Achieving Business Excellence with John Spence

“Must Read” Business Books from 2016

shutterstock_397576393A friend of mine, Jake Kostan, sent me a question asking: What is your number 1 must read book of 2016 in each category for sales & marketing, business and culture?

That’s really tough question, I read more than 100 business books this year (not all of them were written this year), many of them very good, but if I had to list just one in each one of those categories, here they are…

Sales

The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need” by Anthony Iannarino

**Also in sales, if you have not read these two books, go read them right away**

SPIN selling” by Neil Rackham

Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play – transforming the buyer/seller relationship” by Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig

Marketing

Marketing: A Love Story – how to matter to your customers” by Bernadette Jiwa

Leadership

Leadership Lessons from a UPS Driver – delivering a culture of we, not me” by Ron Wallace

Extreme Ownership – how US Navy SEALs lead and win” by Jacko Willink and Leif Babin

Culture

It’s My Pleasure – the impact of extraordinary talent and compelling culture” by Dee Ann Turner

Business Excellence

Simply Brilliant – how great organizations do ordinary things in extraordinary ways” by William Taylor

Personal Development

The Daily Stoic – 366 meditations on wisdom, perseverance, and the art of living” by Ryan Holiday

I could easily list another two dozen, and this was especially hard because many of my friends wrote excellent books this year, so I put links below to all of my recommendations over 2016.

If you read something that you thought was extremely valuable, please add it to the comments for all the rest of us.

Thanks so much and I hope that 2017 is your best year ever!!! Love, John

 

My book recommendations from 2016

Two Superb Books I Highly Recommend

Leaders Are Readers

Awesome Sales Book

What Is Your Legacy

Three Great Books

How To Become The Best in the World

How Do You Want To Feel?

 

 

 

Two Superb Books I Highly Recommend

John SpenceI have just returned from three weeks on the road, including 10 days on a speaking tour across Poland as a guest of the United States Consulate General in Krakow. I had a lot of time on airplanes and read several books but there are two that I would especially like to recommend.

The first is called “BOOKSMART – hundreds of real-world lessons for success and happiness,” by my friend Frank Sonnenberg. This is an absolutely fantastic book of wisdom and sage advice that is presented in a very user-friendly way, with lots of lists of things to think about and apply. The book covers numerous topics around business, family, success, financial health, marriage and other critical issues. The chapters are short but powerful. I have already reread this book twice and have applied several of the ideas to my business and life. This is one of those books I plan to come back to often as a reminder of what I should be focusing on and how to build a happy, joyful and highly successful life. This book would be a wonderful Christmas present for anyone you know that enjoy books on self-improvement or business improvement.

The other book I’d like to recommend to you is called, “The Leaders Mindset – how to win in the age of disruption,” by Terence Mauri. In this book Terence describes three major leadership mindsets:

  1. Think Big Mindset (Future Shaper)
  2. Act Bold Mindset (Risk Taker)
  3. Learn Fast Mindset (Knowledge Seeker)

He then goes on to describe how to integrate all three of these mindsets in order to be an effective and successful leader. I underlined a lot of this book, and I’ve recommended it to several of my clients. It’s a good, solid book that will help you take a new look at how you lead in your organization. One of the reasons I love this book so much, is that it aligned very strongly with what I have been studying for years about great leaders and great organizations. It was reassuring to read such focused and detailed ideas and descriptions that match so closely with my strongly held beliefs about what makes a real leader. If you are interested in a book that will help you examine the way you think about leadership and the actions you take as a leader, you will definitely enjoy this book.

I have just a little bit of downtime around the Christmas holidays, so I will have a few more books to recommend at the start of the new year. If you have recently read a great business or self-help book, please comment on it here so that my followers and I can pick it up and learn from your recommendations.

I hope you find these books of great value – take good care – John

 

Leaders Are Readers

AWESOME Sales Book

IMG_4929During a cross-country flight today I read a REALLY good book. I got an advance copy of Anthony Iannarino’s “The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need” and I loved it. If you want to be a good salesperson, no need to read this book… however, if you want to be an awesome salesperson this should be your new sales Bible.

It doesn’t focus on a bunch of tricks or techniques, instead what Anthony does is lay out very specifically exactly what it takes to be a high-level consultative salesperson who is seen as a trusted adviser and has the ability to generate lots of prospects and close big deals. Anthony is one of the top sales trainers in the world and I would consider this among the best sales books I’ve ever read, and I have read hundreds.

