We all know, leaders are readers and learners are earners. But 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..

Own the Room

Business Presentations That Persuade, Engage and Get Results
By David Booth, Deborah Shames and Peter Desberg (2010)

Imagine if every presentation you made commanded rapt attention and elicited buy-in from your audience.

Own the Room is designed to help you achieve precisely these results by teaching innovative techniques that leave boring behind.

Research shows that a memorable presentation is a combination of stirring your audience’s emotions while appealing to its intellect. Based on this recipe, the authors of this book developed the Eloqui Method of persuasive speaking, which has been employed over the past ten years by many Fortune 500 companies, such as Fisher-Price, Merrill Lynch and Siemens.

While most books on presentation skills emanate from PR executives or are written by successful public speakers, the method in this book was created by an unusual team:

  • David Booth is an award-winning actor who applies performance techniques from the stage to engage and move an audience.

  • Deborah Shames has years of experience directing and producing several independent films and over sixty corporate training and educational videos.

  • Peter Desberg is a licensed clinical psychologist and university professor who specializes in memory and stage fright.

The combined expertise of this unique set of authors is perfect for creating vivid presentations. Deborah and David understand that the role of actors is to intellectually engage and emotionally affect their audiences, and they recognize that this is also the goal of every presenter. When Peter joined David and Deborah, they seamlessly merged his academic research with their entertainment knowledge.

Whether you need help with your thirty-second self-introduction, your three-minute elevator speech, webinar presentations or longer business presentations, Own the Room offers a communication toolkit to manage anxiety, boost confidence and ensure that audiences will remember you and your message.

Got Chaos? Create Order
Organization for Home-Based
Business Professionals

By Laura Aridgides, Ph.D. (2010)

Laura Aridgides started her career in network marketing in 1999 while working full-time and attending graduate school. After earning her Ph.D. in 2001 in Biomedical Science, she went on to do post-doctoral research and became a published author in peer-reviewed scientific journals. During that time, Laura rose to the ranks of leadership in her network marketing company.

After her first son was born in 2003, Laura retired from the laboratory to work full-time in her home-based business while being a stay-at-home mom. In 2005, as she welcomed her second son, Laura began to see the fruit of her exceptional organization and time management skills, as they became a necessity to ensure that both her business and family continued to run smoothly.

In 2009, after more than ten years in network marketing, Laura started OrganizeNOW, LLC, an organization and time management company specializing in coaching and training home-based business professionals to ensure maximum productivity. Today Laura is a speaker and trainer who so far has presented at a dozen direct sales company conventions.

Laura’s book and CD-set teach you easy systems for staying organized and productive at any stage of your business. Chapters include:

  • Your Office Space
  • The File Cabinet
  • The Binder System
  • The Tickler File
  • The To-Do List
  • Your Schedule
  • Tracking Customers
  • New Team Member Check List

Being organized and efficient literally saves you hundreds of hours, making you more productive in your home-based business. A more productive person will earn more money, realize more dreams, and make a lasting impact not only on their families, but also on their communities.  Filled with specific action steps and even some pictures of what your desk space should look like, this book will inspire you to take control of your business with simple, effective organization systems.

Available at www.NetworkingTimes.com

How to Run Your Business by the Book
A Biblical Blueprint to Bless Your Business

By Dave Anderson (2009)

When facing personal challenges, many of us turn to the Bible for spiritual guidance. You might be surprised to learn that the Holy Book doesn’t provide guidance only on living your life, but also on running a successful business.

In How to Run Your Business by the Book, Dave Anderson reveals powerful biblical wisdom for transforming the people, culture and results of your business.

“Even if you read the Bible regularly,” says Dave, “it’s easy to miss the powerful leadership and business lessons peppered throughout it.”

Dave shows how the Bible is packed with commonsense business wisdom on such topics as recruiting good people, managing money, creating a leadership vision, balancing the demands of work and family, and achieving your most ambitious business goals.

“These wise and timeless principles will lead your business to the top of the mountain,” says Dave, “if you’re only willing to open your heart and lead with courage.”

His book provides Christian insights and strategies that you can put to work in your business immediately, including:

  • The Ten Commandments for elevating your people skill;
  • Four vital steps for creating a tough-love culture of accountability;
  • Five steps to building rock-solid integrity;
  • How to overcome the number one cause of management failure.

With a foreword by John Maxwell, this book is a nondenominational guide for applying biblically based leadership principles to the day-to-day operation of your business. You’ll learn to overcome your ego and lead with courage, strength, fairness and faith.

