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 Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs
How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience

By Carmine Gallo (2010)

Reviewed by Rosie Bank

Although few of us will become in our careers what Steve Jobs has become in his, this book gives us the chance to borrow from what Jobs has done as a world-class presenter. Gallo does an excellent job of describing Jobs's talent in a way that can be duplicated to a significant extent.

If you have ever sat through a presentation in which the speaker loaded as much text on a slide as she could fit, or—worse yet—in which a presenter read from his slides, you will appreciate the stark contrast between this and Jobs's stellar approach.

Gallo packs this gem of a book with detailed descriptions of many of the legendary Apple CEO's presentation techniques. Here is how Jobs connects with his audience:

  • He uses few images and tells interesting stories to support them.
  • He punts when the technology breaks down and never takes himself too seriously.
  • He routinely uses the "power of three," as in "Today we are introducing three revolutionary products."
  • He manages to entertain as much as he educates.

What will I do when I emulate the Jobs we meet in Gallo's book?

  • I will have more tricks to surprise and delight my audience.
  • I will be a hundred times more prepared.
  • I will use drama, humor and suspense to give my audience the most entertaining and enlightening presentation I possibly could give.

This book reveals the operating system behind any great presentation and provides a quick start to take charge of any room, deliver your message concisely and clearly, and sell your products and services more persuasively then you ever imagined possible.

Little Things Matter
100 Ways to Improve Your Life Today

By W. Todd Smith (2010)

A dynamic entrepreneur for thirty years, Todd Smith is convinced that achieving success at anything comes from doing the little things. In this book, he takes universal principles and breaks them down into a hundred short, action-driven lessons that everyone can learn and implement.

As you read this book, you will discover simple strategies to help you achieve your goals and improve your life, one step at a time. Here are some lessons you will learn:

  • Listen to and control your self-talk.
  • Make people feel good.
  • Choose your friends wisely.
  • Master the art of apology.
  • Accept compliments graciously.
  • Develop deeper relationships.
  • Strengthen your personal initiative.
  • Learn to enjoy what you don't enjoy.
  • Give the gift of appreciation.
  • Become more disciplined.
  • Find balance between work and family.
  • Enjoy life's journey.

This hardcover book and its audio companion are a great resource and make an ideal gift that will be treasured by anyone who wants to grow, personally as well as professionally.

As Brian Tracy promises in the foreword, "this book will give you a series of ideas, methods, techniques and strategies you can use immediately to take control of your life and get better results in everything you do."

Networking for People Who Hate Networking
A Field Guide for Introverts, the Overwhelmed and the Underconnected

By Devora Zack (2010)

Are you the kind of person who would rather get a root canal than face a group of strangers? Does the phrase "working a room" make you want to retreat to yours?

Devora Zack, an avowed introvert and successful consultant who speaks to thousands of people every year, feels your pain. She found that most networking advice books assume that to succeed you have to become an outgoing, extroverted person. Or to at least learn how to fake it. Not at all. There is another way.

This book shatters stereotypes about people who dislike traditional networking. They're not shy or misanthropic. Rather, they tend to be reflective—they think before they talk. They focus intensely on a few things rather than broadly on a lot of things. And they need time alone to recharge. Because they've been told networking is all about small talk, big numbers and constant contact, they assume it's not for them.

But it is! Devora shows how the very traits that make people networking-averse can be harnessed to forge an approach that is just as effective as more traditional approaches, if not more so. And she applies it to all kinds of situations, not just formal networking events. After all, she¬†says, life is one big networking opportunity—a notion even introverts can now embrace.

"You do not succeed by denying your natural temperament," Zack writes. "You succeed by understanding how you are wired and building on your strengths."

Filled with self-deprecating humor, this book will entertain you as it teaches witty one-liners you can start using immediately in a variety of social settings.

Making a Difference by Becoming an Original Character
By Chris Brady (2010)

"In life you either hate losing so much that you are willing to change, or you hate changing so much that you are willing to lose." So says Orrin Woodward in the foreword to Rascal, a book that takes its title from the term author Chris Brady uses affectionately to refer to the first kind of person Woodward is describing.

"Rascals cannot stand the thought of surrendering their dreams," Woodward adds, "so instead they surrender their comforts in pursuit of their destiny." Brady's book goes on to describe and analyze the characteristics and behaviors rascals exhibit in pursuit of that destiny.

Brady distinguishes two groups of people that are currently leading our nation and world. The first group he calls "the Council of They" or the keepers of the status quo. "They are the ones who struggle to keep life always the way they say it should be, who fight change, who persecute creativity and hurl criticism at anything that smacks of originality or authenticity."

The second group consists of those Brady calls rascals. Independent thinkers, they act according to their own views, not as followers of the herd mentality.

"Rascals don't fall for the lure of going along or becoming someone else just to please others. Rascals follow their convictions and confidently head in the direction of their destiny, mindful of their Creator and not of the crowd."

The chapters of this book center around some heroic "rascals" from history, such as John Wycliffe, the American founding fathers, Mark Twain, Harriet Tubman, Mother Teresa and the freedom-loving Chinese tankman who died on Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Brady's rascals see what is needed in the world and go against the norm in order to make the world better. Rascal's goal is to help you connect with your inner rascal and inspire you to live a life of courage and significance. Brady includes a self-assessment test to help you find out how much of an independent-minded leader you are.
How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling
By Frank Bettger (1947)

Reviewed by Art Jonak

Is it possible for a book to get better with age? Frank Bettger's classic does, as it is one of the most practical books ever written on the subject of selling.

I find it uncanny that this book was written in the 1940s yet has the feel of being written only days ago. How I Raised Myself... is a truly inspiring compilation of stories, wit and insight that delivers an incredibly enjoyable read.

When a book receives hearty endorsements from Dale Carnegie ("The most helpful and inspiring book on salesmanship that I have ever read.") and Norman Vincent Peale, it is hard to question its merits.

Bettger recaps three significant milestones in his life: a professional baseball career, ending with an injury; the financial struggles endured when he returned to his hometown of Philadelphia; and his ultimate success as an insurance salesman.

A self-help classic everyone should read, this is one of a few books I go back to for a refresher every year, because it covers not only principles of selling but also principles for successful living.

Bettger is closely associated with his mentor, Dale Carnegie, and his compelling use of language and story will remind you of the sound of the self-help books of that era. I've read dozens upon dozens of sales training books, and frankly, it's almost as if everything I've learned about sales came from this man!