8 books guaranteed to help you discover your motivation

For several years now, I have been on a personal mission to find out, or discover, what it is that motivates me.  Through this journey, I have read countless books, articles, listened to hours and hours of podcasts, ted talks, lectures, etc., and spoken with other people.

Through all of this I have learned that motivation truly is an “inside job”.  Which means, it is different for everyone and comes from within.  With that said though, there are certain factors and environments that can develop or exist, that can propel myself and others, to be sprung in to action, where we might not have been as willing before.

Of all of the books that I have read around this topic, I found eight that helped me the most.  When I say, help. I mean they gave me insight on the conditions that must exist.  They provided me further information on why I might be feeling a certain way.  They pointed out conditions that existed or should exist that either motivate me or demotivate me.   Some of these books were text books, some of these were best sellers, and some of them are just books that I stumbled upon while doing research.

Now I am not an authority on motivation.  However, I have for years picked a topic of choice, such as motivation, leadership, emotional intelligence, sales, marketing, etc. And then sought out the most recommended, to the least well-known books on that particular topic.

If it requires roughly forty classes to obtain a bachelor’s degree on a particular subject, which would have forty or so books on that topic.  I have read many more than that on most of the subjects I have studied, and the area of motivation being one of my most read topics.

Here are the books, with the links to purchase them through Amazon.com  Just click the link where the title, subtitle, and author is.  By clicking on any of it, it will take you to Amazon.

These books are in no certain order.  I give a few of the takeaways to get you thinking about the book, but I would encourage you to read or listen to the book to get the full benefit from them.

Title:  Drive Subtitle: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Author: Daniel Pink

  • The author points out the fact that often times internal factors are what drive us versus the external factors.  So things such as autonomy and purpose are more motivating than just money.  And when you couple the two together, a whole new motivation will come out.  The book is well structured and provides a lot of tips for leaders to use to create a more motivating workplace.  Even though the book is geared towards managers and leaders, I walked away from it knowing a lot more about myself.

Title: Power of Habit  Subtitle: Why We Do What We Do In Life And In Business Author: Charles Duhigg

  • The author of the book is focused on habits and how habits are formed.  I found this book to be motivating to me, because I walked away knowing what triggers my good habits and my bad habits.  This book helped me to be more aware of my triggers that cause me to do certain things.  The book dives into how and why we form habits.  The process is simple: we have a cue, that pushes us to develop a routine, from that routine we expect to receive a reward.  The motivation starts with the cue.

Title: As a Man Thinketh  Author: James Allen

  • I have recommended this short read, about 100 pages or so, to lots of people.  This book helps you look at how and what you think, and based on that, what you do.  The title is from the bible in the book of Proverbs 23 verse 7: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”.  All of us truly are a product of what we put into our head, what we think about, and then lastly, what we do with what we think.  This book helped me discover that for me to stay motivated I must think about what I am thinking, because that is what will push me to take action or not take action.

Title: Leading an Inspired Life  Author: Jim Rohn

  • I doubt there will ever be a book list I create that doesn’t have a Jim Rohn book on it.  This book is a compilation of most of his stories and opinions on everything in life and in business.  Jim is considered to be one of the most influential speakers to ever speak professionally in a business setting.  This book has short little chapters on every topic under the sun.  The reason this book will help you understand what motivates you, is each chapter has a message, and many of these messages are put in a way that will make sense to you, and get you motivated on how you can apply it to your life or in your business.

Title: WillPower Subtitle: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength  Authors: Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney

  • This book is littered with lots of research.  Now sometimes, too much research can be annoying.  However, in this book the authors do a great job with giving you enough research to support the thesis, and then they move on and tell you how to actually apply it.  The reason I found this book to be so helpful in determining what motivates me.  Is that I never understood or even thought about how fatigue, decision fatigue (which was really new to me) and lack of food could impact my motivation so much.  I know it seems simple to think about the impact of it as you are reading this, you are saying, “Duh”.  However, this book helped me understand why what I do and when I plan to do it, is so important in my motivation for doing whatever I need to do.

