BR 89: Yes! by Robert Cialdini

Category: 2 – BUY it! (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: Robert Cialdini doesn’t disappoint with this book. Well researched and well delivered piece of work. Lots of little nuggets and learnings.

Top 3 Learnings:

1. I recently blogged about ‘Even a penny will help’. And I am sure you will see more of these nuggets pop up.

2. Another one I remember is that we negotiate better when we are happy. Staying positive is of extreme importance to serial negotiators.

3. Our desire to be ‘consistent’ with who we have been in the past is very important to us. Hence, it matters a lot to us that we keep promises we made in the past, act in accordance to the way we behaved in the past.

4. Social proof matters a lot. The wisdom of the crowd does matter.

5. The best way to get people to buy into a big decision is to have them buy into smaller bits first. Before you request people to join a campaign to add more speed breakers for example, requesting them put up a sticker on their door that says ‘we love safe drivers’ (seemingly harmless step) goes a long way in increasing their probability of saying yes.

and many more..

(I took the liberty to exceed ‘3’ thanks to the nature of the small bite sized learnings in the book. Definitely Enjoyable..)

BR 88: Instant Genius: Etiquette by Letitia Baldridge

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: This book might have been rated higher had I read this before starting work (of any sort). Over time, at work, you tend to learn the basics of etiquette (or at least think you do).

A good collection, nevertheless. And worth the 1 hour listen.

Top 3 Learnings:

1. Always introduce the younger/lower in hierarchy person to the older/younger in hierarchy person. I’ve reversed the order many a time.

2. When you drop a napkin in a very formal dinner, let it stay down. Request for another.

3. Understand which spoons and forks are used for which serving. If unsure, look around.. (covertly of course).

These may seem ‘minor’ but they are WELL worth learning to avoid any kind of embarrassment during an occasion of importance!

BR 87: Change Your Questions Change Your Life by Marilee Adams

Category: 1 – Read ASAP! (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: 1 week after buying this book, I gifted 7 copies to friends and family and 2 others bought copies thanks to me raving about it.

The best thing about this book is it’s simplicity and the fact that the book’s learnings can be synthesized into 1 key concept – The Choice Map – THAT is genius!

Top 3 Learnings:

1. We are the questions we ask ourselves. And it is only by changing our questions can we change anything.

2. Questions drive results.

3. At every moment, we have a choice between being a ‘learner’ or being a ‘judger’. A learner asks questions like ‘what can I do to improve the situation? What can I learn from this?’ while a judger asks questions like ‘Why are things so bad? Why am I so bad?’ leading us down a negative path.

The single most powerful idea for me from the book is that every time we feel negative (i.e. low energy, upset, angry, jealous etc etc), it is likely because we are asking ourselves ‘judger’ questions. (See The Choice Map) And the moment we catch ourselves feeling negative, we have the power to switch, ask ourselves learner questions and get positive!

Very powerful stuff.

BR 86: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: Classic Gladwell – very journalistic with a few pretty powerful stories and example. I am not entirely sure if the book is entirely accurate but it does succeed in communicating a few key learnings.

Top 3 Learnings:

1. Snap judgments are innate. We make them about everything. The point of differentiation between a snap judgment we make about strawberry flavored ice cream with that of an ‘expert’ is that we will never be able to explain (correctly) as to how we arrived at that judgment. When you become an expert in a field, you hone your gut in a way that a novice cannot match. (understandably)

The application is apparent when we ask for customer feedback. Asking a customer whether they like a food item on display may work well but asking them to rationalize why would probably take us down an unwanted path.

2. The product is the packaging. I was pretty amazed by some of the examples here.

One that comes to mind is – When 7UP was sold in bottles with a yellowish shade, they had customers complaining that there was too much lime – even if there was no change in the drink!

That explains why the famous Pepsi taste challenge failed because drinking Coke out of a Coke can means something entirely different to drinking Coke out of a plastic un-labelled glass.

3. Going back to the fact that snap judgments are innate. It reminded me of a question a friend of mine posed – We are all innately discriminatory (color, race etc). How do we stop those judgments from taking control of us the moment we see a symptom? That one’s just ‘food for thought’.

BR 85: First, Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

Category: 1 – Read ASAP! (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: Thorough and well researched piece of work. This books beautifully synthesizes 25 years of research into what it takes to be a ‘Great Manager’ and puts it in front of our eyes.

Top 3 Learnings:

1. The Greatest managers focus squarely on strengths

2. We gravely misunderstand the importance of ‘talent’. Conventional management tells us anything is possible and that if we set our mind to it, we can do whatever we want. Great managers understand that an attribute such as ‘calm under pressure’ is a talent and no amount of training can help hone it in people who don’t have that talent.

This ties right back to the 1st point. The simple idea is that we all have our own specific sweet spots – we need to find them and hone them!

3. Great managers build very close personal relationships with their top performers. How else can you get under their skin and push them? 🙂

And one last learning (this was a great book!), do check out the 12 questions.