7. Steve Jobs - I’m not going to even try to pretend that Steve Jobs made for the best role model of a father, husband or – even at times – a CEO. However, this insightful look at the development of many of the hottest consumer products ever helps you to understand just how far passion can take you. The idea to put an artist front and center in the development team, to not be run by focus groups, and to add value through curation are all part of Job’s legacy. You will not want this book to end after you get into it.
8. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – What if you knew that by performing two simple actions you could almost guarantee improved responses to your marketing materials? What if you could drastically increase your sales conversion rates by making a subtle change to your presentation? These seem like fairy tale statements. The promise of a magical silver bullet, right? This classic shows you how you can predictably and repeatedly persuade others to take a desired action. You must promise only to use these powers for good!
9. Browsers to Buyers - When I left Ohio to join Heartland Homes in 2007, the first thing that arrived at my new address was Browsers to Buyers. I had ordered it during my last week at my previous employer, and it spurred the creation of our online sales position shortly after. It is currently being updated by the author – but it still is your best entry into the online sales person role. Just do what it says and see an immediate impact. This year, my online concierge team of 2 will assist with over 170 sales.
10. Brand Relevance: Making Competitors Irrelevant - Brands are not just symbols you can recognize or names that roll off your tongue. Brands, used properly, are a weapon that the competition has no easy answer for. This is perhaps the best book of 2011 that you have never heard of.
11. What’s the Secret: To Providing a World-Class Customer Experience – No one sets out from the beginning to provide bad customer service, but the reality is that most places end up doing just that. What’s wrong here? This insightful book is packed with real life examples and illustrations of how to recruit, train, and empower those who work with you to provide truly remarkable experiences. I don’t know of a home builder yet who does this right… yet. You could be the first with this book.
12. The Toyota Way – Yes, I know about the whole problem with car brakes in 2009/2010, but that still doesn’t mean you can’t learn a thing or two about business from Toyota. Most of us know that “waste” is something that is no longer needed and disposed of, but this book taught me that waste also occurs when you over engineer a product beyond the value level that your prospect is able to perceive. This book is packed with similar insights and is NOT just for manufacturing companies.
That’s it. The 12 books you shouldn’t put off reading any longer. They’ll have a positive impact on your attitude, your outlook, and most importantly – your results and how you achieve them. Here’s to a great 2012.
PS – Let me know what book you would add to this list!