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

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 dormouse@networkingtimes.com.

How to Make People Like You in
90 Seconds or Less
Make Instant, Meaningful Connections

By Nicholas Boothman (2008)

The average person's attention span lasts about thirty seconds. That means first and immediate impressions count, and for a lot. In this modern-day version of Dale Carnegie's classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, former fashion photographer Nicholas Boothman instructs you in how to mold those initial seconds to your greatest advantage and connect with others at business and social functions.

Boothman, now a lecturer and expert in neuro-linguistic programming, says that the key to quickly making others like you lies in establishing a rapport: you have to find out what you have in common or, if you seemingly have nothing in common, purposely try to become like the other person, at least for a short time.

Boothman then goes on to offer simple techniques for getting a rapport going:

  • Adopt a positive attitude;
  • Make sure your words, tone and gestures are all saying the same thing;
  • Synchronize your attitude and body movements to those of the other person (which makes the person feel comfortable with you, even though he or she may not know why);
  • And ask lots of open-ended questions.

Boothman also describes how to figure out a stranger's favored sense for receiving information about the world—some people rely on visual cues, others on auditory or kinesthetic (touch) input—and use it to your best advantage.

If discovering how to connect with others is the secret to business and life success, as Boothman contends, then employing the strategies in this book will make you instantly likeable and give you a leg up on everyone else who is vying for your listener's attention..

The Flip-Flop CEO
It's Time to Get a Life

By Janine Finney, Lory Muirhead and Whitney Roberts (2011)

This book is a fun, fast read designed for the network marketing skeptic. Readers are gently but sassily guided through the powerful truths and outright myths of network marketing, ultimately leaving them with a fresh perspective on this business model.

The Flip Flop CEO was inspired by the personal experience of a mother and her daughter when network marketing came into their lives. The daughter was ready to pursue the business with gusto, while the mother resisted it with all her might. They battled for over a year, eventually landing in a place where they saw eye to eye. Today, they have both built thriving network marketing businesses and fulfilled many of their lifelong dreams, including that of working together.

While the divide in their perspectives on the business is now bridged, they know that it still exists in many families, friendships and society at large. They wrote this book to help other network marketers by saying things others never thought (or were afraid) to say. Hand this book to prospective business partners and see their understanding of your business flip right side up.

Whether you believe in the business model and are hopeful of the possibilities it presents but frustrated that others don't see it; or you are skeptical of all the promises and annoyed that network marketing keeps showing up; or you are somewhere in the middle, with no sure idea of what network marketing really is, this book is for you.

This practical guide will captivate and entertain even the most cynical of readers, leaving them with the heartfelt realization that they can be more and have more than others claim is possible.

The Inner Edge
The 10 Practices of Personal Leadership

By Joelle K. Jay, Ph.D. (2009)

In a time of choice and change, your success as a leader depends on your ability to lead yourself, says Dr. Jay. The premise of this book is that leaders must not only concern themselves with the vision and achievements of their organizations, they must also prioritize their own needs to be able to make their most valuable contribution.

As an executive coach, Dr. Jay has inside knowledge about what leaders need to thrive. Drawing from her experience with hundreds of business leaders, she poses thought-provoking questions that can help you develop your effectiveness and sense of well-being, such as:

  • What do you want, and where do you need to focus your attention to get it?
  • What actions will be the catalyst for change?
  • What strengths do you need to draw on to be your best as a leader?
  • What contributions do you want to make?
  • How can you maximize your time to do more with less?
  • Who will support you?
  • How can you stop chasing opportunity and instead invite opportunity to come to you?

The Inner Edge is an essential leadership resource for understanding not just how to get results for our organizations, but how to do so in a way that capitalizes on our own unique identity as a leader in business and in life.

Content Rules
How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, E-Books, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business

By Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman (2010)

To market your business, reach new customers and create long-lasting loyalty, you need one indispensable element: content.

Blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other publishing platforms are giving everyone a voice, including organizations and their customers. So how do you create the bold stories, videos and blog posts that cultivate fans, arouse passion for your products or services, and ignite your business?

Content Rules equips you for online success with a one-stop source on the art and science of developing marketing content that people care about. This coverage is interwoven with case studies of businesses successfully spreading their ideas online and using them to establish credibility and build a loyal customer base.

  • Learn the art of storytelling and the science of journalism;
  • Find your authentic voice and craft bold content that will resonate with prospects and buyers, and encourage them to share that content with others;
  • Leverage social media and online tools to get your content and ideas distributed as widely as possible.

Today, you have an unprecedented opportunity to create a treasury of free, easy-to-use, almost infinitely customizable content that tells the story of your product and your business—content that positions you as an expert people will want to do business with.

An essential field guide to building a portfolio of value, Content Rules shows you how to leverage all of today's social media tools to create content that strikes the right balance of humor and humanity and will keep delivering for the long haul.

What to Say When You Talk to Yourself
By Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D. (1990)

Recommended by Donna Johnson

You don't have to be crazy to talk to yourself! We all talk to ourselves all the time, usually without realizing it. And most of what we tell ourselves is negative, counterproductive and damaging, preventing us from enjoying a fulfilling and successful life.

Helmstetter points out that at any given time within our subconscious mind, as many as three negative thoughts are fighting it out with one positive. Not knowing right from wrong, our subconscious chooses to believe the most dominant thought pattern. Unless we feed more positive messages than negative ones to our subconscious, we become a prisoner to negative thought patterns.

This book reveals a simple way to overcome the onslaught of negative thought by feeding positive thoughts into our subconscious through self-talk. More than just affirmation statements, Helmstetter offers practical and specific strategies to attack problems at their source.

Here is Donna Johnson's take:

"Most of us rarely pay attention to what we say when we talk to ourselves, and to how it can either move us forward or stop us. This classic is not only a must-read, but one we'd all do well to reread on a regular basis. I catch myself often rewriting the stories I say to myself that don't serve me. I also use it for coaching others. I've seen people make huge breakthroughs in their lives after reading this book."