Here are a few chapter titles to give you a flavor for what he covers in the book:

  • Mindset: the beliefs and behaviors of sales success
  • Self-discipline: the art of “me management”
  • Persistence: breaking through resistance
  • Communication: listening and connecting
  • Accountability: owning the outcomes you sell
  • Closing: asking for and obtaining commitments
  • Business acumen: understanding business and creating value

These are only a few of the many key sales topics that Anthony explains in a simple, straightforward and brutally honest way. Believe me, he does not pull any punches. If you really want to be the very best you can be as a salesperson, I highly recommend this book.

The book does not come out until October, but if you pre-order it Anthony is offering several deals.

*** By the way, I do NOT get any money for promoting the book or if you buy a copy – I am simply writing this review because I think it is a super valuable book.

Click HERE to learn more

 

 

Great Leadership Book + Two Business Ideas


Click HERE to learn more about my new Consultative Sales training course and use promo code 45OFF to get a 45% discount!!

Consultative Sales Excellence  45

 

What Is Your Legacy?

 

Click HERE to listen to the interview
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Three Great Books and a Fantastic (Free) Sales Webinar

The Sales Webinar has already passed — it was earlier in the year.

 

How To Remember What You Read

Because I read so many business books, people often ask me how I retain everything I am reading. Here is how I do it…

 

How To Become The Best In The World

1I recently read several excellent books on how to increase your learning ability and become an expert in your field of study. The first two books were, “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” and “Deep Work” by Cal Newport. In these books he studies a number of people who have achieved the pinnacle of excellence and their careers, from musicians to chess grandmasters to financial experts and surf board makers. To summarize his key points here is what I took away from his thoughtful and very intense scrutiny of how these people became the best of the best.

  • The 10 years or 10,000 hour rule definitely applies, all of these high achievers spent years and years studying, honing and perfecting their craft.
  • Practicing in your area of expertise is not enough, you must do what is called “deliberate practice.” This sort of practice entails using mentors, coaches, colleagues and other people to push you for continuous improvement. It also means that when you practice alone you must push yourself to the very limit of your skills so that you are constantly increasing your expertise.
  • To do work at this level you need do what Cal calls “deep work.” Essentially this means that you must create chunks of time, a few hours to several days or weeks, where you do nothing but focus intensely on learning and improving your skills. It is this undistracted time that allows for finding connections, patterns and reaching a level of understanding that few people in your field can attain.
  • The guiding principle for being among the best in the world at what you do is based on a Steve Martin quote. When he was a struggling comedian and his audiences were having difficulty grasping the sort of comedy he wanted to do, he decided that the best way forward was, “To be so good they can’t ignore you.” Obviously this mantra work exceedingly well for Steve Martin, and I would suggest that it will work well for you too.

The other book I read was, “The Art of Learning” by Josh Waitzkin. To quote directly from his bio on Amazon:

In his riveting new book, The Art of Learning, Waitzkin tells his remarkable story of personal achievement and shares the principles of learning and performance that have propelled him to the top–twice.

Josh Waitzkin knows what it means to be at the top of his game. A public figure since winning his first National Chess Championship at the age of nine, Waitzkin was catapulted into a media whirlwind as a teenager when his father’s book “ Searching for Bobby Fischer” was made into a major motion picture. After dominating the scholastic chess world for ten years, Waitzkin expanded his horizons, taking on the martial art Tai Chi Chuan and ultimately earning the title of World Champion. How was he able to reach the pinnacle of two disciplines that on the surface seem so different? “I’ve come to realize that what I am best at is not Tai Chi, and it is not chess,” he says. “What I am best at is the art of learning.”

What I gleaned from Josh and many of the ideas that Cal described in his books, was that to become the best in the world at what you do takes time, a massive amount of deliberate practice and an intense focus on the subject you wish to master.

Since I have been named among the top 100 in the world at what I do, I can tell you from experience that these two brilliant gentlemen are absolutely correct in their findings and advice. I have never met anyone who was truly spectacular in their craft who did not devote many years of work, focus, effort, and training in their relentless drive to the the best. However, you’ll notice that I did not say “hard work” because another factor that strongly impacts the ability to succeed at a high level is: Passion. When you are deeply passionate about the area of your study, pushing yourself unceasingly in an effort for countless improvement does not feel like work, it is pure joy. Many people ask me how I can possibly read more than 100 business books a year and the answer is very clear; it’s a ton of fun for me. I love to read and learn about business because I’ve dedicated my life to helping businesses and people around the world be more successful. So every hour I am hunched over a book or my iPad, taking notes and trying desperately to learn new ideas that will assist me in my quest, is truly one of the most enjoyable parts of my life.

Therefore, if you aspire to be among the best in the world at what you do here is a formula that might help you do just that:

Passion + Persistence + Deep Work X Deliberate Practice = World-Class

I very much look forward to your comments – John