Title: Primed to Perform Subtitle: How to Build High Performing Cultures Through Total Motivation Authors:  Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor

  • This book really takes the book mentioned above, Drive, to the next level.  It provided even more insight on the are conditions and the environment that must exist for you and I to be motivated.  This book is written for managers and leaders.  However, it will definitely get you thinking about the conditions where you do your best work.  It will also help you understand why you are driven to do the things you do.  This book will help you make better decisions on ensuring you are always motivated at home or on the job.

Title: Handbook of Self Determination Research Authors: Edward L. Deci and Richard Ryan

  • This book really is a textbook.  You can read a more succinct version of the book in Edward Deci’s book “Why we do what we do” .  However, since I have read both of them, I found this textbook to be the better book.  This book will help you understand yourself better than you currently do.  Yes, this book is filled with lots of research.  However, you don’t have to read the entire thing.  You can read a few concepts, what is the application, and then how it can help you.  The reason this book makes my list, is again, it really helped me to understand myself better.

Title: The Willpower Instinct  Subtitle: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It  Author:  Kelly McGonigal Ph.D

  • This book is based on Kelly’s class at Stanford University “The Science of Willpower”.  This book is similar to all of the ones on this list as a reference to get you thinking about your ability to control yourself.  The book is centered around self-control and how we can get more of it and what conditions limit our self-control.  After reading this book you will definitely understand yourself much better, which will allow you to control and discover your motivation.

I encourage you to go out and buy each one of these books.  They will help you understand yourself better.  They will help you discover your triggers that propel you to do the things you do or why you don’t want to do them.  If you read these eight books, you will make better decisions on employment and in your personal life, I guarantee it.

To your success and your future.


My Top 21 books from the 300 I read in six years.

I have a confession to make.  I can’t honestly remember reading very many books through my years of formal education. K-12, and even college.  I am sure I did, or I would not have graduated, but the only reason I did was because I had to, not because I wanted to.

Then something significant happened. In my first real professional position where I had significant growth opportunities and the possibility to earn more money. I got promoted to a leadership position where I was now formally in charge of eight people.  I use the term “in charge” to mean working with, because that is what it was and is.  We work together, I just happened to have a different title.

At this time, I am now responsible for leading people.  As I look to my education for guidance, where I earned a Bachelors and an MBA in Business, I couldn’t recall one idea that really set me up for success in this new role.  I am sure there were several, but I was just taking classes and not applying the stuff, so it didn’t stick.  So I turned to the next best thing, which was reading lots and lots of books.  This time because I wanted to.

As much as I thought I hated reading, I really hated to fail even more.  So, I started reading any leadership book I could get my hands on.  This turned into a real passion for me.  I would have never thought I would become a big reader, but there I was, reading book after book.

I then had a mentor, an author, ask me this question:  He said “Do you have a personal development plan?”  My answer was a very clear, No.  Even though I was reading and attending seminars.  It was more random than planned. After he asked me that, I made it a point to make personal growth and personal development a strategy.  And by making it a strategy, it meant I must manage it and measure it for it to become a part of what I do.

All of this started happening in and around 2006 and 2007, but it didn’t become part of what I did until 2011.  Since 2011, I have been tracking how many books and what books I have read.  I also, have a very simplistic grading system where I rank the books on a scale of 1-10, by using asterisks. One asterisk means it was not a very good book, and ten asterisks means it was a great book.

Another simple way I grade the books I read is by highlighting the books on my spreadsheet that have had a major impact on my. In some cases seriously altered my way of thinking and changed my life.

Change my life is a rather big and bold testament.  Let me clarify.  What I mean is that these books shifted my way of thinking.  It challenged me in a way that no experience or other book had.  It usually took something that I thought I knew or had experience with, and gave me a totally different perspective on whatever it was.  These highlighted books are game changers for me.  They usually also gave me success in whatever it was I was doing at the time I read them.  These books help shape who I am today.

What is interesting as I finished up my 300th book this past week. I was surprised to see that only a handful of them were highlighted.  I have compiled

I am sharing that list with you here today.


