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

Rich Brother Rich Sister
Two Different Paths to God, Money and Happiness

By Robert T. Kiyosaki and Emi Kiyosaki (2009)

In this intriguing memoir, a departure for Robert (Rich Dad Poor Dad) Kiyosaki in everything but title, the famed investment guru and his Buddhist sister Emi narrate their life stories that allowed them to find meaning in different ways. In alternating narrative, the two fourth-generation Japanese-American siblings take turns describing their 1960s Hawaii upbringing.

Robert shipped off to Vietnam as a marine helicopter pilot before returning to the States to become a successful entrepreneur and student of visionary thinker Buckminster Fuller. Emi, meanwhile, became a single mother and anti-war activist before discovering Buddhism, becoming ordained by the Dalai Lama and working as a chaplain for the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Sister and brother reunited in 2007, when Robert offered financial support for Emi’s heart surgery; the spiritual bond they discovered, and the lessons the reunion sparked, led to this book. Emi now sees the need for “better bridges for our spiritual life and livelihood,” while Robert finds that life is a quest for one’s “spiritual family,” a process that necessitates “finding the things in life worth dying for.”

Describing two lives, together, then apart, then together again, Rich Brother Rich Sister combines the inspirational true-life stories of Robert Kiyosaki and his sister Emi into one book that will reaffirm your belief in the power of purpose, the importance of action, and the ability to overcome all obstacles in a quest for wealth, both financial and spiritual.

The Age of Gold
The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream

By H. W. Brand (2003)
(Reviewed by John David Mann)

Brand’s sweeping history brings to life an age long past: a time when one could reach California from Australia more quickly than from New York—and in making the latter voyage you stood a good chance of dying in the trying. Brands traces the personal odysseys of individuals from Australia, China, South America and Europe, as well as all parts of the U.S., in what was the greatest single mass migration of human beings since the Crusades.

But the most compelling thing about the book is the mirror it holds up to modern American culture. The California experience of the 1850s was the crucible that first formed what we have come to call the American Dream, that vision that over the following century would draw so many to our shores and pull so many up by their bootstraps. The uniquely American conception that with boldness, pluck and timing, anyone can become financially free and outlandishly successful, had its birth not in the East Coast of Jefferson, Madison, Franklin and Adams, but in the violent, often lawless, insanely inspired rush to the Coloma hills in a territory that wasn’t even yet an actual American state.

In the book’s closing pages, Brands draws fascinating parallels between the Gold Rush of the 1850s and the Silicon Valley explosion of the 1990s. Both were California booms: coincidence?

Here is what Brands does not mention: in 1934 a chemist named Carl Rehnborg began producing and selling the nation’s first multivitamin/mineral supplement and adopted a system of direct commission to its independent marketers in 1945.

No surprise: like the silicon chip and dot-com gold strikes of the Information Age, network marketing too, has its roots in the land of gold.

The Power of Belief
More Confidence, More Money, More Fulfillment

By Ty Bennett (2009)

This ninety-minute audio program—available in two-CD set and MP3 download—came highly recommended by several network marketing leaders, and the author is a successful network marketer himself.

“Our beliefs are what moves us forward or holds us back, both in business and life,” says Ty Bennett. “They are the most powerful factor that separates ordinary from extraordinary, successful from unsuccessful.”

In The Power of Belief, Ty teaches the true definition of belief based on its etymology: to believe is to be in love with an idea. You don’t need to know it for a fact; you simply need to hold it in a space of loving attention.

Ty then dives into what creates belief, how to change it, and how to adopt beliefs that serve you. Belief is first generated mentally, then morphs into emotion, than into action.

Next, Ty dissects the three most important beliefs: belief in self, belief in success and belief in significance. He considers belief in self as foundational because of how it affects our ability to learn, grow and connect with others.

Ty uses everyday examples from his personal journey along with historical glimpses into the lives of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Leonardo da Vinci, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and many more.

Listening to the key insights, powerful stories and humorous anecdotes in this program, you will come away feeling inspired and empowered to let your beliefs fuel your actions.

Escape from Cubicle Nation
From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur

By Pamela Slim (2009) with foreword by Guy Kawasaki

This book provides practical advice as well as emotional encouragement for anyone transitioning from being a corporate employee to becoming an entrepreneur and business owner.

Life coach Pamela Slim knows firsthand that leaving corporate life can be scary, especially if you have a family and other responsibilities. Fear and self-defeating thoughts often hold people back from pursuing a more gratifying and liberating career.

Pamela spent a decade as a self-employed trainer for large corporations. She was surprised to find that many of the most successful employees at these companies harbored secret dreams of breaking out to start their own business. They would pull her aside after a meeting and whisper, “I would love to work for myself, but have no idea how to get started. How did you do it?”

So Pamela started a blog——to share her experience and advice.

“Hating your job intensely,” she writes, “is not a business plan.” What her book offers is: the nitty-gritty of getting a business off the ground, legal considerations, making the best use of social networking sites, the components of a business model, organized creative brainstorming, financial advice, shopping for self-paid insurance and benefits, and helpful anecdotes of real-life entrepreneurship.

