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 Network Marketing Advantage

The Network Marketing Advantage

The 7 Benefits of Today’s Economy-Shifting Business Model
By Stephen R. Covey (2010)

Recommended by Donna Johnson

On this 40-minute CD, bestselling author and thought leader Stephen R. Covey identifies compelling reasons why network marketing is an inspiring business model in today’s economy. Covey explains seven key benefits of network marketing and how they tie in to the core principles of his famous 7 Habits®:

  • Create as much or as little supplemental income as you choose.
  • Establish a worry-free retirement with residual income.
  • Have the ability to put first things first by having time to spend where it matters most.
  • Network marketing is by nature win-win—you win, new recruits win, customers win, companies win.
  • Develop communication skills while strengthening relationships.
  • Take advantage of corporate resources to build up a small business.
  • Sharpen the saw physically by using quality products and emotionally by being involved in others’ lives in a positive way.

“Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a foundational book that I read on a regular basis,” says Donna Johnson. “I enjoyed the content of this CD because Covey first reviews his classic 7 Habits, then explains how the core principles of each habit apply to our profession. It’s a brilliant concept for prospecting to tie our profession to this well respected author and his popular 7-Habits concept.” 

Brains on Fire
Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word-of-Mouth Movements

By Robbin Phillips, Greg Cordell, Geno Church and Spike Jones (2010)

Are you surprised people don’t trust marketers? Who wants to be a “target” or a “demographic”? Who wants such a relationship? What’s in it for them?

Yet even as they resist marketing, consumers are embracing causes and communities that have meaning for them. Empowered by new technologies, they’re speaking out, talking back, and spreading the word on what they’re passionate about. Do you want your business to inspire and benefit from that passion? Brains on Fire reveals how to ignite meaningful word-of-mouth movements that are win-win for your customers and your business.

A collection of lessons learned from creating word-of-mouth movements for corporations, products, services and organizations, this book offers practical, original and actionable steps on how to move away from the old-school marketing “campaign” mentality and build authentic connections with the people who love what you offer.

One example is a case study on the 360-year-old scissor company, Fiskars, who doubled its profits in key markets by recognizing that its customers had already formed a community of avid scrapbookers. By engaging in this community and responding to its needs, Fiskars created the “Fiskateers” movement, which is now more than 7,500 members strong worldwide.

What if marketing is really about connecting—finding the people who are looking for what you have to offer and bringing greater value to their lives? Brains on Fire gives you the tools to connect with and excite your customers online and offline, launch authentic word-of-mouth movements and produce exponential returns over the long term.

The Windmill Approach to Networking
Understanding, Leveraging and Maximizing LinkedIn

By Neal Shaffer (2010)
Reviewed by Jackie Ulmer

Neal Shaffer coined the term “windmill networking,” based on the metaphor that we are all stand-alone windmills generating electricity to fuel our lives. When we plug into a grid and connect with other windmills, we can share our energy with others, and when we need a boost, we can obtain fresh energy from those we connect with. Traditionally, we exchanged energy with windmills in close proximity, but today we are able to plug into a windmill networking grid that knows no spatial boundaries.

If the Internet is a power grid that connects all of us through its network of servers, hubs and routers, then social media sites such as LinkedIn make it easy for us to find each other based on our respective needs and offerings.

As networkers, we are in the business of developing relationships, some of which will translate into customers, partners and referral sources. The Windmill Approach to Networking provides a clear understanding of the full value of LinkedIn and how to use its many tools and features to accomplish this.

The book starts out by explaining the importance of building a profile that defines and delivers your brand and message to the right audience—an important first step, says the author, that many networkers skip when they join social sites.

Shaffer then goes into how to begin networking with others and how to create and deliver an invitation to connect with people with whom you would like to develop a relationship. This is very important on LinkedIn, where too many “I don’t know this person” responses can get one restricted from further use of the connection feature.

Recommendations are another big feature of LinkedIn, and it’s important to know both how to ask for one and how to write one for someone else. The book explains the power in this feature and how to use it effectively for yourself, as well as how to assist others when writing recommendations.

Joining, creating and promoting groups is another key feature of networking effectively on LinkedIn, and The Windmill Approach provides a clear understanding of how to utilize and navigate groups efficiently.

Two other important features of LinkedIn are asking/answering questions and polls. Asking/answering questions can be a great way to meet and network with others while establishing yourself as credible, knowledgeable and generous in sharing your insights. It’s a great way to gain exposure and interest without any type of advertising or self promotion. This is a powerful tool in social media marketing. Polls are a great way to conduct research and gain more exposure. The author does a great job of explaining how to use both these features.

The Windmill Approach to Networking is an insightful book and a wonderful starting point for jumping into the world of LinkedIn. I highly recommend it!

Beyond Viral

Beyond Viral
How to Attract Customers, Promote Your Brand and Make Money with Online Video

By Kevin H. Nalty (2010)

What would one of the most viewed YouTube comedians have to say about effective online videos? What would a highly respected marketing professional say? Kevin Nalty happens to be both: a sought-after marketer for major clients, he also is the person known as “Nalts,” whose mischievous videos have been seen by millions.

In Beyond Viral, Nalty reveals winning techniques for making and promoting videos that will build customer loyalty, increase brand awareness and boost sales. Go behind the scenes of Nalty’s online video success and find out:

  • Why viral video is dead… and why that’s a good thing for your business;
  • How online “stars” are born and how they can help you;
  • How to measure ROI and performance of online videos;
  • Whether you can make money from online video (the answer is yes!).

This book will teach you how to create cost-effective videos, engage your customers, compel them to measurable behaviors (awareness, intent and purchase) and sustain your brand online.

“Online video has huge potential, mostly untapped,” says Nalty.

A must-read for marketers and those interested in learning more about the evolving world of video and social media, Beyond Viral gives you the tools and tricks to successfully use online video to reach your business goals.

30 Days to Social Media Success

30 Days to Social Media Success
The 30-Day Results Guide to Making the Most of Twitter, Blogging, LinkedIn and Facebook

By Gail Z. Martin (2010)

Small business owners and solo professionals know they’re supposed to use social media if they want to stay at the top of their game and increase sales. But how should they start and how much time should they invest?

Using a unique rule-of-30 approach, 30 Days to Social Media Success is the perfect resource for busy networkers who want quick results. Thirty short chapters (one for each day of the month) are packed with real-world tips and proven techniques you can apply in just thirty minutes a day. This book makes it easy to tap into the power of today’s most visited social media sites to:

  • Get global impact out of press releases, articles, blog posts and book reviews;
  • Increase your professional visibility as the go-to expert in your industry;
  • Build relationships with clients and connect with ideal prospects;
  • Network around the world and around the clock with people who need what you have to offer.

As a marketing industry veteran, Gail Martin guides those with all levels of social media expertise. If you have never used social media for your business, this book offers a simple way to start out on a solid footing. If you are already using social media marketing but producing lackluster results, this book provides a great way to retool your methods. Even if your social media marketing is on stable ground, you may pick up some pearls of wisdom that will lead to even greater results.