We all know, leaders are readers and learners are earners. So, 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, DVDs, and programs that will help you grow 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.

BOOK

Passive Income 101
A Story of Paying for College Without Selling Your Soul
By Sandy Shepard (2012)
Recommended by Jordan Adler

While college debt is making national headlines and millionaires like PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel are giving scholarships to youngsters for not attending university, Passive Income 101 addresses this issue in an unusual voice—that of a high school senior.

Not really knowing what to do with her life, Alexzandra is applying to colleges, as she is expected to do. Suddenly she is jolted out of her routine when she receives a mysterious text message. The text claims that going to college straight from high school is NTOW (not the only way) for her to achieve financial security and reach her dream of studying in Hawaii and making a difference in the world. As events unfold, Alexzandra’s “text angel” introduces her to concepts she could never learn in school, including:

  • How to start a home-based business;
  • The importance of creating cash flow;
  • The potential of network marketing;
  • How to create easily duplicated systems;

Ways to respond to people who are afraid of “pyramid schemes.”

Passive Income 101 is the fictional account of a family discovering an option that is becoming much more widely accepted,” says Jordan Adler, network marketing leader and bestselling author of Beach Money. “Fun and dramatic, it will leave parents and teenagers with the hope that there is a better way. Those considering college may want to read this book before pulling the trigger!”

BOOK

The Wisdom of Failure
How to Learn the Tough Leadership Lessons Without Paying the Price
By Laurence G. Weinzimmer and Jim McConoughey (2012)

There is a paradox in leadership: we can only succeed by knowing failure. Every accomplished leader knows there are minefields of failure that need to be navigated in order to succeed. Wouldn’t it be great to have the insights to help you prevent from making avoidable mistakes?

In business, talking about mistakes can be taboo. This is unfortunate, because it limits the tremendous learning that is available from the experience of failure.
Based on a seven-year study of interviews with almost a thousand business leaders across twenty industries, The Wisdom of Failure is divided into three parts:

  • Unbalanced Orchestration: leadership failures at the organizational level. Chapters include Trying to Be All Things to All People and Forgetting to Put Effectiveness First.
  • Drama Management: leadership failures at the team level. Chapters include Leaders Who Rule by Bullying and Problems with Dysfunctional Harmony.
  • Personality Issues: leadership failures at the personal level. Chapters include Hoarding Power and Responsibility and The Destructive Path of Disengagement.
Learning from the mistakes of others is a necessary part of the journey of effective leadership, and this book can help you assimilate these powerful lessons—without paying the price of failure.

BOOK/E-BOOK

The Commitment Engine
Making Work Worth It
By John Jantsch (2012)
Recommended by Seth Godin

Why are some companies able to generate committed, long-term customers while others struggle to stay afloat? Why do the members of some organizations fully dedicate themselves while others procrastinate or just go through the motions?

By studying the ins and outs of companies and organizations that enjoy extraordinary loyalty from customers and team members, John Jantsch reveals the systematic path to generating genuine commitment.

The Commitment Engine shows how people commit to companies, products, and stories that have a strong focus on a single core purpose and a culture they understand and trust. Through powerful case studies of companies that have generated extraordinary devotion, Jantsch shows business owners and marketers how to drive purpose and commitment deeply into every element of a business.

His strategies include:

  • Lead by telling great stories. You can’t attract the right people or get them to commit without telling them why you do what you do.
  • Treat your team members as your customer. A healthy customer community is the natural result of a healthy internal culture.
  • Serve customers you respect. It’s hard to have an authentic relationship with people you don’t know, like, or trust.

A follow-up to The Referral Engine, this book is about more than just establishing leads—it’s about keeping them for life.

BOOK

Likeonomics
The Unexpected Truth Behind Earning Trust, Influencing Behavior, and Inspiring Action
By Rohit Bhargava (2012)

Likeonomics aims to teach you how to become a trusted resource for consumers surrounded by marketing manipulation.

People decide who to trust, what advice to heed, and which individuals to forge personal or transactional relationships with based on a simple metric of believability. Success comes from understanding one basic principle: how to become more trusted.

Likeonomics offers a new vision of a world beyond Facebook where personal relationships, likeability, brutal honesty, extreme simplicity, and basic humanity are behind everything from multimillion dollar mergers to record-breaking product sales.

You’ll learn how to use the TRUST formula (Truth, Relevance, Unselfishness, Simplicity, and Timing) to power every relationship. Being more believable, says the author, is the key to distinguishing yourself, expanding your network, and growing your business.

Rohit Bhargava is author of Personality Not Included and a founding member of 360 Digital Influence, the world’s largest group of social media strategists, with clients including Intel, Pepsi, Lenovo, Seiko, Unilever, and dozens of other large companies. His new book provides unconventional advice on how to stand out in a good way, avoid the hype and strategic traps of social media, and appeal to customers in a way that secures you as a trusted resource.