10 Secrets to Transform Anyone’s Life

By Michael Neil (2010)

For the past twenty years, Michael Neill has been a professional success coach—someone who gets paid to help make people’s dreams come true. But his work is not simply to help people reach their dreams.

“If you really want to have a more enjoyable life,” says Michael, “reaching your goals is not enough. You’re also going to have to find a more enjoyable way of getting there.”

Supercoach is a book about finding fulfillment in the journey and succeeding from the inside out.

“When you learn to live your life from the inside out,” says Michael, “stress disappears and worry becomes almost non-existent. Things still won’t always work out as you’d hoped or planned, but that just becomes a fact of life instead of a problem to be solved. And since you live in a state of being full (of life, joy, love and peace), chasing things outside yourself to ‘find fulfillment’ loses most of its appeal.”

Paradoxically, this inner state of fulfillment makes you all the more available to go out and do all sorts of wonderful things with your life. When you rely on what’s inside you to create things on the outside, instead of doing things the other way around, your attention shifts from your own needs to others. There is nothing you have to do, everything you do is a choice.

More counterintuitive concepts you will learn in this book include:

  • Why you make more money when you stop needing it;
  • Why the feeling of urgency is nearly always a signal to slow down and/or take a break;
  • How you can ask anything from anyone when you make it okay for them to say no.

This easy-to-read book is filled with powerful tools to create a deeper, more meaningful experience of being alive for yourself and those you care about—family and friends, and also clients and business partners.

The Referral Engine
Teaching Your Business to Market Itself

By John Jantsch (2010)
Reviewed by Bob Burg

Most small business owners believe that whether customers refer them is entirely out of their hands. But science shows that people can’t help recommending products and services to their friends—it’s an instinct wired deep in the brain. What if you could tap into that hardwire desire? In The Referral Engine, marketing expert John Jantsch teaches you some proven ways to do this.

“People trust the recommendation of a friend, family member, colleague or even a stranger with similar tastes over anything thrust at them by a faceless company,” says John. “Businesses can ensure a healthy referral cycle by moving customers and prospects along the path of know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat and refer.”

John builds upon the fundamentals of having a successful business: that before you can expect to receive referrals, your business must be worthy of them. You accomplish this by providing exceptional value and being able to communicate that value to the marketplace. Next, the author demonstrates how to use the tools at your disposal (including the online tools you might—up until now—have been intimidated by), in order to leverage that which you already have working for you.

Aside from the excellent how-to instruction, Jantsch peppers the text with stories and examples from successful small business owners, some of which will inspire and amaze you, while others will give you specific ideas you can apply in your own business.

Recommended by Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki and Tony Hsieh, this book is a must-read for anyone whose business could benefit from a steady, increasing stream of high-quality referrals. And I cannot think of a single business that doesn’t qualify for that!

Coco before Chanel

Directed by Anne Fontaine (2009)

In this delightful French drama, Audrey Tautou stars as legendary French designer Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, interpreting the fashion icon’s storied ascension from orphan to seamstress and cabaret singer and ultimately, the queen of Parisian haute couture.

You may remember Tautou from her prime role in The Da Vinci Code (2006), following her breakthrough in the successful Amélie (2001). Tautou not only resembles Chanel, she inhabits the role completely, using flashing eyes and a relentless intelligence to convey the unbending strength of a woman determined to make something of her life independently from male support and approval, in a time and place when this was far from the norm.

Contrary to the 2008 American biopic Coco Chanel (with Shirley McLaine in the title role), Anne Fontaine focuses on the fashion designer’s formative years and budding entrepreneurial spirit, while bringing empathy and tact to emotionally complex stories of troubled and troubling relationships.

No one was more outside the system than Gabrielle Chanel, born poor in rural France and, after her mother died, abandoned by her father to be brought up in an orphanage run by nuns. After the orphanage years, we see Chanel around the turn of the century living with her sister Adrienne in the town of Moulins, while both are trying, without much success, to succeed as cabaret singers.

Despite difficult beginnings, Coco Chanel eventually became a remarkable business woman who turned fashion almost inside out by creating clothes for women that allowed for movement and freedom.

Chanel was famous for saying, “I invented my life because I didn’t like my life.” While she isn’t always a role model for how to handle relationships, her story is an inspiring testimony of what’s possible when you apply desire and determination to your dreams, no matter how ambitious.