I didn’t read In Search for Excellence. By the time Tom Peters came into my awareness, he had just written The Circle of Innovation. It was through this book, published in 1997, that I came to understand that we live an accelerating, disruptive age and that one must adapt, again and again and again.
From Circle, I went backwards to Thriving on Chaos, and then forward to The Brand You 50, The Professional Service Firm 50, and The Project 50, before reading Re-Imagine years later. No one has shaped my thinking about business and doing purposeful, meaningful work more than Tom Peters.
I am not sure when I first picked up The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, but I was young. What I discovered was that everything was my fault, and that if I wanted to change the relationships I had with other people, I had to change first. I’d love to tell you that the lesson stuck on the first reading. Or the fifth reading. But it took quite a while longer than I would have liked.
It is easy to understand the ideas in The Seven Habits intellectually. It is something different to make them your own.
From there, I read and studied First Things First and Principle-Based Leadership. There I learned even more about my responsibility to use my time to do meaningful work and the charge a leader must keep.
I have read countless books on selling. I have taken something from almost every one of them. But no work has been more influential, and none has helped me succeed in sales more than two books from Neil Rackham. The first, naturally, is SPIN Selling. Two ideas changed everything about how I sold. First, I started working on gaining an advance in every sales call. Second, I started to focus like a laser beam on the implications of not changing. Upon making these changes, selling became easier for me, and my personal sales took off. So much so, I ended up leading a team.
Rackham’s follow up, Major Account Sales Strategy, had an even more profound impact on my thinking. This book never got the accolades it deserved. That book helped me win multi-million dollar deals, and the principles in that book are deeply ingrained in how I think about sales and selling.
There are a lot of people who have done good work here, but for me, it’s Rackham first.
It is important to understand your world. If you like that kind of thing, then maybe you want to understand the Universe, and everything in it. Ken Wilber is a philosopher, but for me, he is far more than that. He is a friend, and a teacher.
I found his books A Theory of Everything and A Brief History of Everything, before stumbling into Sex, Ecology, and Spirituality (if you pick this book up, you are on your own).
Ken’s great work is a framework into which you can fit all other frameworks. It is master key for understanding human behavior, human cultural evolution, and the development of human psychology. His work is a synthesis of a lot of other’s work, including philosophers, scientists, developmental psychologists, and spiritual teachers.
I only discovered Ken’s work a few years ago, but it has made positive changes in the way I view much of my work, and even more positive ways how I view other people.
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