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Book Reviews

A Review Of John Morgan’s Book “Brand Against The Machine”

Brand Against The Machine BookI have read this book twice now, the first time was a quick once over, the second time, I grabbed a highlighter and messed this book up. I read lot, I mean read sales books, marketing books, how to books, even the bible, but this book I couldn’t put down. It grabbed me right from chapter 1, I was sitting in one of my favorite offices this morning, that being the Roasted Grape, and I punched out probably 30 nuggets (Tweets) from the 1st 5 chapters! So I guess you might say, you should go buy John Morgan’s book, infact…do it right now!

The premise of this book is right on the cover, ” How to Build Your Brand, Cut Through the Marketing Noise, and Stand Out from the Competition”. I know what you are thinking, it’s another marketing book, in some ways you might get that, but I have found it to be more than that, it’s a very direct set of principles that are actually easy to understand.

The book reads easy, it’s very straight forward, and I like the directness, John is very clear when he says it. This book is filled with more wisdom than you would expect, he clearly sees something most of us know but rarely execute. There are a great many take aways for me, but I’m not going spew them all out here, you need to find them for yourself. I will share one of my favorite chapters, it’s number 6, The Right Position, it’s a very short chapter too.

The first sentence from this chapter:

“The number one goal of your marketing should be to establish and position yourself as an authority in your industry or field. Authority leads to easier sales, and more opportunities.”

This says it all for me:

“The most important element of branding is positioning.”

That say a mouthful doesn’t it?

There is so much to share and frankly it would be a copyright infringement if I were to quote the book, I highly recommend John’s book, you won’t be disappointed. Thank you John for writing this book, I have enjoyed reading it over and over a few times.

Start your fight against the machine today, John shows you exactly how to do it. Enjoy!

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Gary Vaynerchuk – The Thank You Economy

The month of March has been great for new books in my office, I love social business books, and I like this one, Gary has a special way of saying what’s on his mind and what he sees. CRUSH IT was just a sampling of what’s yet to come out of Gary, he describes his first book as his Keynote(s), and this second book is his consulting. This book is packed with example after example, be sure to pay attention while reading.

I finished the book today, I am full, this book has more to digest than CRUSH IT, more to think about, and it makes you look at your own business again and again. The book grabbed me right from the first paragraph, why, I’m older and remember small town thinking, maybe you do to. Everyone knew each other, everyone helped each other for the most part, and we watched out for each other. The neighborhood watch was invented back before Jesus walked the land. The first chapter has you reminiscing, Gary starts the book with, “Think back on the last time someone did something nice for you.”

That opening sentence really sets the tone for the rest of the book, I’m sure that’s no accident, he touches the nerve-endings that make you remember back to a better day. A couple paragraphs jumped out at me, ironically, near the end of the book, but I enjoyed the book from beginning to end.

Gary says, “the biggest disconnect for business leaders is in their understanding of how they should treat customers they meet face-to-face, and how they should treat the ones they meet through their computers, iPad, iPhone and what have you, there should be no difference.” He’s right of course, I’ve always said, Social Media is not new, it’s just gone digital, so your off-line conversations have merely moved to the Internet.

Later on he makes another interesting statement, “companies that soar in 2011 and beyond are those that will figure out a way to balance the short-term demands of what wall street or investors with the long-term demands of The Thank You Economy.” Think about that for a moment, maybe read it again.

I loved his few words on how fear blocks innovation:

“It’s becoming more unusual for a big consumer brand to really innovate and create a great product. Vitamin Water didn’t come from Coke; Pom didn’t come from Pepsi. Too many companies get stuck in the muck of their own fear and short-term concerns, which prohibits them from taking risks and following through on great, creative thinking. They’re too wrapped up in meetings and procedure and stock value, or worst of all, the politics of keeping their jobs, whereas smaller, scrappier companies are often still ruled by passion and have the freedom to experiment.” WOW! I couldn’t say this better!

On page 228 he lists the biggest mistakes companies make with social media, keep in mind this what most companies and individuals do in my humble opinion, here is Gary’s list:

1.) Using tactics instead of strategy

2.) Using it exclusively to put out fires

3.) Using it to brag

4.) Using it as press release

5.) Exclusively re-tweeting other people’s material rather than creating your own content

6.) Using it to push product

7.) Expecting immediate results

I’m not going to add much here, I can’t improve upon anything Gary shares in his book(s). As a futurist, I see much of what Gary claims, and some things he doesn’t, in the end we are shouting from the roof tops to pay attention to what’s going on in the world of business. Great book Gary, thanks for being who you are.