As a Man Thinketh; James Allen https://www.amazon.com/As-Man-Thinketh-James-Allen/dp/1503055361/

Leading an Inspired life; Jim Rohn https://www.amazon.com/LEADING-AN-INSPIRED-LIFE/dp/1935944991/

Five Major Pieces to the Life puzzle; Jim Rohn   https://www.amazon.com/Five-Major-Pieces-Life-Puzzle/dp/0939490021/

Success Mindset 

The Wisdom of Andrew Carnegie as Told by Napoleon Hill; Napoleon Hill    https://www.amazon.com/Napoleon-Hill-Wisdom-Carnegie-8-2-2005/dp/B00HTJSNJU/

Think and Grow Rich; Napoleon Hill   https://www.amazon.com/Think-Grow-Rich-Masterpiece-12-Nov-2014/dp/B011T7M4SI/

If You’re not First, You’re Last; Grant Cardone     https://www.amazon.com/Youre-Not-First-Last-Competition/dp/0470624353/

Relentless (From Good to Great to Unstoppable); Tim S. Grover      https://www.amazon.com/Relentless-Unstoppable-Tim-S-Grover/dp/1476714207/


Rich Dad Poor Dad; Robert Kiyosaki   https://www.amazon.com/Rich-Dad-Poor-Teach-Middle/dp/1612680011/

Linchpin (Are you indispensable); Seth Godin    https://www.amazon.com/Linchpin-Are-Indispensable-Seth-Godin/dp/1591844096/


Hot Button Marketing (Push the emotional buttons that get people to buy); Barry Feig    https://www.amazon.com/Hot-Button-Marketing-Emotional-Paperback/dp/B015QKCOBG/

What Clients Love ( A field guide to growing your business); Harry Beckwith   https://www.amazon.com/What-Clients-Love-Growing-Business/dp/0446556025/

Selling the Invisible (A field guide to Marketing); Harry Beckwith   https://www.amazon.com/Selling-Invisible-Field-Modern-Marketing/dp/0446672319/

Leadership and Management

Coaching for Performance (Growing Human Potential and Purpose, the principle practice of managing and leading); John Whitmore    https://www.amazon.com/Coaching-Performance-Potential-Principles-Leadership/dp/185788535X/

Coaching for Improved Work Performance; Ferdinand F. Fournies   https://www.amazon.com/Coaching-Improved-Work-Performance-Revised/dp/0071352937/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485946404&sr=1-1&keywords=coaching+for+improved+work+performance

Primed to Perform (How to build the highest performing cultures through the science of total motivation); Neal Doshi and Lindsay McGregor    https://www.amazon.com/Primed-Perform-Performing-Cultures-Motivation/dp/0062373986/


Go For No; Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz   https://www.amazon.com/Yes-Destination-How-You-There/dp/0966398130/

Spin Selling; Neil Rackham  https://www.amazon.com/SPIN-Selling-Neil-Rackham/dp/0070511136/

The Challenger Sale  https://www.amazon.com/Challenger-Sale-Control-Customer-Conversation/dp/1591844355/


Decide (Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, And Lead By example); Steve McClatchy,  https://www.amazon.com/Decide-Smarter-Reduce-Stress-Example/dp/1118554388/


The Richest man in Babylon; George S. Clason    https://www.amazon.com/Richest-Man-Babylon-George-Clason/dp/0451205367/

Creating Wealth, Robert Allen https://www.amazon.com/Creating-Wealth-Retire-Allens-Principles/dp/1451631588/

I know for a fact that all three hundred books have contributed to my growth and to my success thus far.  I wouldn’t be the person I am today without investing the time in reading.  I have a goal to get to a thousand books read in ten years, and I can’t wait to hit that milestone.

As I always say.  If you want to earn more, you first have to learn more.  This learning must include reading, doing, attending seminars, taking courses, finding a mentor, etc.  All of these learning efforts will help you get where you want to go, much quicker than you could ever do it on your own.

To your success and your future.





The one book on thinking you must read

Years ago, my mentor turned me on to a little gem of a book. This little book had such an impact on my life, that since then I have read it no less than three to four times a year, because of the words that the author brilliantly put together in this masterpiece.

Like many of us, as you start out the new year, you have big goals and desires to make changes in your life.  These changes are all being driven by one thing, your thoughts.  What you think about is what controls you.  This books lays out how powerful your thoughts are.

The book itself is barely one hundred pages, but with words and concepts as powerful as they are, anything longer would have been just taking up space.

If I haven’t convinced you by now to read the book.  Maybe reading the following quotes and excerpts from the book may encourage to read the book.

Another one of my favorite authors and best-selling authors Napoleon Hill said “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”  This quote says a lot in a few words.  However, the book by James Allen tells you exactly how and what to think.

