So many books, so little time to read. The next 4 titles I’ve read, I loved, I recommend. They cover marketing, branding, the human condition and how to stay competitive.

Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun
Loaned to me by another speaker, I laughed out loud for several nights while reading this book. It’s a gem. Whether you do presentations as part of your job or you are a paid professional speaker, this book is raw, funny and a valuable resource.

Why it’s worth the read

  • It’s a fast fuel to improve your speaking, around 200 pages.
  • I love snarky humor, its got lots of it.
  • It provides simple, actionable how to’s.
  • It’s real. Scott has been around.

Provides applicable checklists.
Interesting science about attention, human fear and communication.

Biggest take away for me
Preparation and practice are the magic moves to home run speeches. Period.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
I’m an Apple addict. I’ve been one since my first computer in 1983. So I really connected with this book, feeling like it was part of my personal and business growth. It’s a big book, almost 600 pages.  Most importantly I related to how a college dropout, who lives a Zen life and had a very quirky, intense, odd personality with bouts of distorted reality could end up being a such legend and leader in global business and life changing technologies.

Why I’ve given it a glowing report

  • It’s inspiration on steroids.
  • It proves you can be a little weird and succeed.
  • It’s well written.
  • It proves sticking to your standards. With Steve, extreme attention and dedication to design and doing things differently, can pay off.

Biggest take away for me
Dreams can come true and turnaround even while operating a company on death row (almost out of cash and losing millions) is possible.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Conquering Fear and Anxiety by Sharon Heller, PhD.
Everyone feels fear and anxiety, including me, the brave soul who has walked on fire, driven a Porsche around a race track at 120 miles per hour and addressed thousands of strangers on a huge stages. If you don’t battle with moments of mental craziness every blue moon, I suspect you are an alien who flew in from a planet for the day. Even history’s great leaders faced fear and anxiety. I love this quote by Winston Churchill.

“You may take the most gallant sailor, the most intrepid airman, or the most audacious soldier, put them at a table—what do you get? The sum of their fears.”

As a student of better and happy living, I’ve also been curious about stress, phobias, fear and anxiety as I have my daily share of all of them. This book has been a useful tool for me. I really like it because the format is organized in a way that after you finish the book, you can refer back to a specific section for a quick fix.

If you battle with high anxiety, this book is a must have survival resource

  • Beyond ways to manage stress and mental demons, it exposes the root causes.
  • Provides simple rituals that can greatly reduce nervous bouts, panic attacks and sleep disorders.
  • Shares real professional people situations that I related to.

Biggest take away for me
Peak mental health, just like physical health, is a work in progress. A better understanding of human psychology, triggers and controllable external factors can accelerate one’s journey to personal and professional bliss.

Sharkonomics, How to Attack Market Leaders by Stepfan Engeseth
I recently met a new friend and marketing expert from Sweden. The new business relationship was the result of meeting and counseling a student from the University of Tampa who is also from there. I love how the planet is so small and one local connection opens up a world of new resources. After a few online chats, Stepfan sent me his latest book, which was an exhilarating read to say the least.

A contrast from the book review above on managing fear, Sharkonomics will likely spread fear in some boardrooms with just cause.  Not only is the shark metaphor a very cool marketing idea, the author actually spent time in the water with these very strategic predators (sharks) and parlays this insight into meaningful business lessons and useable management methods. His premise is that nature can be smarter than business as usual. Instead of endless PowerPoints and studies, companies need to embrace a hard survival psyche.

Business can be a dangerous adventure, here’s just a few ways to make sure you are not someone’s lunch

  • Strike unexpectedly.
  • Hunt in packs.
  • Leverage blind spots.

Biggest take away for me
Don’t get stuck in history. Keep moving. Kill with style.

Till next time, read on!

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