Compiled by Josephine Gross, Ph.D.

Do you remember this clever piece of advice from the Jefferson Airplane song? We all know how crucial it is to expose ourselves to words, images and sounds that help us along towards where we want to go. In this column, we highlight personal and professional development tools—books, audiovisual programs, movies, podcasts or any other media—that have been circulating among networkers.

And while we’re being taught, why not also be moved and entertained? Do you have a must-see or must-hear recommendation? Simply e-mail dormouse@networkingtimes.com.

BOOK
Soul at Work: Spiritual Leadership in Organizations
By Margaret Benefiel, Ph.D., 2005

What do Southwest Airlines and U2 have in common? They both maintain a culture rooted in spirituality that keeps them going strong. Theologian Margaret Benefiel shows how such a culture can transcend and enhance an organization’s performance and success, proving that soul can function across all faiths and traditions in real organizations dealing with everyday issues.

Three key elements will help your organization meet the challenge of creating a caring, value-based atmosphere: 1) build and sustain a reputation for quality and integrity in your products and services; 2) build long-term relationships with customers, fellow workers and everyone you do business with; 3) embody a sense of community.

Best of all, finding a cohesive soul and prioritizing spirituality before profit does more than keep employees and customers happy; it is a life-giving way of doing and being in business, and it contributes to the life and health of the business’s future. This book is for anyone interested in the transformation of organizational life.
BOOK
The New Influencers: A Marketer’s Guide to the New Social Media

By Paul Gillin, 2007

This practical guide will show you how to engage with the people who are defining the rules of the new conversation-based marketplace. The new influencers are no longer marketing experts or traditional media but millions of ordinary people who interact through the new social media.

Individuals, armed with technology, are seeking out others like themselves and sharing their opinions with the world. People who have never had the tools to express themselves are creating a media transformation using blogs and podcasts as tools. They come from all walks of life, but what they have in common is a shared passion for community, journalism, thoughtful discourse and commitment to change.

Gillin identifies the new influencers, their goals and their motivations, and offers strategies for both small and large organizations on how to influence the influencers. Using numerous case studies, he unwraps the dynamics behind this fast-evolving phenomenon and charts its profound implications for how we can market our products [see Paul Gillin’s “Our Times” editorial p. 19].
BOOK
Winning the Toughest Customer: The Essential Guide to Selling to Women

By Delia Passi, 2006


Women have become a formidable force in our economy and in financial decision-making for themselves and their families. Do you want to learn why women reach different purchasing decisions than men? Developing the skill and know-how to attract and retain female customers has never been more critical to success: annually, women consumers spend $3.7 trillion, women business owners spend $1.5 trillion and women make or influence over 94 percent of all purchases.

Yet to many sales professionals, understanding women customers—how women interpret behavior, hear unexpected meanings, take in “peripheral” information and view the overall sales process—is a daily challenge. As a result, women’s wants, needs and expectations are often misunderstood.

Delia Passi reveals how salespeople can thrive with this complex market segment by providing the tools to customize selling to women. This notable guide shows professionals how to meet the expectations of female customers and benefit from women’s legendary loyalty and viral marketing potential.
DVD
Dog Whisperer

By Cesar Millan, 2004

(4-Disc series)

This National Geographic Channel series is must-see for anyone interested in training animals—or people. The first season chronicles the rehabilitation of over fifty different dogs, from a Chihuahua with a biting addiction to a towering Great Dane with a mortal fear of shiny floors. With Millan’s know-how, no misbehaved dog is beyond repair.

Millan models what every dog owner can and should do: establish yourself as the leader in the relationship. Invariably, problems turn out to be that the owner insists on treating his dog as he would a child and the dog becomes dominant. In the end, the problem is almost always the owner, not the dog, and Millan is even better at working with dog owners—people from all walks of life.

Why would a networker want to watch this (other than becoming a more effective pet owner, of course!)? Because Millan magnificently demonstrates the art of posture, and how powerfully your mindset can determine the course of an interaction. He shows this through the way he approaches dogs, but it is also true with prospects! “Posture” is something many networking leaders teach, but I’ve never seen anyone demonstrate it more beautifully than Millan.