Good question! A powerful question is one that is thought stretching and calls for a response other than 'yes' or 'no'. And this book is packed with them!

Here is the purpose of these questions - to genuinely create a giving dialogue between yourself and another human being for the sole sake of their growth. Period. Not a question that you take turns answering, a question you ask someone for the betterment of them. The impact of this? Huge!

Unfortunately, contrary to what we may hope for, we are not easily remembered for what we say but we are remembered for how we make another person feel. Power questions make you memorable.

Want some examples? Thought so.

What was the most difficult question you have ever been asked?
Can you tell me about your plans? How did you arrive at those?
What in your life as given you the greatest fulfillment?
What is the greatest achievement in your life?
What made this day more special than any other day?

Good, huh?

Next time you are meeting a friend ask one or two and just see what happens, you will be amazed.

Read it.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Book 22: A big little life by Dean Koontz

You may recognize the author's name, as he has sold over 400 million books, however this one was a little bit...different. Dean is known for his dark novels filled with woven themes of intense intrigue. This book however was about his dog, Trixie.

A little back story: Since starting my project I have slowly been adding new habits to my life. One such habit is reading my affirmation/goal cards before bed each night and when I wake up each morning. One of my goals is to be a loving puppy mom to a golden retriever (or two...)

Fast forward. The thing about affirmations and daily visualization is that strange things start popping up. This book was one of them. One night before closing for the day, a client of mine stopped by to ask me about financial advice. (note: I am not a financial planner, nor has this topic ever come up between us before) I had just finished, "Smart Women Finish Rich" Hmm. With the topic of books in the air she mentions that she has this memoir by Dean Koontz I must read.

I am on this huge self-development kick, but the gesture was kind so I told her to bring it by. The very next day it sat on my desk. Who is Trixie, the whole purpose of this story? A golden retriever.

I don't know much about signs but the timing felt right so I quickly added it to the top of my list and spent my Sunday off, today, reading this wonderful book.

Trixie was a guide dog for a woman who had her legs removed after an accident. After Trixie had to have surgery on her elbow she declared early retirement and came to live with Mr. Koontz and his wife, Gerda. Not only was she well-behavied, she seemed to be rather emotionally aware and intelligent beyond her breed (or years).

The love between the author and their dog was one of true companionship and Trixie shared with Dean deeper meaning to life and living in the moment. She even herself published several books.

They spent 9 years with Trixie and just before she passed a neighbor stopped them on their walk to tell Dean that he should know his dog was a very special soul in between perfection and enlightenment. Whoa. Dog lover or compassionate soul, I highly recommend you read it.


Book 21: Endless Referrals by Bob Burg

You may recognize Bob, he is the author of the Go-Giver and Go-Givers Sell More series. I have been meaning to read this particular book for oh ... 3 years. Oops. What was stopping me? I knew it was filled with big action steps that would move me out of my comfort zone - and I was right.

His Endless Referral System is based on the principle that givers receive more than those who do not give. But you can't just give to receive, you must give to give. And this is a crucial point! Your goal is not to have others sell for you, your goal is for others to send people your direction so you can genuinely serve them.

How? Make others feel great, ask good questions, get to the root of what they need, and set out on a mission to actually find those things or people for them. Sound like too much? Well, have a look at your current business or bank statements and I think your give to get attitude will speak for itself.

Sorry, too much?

Endless Referrals and the Go-Giver are two sides of the same coin - I believe his concept outlined in Endless Referrals is good but has a sense of textbook about it. The Go-Giver is a different approach to the same content and I think that's why it was so much better a read - it's emotional and tells a fantastic story. Endless Referrals is a very long how-to guide. Which perhaps you prefer!

Regardless, I have a nice little list of action steps I will be implementing this week. And if I am to take away just one thing, then my reading time was well spent. Read it.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Book 20: Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach

A new goal is to read his entire series, because they just keep getting better. I read his book, "Automatic Millionaire" as my book #8, which was phenomenal! However, this little number had more...guts. And I loved it.

This is not only a read for women, if you are married to a woman I recommend you too read it, perhaps alongside her.

Mr. Bach breaks down some pretty impressive numbers about the amount of money spent within women owned businesses every year and how many jobs us ladies provide within these businesses; he also breaks down that women are little more patient with their investments thus gaining the full potential of this magical thing called compound interest.

I personally loved his call to action to first declare your values around what money can bring to your life and then get serious about your organization! For example, do you have in one convenient place your previous seven tax returns, retirement account statements, social security benefits, investment accounts, savings statements, household accounts, debt, insurance, and your family will or trust?

Don't worry, me either, but I am now working on them! Mr. Bach breaks down how to create this and where to find everything you need to even have these types of investments! He even breaks down how to reach your children about money and how to save smartly for their college education.

The best part: in less than 1 week of reading this book and having a couple crucial conversations you can be on your way to a substantial retirement without much fuss or muss.

But first you have to read it.