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

Living Intentionally For Excellence

By Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward (2011
Recommended by Doug Firebaugh

Many authors use content from their books for their tweets and blogs, but with this newest book, Chris Brady and Orrin Woodward did exactly the opposite: they took close to 600 (mostly original) quotes from their twitter accounts, added the best articles from their award-winning blogs, and mixed it with stunning photographs they took during their recent travels across four continents. The result is a masterpiece that, once you start thumbing through it, becomes nearly impossible to put down. Each page has a new nugget, forcing you to think deeply on what's really important in life.

Chris and Orrin provide life-improving truths roughly organized around the Eight F's of Faith, Family, Friendship, Freedom, Finances, Fitness, Following and Fun. You will be challenged, you will be taught, you will be encouraged, and often, you will laugh out loud!

"I believe this book will have the most impact of all the books Orrin and Chris have co-written," says Doug Firebaugh, "simply because more people will read and reread this one than any other, as I have. If success is the progressive realization of a worthwhile goal or dream, then this new L.I.F.E. book is food for the success journey."

The Greatest Networkers in the World
21 People Who Became Millionaires in Network Marketing, and the True Stories of How They Did It

By John Milton Fogg (2011)
Reviewed by Jackie Ulmer

If there is one thing that jumps off the pages of The Greatest Networkers in the World, it's the fact that these are the stories of twenty-one ordinary people, most from average backgrounds, who have gone on to build amazing success stories through network marketing.

For a beginning or struggling networker, it's easy to look at the top earners walking across the stage at company events in glitzy clothes, collecting big checks and awards, and think that it is somehow easier for them.

The reality is, it isn't. Every successful networker has dozens of stories of failure and setbacks along their journey to the top. The difference is that each of these twenty-one people refused to let the obstacles derail them in their quest to be successful.

Most of them would not identify themselves as fast starters in the business, but they have each proven that longevity and persistence truly are the keys to success. Personal development and leadership play key roles in each success story, as well.

Despite having achieved great success that would enable them to retire, all the book's subjects remain fully committed to assisting others in their journey to the top, and their passion for the business has moved way beyond the money. It has become a lifestyle and a mission.

If you're feeling it might never happen for you, read this book! Almost every struggle, challenge, or excuse is addressed in the stories of these leaders. If they can do it, why not you

Creating Personal Presence
Look, Talk, Think, and Act Like a Leader

By Dianna Booher (2011)

We all know presence when we encounter it. Someone walks into a room and heads turn. When those with presence speak, people listen. When they ask, people answer. They always look confident, speak persuasively, think clearly even under pressure, and act with integrity. They monitor situations and relationships, adapt, and accept responsibility for themselves and results.

Yet personal presence is not something we are born with; these skills and habits are developed. In Creating Personal Presence, award-winning speaker and consultant Dianna Booher demystifies "personal presence" by breaking it down into four specific areas:

  • How you look: your body language, movement, dress, reaction to surroundings;
  • How you talk: the words you choose, physical qualities of your voice, how you use your voice;
  • How you think and communicate: how you organize ideas and information, what you decide to pass on or withhold, how you
    frame issues;
  • How you act: the attitude, values, and com-petence your actions reveal.

Booher gives specific tips on how to use your voice to demonstrate competence, take command of a situation through appropriate body language, communicate clear and persuasive messages, and open up to others in a way that conveys respect and humility.

Booher's book offers the reader a pragmatic coaching experience for developing confidence, competence, and character, inviting us to discover and express the unique leader within us all.

Take the Lead
Motivate, Inspire, and Bring Out the Best in Yourself and Everyone Around You

By Betsy Myers with John David Mann (2011)

Reviewed by Josephine Gross, Ph.D.

Among the myriad of books on leadership, Take the Lead stands out in that it offers a distinctly feminine perspective. But wait, isn't leadership a universal human quality that's gender-neutral? Yes and no, says Betsy Myers, senior adviser to two U.S. presidents and former executive director of the Harvard Center for Public Leadership. While leadership is everywhere and for everyone, "women tend to bring a different dynamic to leadership, one that is collaborative and team-centered, that thrives on connection, relationship, openness, and cooperation with those who have different viewpoints and beliefs. This is a kind of leadership that does not simply direct or manage people but engages them."

This paragraph from the introduction immediately prompted me to recommend Take the Lead to network marketers—in addition to the fact that this book is coauthored by Networking Times's senior editor John David Mann.

The premise of the book is that we need a new kind of leadership that's based on listening, transparency, and fundamental honoring of relationships.

"Today, people expect and even demand more out of their lives—and their workplaces [...] We want to have an impact, to live a more purposeful and values-centered life, and to be acknowledged for doing so."

Effective leadership is all about how we make people feel, says Betsy, and people perform at their best when feeling appreciated for who they are and empowered to grow into their highest potential.

Betsy goes on to explore seven leadership traits: authenticity, connection, respect, clarity, a willingness to collaborate, an openness to learning, and the courage to do the right thing—themes which she illustrates with examples drawn from her extensive experience in government and academia as well as from her own personal life.

What I love about this book is that it calls for a leadership of the mind and the heart. What makes Betsy's vision of leadership compelling is that, in addition to the classic leadership traits, it also brings out the feminine and childlike qualities in all of us, calling us to become whole, conscious human beings and leaders.


The Magic of Thinking Big
Acquire the Secrets of Success...

By David J. Schwartz, Ph.D. (1959)

Reviewed by Doug Firebaugh

"A wise man is the master of his own mind. A fool is its slave," said Publilius Syrus, a contemporary of Julius Caesar. The Magic of Thinking Big starts off with this quote, which also encapsulates the essence of the book: your thoughts either work for you or against you, and the secret is to become aware of them so you can choose which ones to entertain.

Published over fifty years ago, this book still carries the power to radically change your thinking. Dr. Schwartz does not lead you to believe that change will happen quickly, as it may take a while to create new thinking habits. He uses stories to bring his point home and teaches a practical, step-by-step approach.

The first chapter, "Believe You Can Succeed and Will," shows how your belief is key to thinking big. Once you believe you can succeed, your mind automatically starts looking for ways to make it happen.

The second chapter, "Curing Excusitis," lists some of the most common excuses related to age, health, gender, and intelligence, and helps you work through them.

The third chapter, "Build Confidence and Destroy Fear," is one of my favorites. David covers the different mindsets that give birth to creativity in business, which is one of the secrets to success. Imagine being able to tap into your creativity at your whim, and take any situation or idea and make it bigger or better.

The last chapter, "How to Think like a Leader," is one of the most powerful leadership lessons you will ever read.

You will love the summaries at the end of each chapter, because they help you easily recap and recall the major points. If you read only one personal development book this year, read this book to take your thinking and productivity to an entirely new level.