Happy holidays! The season kicks off with Thanksgiving, which is one of my favorite American holidays as it allows time to PAUSE and reflect on what I’m grateful for. As with any holiday, I try to carve out quiet time to read. With that in mind, I’d like to recommend three books that continue to inspire me for your own reading or to give as gifts.
MADE TO STICK
People regularly ask me what my favorite marketing book is. I consistently recommend Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath. This easy-to-read guide outlines how to psychologically get your ideas remembered. Why do urban legends, conspiracy theories, and bogus news stories circulate effortlessly while important ideas from entrepreneurs, teachers, politicians, and journalists struggle “stick”? The Heath Brothers answer this question by revealing ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the human scale principle, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating curiosity gaps. The book inspired me to write my 5-step process in E-X-I-T-O.
NEGOTIATING AS IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT
My friend Alex Oana recommended Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss, a former international hostage negotiator for the FBI. The book takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations, revealing the skills that helped the author and his colleagues at the FBI succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. Whether you want to negotiate with your boss, clients, colleagues or children, this practical guide outlines nine effective principles—counterintuitive tactics and strategies—you can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life. Surprisingly, I learned that one of the key ways to negotiate better is to become a better listener and summarize, or repeat back, what people say to show them that you have heard and understand them.
THE CREATIVE HABIT
I continue to refer back to The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp. Whether you are a businessperson, musician, painter, or simply yearn to tap into your creativity, this book provides you with thirty-two practical exercises based on the lessons Tharp utilized during her remarkable career. Tharp leads you through the painful first steps of scratching for ideas, finding the spine of your work, and getting out of ruts and into productive grooves. The wide-open realm of possibilities can be energizing, and Twyla Tharp explains how to take a deep breath and begin. I continue to use a number of her suggestions to generate creative ideas in my consulting work and writing.
While these books aren’t new, I refer back to them so often that I know they have withstood the test of time. Let me know what you think when you’ve had the chance to read them.