“To sell is human” is a basic book about sales. When I say that, it’s a great book if you are a business leader, entrepreneur, launched a start-up or have suddenly just got a role where you have “business development” as an objective. Sales may have never been part of your life plan, the thought of it might concern you or even terrify you.

Many of us think that “sales” means this “gift of the gab”, extrovert that talks all the time and we think that isn’t us, therefore we cannot sell. Daniel takes you through that actually sales isn’t like that and in fact we all can sell. In fact, we can all sell, all of the time.

The book is well researched and also provides advice and guidance for anybody taking their first steps into sales.

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A “shoe dog” is somebody who lives a breaths shoes, they know everything there is to know about them. How they are sold, how they are made and the supply chain in-between.

Phil Knight’s project while doing his MBA at Stanford University was all about selling training shoes, sneakers. His plan was to import shoes from Japan and sell them in the US. His view was that the American training shoe market was not saturated.

He set up a company called Blue Ribbon and this started a journey that would end up being Nike.

This isn’t a business text book, it’s a story of how one person working part time and then how a team of people, built a global business. From humble beginnings, through the highs and lows, from banks withdrawing funding, to setting up Nike, to finding manufacturing plants, it’s all here.

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Super-forecasting is a book about forecasting, of course.

If you didn’t know already, superforecasting has become a way for already people to make predictions about the world. The website sets challenges for you to forecast and then the tribe of forecasters set about researching and maybe even guessing, but they come up with a suggested outcome and forecast.

In the book, Tetlock and Gardner, take you through the process that you too can start forecasting, actually with little or no data. For example, how many piano tuners are there in Chicago? OK, a simple question but a starter before working on a question such as “What will be the price of oil, when President Putin leaves office?”

I was recommend this book and was also recommend the book “thinking in bets” by Annie Duke.

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I’m reading some of my Dad’s books and this is one of those.

Originally published in 1955, this is the second edition from 1977. Hence the photograph to the left.

The book is about the phonograph and to a lesser extent the gramophone. Depending on which side of the Atlantic you are, you may call the machines different things.

It starts with the various inventions and cylindrical “records” to the introduction of the 78 record.

Without spoiling anything, it finishes with the introduction to tape, the Philips cassette, the 33 1/3 LP the 45-rpm single and quadraphonic. As this edition was from 1977 it misses many of the modern developments. 

If you are interested in the development of spoken word and music machines then this is pretty much the definitive book on the subject. 

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If you have never read a Matthew Syed book before (this was my first) then his writing style is very much like Malcolm Gladwell and I mean that in a very positive way.

The book is excellently well researched and takes many modern day “assumptions” and unpeels them, layer after layer, like an onion. Like Malcom, there are themes that run through the book and often they are repeated as we walk through the book.

I will certainly be looking out for further books by Matthew. 

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The world has changed and this change seems to just accelerate.

Digital, social media, social change, the Covid 19 pandemic are all factors to this continued change and acceleration.

In this book, Marcus Kirsch discusses how a business in the past had “tame problems” and tame processes” and changes to these problems, were ….. tame.

Marcus argues that in this hyperconnected world, with so much change we have a perfect storm of change and this has caused “wicked problems”, with the need for “wicked processes” and the changes to these are “wicked solutions”.

The businesses that recognise this and implement the solutions Marcus talks about in this book, will survive the next 10 years, those companies that don’t, won’t survive.

Tame companies won’t exist in 10 years, what will survive is the wicked company.

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“Sustainable marketing” is for once a marketing book with a difference. I have read so many marketing books that are “new” or “next generation” when they just regurgitate the same old same old. Michelle Carvill, Gemma Butler and Geraint Evans have created a highly researched book that takes the reader through every step of sustainability and how they can create low carbon marketing. (Or is it, they walk you through every step of marketing and position on how you can have a carbon neutral marketing strategy).

After reading it I feel energised to go out and make sure my marketing is carbon neutral from now on.

I’m pleased to say that when I spoke to Michelle last she said this had started a movement and I hope other people read this and decide to make a difference. 

It should be noted that while I know Michelle Carvill, I paid for this book. 

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“Effortless” is the follow up to the excellent book “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown.

In a world where we are often overwhelmed, stressed and seem to rush from place to place, where we are expected to worship the “hustle culture”. In “Essentialism” Greg explains how you can do more, by doing less.  

For example, have you ever been to a meeting that was a total waste of time, but somebody who didn’t go asks you, “so what happened?’ And you explain the meeting in 30 seconds. That person is an Essentialist.

In “Effortless” Greg carries on the same theme. I should point out, while this is “part 2” there is no duplication and in fact this is just a well researched. Each chapters has a moral to the story and Greg walks you through a metaphor, in his storytelling. The book is easy to read, with a shed load of “mike drop” moments. 

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The Dakar Rally is an annual rally raid organised by the Amaury Sport Organisation. Since the inception in 1978 teams drove from Paris, France, to Dakar, Senegal. It’s a race, there is big money sponsors and the teams, drive state of the art rally cars.

This book is nothing to do with that.

The Plymouth to Dakar has a name to take the piss out of the Paris race.

The Plymouth to Dakar, also called the Banjul challenge, is where drivers take “bangers” so old cars down to Banjul where they are auctioned for charity. Drivers don’t have state of the art cars and the challenge is to get the cars through Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania and Senegal, arriving in Banjul in The Gambia.

In this (self published book) two woman, L. Kate Ashdown and Rach set off from the UK in a banger car and this book is their story. Kate and Rach have no background in cars, car maintenance and in one country they intend to drive through a country where women are legally not allowed to drive. It’s a story of their advantage as well as Kate thoughts and musings.

I have to be honest that I was hoping for a little more detail, Kate explains what happened, but she gives no advice of what should have happened.

That said, there is a decent kit list in the appendix. 

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“Decoding Sponsorship” is a book about Maggie Chan Jones journey from graduate to being CMO of the German software company, SAP. Through her career she has had mentorship and sponsorship, (she explains the difference) and provides advice to others so you can develop your career. 

I interviewed Maggie on my podcast https://lnkd.in/deYpPWGP and I described this book as the book my 20 year self wish they had read and I truly believe that. It is also the book that my 30 year old self had read, because I think at different ages and at different stages in your career you will take different insight from the book.

If you want to advance in your career, this is well worth a read. 

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It wouldn't be an article about books without mentioning my two books. Both are highly practical, they are not about my journey, they are designed to be used by the reader in their day to day work.

Social Selling describes the modern buyer and the way, as sellers and marketers we need to react to that. It takes the reader through the way that the market has changed to provide a structure that you can use in your day to day life.

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Smarketing is about how you can merge sales and marketing, or at least bring the two departments together.

Having seen a number of articles about, should we or should we not merge sales and marketing, we decided to write the book that will support you run such a project.

We are not allowed to mention the company the use case is based on. It's not therefore a hypothetical example, but based on real science. We take you through the reasons for sales and marketing should work together, to a plan on what, practically you need to do. We also share with you the common "gotchas" so you can plan for them in advance. we also share with you common measures.

Both Social Selling and Smarketing, as are all of the books above available on Amazon world-wide. You can contact me here and DLA Ignite here