Posts Tagged ‘book reviews’

Power Play, by Yamini Naidu

 29th April 2016 by gihan

PowerPlayHere’s a book that is so compelling you will finish it in a single sitting, but so powerful you will want to read over and over again for its insights.

Yamini Naidu explores different kinds of power for leaders to use for greater influence in their personal and professional lives. You can probably guess how Hard Power and Soft Power work, but have you ever thought about using Context Power, Empathy Power, Message Power or Love Power as part of your influence toolkit?

This is not just a book of theory. Naidu has years of practical experience working with clients across different industries, and shares many stories that help to reinforce her ideas and make them practical and easy to implement.

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The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth, by Chris Brogan

 8th August 2014 by gihan

The Freaks Shall Inherit the EarthChris Brogan’s latest book is a call to action for people who want to turn their back on the idea of working in a traditional job and launch their own business. It addresses one of the biggest challenges of the new business owner: suddenly having all this freedom and flexibility, and not knowing how to handle it effectively.

In that sense, I see this more as a personal productivity book than a business success book. Of course, for individual business owners, those two concepts are tightly connected anyway. But I think you will get the greatest value from this book if you read it as a book about you, not your business.

For example, the word “Freaks” in the title is way off the mark. This is not just a book for freaks (or “weirdos, misfits, and world dominators”, as the subtitle states). Brogan just says that to get attention. You won’t find any wild, outrageous ideas or strategies for changing the world or disrupting your industry. No, the content of this book is far more prosaic: time management, defining personal success, being disciplined, facing fear, setting income goals, and so on.

There’s nothing wrong with all of that, of course! Just don’t expect an earth-shattering book about business success.

I found it a bit difficult to read the book from start to finish. But when I returned to the Table of Contents and clicked on specific things that looked interesting, it was much more useful to me.

The other insight for me was that a lot of the book is about Chris Brogan’s own practices, and they don’t necessarily apply to me. However, they serve as a useful starting point to ask how I could make them work. So even if his specific advice isn’t useful for you, it can serve as a checklist of things to consider. That said, if you’re just starting out in business and do want some initial advice, you could do a lot worse than just following Brogan’s advice.

My friend and colleague Terry Brock has created a video book review here:

Order Now.

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Ideas With Legs, by Nils Vesk

 25th July 2014 by gihan

Ideas With LegsThere are many books about business innovation, but few are as practical as this, which helps you take an idea all the way from something abstract in somebody’s head into the practical implementation in your organisation.

Broadly, Vesk breaks down the “ideation” process into four groups:

  1. Evolution: Start your journey by looking at problems, the environment, and your desire to change
  2. Revolution: Break existing habits and patterns
  3. Revelation: Create an environment for creative thinking and problem solving
  4. Execution: Evaluate your ideas, choose the best, and put them into action

The book is full of practical processes, techniques and ideas. So if you really want to get more ideas yourself, from your team, and for your organisation, follow the steps in this book!

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TED Talks Storytelling – by Akash Karia

 6th June 2014 by gihan

TED Talks Storytelling: 23 Storytelling Techniques from the Best TED TalksThis brief but value-packed book, drawing inspiration from the famous TED Talks, is all about using storytelling in your presentations. It’s ideal if you would like to learn more about bringing your presentations to life through stories.

The author, Akash Karia, looks at a number of features of stories, such as:

  • Starting with a story
  • Using conflict to create interest
  • Engaging different senses
  • Adding details and specifics to create mental pictures

This book is ideally suited for people who are already reasonably competent presenters, but would now like to make their presentations more engaging.

Of course, one of the best features of this book is that you can watch the original TED Talks referenced in the book.

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Ready, Set … Go, by Julie Meek

 25th April 2014 by gihan

In this book, Julie shares ideas about health and peak performance, all beautifully laid out and delivered in small, easily digestible chunks.

I enjoyed reading this book because it cleverly combines different ways of delivering messages about success: stories from well-known people, narrative from Julie’s expertise, and solid research backing both. So you might choose to get it for the content, which itself is excellent. But if you’re planning on publishing your own book soon, get this one for an example of great layout and format as well.

