Monday, July 7, 2014

5 Books For Your Summer Vacation...

"Isn’t it amazing how much stuff we get done the day before our vacation"
                                                             ~ Zig Zigler 

So it’s now summer and with summer comes the thought of a well-deserved vacation. 

Some people enjoy adventure vacations whereas they are constantly on the move trying to see and do as much as possible in one or two weeks.

For others, their vacation is spent creating memories for their kids and families, often centered around theme parks and other loud children.

Then there are those who look at a vacation as a time to rest... relax... and unwind.  These are the people who like getting lost in a good book for a few hours while forgetting about the news of the world and the beehive of activity that it often brings.

This week is devoted to the third group... those who want to stop the world for a few precious days while taking the opportunity to recharge their batteries.

It is for them... I offer up my summer reading list... a few books that I highly recommend and have personally read over the past several months...

To the others I offer my thoughts and prayers as you navigate through Main Street USA and the monorail or perhaps the train stations of Europe on your way to see yet another cathedral...

Those in the entrepreneurial circle have long known about Jack Daly, his intense energy, personal achievements, and incredible insights into sales and sales management.  Long-time readers of the OptiFuse Blog know that I am a personal disciple of Jack and his sales and sales management philosophies.  

Jack has been selling for over 50 years, when at 14 years old, he took over a paper route and built it to one of the most successful routes in Philadelphia.  Using the same basic principles that he learned at an early age, he has hired, trained and led sales forces numbering in the thousands not once but twice in his career.

Over the years he has developed one of the most comprehensive and successful sales training program in the world. 

Up until the release of his long awaited book, the only way you could learn his proven methodology was to attend one of his multi-day seminars.  Now all of those closely-held secrets of growing sales and sales people are yours in his long-awaited book.

Hyper Sales Growth is a step-by-step instruction guide for three critical areas of any business:
  • Building a winning sales culture
  • Sales Management
  • Sales
It is a widely known fact that nothing happens in business until a sale is made so learning these easy-to-understand lessons can be invaluable to a company or salesperson that wants to grow their sales.

Jack Daly is simply the best sales coach in America.  Following his powerful proven message will help you to increase your sales and create a winning sales team.

I was a little hesitant to include this book on my summer reading list... not because it isn’t brilliant... which it is... but rather due to its scarcity in the U.S. (it has only been released in Asia and Australia thus far... but can be ordered directly from the publisher... see link above).

In this latest book, Andrew Matthews has summed up perfectly what life is all about (in a nutshell).

Andrew Matthews takes us on a journey helping us to understand that each of us is a living spirit here on earth having a physical experience.  We are individuals, a part of a greater one.

We learn that throughout our lives things happen... good and bad... regardless of who we are... what we do... or how we prepare ourselves... these are somewhat random acts and can’t be explained in any rational way... meaning that we are not totally in control of what happens.   

We are in control, however, of certain aspects... mostly in how we react to the things that occur.

Living a full and rich life... with meaning and purpose... requires that we live our lives with a set of rules.

These rules include: 
  • Acceptance - of yourself, of others, and your current situation
  • Forgiveness - of yourself and others
  • Always being grateful for what you have... not despondent for what you don’t have
  • Live in the present... not the past (you can’t change the past) or the future (if things aren’t right in the present... they won’t be right in the future either)
  • Replace fear with love and kindness
  • Always strive to be happy
The choice is yours and yours alone... you are totally responsible for your own reality.

No one is holding you back except yourself... you don’t need anyone’s permission to be happy...

How Life Works is a step-by-step understanding of why things happen and what we can do to avoid the trappings of self-delusion and self-pity and to bring love, joy and happiness into our lives.

It is a must read not only for those who need a new direction in life... but also for those who are truly interested in learning how life actually works...

Jim Collins is the best-selling author of Built to Last and Good to Great. This is his latest book based on asking the question, "Why do some companies thrive during times of uncertainty and even chaos... while other don’t?"

Using the same basic approach found in his earlier books, Jim Collin and his research staff have found that similar companies, in similar industries, during the same time periods have found themselves on divergent paths.

After 12 years of study, the author has concluded that the most successful companies operating in turbulent times exhibit three underlying traits that allowed them to outperform their respective comparison company as well as all other companies in their respective industries.

These three traits are: 
  • A strict adherence to disciple as characterized by the "20-mile march".  Great companies use empirical data to create a plan and then stay true to the plan never marching too fast (in the good times) or marching too slow (in the bad times). 
  • Test new ideas using small trials collecting know-how and critical information along the way as characterized by "Fire bullets... then cannonballs".  The great companies weren’t necessarily more innovative than their counterparts... but they took many smaller risks upfront... saving their gunpowder once the idea had been proven out using smaller bullets.  Only after they found their target did they launch a cannonball. 
  • Always have more reserves than what was required as characterized by "Leading above the death line".  The companies that excelled during times of chaos were those with ample reserves due to conservative spending and an excess of cash.  Along the way, every company will experience certain changing conditions and bad-luck circumstances.  Those who have rich reserves are those who will be in the best position to ride out the storms and spates of misfortune. 
Good By Choice shows that even in the most turbulent times, a well-managed company (or by extension - household) can thrive if they are well-disciplines, high-risk averse, and financially conservative.

This book, like all of Lencioni’s books, is written in parable form.  This format makes the reading easy, interesting and entertaining while still using the underlying principles to teach the reader valuable lessons.

Getting Naked is no exception.

The premise of Getting Naked is overcoming the basic fears of business including the fear of losing the business... being embarrassed... and being inferior.  The way to overcome these fears is by transforming the organization into one that is completely transparent and honest with its employees, vendors and clients at all levels.

The transparent company isn’t afraid of telling the truth, being vulnerable, and/or admitting that they simply do not have the answer to every question.

Getting Naked is a must read for people believing that substance always trumps image.

I’m Proud of You I am Proud of You
Tim Madigan

I am not the easiest person to buy a gift for.  I lead a very simple and austere lifestyle.  I have everything I need and want for almost nothing.

This year for Father’s Day, my son and daughter found the perfect gift, a book about one of my life-long heroes, Fred Rogers (Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood) written by Tim Madigan, a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper.

Ever since I was 6-years old, I had idolized and adored a man who challenged me to explore the world, discover new secrets, told me that I was special and unique, and allowed me to express feelings that somehow made me vulnerable. 

In 1995, Tim Madigan was asked by his editor to go to Pittsburgh to interview Fred Rogers for a feature article.  That chance meeting ultimately became a deep and enduring personal friendship between Madigan and Mr. Rogers, until Fred Roger’s death in 2003.

Tim Madigan’s book is highly insightful and spiritual but it isn’t "preachy".  It speaks of love, compassion, forgiveness, and redemption.

There is a deep respect, love and affection for two men born in different era but who both understood about the demons which might inhabit our inner souls and perhaps ways to exorcise these demons by sharing a part of ourselves with another human being ("anything mentionable is manageable" is one of Fred Rogers’ favorite saying).

I expected this book to be a factual accounting of the life and times of Fred Rogers... and although there is some interesting narratives... the book isn’t about life on the set of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood... but rather the effect of a profound friendship on two men confronting the "furies" of life.

This book will move you to think about your own life and your relationships with others.

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we hope you take time to enjoy your summer regardless of where you go or what you do...  

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