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 new column, we will 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 email

The 29% Solution: 52 Weekly Networking Success Strategies

By Ivan R. Misner, Ph.D. and Michelle R. Donovan (2008)

In the July/August 2007 issue of Networking Times we ran an article by Ivan Misner entitled “Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and Six Degrees of Separation,” debunking the popular myth that there are only six steps or connections between you and anyone else you would like to meet.

In this new release, Ivan Misner and his coauthor Michelle R. Donovan lay out a practical one-year strategy for becoming part of the elite 29 percent of people who actually are connected by six or so people to the rest of the world. “Connecting” is a skill we all can acquire by learning to master the networking process. This involves more than just shaking hands and exchanging business cards. It’s about building your “social capital” by developing the following ten traits: timely follow-up on referrals; positive attitude; enthusiasm and motivation; trustworthiness; good listening skills; commitment to networking 24/7; expressing gratitude; helpfulness; sincerity; dedication to working the network.

Some noteworthy networking strategies include “Profile Your Preferred Customer,” “Volunteer and Become Visible,” and “Commit to Lifelong Learning.”

“This is an incredible book,” says Brian Tracy. “It shows sales professionals and business owners how to get more and better customers, faster and easier than in any other way.”

What to Say to a Porcupine: 20 Humorous Tales That Get to the Heart of Great Customer Service

By Richard S. Gallagher (2008)

“Delivering great customer service should be fun!” says Richard Gallagher. In the age-old tradition of Aesop’s fables, this book uses animal stories to illustrate fundamental principles of great customer service, covering basics like active listening and making a good first impression as well as more advanced skills such as improvising excellent solutions when one’s best laid plans go south.

You will find proven lessons you can put to work immediately, including:

By a Hare: Great service is all about going the extra mile, as learned by a group of rabbits running an express mail delivery service.

Bear with Me: One grizzly bear’s honey shop undergoes an amazing transformation when he discovers a better way to greet his customers.

What to Say to a Porcupine: When a newly arrived colony of demanding porcupines wreaks havoc on local businesses, readers get a lesson on handling difficult customers in a positive, constructive manner.

Combining humor and business savvy, Gallagher shows how to get inside customers’ heads and how what goes around comes around. Each story is followed by a short discussion of how the lesson applies to the world of business. Quick, constructive and hilarious, this is a powerful guide for anyone dealing with customers.

The Age of Miracles: Embracing the
New Midlife

By Marianne Williamson (2008)

The need for change as we transition from one phase of our lives into another can be filled with emotional pressure. The purpose of this book is to psychologically and spiritually reframe this transition so it leads to a sense of joy and awakening (see also our feature interview with Marianne Williamson, p. 28 in this issue).

“When we were young, we had energy but we were clueless about what to do with it,” says Marianne. “Today, we have less energy, perhaps, but we have far more understanding of what each breath of life is for. And now at last, we have a destiny to fulfill—not a destiny of a life that’s simply over, but rather a destiny of a life that is finally truly lived.”

Marianne describes midlife as a second puberty of sorts. While the experience, including its length, is being redefined, it is a period distinctly unlike youth, yet distinctly unlike old age.

Midlife doesn’t need to be a crisis; it can be a time of rebirth. It’s a time to finally live your life as you and you alone know deep in your heart it was meant to be lived.

For some of my favorite quotes, see p. 14–15 in this issue. Reminiscences and stories are interspersed with meditations on wholeness, parenting, truth, forgiveness, gratitude, love and life. Each topic is punctuated with short prayers, turning this read into a contemplative practice for the soul.

Tuesdays with Morrie

Directed by Mick Jackson (1999)

This movie was recommended by Glenn Head, Dean of Networking University, to remind us of the importance of having a mentor and being a mentor to others.

Based on Mitch Albom’s nonfiction best-seller, Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man and Life’s Greatest Lessons, the film begins as Morrie Schwartz (Jack Lemmon, in one of his best roles ever) collapses and is diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Then, it’s a quick cut to Mitch’s hectic life as a sports columnist and television host. When Mitch learns in a news clip that his beloved history professor is dying, he decides to pay him a visit. Mitch’s visits turn into regular Tuesday meetings where he reconnects with his mentor and learns from him all over again—this time, about life.

Morrie is the kind of man we would all want to know. He is a professor who still loves to learn and teaches how to live the life you really want. As his condition worsens and he feels the end nearing, he doesn’t look at it as a time of mourning, but rather as his last chance to teach.

Up till the very end, Morrie shows love and gratitude to those around him, sharing his simple messages: let go of regrets, open up your heart to love and value relationships above all; live fully and in the moment, treat others with respect and kindness, seek joy. This movie about death will change the way you see life, showing a way to live where you’ll be able to look back at the end and feel at peace.