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The Power of Habit – by Charles Duhigg

 17th January 2014 by gihan

The Power Of HabitThis fascinating book combines three of my favourite elements: Practical ideas, backed by strong research, relayed by powerful stories.

Duhigg’s one big idea in the book is that our habits can be broken down into three factors: A cue that triggers the habit, a routine that we subconsciously follow, and a reward that motivates us. He contends that we can’t eliminate a bad habit, but we can change it by inserting a new routine between the cue and the reward. That’s a deceptively simple, but very powerful, idea.

Duhigg also describes the power of “keystone habits”, which can trigger many other habit changes. For example, for many people, getting fitter is a keystone habit, which leads to them adopting other unrelated positive habits as well.

If you’re looking for practical steps to change your habits, jump straight to the Appendix, which is a “how to” of the entire process.

I love that the book is backed by strong scientific research (the references take up a full third of the book). But Duhigg is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, so his writing is compelling and entertaining rather than dry and academic.

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Contagious – by Jonah Berger

 13th December 2013 by gihan

ContagiousThis book is a fascinating and practical look into the psychology of influence. In particular, as the title suggests, it looks at why ideas catch on and spread.

Berger presents six key principles – which he summarises with the acronym STEPPS: Social Currency (it makes you look good), Triggers (something reminds you of it), Emotion (it arouses emotions), Public (other people see it in use), Practical Value (it’s useful), and Stories (it has a story). Some of these overlap naturally with other psychological principles (such as those in Robert Cialdini’s seminal book Influence), but it’s useful to see them applied here specifically to the idea of creating “contagious” ideas and products.

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Remote – by Jason Fried

 6th December 2013 by gihan

RemoteThe first chapter of this book is titled “The Time is Right for Remote Work”, and that’s a neat summary. In the book, Fried lays out the argument for greater acceptance and adoption of remote work.

I co-authored the book Out of Office on the same topic, so it won’t come as a surprise that I like this book as well! I particularly like the way it’s laid out, with short bite-sized chunks for each point. It’s almost like a collection of blog posts, but organised well rather than just randomly strung together.

Be warned that if you’re already doing remote work and are looking for practical ideas, this book is a bit light on the practical stuff. But if you’re thinking about the possibility of remote work in your organisation, teams or career, this is the perfect book to motivate you.

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Folding Time – by Neen James

 22nd November 2013 by gihan

Folding TimeThere are many books about time management, productivity and getting things done – and this is one of the best. Neen James provides a contemporary, practical approach that really works.

She says time management is dead, and we need to focus on accountability, attention, and energy. These are not just words, they form the basis of a different way of getting things done.

I particularly like her ideas around work-life integration (rather than work-life balance), because there’s so much overlap now between work time and personal time, so we need new strategies for managing this effectively.

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Presentation Zen 2nd Edition (including a contribution from Yours Truly)

 31st July 2013 by gihan

If you’re like many presenters, Garr Reynolds’ book “Presentation Zen” might have been your bible for presentation slide design. It’s a great book, and Garr has now released a second edition.

The new edition is about 70 pages longer, and among the additions is a section about designing slides for webinars. I was honoured that Garr invited me to write this section, and I was happy to do so.

In it, I included seven tips for being more effective and engaging in a webinar:

  1. Be relevant.
  2. Use more slides.
  3. Be elegant with your design.
  4. “Build” your slides.
  5. Get them active.
  6. Shift energy.
  7. Start before you’re ready!

If you’d like more detail, get the book! Seriously, it’s a great book for all presenters.

Here’s a video Garr created to give you an idea of what’s in the book:

Want to know more about webinars?

Webinars can be one of your most powerful marketing and educational tools – if you know how to run them properly.

My book "Webinar Smarts" covers nearly everything you need to know about planning, preparing, promoting and presenting powerful and profitable webinars.

If you’re interested in tapping into the power of webinars in your business, this book is for you.

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