James Allen: Born November 28, 1864 – January 24, 1912 was an author and philosopher. His philosophy on writing was very simple and it is one that I live by myself today.

“He never wrote theories, or for the sake of writing; but he wrote when he had a message, and it became a message only when he had lived it out in his own life, and knew that it was good. Thus he wrote facts, which he had proven by practice.”

As a Man Thinketh can be purchased online or at any bookstore.  There are usually several copies of the classic on the shelves.  You can also go online and type in the title and a free PDF will usually pop up.  I would encourage you to get the hard copy of the book.  The words are too powerful to read only online.  You will want a copy of this book in front of you that you can constantly go back to and highlight different words and concepts that strike you every time you read it.

Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from the book.

There can be no progress nor achievement without sacrifice, and a man’s worldly success will be by the measure that he sacrifices his confused animal thoughts, and fixes his mind on the development of his plans, and the strengthening of his resolution and self-reliance. The higher he lifts his thoughts, the greater will be his success, the more blessed and enduring will be his achievements.

In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results. The strength of the effort is the measure of the result. Chance is not. Gifts, powers, material, intellectual, and spiritual possessions are the fruits of effort. They are thoughts completed, objectives accomplished, visions realized.

Every man is where he is by the law of his being; the thoughts which he has built into his character have brought him there, and in the arrangement of his life there is no element of chance, but all is the result of a law which cannot err.

Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.

Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.

The body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operations of the mind, whether they be deliberately chosen or automatically expressed. At the bidding of unlawful thoughts the body sinks rapidly into disease and decay; at the command of glad and beautiful thoughts it becomes clothed with youthfulness and beauty.

If you would perfect your body, guard your mind. If you would renew your body, beautify your mind.

As the physically weak man can make himself strong by careful and patient training, so the man of weak thoughts can make them strong by exercising himself in right thinking.

The will to do springs from the knowledge that we can do. Doubt and fear are the great enemies of knowledge, and he who encourages them, who does not slay them, thwarts himself at every step.

My hope is that one of these excerpts provoke a strong desire in your mind that you have more ability than you ever thought.  These words hopefully inspire you to take action towards your goals and make the changes you need to make to have the year you have always wanted to have.

To your success and your future.

James Allen: As a Man Thinketh, 1903

Decisive; How To Make Better Choices in Life and Work; summary and notes

As a reader of lots of books, I sometimes find it difficult to remember everything that I want to remember from a book.  I am like most people in that I highlight or circle certain parts of text when I am reading an actual hard copy of a book.  Something I have done for years, is take those notes and put them in my journal.  Well, now instead of putting them in my journal for only me to see, I have put them here so you get the benefit of them.

This book summary is not really a summary.  It give you the gist of the book.  But this summary is really my highlights and my notes that I pulled from the book.  The information I thought was cool and important. I hope you find it to be useful as well.

Decisive (How to make better choices in life and work); by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.  Click here to purchase the book from Amazon.

This book is one that I have looked at many times over the last two years, but I always thought to myself.  I make good decisions, what could I possibly learn about decision-making?  So I never bought the book, until now.  I have to say, this book has taught me a lot, and my hope is that you read my notes and decide to buy the book.


Four Villains of Decision Making:

  • Should I do this or that?  Instead ask yourself, is there a way I can do this AND that?
  • Be aware of the conformation bias and do whatever you can to fight it off. Confirmation bias is when we think or know we believe a certain way, our minds immediately look for information to confirm what we already feel or believe.  It happens to us all more frequently than we would like to admit.
  • Short term emotion: When we make decisions based on emotions only and don’t seek out a different perspective.
  • Overconfidence: People think they know more than they actually do about how the future will unfold.
  • You encounter a choice. But narrow framing makes you miss options.
  • You analyze your options. But the conformation Bias leads you to gather self-serving information
  • You make a choice. But short-term emotion will often tempt you to make the wrong one.
  • Then you live with it. But you’ll be overconfident about how the future will unfold.
  • Then I personally would add a fifth: You become too attached to the decision from an ego perspective that you won’t change the decision. (not in the book)

Sometimes the hardest part of making a decision is knowing that there’s one to be made.