I hope you enjoy the book, if you don’t have it, you can buy The Thank You Economy right here.

Gary’s point is this, The Thank You Economy is about the life-time value of a customer, brands / businesses need to be human, period.

Tell me, did you like the book, and what was the best part for you?

Scott Stratten's UNMarketing Book

It took me two days to read this book, and what a joy it was to finish it so I could share with you. I was emotionally moved while reading this book, that doesn’t happen often, I’m not sure why yet but I’ll figure it out. It could be because he has son named Owen : ) Now I read alot, I like to learn, I like to read other perspectives, and I love to take what I’ve read and learned and then apply it. I’ll admit up front I have been a Scott Stratten fan upon learning he was in this space, he joined Twitter a month earlier than me and I’m proud to say he has made something of Twitter that most haven’t. The book is part of his overall plan I think, he didn’t expect to get asked to write the book but if you follow Scott, it was only a matter of time. The Title is his Twitter handle, @unmarketing. The Book is called, UNMarketing – Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.

Once you start reading, you get the impression he practices what he preaches. I was reading along around chapter 10 and I had this notion, this feeling that I have heard all this before. In fact, I did! I heard it from Scott since the day he joined Twitter, these 64,000 words he put together in this book are actually 457 Tweets on Twitter! If you do the math, 457 x 140 Characters = 63,980 words! I felt like I was reading bite sized chicken nuggets (Tweets) from Scott, bite sized stories, this book reads like a Twitter stream to me. I know, I’m weird, but when you read it, you’ll understand what I mean. I don’t know if he intended it that way, but that’s what it was like for me.

There are 56 Chapters, they are somewhat short, but all are packed with well thoughtout points, some you have to read twice. I found myself saying yes many times while sifting through the pages, because, everything, most things he was talking about, all were simply the use of common sense. Looking at a business in a new way, not using old Industrial Age thinking. I believe that anyone over the age of 35 is stuck, stuck in old thinking. It’s no ones fault, it’s everyone’s fault, from our parents who couldn’t see past what was in front of them. To our leaders in the school system that had to buy into a lie. And we believed the Government was going to look after us, another lie. I think we are seeing that the system is not humane and it merely serves itself.

The first two chapters didn’t really grab me, but the third one did, it’s called the Trust Gap. From that point on, I was giving Scott all of my attention, right through to the Index. The restaurant story is one of my favorites, I have actually lived and tried to get that one done, you’ll love it. If you can get a restaurant owner to do it, the fun they will have, and the money will be a by-product of their trust in the people formerly known as consumers.

There is one thing I don’t agree with Scott on, I hate Wal-Mart, he loves them! His reason’s for loving Wal-Mart are valid to him, he admits he is lazy, and that’s why he goes there. One stop shopping. What I really don’t like about Wal-Mart is this, it makes people think in a broke frame of mind, by cheap stuff 500 times when quality might only cost a few bucks more, and you buy it 5 times instead of 500. That’s just my view on stores that sell in that fashion, right down to Dollar Stores & the new $5 Store. I should talk, I used to work at a store equally as bad back in the 70’s, F.W. Woolworth! But that’s a whole lifetime ago and another Blog Post.

OK, let’s get back to the book…..Buy It! Don’t take my word alone, you will learn, you will get perspective you may not have had before, and you will see a much bigger picture when you get to the Index. There is much more I could cover, but let’s face it, I didn’t write the book, and I can’t possibly do it justice here. Thanks Scott, and good luck on the Book Tour.

Be sure to follow Scott in your Social networks, buy his book, there is much wisdom between the covers, and most definitely visit his UN-Marketing Blog.

A tease for you, you will love The UnEnding : )

Book Review of Ron Karr’s – Lead, Sell or Get Out of The Way!

