We all know, leaders are readers and learners are earners. So, out of the thousands of books being published every month, how do you decide which ones to read? At Networking University we ask our faculty for their recommendations and present them in this column. Here are some books, DVD’s and audio programs that will help you grow as leader, build your success and keep you entertained in the process.

Selling in Tough Times
Secrets to Selling When No One Is Buying

By Tom Hopkins (2009)

This book is about “selling” in the broadest sense of the word: it will help you communicate with people, understand their needs and motivations, and offer compelling solutions.

“Prosperity can make us sloppy,” says Tom. “We may let important principles of selling go by the wayside, leaving us scrambling when a downturn hits.”

He reminds us that challenges are a constant aspect of selling, and that the key to success is to keep your attitude positive and never stop striving for excellence. Here are some key ideas from Selling in Tough Times:

  • Never, ever, put your need or desire to make money before your commitment to serve the needs of others. That’s the foundation of a truly successful and extremely rewarding long-term career in selling.

  • In a prospecting conversation, spend less than 50 percent of the time talking. Listen to your clients as they answer qualifying questions.

  • In economic downturns, the salesperson’s job is more vital than ever. In challenging times, some consumers won’t shop for anything but the bare necessities. It’s the salesperson’s job to help them recognize their need for and ability to afford other items.

Life, Inc.
How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back

By Douglas Rushkoff (2009)
Reviewed by Mark Yarnell

Life, Inc. is one of those rare books that allow professional networkers to better understand how and why the global economic meltdown started. It provides us with a tremendous wealth of strategic facts to use when we want to explain to prospects why network marketing is a better option than traditional capitalism.

According to social theorist, author and filmmaker Douglas Rushkoff, the current financial crisis started 450 years ago. He traces the history of how we developed into a society where “community” and personal connectedness have broken down, where most Americans have so willingly adopted values of corporations that they’re no longer even aware of it, where we have replaced our personal decisions with market-tested solutions (from weight loss, to conception, to finding a date) and, now that we are fed up with corporate spending, where to go from here.

Provocative and controversial, Rushkoff argues that America’s economic implosion is an opportunity for us to become reconnected to our towns, to our values and to each other. He believes real change will come from bottom-up movements or “the deeply fun activities of a social fabric that corporate-driven culture has separated us from.”

Three Feet from Gold
Turn Your Obstacles into Opportunities!

By Sharon Lechter and Greg S. Reid, with the Napoleon Hill Foundation (2009)

A century ago, Napoleon Hill began researching and writing his classic, Think and Grow Rich, which has sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. On this 100th anniversary, Three Feet from Gold provides a fresh and modern look at the core theme of Hill’s masterpiece.

In Three Feet from Gold, a young entrepreneur whose life is falling apart finds himself retracing Napoleon Hill’s steps after a serendipitous encounter with a powerful businessman who sees the young man’s potential and sends him on a challenging journey of personal, spiritual and financial growth.

This easy-to-read story sets the stage for readers to teach them to not only go for the gold, but to not quit until they’ve reached it. Filled with nuggets of wisdom and personal success stories from more than thirty leadership legends, such as Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields Cookies), Mike Helton (NASCAR President), and Evander Holyfield (boxing champion), Three Feet from Gold offers:

  • A formula for personal success based on advice from top entrepreneurs;

  • Time-tested principles of self-motivation, leadership, service and achievement;

  • A practical workbook for finding your own personal path to achievement;

  • Advice on how to tap into your passion and how to choose good counsel.

The core message of this book is: never give up, you could be three feet from gold—the greatest success of your life. Steve Forbes calls it “the perfect message of hope and inspiration for people during the current economic crisis.”

The Power of Pause
Becoming More by Doing Less

By Terry Hershey (2009)

Terry Hershey, an ordained minister and popular speaker, understands that life is busy and getting busier. However, he also knows from his experience as a retreat leader that there is always a price to pay if we don’t regularly take time simply to pause—to cease activity, to treasure quiet time, and to discern the deep meaning of life’s precious moments.

In The Power of Pause, Hershey counters the cultural decree that says we cannot lead a fulfilling life unless we are constantly doing something and, at least metaphorically speaking, going somewhere. Through fifty-two short chapters—each filled with an inspiring quote, a powerful story or meditation, and a specific call to action—we come to realize the profound value of stillness in our days and balance in our lives. Most importantly, we are challenged by Hershey’s meditations to rethink how it is that we can best move forward in our lives. The process of pausing is what allows us to make intentional decisions rather than reactive ones, and to refocus our lives and goals on the things we truly value.

From overworked business owners to overwhelmed parents, from community leaders to spiritual seekers, The Power of Pause encourages all of us to slow down, reconnect with what truly counts and take back the life we were always intended to have. In the end, says Hershey, we will become more only when we learn to do less.

