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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Recommended reading

Last year on the Ryze network, I posted a question: "Could you share the name of your most influential sales/marketing books and articles -- the ones that reshaped or drastically influenced the way you do things?" The responses are worthy of your consideration and can be found in this thread:

How important is it to read to be successful in business? One telling event happened at an Innovators Alliance gathering, where our group of CEOs observed we all read a lot -- but most of our employees don't. I realize now, however, that there are different ways to 'read' than simply picking up books. And I am a naturally fast reader and typist; others have equally important capacities in other areas (like sports and socializing).

Incidentally, the last poster recommends Michael Gerber's E-Myth materials. I can too, with a strong qualification. Gerber's concepts will especially resonate if you are a general or sub-contractor good in the trade but not terribly experienced at overall business managementconcepts. He advocates we systematize our operations and measure our progress. Good enough. So good, I decided on reading the book to pay a couple thousand dollars and fly business class to Northern California to participate in his Leadership Intensive program.

Did I get my money's worth? Partly. Certainly, the four-day program reinforced some basic principals , but the follow up service left a lot to be desired. We were sold on signing up for his multi-month, multi-part program, with a personal coach. As I got into my third month, I added up the costs and scratched my head: "Why was I paying what would ultimately amount to more than $10,000 for a cookie cutter McDonald's style consulting service, when I could use that money to hire a real consultant who actually delved into and understood my business. " (We eventually found just the consultant we needed, Bill Caswell of Caswell Corporate Coaching Company -- CCC who rightfully adheres to the principle that consultants should be paid when they help their clients achieve success, not directly for their time.)

Nevertheless, having gone through a large part of Gerber's e-myth program, I can see general contractors and sub-tradeswho have successfully implemented his highly structured plan -- and know it works for them.

I have ordered the book recommended by the most recent Ryze poster, Maria Marsala. Jim Horan's "One Minute Business Plan" looks close to the 'napkin plan' simple one-page business plan concept that I believe is best -- as do others.

Do you have your own favorite business book recommendations? You can post a comment on this blog (anonymously if you wish) or email me at

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