Everyone knows, leaders are readers and learners are earners. 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 resources 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.

Give and Take
A Revolutionary Approach to Success

By Adam M. Grant, Ph.D. (2013)
Recommended by Garrett McGrath

In this highly acclaimed classic, Adam Grant points out that in addition to hard work, talent, and luck, highly successful people need the ability to connect with others. Give and Take distinguishes givers, people who give more than they get, takers, those who get more than they give, and matchers, those who aim to give and get equally. All three groups can succeed, says Grant, but he goes on to explain why we underestimate the success of givers and to explore what separates giver champs from chumps and what is unique about giver success.

Emphasis on teams and the rise of the service sector offers givers access to opportunities that takers and matchers often miss. In the first section, the author explains his principles of giver success with insightful stories. In the second part, he explores the costs of giving and how givers can protect themselves against burnout and becoming pushovers while providing proof that helping others does not compromise success. Grant concludes with his hope that this book will provide his young daughters’ generation with a new perspective on success.

Wharton School’s youngest tenured professor, Adam Grant is a former record-setting advertising director, junior Olympic springboard diver, and professional magician.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World

By Gary Vaynerchuk (2013)
Recommended by Sarah Robbins

In his newest book, bestselling author and social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk shares a blueprint for social media marketing that really works in today’s world.

When marketers outline their social media strategies, they plan for the “right hook”—their next sale or campaign that’s going to knock out the competition. Thanks to massive change and proliferation in social media platforms, the winning combination of jabs and right hooks is different from what it used to be.

Vaynerchuk shows that while communication is still key, context matters more than ever. It’s about truly engaging customers, not by shouting at them but by using new narrative forms particular to each different media platform—especially, though not exclusively, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr.

In the same passionate, streetwise style his readers have come to expect, Vaynerchuk is on a mission to strengthen marketers’ right hooks by changing the way they try to make their consumers happy, and ultimately to compete.

“Gary Vaynerchuk is first and foremost a storytelling entrepreneur,” says Sarah Robbins. “Network marketers must master the art of storytelling (sharing their product and business), and although Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is not a network marketing book, it shows us how to tell our story via social media, and do it well.”
—Sarah Robbins

The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
By Susan Cain (2012)

Studies suggest that at least one third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create, but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” introverts are responsible for many great contributions to society—from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.

If many of the most creative people are introverts, this is partly because of their capacity for quiet. Introverts are careful, reflective thinkers who can tolerate the solitude necessary for idea-generation. On the other hand, implementing good ideas requires cooperation, and introverts are more likely to prefer cooperative environments, while extroverts favor competitive ones.

Our schools, workplaces, and religious institutions are designed for extroverts, and many introverts believe that there is something wrong with them and that they should behave as extroverts. “Our bias against introversion leads to a colossal waste of talent, energy, and, ultimately, happiness,” says Susan Cain.

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and—more importantly—how they see themselves.

Leaders Eat Last
Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t
By Simon Sinek (2014)
Recommended by Corey Citron

In this follow-up to the bestseller Start with Why, Simon Sinek’s mission is to help people wake up every day inspired to go to work and return home every night fulfilled by their work. His first book, Start with Why, offered the essential starting point, explaining the power of focusing on why we do what we do, before getting into the details of what and how.

In Leaders Eat Last, Sinek reveals the next step in creating happier and healthier organizations. He helps us understand, in simple terms, the biology of trust and cooperation, and why they’re essential to our success and fulfillment. Organizations that create environments in which trust and cooperation thrive vastly outperform their competition.

But “truly human” cultures don’t just happen; they are intentionally created by great leaders. Leaders who, in hard times, would sooner sacrifice their numbers to protect their people, rather than sacrifice people to protect their numbers, are rewarded with deeply loyal teams that consistently contribute their best efforts, ideas and passion.

Sinek illustrates his points with fascinating true stories from many fields. Imploring us to act sooner rather than later “because our stressful lives are killing us,” he offers surprisingly simple steps for building a truly human organization.

“Since direct selling networks or tribes are so diverse and often transitory,” says Corey Citron, “this book will help leaders to grow a more unified, resilient culture that is less susceptible to economic turmoil and built to stand the test of time.”
—Corey Citron

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