Month: October 2014

The Power of Negative Thinking by Bob Knight

I grew up in Indiana and currently live here. IU basketball is in my blood. But I’ve never been a die-hard Bobby Knight fan so I was very reluctant to read his book. After only a couple of pages, I was very surprised by Knight’s advice on coaching people. This book shows a side of him that I don’t think many people have seen or understood.

The Power of Negative Thinking talks about looking at opportunities, challenges, etc with a realistic point of view – seeing and understanding things for what they really are. He tells the stories of coaching Michael Jordan in the Olympics, Calbert Cheaney becoming a leader, and Knight’s time at Texas tech.

I was really surprised by Knight’s advice – it’s a common sense approach that I learned a lot from. Even if you are not a basketball fan, I think you will enjoy this book.

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To Sell is Human by Daniel H. Pink

In college, I was always intimidated by the word “sell”. I thought it meant you had to be a super aggressive, borderline annoying type of person. I think that type of stigma keeps a lot of people away from sales. This book turns that stigma on its head. Daniel Pink explains that we are all in sales – marketing, operations, IT, etc. When you stop to think about, it’s a very valid point.

To Sell is Human talks about the different types of selling and which ones are the most impactful – the ambiverts. Ambiverts are in the middle of introverts and extroverts. It’s the fine line of knowing when you to be quiet and when to talk. Pink goes on to explain his selling approach – Attunement, Buoyance, and Clarity and then breaks it down into asking better questions, improving your pitch, and the value of improv or listening.

Overall, this is a very good read with great, practical advice written in an easy to understand way. It makes me excited to read Pink’s other books.

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Joy Inc by Richard Sheridan

Menlo Innovations is a software company in Ann Arbor, Michigan whose style is completely different than anything I’ve ever seen. They are super focused on their products, their product and their customers. This book tells about the unique culture of Menlo. We throw around the word “culture” a lot – but in this case Menlo’s culture is embedded down to the index cards they use.

This book’s focus is about joy – about doing productive, meaningful work. It’s not a ping-pong table, nap pod type of story – it’s about old fashioned, disciplined, focused work.

It’s a tremendous read and it’s made think of areas of our company that we could incorporate the Menlo way into. I think you will enjoy it. Thank you to my colleague Johan for recommending it. Hopefully we can tour Menlo sometime.

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