I’ll be up front, I am not a fan of sales people and or books on sales, I’m not comfortable there and I’m sure many others feel the same way. Keep in mind, I am a former Sales Manager from my Radio Broadcast days and I have held what feels like hundreds of sales jobs, so I know what I’m talking about, and I can spot a fraud most of the time. That’s my disclaimer. Before I ask you to read on, I want you to know I endorse this book, I was pleasantly surprised at the ease of reading it, and there are some incredible nuggets buried in this gem for you to use. One more thing, I personally think the book is more about Leadership than Sales, that’s the head fake to watch for, but you won’t know it till after you have read it. One other disclaimer to you & Ron, I don’t write reviews in a fashion you expect, but I’ll let you decide whether this type of review helped you or not. Let’s get on with it.

I was recently asked by a friend on Twitter if I would be interested in reviewing a book, I didn’t know what kind of book or the topic, but I said yes anyway because Leaders are readers, and I trusted her. Now you know what I am. Some time passed by and I never heard anything back on the topic, so I hailed my friend and she said hold your horses. Shortly thereafter, a courier showed up with a package containing the book, I opened it and shrugged my shoulders in disgust. A sales book! I don’t want to review a sales book or anything close to the topic of sales, I want to learn something new, something I haven’t done before. As you can see, I have a bad taste and attitude on the topic. But I said I would, and I am a man of my word, so I dived in and started reading my new sales book. But first, let me share the full title of this book, Lead, Sell, or Get Out of the Way: The 7 Traits of Great Sellers

Here is the BIO as taken from Ron’s book, Ron Karr is a popular public speaker and in demand business consultant known internationally as a business development expert. As President of Karr Associates, Inc., he specializes in helping organizations and professionals generate remarkable sales and operational results. His client list includes such companies as Agfa, Morgan Stanley, MetLife, Wright Medical, and UPS.

Now I’m not going to go on and on because frankly I can’t do the book justice, I highly recommend you get the book and pass your own judgment, rather than take my word for it. There are 10 chapters so it’s not a long endeavor, checkout the table of contents:

1.) The Case For Leadership

2.) The Five Beliefs of Effective Leaders

3.) The 7 Traits of Great Leaders

4.) Visualizing

5.) Positioning

6.) Building Alliances

7.) Asking Good Questions

8.) Creating Powerful Value Propositions

9.) Communication Persuasively

10.) Holding Yourself Accountable

You can tell by the Table of Contents it’s not your typical book on Sales, some of it’s standard but there is much that is different. Why? Because I think Ron makes it real, he makes it so that your sales success is you the person. At the out set of this book Ron makes what I consider three profound statements, You Can Lead, You Can Sell, You Can Get Out of The Way! In his words, this book is designed to help you make the first two a reality and avoid the third altogether.

My favorite chapters are 4 & 5, Visualizing and Positioning, I think most of us are really bad at understanding these two critical areas. We tend to visualize the wrong things and that leads down the wrong road, we then find ourselves in the wrong position. I’m not here to tell you all that is in the book, otherwise I would just cut & paste and let you read it, I can’t for many reasons.

In visualizing you have to see things most others in your line of work don’t and frankly can’t. Ron lays out 7 Elements of a Clear Vision which reduces the vision to 7 steps, when it’s all said and done, you’ll have a better understanding of you why, and where you’re going. After all, it’s a journey right?

Ron helps you understand the difference between Personal Vision Versus Customer Vision. The bottom line though, it’s not about you, it’s about where your customer wants to go. Be prepared to walk through the process with Ron, it’s not as simple as I make it sound : )

In Chapter 5, Positioning, Ron really starts to make you think like a leader, most business owners have buying habits they don’t even know they have, that’s an opportunity most sales people miss altogether. You’ve probably heard much of this before, I can tell you this, there are many ways of positioning yourself with a prospect or client, but none can tell you as clearly as Ron does in this book.

Those two chapters caught my attention as being different than most other books written on sales, not to say the other chapters aren’t as solid, they are, they’re top draw so don’t skip any of them. That’s an order! The book is only 250 pages! Well, it’s 230 if you don’t count the Epilogue and Index pages, so no excuses. 🙂

I have to say, after reading his book I felt I was getting a good read on the type of person Ron is, and then after talking with him, Ron is just a down to earth, awesome man. Do your self a good service and get to know him on the many social media networks he is on, I triple dog dare ya.

Now that you’ve read this Blog Post, and I hope it makes you want to buy his book, oh, and you must visit Ron’s site, in fact, tell him Owen sent you: http://www.ronkarr.com/