2014 Reads to Stimulate Success

At the beginning of 2013, Chris Brogan challenged his readers to pick only three books to read for the coming year. His argument was that we read so many books, without truly studying and indeed digesting the contents, central themes and takeaways from the work. I struggled mightily with the concept, as reading is a true passion and did not adhere to the full premise of the challenge. However, I did take the concept to heart and took three books that I revisited time and again in 2013. My choices were Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why”, Dave Evans (with Jake McKee) “Social Media Marketing” and Mark Schaefer and Stanford Smith’s “Born to Blog (no affiliate links, links for Sinek/Scaeffer in “Essential Reads“).

Book Willpower Instinct

For 2014, I’ve decided to maintain that tactic, but will be focusing on four books to study over the course of the year and thus the 2014 reads to stimulate success. I’ve added two additional works that I’m really looking forward to reading and owe a debt of gratitude to the authors, their publishers and others for my copies of their works.

2014 Books to Study in-depth:

1. “The Willpower Instinct” – Kelly McGonigal Ph.D.

Inspired to pick up a copy of the book after watching McGonigal interviewed on TVO’s the Agenda (find both segments here), I read the book in early 2013. Though the author’s instructions are precise, to read through the work in stages, taking time to work through the practical assignments at the end of each chapter, I’ve learned that I need to read the work first straight through, and then return to study it more in-depth. Thus why it is first up in 2014 and I’m looking forward to becoming a “Willpower Scientist”.

2. “The Element” – Ken Robinson, Ph.D. with Lou Aronica.

Originally released in 2009, Robinson’s seminal work has inspired many educators and others alike. His witty, informative much viewed Ted Talks have inspired many of us to think about the way our children and even adult learners are being educated and how we can support the obvious need for change. “The Element” is a great work to help you find the intersection between your skills and your passion, so that you can love what you do while provide service to others. In 2013, Robinson released “Finding Your Element” that will assuredly be on next years list to study.

3. The Signal and The Noise – Nate Silver

My desire to read this book was inspired by a recent HBR article by Walter Frick. Nate Silver’s ability to distinguish a true signal from all the noise, is a skill that I believe all marketers, and indeed all decision makers will want to master, or at the very least get good at (especially if you look at my spectacular fall from first in the College Football pool). As consultants, trainers and educators of clients/staff, it is imperative that we help them learn how to make better decisions, using good data. The lack of data isn’t the problem, it is knowing how to sort all the data available to us, make sense of it and determine what is a signal or just noise. Unlike the works above, I’ve yet to read this work and I’m really looking forward to it.

4. “Leaders Eat Last” – Simon Sinek.

Not only as a devotee of Sinek’s work, but as a father of an 11 year old, I’m looking forward to reading his latest work. I’ve watched his presentation to 99U on YouTube that covers the central themes in the book and look to add the tools to my toolbox. Though it’s true I don’t have formal staff anymore; I know that I’ll need to cultivate strong working relationships with others to help achieve my clients goals. Leadership is a topic I’m very interested in and believe that Sinek’s work covers it very well. Here’s a short excerpt from Leaders at Salon.com, “How Baby Boomers screwed their kids…

Those are my four “study reads” for 2014 and I’m looking forward to discussing them with you throughout the year.

I have to give thanks for two other books that I’m really looking forward to reading in 2014. Both came my way in the spirit of generosity and had to quickly be struck from my Christmas wish list when they were gifted.

Neal Schaffers Maximize Your Social

The first is Neal Schaffer’s “Maximize Your Social” that arrived very generously from Neal and Hootsuite after Neal’s very informative Social Selling webinar. The work focuses on how to build an effective social media strategy for various platforms, from inception through to maintenance. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the work in a future blog post. Neal is one of my “virtual mentors” that I’ve followed since seriously jumping into Social in May of 2010, and I’m really looking forward to this effort, as I enjoyed his other works on LinkedIn. This signed copy will be a treasured addition to our bookshelves. I’m very grateful for Neal to share with Hootsuite and to Hootsuite for sending it on (luck of the draw).

Steve Paikin on Ontarios Premiers

The second is a personal passion, hobby, if politics can be anyone’s hobby. I’ve been involved in politics as a volunteer for quite sometime (though stepped away from active party politics in 2010). To that end, in Canada, one of the best trusted sources of information on Canadian politics, especially provincially is Steve Paikin. Paikin is widely respected for his interviewing skills, knowledge and generosity to his guests, though he’s not one to lob softballs. A fan of sports, particularly the Boston Red Sox, Paikin always comes across as personable and someone you’d enjoy having a chat with (unless you were on the wrong side of a political story). His audience always comes first and why I’m very interested in what he has to say in “Paikin and the Premiers“. The book covers his time in broadcasting and he’s interviewed everyone one of the 9 premiers in the book. Thanks to TVO (Ontario’s public broadcaster) and to Steve Paikin for making a copy available.

There are many more books I want to read and some assuredly will find themselves into posts over the course of the coming year, but I’ve taken enough of your time.

What’s on your list to read this year?

Gordon Diver

Gordon Diver is father to Spence, partner to Joan, engaged in community and a marketer interested in social business and in delivering exceptional service.


Essential Reads from 2013

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