I am an avid reader of business books, self-help books, technology books, social media books, career books, and other similar genres. I have averaged reading over 20 books a year for eighteen years. That is a lot of information!
I also have a personal policy that if I know someone who wrote a book, I read it. In 1989 I met an author and he gave me a copy of his auto-biography. I read the whole thing and then sent him a "Thank You" note. He responded with a call telling me that the greatest compliment an author can receive is for someone to read their work. I took that to heart and made this my mantra.
This policy was easy for the next several years as I did not encounter that many authors. However now that I have written eight books of my own, and regularly find myself sharing the stage as a professional speaker at conferences and conventions with many top authors, I now meet a ton of people who have penned a book. Thus I find it hard to keep up with my policy of reading the books of those I know.
I just completed a stack of four books by people I know personally, and would like to share them with the readers of this blog, as they are all good reads:
Online Marketing Inside Out by Brandon Eley and Shayne Tilley.
I met Brandon at the 2010 South by Southwest Interactive conference. We had a great conversation about the professional speaking business, social media, networking, and the real power of cultivating business relationships.
His book is a great guide for those who are still on the sidelines of social media. While most of the people I know are more advanced when it comes to using the internet to promote their business, the majority of businesses out there are still wondering how they can harness the power of social networks.
The book is easy to read and logical in how it is laid out. My favorite part is where the authors remind the readers to be human: "One of the most common mistakes companies make when trying social media is that they maintain that corporate facade instead of behaving like normal, everyday human beings".
Professional Destiny by Valerie Hausladen
Valerie is a former corporate executive who realized that she was not living in alignment. She walked away from a high paying job and followed her dreams, which included writing this book. She is living her own "professional destiny" and is passionate about helping others find theirs. I met Valerie through a mutual friend, but had already heard here name in local circles in Austin, Texas.
The book does a great job of encouraging the reader to let their personal gifts and passions guide them to finding their path. "Your true purpose is your highest good and it brings you great joy", says Hausladen.
The Zen of Social Media Marketing by Shama Hyder Kabani
I met Shama at the 2008 South by Southwest Interactive Conference. I had already been following her on Twitter, but a chance meeting and a group impromptu trip to lunch made us fast friends. She is one of those who has the right to teach social media because she has not only lived it for several years, but has created real business for her company by her participation.
The forward of the book is written by social media guru, Chris Brogan, which gives the book even more credibility. The book is ideal for those who know their continued avoidance of social media is just plain dumb. All industries can benefit from understanding this medium.
Shama says "It is no longer a question of whether social media will influence your customers and your market - it already is!"
The Ripple Effect (Revised and Expanded Second Edition) by Steve Harper
I have known Steve Harper (AKA: "Mr. Ripple") for over five years. We met as we were both releasing books on the power of business relationships and have remained friends. His "8 Minute Ripple Seminars" are held regularly in Austin and around the country, and help people make meaningful connections.
His original book was already good, but many things have happened in the way we manage relationships over the past five years. Steve has released this new version of his book to expand on the theories and include the powerful additions of the new technologies that impact how we make connections. The added chapters (Chapter Five on using social media, Chapter Six on building and utilizing your network in tough times, and Chapter Ten is filled with real life stories of people creating "Ripples") makes this already great book even better.
Harper is right on the money when he says, "The people that influence us become the brush strokes of the masterpiece we paint called our life."
No matter your level of experience with the topics covered in these books, you will walk away with more knowledge from these well written books by authors I know. All four books are wonderful, and all four authors are way-cool people!
Have A Great Day.