Book Summaries

I’m a nerd who reads a lot of books. Many of share insight and wisdom on the topics of business or leadership. This is where I summarize the lessons that I learned after reading each book, so I never forget the lessons.

Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang

Rejection Proof

Rejection sucks. But like all skills, one can improve their resiliency by practicing getting rejected. Through Jiang’s process of going through 100 days of rejection, he developed a new approach to making requests that make rejection less painful and make gaining acceptance more likely.

Ask “Why?”

When rejected, by sure to ask “why” to understand the reasoning behind the rejection. Knowing the reason may uncover a new path to acceptance.

Respond with a Smaller Ask

If your first request is rejected, follow-up with a lesser request. While the rejector may not be able to satisfy your initial request, he or she may have other options that can work. Sometimes, they will offer these alternatives, but often times will not. In those cases, the only way to find what request can work is by asking again.

Position for “Yes”

Explain your reason for the request. Make it personal and genuine. Reveal possible reasons why the person may object to your request.

Results May Surprise You

One can easily avoid making a request of someone by assuming a rejection will happen. In reality, some amazing things may happen as a result of making the request. The future cannot be predicted.

Start With Why book cover

Start With Why

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” -Simon Sinek

The most inspirational and innovative companies in the world discovered their customers do not buy their products because of specifications or features. Instead, customers buy their products because they believe in the values of the company.

Sinek articulates his point in the Golden Circle; a series of three concentric circle. In the centre, is Why?, followed by How?, ending with What? as the outermost circle. The majority of companies, the ones that do not inspire customers, think and operate from the outside in. They focus on creating products and services that meet certain specifications or outperform the competition. These companies exist only to make money. Neither the management, nor the employees, know why the company exists or its core values. Without this, customers have nothing to rally around and struggle to establish a connection to the company.

Inspirational companies, on the other hand, start from the inside out. They first define their worldview. They identify their cause and mission and use that as a foundation to architect the rest of their company.

The irony is that even though the framework seems simple, it can be extremely challenging. Many of us coming from science, engineering, or technical backgrounds find it easy to think of products first. Answering the question Why? first is almost unnatural.

Why?

The goal or purpose of the business. What it believes at its very core. This is the single idea that every other decision is evaluated against.

The reason why the company exists. Not for financial reasons such as making money because there are so many ways to make money in the world.

How?

The actions the business takes to transform the belief into reality. These are internal to the business, but are evident to the customers buying their products.

What?

The specific products and services offered by the company.

Cover of All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin

All Marketers are Liars

A useful book for those of us without a marketing background. Godin discusses how the best marketers are the best storytellers. He explains the key to a successful marketing campaign is to craft a compelling story that hooks the target customer.

Furthermore, he explains that all consumers have a ‘worldview’ – their personal perspective on everything around them. These worldview are not always unique; many people can share the same worldview. It is up to marketers to identify an under-served customer segment with a shared worldview, and frame their product’s story around that worldview. That story becomes very difficult to resist as it resonates exactly with the beliefs of the target customer.

I feel this closely resonates with Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’. Sinek shows the importance for a company to define its purpose and values before selling products. Godin takes this concept a step further, describing the quest for finding customers with a certain worldview, then framing the ‘Why’ of the company around it