One of the greatest things I’ve really grown to appreciate over the last few years has been reading. I used to hate it in most cases. For the longest time it felt like, “a chore” or “studying” and worst of all I had what I refer to as a typical Gen-X mentality of, “I already know it all.”
I have since changed my tune and have read a ton of great books over the last few years. Many I discover on my own, some are recommendations from peers, and some from rock stars like Duff McKagan of GNR fame.
As such here are a list of the books I read in 2018 and maybe you will find something of interest to you. Of course, please add your list in the comments as well as I am always looking for something new to read myself.
Yes, you will note that I am not reading as many “business books”. The reason for this is based on some of my own projects where I want to make sure my thoughts and ideas are authentically my own.
In no particular order:
Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen – Ok, I lied, this one is my favorite. If you don’t know, I’m a huge Springsteen fan and have been for years. I highly recommend the audio version of this book as Bruce reads this one himself. He’s an amazing story teller. From his early days in NJ and living in a surfboard factory to how he made millions but never paid his taxes in the 70’s after his success of Born To Run because as he puts it, “nobody he knew in New Jersey ever paid taxes” to how he was able to make peace with his father, and how he himself has dealt with depression.
Grant by Ron Chernow – Fascinating book about Ulysses S. Grant our 18th President. As a kid I was always fascinated by US History, growing up in the south I certainly was very aware of the Civil War. This book paints an interesting portait of him as he grew up, went to West Point, hated slavery but married a woman from the south whose father disagreed with him. It shows his poor business skills, his lack of desire for the limelight, and the type of soldier he was. It absolutely shows how alcoholism one of his many weaknesses. It’s long but if you like the subject you may find it interesting.
It’s So Easy and Other Lies/ How to Be a Man by Duff “Rose – The King of Beers” McKagan – Outstanding books from the bass player of Guns-N-Roses which talks about everything you wanted to know, at least from his point of view about what it means to party like a rock star, be an alcoholic, falling down and getting back up again. Amazing insights into how he “earned his way into a solid college and got his degree.
As he said you have no idea what it means to “party like a rock star” until you are such an alcoholic that you drink so much, throw up, pass out, only to try to drink the alcohol back up. Or the moment when he was throwing a birthday party for his 13 year old daughter, (who badgered him, “you and mom are staying upstairs for the party, right?” Only to turn the corner at one point and find his daughter kissing a 13 year old boy. Great travel tips How to Be a Man as well.
The Heroin Diaries by Nikki Sixx – Pure and utter debauchery during the year of making Girls, Girls, Girls. You will never want to do this drug or any others after reading this book.
A Poloroid Guy in a Snapchat World – David Spade – After all the rock-n-roll craziness I needed something “light” to mellow me out. Funny, quick read,
The Truth by Neil Strauss – From the world’s greatest “pick-up” artist and author of “The Game” as he throws his entire life into turmoil of trying to have his cake and eat it too as it relates to relationships, monogamy, polyamory, and true love. He tries it all from poly-relationships to sex addiction therapy where he ends up on the floor crying, to having to “remove” his relationship with his mother for a while he finds his true self. He holds nothing back, so not for the faint of heart.
The Forever War – Joe Haldeman – On recommendation from Duff McKagan – An outstanding long term story of the war in Afghanistan. Explaining not only the history of the country but our involvement or lack there of through out the US presidencies all the way back to Reagan. There is no easy answer for this part of the world and this book explains why.
The Brave Ones by Michale J. McCloud – A 40 year old reporter decides to enlist in the Army and becomes a paratrooper and writes about his experiences. From seeing the “boys” in his troops who could be his sons to explaining what its like to hold down double duty of being a reporter and a paratrooper.
Endurance by Scott Kelly – The story of the first American to spend a year in space on the international space station. Fascinating insights that explores the joy and loneliness of space. Not to mention he was a self-proclaimed “fuck-up” as a kid with no real college or job prospects until he stumbled upon the adventure of being an astronaut.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari – A good book by all accounts but got a little dry and truthfully have not finished. If someone else can share their thoughts on this book please feel free to do so.
Shoe Dog – Phil Knight – Amazing story of Nike and how it all started in his garage. The battles he had to have with his bank who never wanted to loan him money even after he could prove he could pay it back over and over again. The politics and shenanigans of the early sneaker wars, and some amazing insights into how he mentally handled all of it.
Bad Blood – John Carreyrou – The story of one of the greatest rise and falls of the unicorns of Silicon Valley and the founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes. Her goal of being able to run a litany of tests to help people from a simple pin prick on the finger instead of drawing from the arm is more than admirable. If it ever happens it will be amazing. However, that’s not what happened here. What could possibly go wrong with these folks on your board? Apparently, everything! Previous board included Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Senators Sam Nunn and Bill Frist, former Navy Admiral Gary Roughead, former Marine Corps General James Mattis, and former CEOs Dick Kovacevich of Wells Fargo and Riley Bechtel of Bechtel.
You Just Can’t Win by Jack Black – Another recommendation by Duff McKagan Not the Hollywood Jack Black. This is a fascinating story and period piece from the turn of the century 1800’s-1900’s. Where as a young man Jack chooses a life as a “bum and a hobo” hopping the trains from town to town and how he became a theif to support himself and his own drug habits. What it meant to be in thief before electricity, the amount of planning it took to break into someone’s home, how to slowly open the door for hours, literally, because the world was so quiet.
Just had a great pre-SKO meeting with the sales management team from a successful start-up. One of the topics that came up was holding sales reps accountable. Whether you manage SDR teams, Inside Sales Teams, Customer Success, or Field Sales Teams this is one of the most important topics in sales management.
Truthfully, it’s equally important in all aspects of business leadership. And ultimately if you want to be successful at anything in life, in any career, being accountable will be the most determining factor.
So we decided to discuss, “how to make sales reps more accountable”?
For me, as a Gen-Xer, one of the most insightful parts of this conversation was the fact this was a group of highly intelligent men and women millennials. So I was eager to hear their thoughts on the topic.
Reps have a great month, then a down month, then a great month.
They don’t work as hard as I did when I first started. I stayed late until I got my first ______ (appointment, sale, etc.)
How do we make them want to be more accountable?
Define Accountability in your onboarding program. Meaning at the end of onboarding we expect the reps to be accountable for ______ and _____. Then make sure that is covered in onboarding.
Ask the team leads(ers) to meet independent of managers and come up with 3 things they think it means to be accountable as an inside sales rep or sales development rep.
Ask the managers to meet independent of team leads and come up with 3 things they think it means to be accountable as an inside sales rep or sales development rep.
Compare #2 and #3. Somewhere in there will be your definition of accountable.
Fire someone good for cause. Yeah, this is always a bit controversial but nothing lights a fire under someone’s ass like watching someone leave. Now, this should be done in an appropriate manner of course. Here is where it gets very controversial. It cannot just be someone who is at the bottom of the list. In many cases you have to set an example with a veteran. Typically this is a high performer however they are the “lone wolf”. They operate outside the boundaries of the team and others. They think they can come and go as they please, and often do. What you will find is that others will rise to the occasion. The team will be happier and overall performance will increase.
How I define accountability. I cannot remember where I read this, but it has stuck with me ever since. Accountability is defined by making sure everyone knows their own job and that I finish my tasks in such a way that nobody else needs to come after me and clean up my mess. If you can build this into your culture and onboarding, I think it will set the right tone across the board.
So there you have it, a few simple tips to help you better manage accountability on your team. Would love to hear your experiences for building a culture of accountability. #YouControlYou