A Surprising Story about Leading by Listening

By Roger Nierenberg (2009)
Reviewed by John David Mann

What a great idea for a parable! A frustrated division manager, at a loss in his efforts to manage his team, ends up attending rehearsals of a symphony orchestra—and begins picking up clues to effective leadership from the veteran conductor.

This book had a special resonance for me. As a classical cellist, I grew up under the baton, and my father was an accomplished conductor. Some of my greatest lessons in life I learned sitting amidst the string section, playing Bach and watching my dad at the podium manage this unwieldy collection of nearly 100 different temperaments, blending them all into one harmonious result without squashing their individuality.

Yes, it’s a brilliant idea for a parable … but what makes it stunningly successful is that it is not fiction. Roger Nierenberg is not a writer (although the writing is superb)—he is an accomplished maestro himself, having performed with the most distinguished orchestras of America and Europe. Even more intriguing, through his innovative program The Music Paradigm, he has actually worked the maestro-management-magic described in Maestro with more than 100 top companies and leadership organizations around the world, taking executives inside his rehearsals to discover how lessons from the orchestra pit can help them bring out their organizations’ full potential.

If you want to know how to lead groups of human beings, bringing out their best while in pursuit of a common goal, you’ll love this book. Maestro is the real thing.

Brain Enhancement and Speed Reading Technology

By Infinite Mind (2009)

Do you suffer from information overload? Could you benefit from reading, writing, scanning, comprehending and thinking faster? Would you like to increase your ability to process information and be more creative and productive in your business?

Developed in Japan over the past thirty years, EyeQ is a brain-enhancement, reading-improvement and vision-training program. Through extensive research and testing, neuroscientists found that we can significantly increase our brain’s learning and processing ability through a series of high-speed imaging exercises that utilize both graphics and text.

Our brains can be stimulated and improved by using techniques that push us out of our comfort zone. The eye training in this program strengthens the eyes and increases peripheral vision, allowing us to take in more material at once. The high-speed imaging engages more of our right brain—the creative part of the brain—and stimulates the neural pathways, strengthening the eye-brain connection and improving our thinking and reaction time.

EyeQ improves mental processing much the way physical exercise helps athletes improve their performance on the court or field. With consistent exercise and weight lifting, an athlete becomes physically stronger. Similarly, this program helps the user exercise the brain, enhancing all mental activities. As with an athlete, these skills diminish without practice but never totally go away. Periodically doing a simple EyeQ session will keep you mentally fit and help retain your enhanced processing skills.

The YES Movie
One Man’s Journey to Expose the Secrets of Today’s Young Millionaires

By Louis Lautman (2009)

The YES Movie is a documentary about some of today’s most successful millionaire minds and business leaders. Filmmaker and young entrepreneur Louis Lautman traveled the country to interview innovative and successful business men and women, including many under the age of thirty. 

Leading authorities on entrepreneurship, along with rebel young entrepreneurs at the cutting edge of their industries—retailers, wholesalers, advertisers, marketers, authors, speakers, investors, designers and executives— join forces with the filmmaker to educate and empower others with their wisdom and expertise.

The film vividly demonstrates that we all have the ability to create whatever we put our minds to, regardless of our age. Modern-day radical spirits of business who have built multimillion-dollar companies explore the secrets of wealth creation, passion, vision, leadership and success. The goal of the movie is to bring a change in individual consciousness and a paradigm shift in the viewer’s mind through the real-life stories and the commentary.

Some of the featured entrepreneurs include Bob Proctor, Les Brown, Randy Gage, T. Harv Eker, Mark Victor Hansen, Niurka, Cameron Johnson, Christopher Howard, Andrea Lake and Brad Sugars.

This film experience will open your mind to the limitless possibilities available to a young entrepreneur today.
The Twelve: A Novel
12.21.12: A New Beginning

By William Gladstone (2009)

As the recent box office hit 2012 reminds us, the year 2012 has been heralded as the end of the Mayan calendar. Ancient legends from the Hopi, the Tibetan shamans and others who believe they channel the wisdom of Lemuria and Atlantis all point to 2012 as a new beginning or the end of life as humanity has lived it over the past several thousand years.

The Twelve is an extraordinary and fast-paced novel about a most unsuspecting hero, Max, who ventures on a journey to discover the secret behind the ancient Mayan prophecy about the “end of time.” After a near-death experience, he has a vision that reveals the names of twelve unique individuals who appear to be connected, and who he needs to reunite in a sacred circle on December 21, 2012.

The story takes the reader on a series of spectacular adventures, culminating in an understanding of why and how Max and The Twelve are destined to collectively discover the true meaning of “end of time.” The outcome of their meeting could fulfill an ancient Mayan prophecy, controlling the future of life on our planet.

Endorsed by Eckart Tolle, The Twelve is a personal growth novel that teaches the reader: of course the world isn’t going to come to an end, yet a major shift is happening as a consequence of our growing awareness that we are all part of one infinite mind and intimately connected beyond space and time, even though this connection is still a bit mysterious for most of us.