With humor and a no-nonsense yet empathic tone, Pamela offers everything you should know before making a major career change—not just the nuts and bolts of starting a business, but a full discussion of the emotional issues involved.

Breaking into the Boys’ Club
8 Ways for Women to Get Ahead in Business

By Molly D. Shepard, Jane K. Stimmler and Peter J. Dean (2009)

While this book is geared mostly towards women in corporate positions, the extensive research on which it is based can be very valuable for female leaders in any organization. Did you know:

  • Women dominate consumer markets, yet only twelve of Fortune 500 companies have female CEO’s and women occupy only 14 percent of the board seats?

  • Women comprise 46 percent of the work force, but only 15 percent hold officer-level positions; they are a mere 6.7 percent of the top earners, and on average make only 77 percent of what men earn?

[Observation from the editor: While in network marketing women and men have the same income potential, our experience is that in most companies—while we do know of exceptions—the majority of top-earners are men.]

The compelling question this book asks is: What’s holding women back?

The first chapter analyzes how women’s communication style differs from men’s, and how this can make female communication a “Catch-22.” For example, while women are good listeners, many men perceive this as passive; women like to solicit others’ opinions and get feedback, yet men may see this as indecisiveness; women are relationship developers, but men often consider deep conversations a waste of time.

The following chapters cover specific areas women can focus on to increase success in a men’s world:

  • Network Strategically to Advance Your Career
  • Distinguish Yourself through Self-Promotion
  • Maximize Your Mentoring Relationships
  • Maintain Your Work-Life Balance
  • Present Yourself with Impact
  • Set Goals and Manage Your Career

The most enlightening part of the book is the afterword, called “The Future: A Third Face of Leadership.” The authors conclude that most organizations today have not tapped into the full value of women as leaders in the workplace. Research shows that of the seven interpersonal leadership skills, women excel in 1) listening, 2) empathizing, 3) attending, 4) ethical analysis and 5) maintaining respect in conflict; while men stand out in 6) decision-making and 7) speaking with authority.

Over the past decades, we have seen two different kinds of leadership in business defined by gender. Although the two have co-existed in most organizations, it was usually the men’s side that dominated—and won. When this happens, the organization is confined to using only half of its talent.

“If men and women were able to blend the best of their natural styles,” say the authors, “they would be more effective, productive, and ultimately more successful.” They propose to combine the skills and strengths of women and men into what they call “the third face of leadership,” the benefits of which would include increased productivity, a healthier life-work balance, fewer ethical scandals, greater personal growth and long-term profitability.

Read this book to better understand the gender differences in your organization and to help women step into their full power. It also addresses how men can become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Mind, Body, Soul & Money
Putting Your Life in Balance

By Carolle Jean-Murat, M.D. (2002)

This book takes a holistic approach to health and money.

Carolle Jean-Murat was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1950. Her maternal grandfather was a Voodoo priest and indigenous healer, and her paternal grandfather was a pharmacist, but also an alcoholic. When Carolle was nine years old, she decided she would become a healer.

Growing up, she witnessed first-hand that a large part of the healing process was based on the patient’s belief that the healer would help the patient. This early realization committed Carolle to a path of mind/body healing and a holistic perspective on health.

Today Carolle is a renowned gynecologist and surgeon specializing in women’s issues. Based on her personal journey and her work with her patients, she wrote this practical guide to help women find balance in all aspects of life.

This book is divided into four parts, starting with Your Mental Health. “A balanced life starts with a healthy mind,” Carolle says, “which serves as the captain of your ship.” Your Physical Health includes sections on nutrition, dieting, body image, health precautions and your relationship with your doctor. Your Spiritual Health covers the healing power of prayer, gratitude and forgiveness. Your Financial Health covers the health impact of financial problems—specifically on women—and how to overcome them.

Easy to read, filled with humor and personal anecdotes, this book offers great reminders and insights into balanced holistic living.

Do the Web Write
Writing for and Marketing Your Web Site

By Dan Furman (2009)

This informative guide shows you how to create a successful business-oriented web site for marketing your products and services.

“The hardest part of having a successful web site is not building or coding it,” says Dan Furman, “but knowing what to say, where to say it and how to write it.”

This book will help you :

  • Write persuasive web copy, from landing pages to sales pages to blogs and everything in between;

  • Format your web site for maximum conversion—learn about page order and what to say where, whether your site has three pages or 300;

  • Learn where your visitors are coming from and how to address their needs so they stay on your site and start clicking.

Dan delineates the eleven rules of an effective web site. Here are the top five must-reads:

1. Web copy must be scanable: visitors should be able to glance at your site and know the salient points.

2. Keep your pages short and KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) in formatting and content.

3. Write the way you talk, but stick with good grammar and spelling.

4. Do not preach to the choir—no need to explain everything in minute detail.

5. Provide lots of escape hatches and numerous calls to action.

Written in easy-to understand language, this book comes with a CD that provides samples, web templates and more resources.