In the book the authors recommend this process:


W   Widen your options
R    Reality Test your assumptions
A    Attain distance before deciding
P    Prepare to be wrong

Opportunity Cost with decisions:  Everything comes down to opportunity cost.  What am I giving up when I make this decision.

EX:  If I chose to spend my money to go on a vacation for four days.  The cost is the money for sure.  So what else could I have done with that money instead of taking the vacation. You could have paid off debt, you could have saved for retirement, you could have purchased something that you really needed.

We make opportunity cost decisions all of the time. Some are not too costly, because you never actually feel them, but what if your budget truly is limited.  Your time is truly limited. Then weighing in opportunity cost is critical.

A study in the book shows that when presented with the actual opportunity cost of something, people make better decisions.

Example from the book:

Imagine that you have saved your money to purchase a video.  The video is $14.99. It has your favorite actresses and actors in it. You have always wanted to see the movie and you have actually been thinking of purchasing it for quite a while. 

The researchers asked people to check A or B.

A) Buy this entertaining video
B) Not by this video

Given the choice, 75% bought the video and only 25% passed on buying it.

Later the researchers asked a different group of people the same questions with the same scenario. Except they asked it this way.

A) Buy this entertaining video
B) Not buy this video. KEEP THE $14.99 FOR OTHER PURCHASES.

Do we really need to be reminded that if we don’t purchase we can do something else with the $14.99?  Apparently so, because the results were different. 45% decided not to buy the video.  Simple reminder helped twice as many people not buy the video.

How would these reminders impact your decision-making?

When making a decision force yourself to find other options, because it is very clear that we can find different options when we are forced to do so, and we make better decisions.

Ask yourself this question:  If all of the options I am currently looking at disappeared what would I do instead?

When pursuing a project a manager can ask for three different options.  Multi-tracking as it is called in the book. This does several different things for the employee when you multitrack.

1st. If you only have one option that you have put all of your eggs in to.  It makes it harder to get over your ego when you get feedback on that one option. Its harder to hear the truth.

2nd:  It does a way with politics. Because if you have several people working on a project pursuing different options, it helps keep egos open-minded.

Prevention mindset versus promotion mindset. In a study of 4,700 public companies decisions during recessions in 1980, 1982, 1990, 1991, 2000 to 2002.  A group of researchers studied the decisions the leaders made at these companies during these tough times. They found that the leaders who did a fair amount of prevention such as cut backs, layoffs, cutting expenses as needed coupled with investing in talent, training, new products, etc. fared better than the companies that just did one or the other.

Most companies focus on too much of either prevention or promotion.  Both can be detrimental to decision-making and success. You have to combine both.

When faced with a problem another way to apply a decision-making process to making better decisions, is asking who else has faced this problem before?  Ask others. Secondly, researchers and scientists looked at analogies to find the answers to a lot of issues.  Analogies have a way to make the problem more clear and it proposes certain ways to address the problem or decision that needs to be made.

Ask yourself “What would have to be true” for this to work.  This question framed up this way allows people to dissent without sounding disagreeable.  When providing feedback just ask “What would have to be true for this option to be the very best choice?”

When we assess our choices we automatically take the inside track.  We have to condition ourselves to look at it differently.

We are really bad at predicting the future.  All of the so-called experts get it wrong most of the time.  Stop trying to predict the future an instead use other tools where possible.

The one they recommend is ooch when possible.  Meaning if you can ease into the situation without going all in, do so. For examples: all studies show that leaders are really bad at interviewing and a so-called “great interview” with a candidate usually ends up being a bad hire.  A better predictor is actual work or grades from school, more so than an interview. Instead of hiring someone can you offer them a short-term contract and see how they do? This is called ooching before making the full decision, test it out.

Researchers have discovered over and over that people act as though losses are from two to four times more painful than gains are pleasurable.

In one study researchers gave half a class on a college campus a coffee mug with the university’s log on it. The students who weren’t given a mug were asked, “How much would you pay for the one of those mugs?” On average they said $2.87.

The surprise came from the students who’d received the mugs.  Asked what price they’d sell the mugs for, they reported they couldn’t part with them for less than $7.12.

Five minutes earlier, all the students in the class would have presumably valued the mugs at $2.87. Yet the students who received the mugs grew attached to them in the span of a few minutes.  The perceived pain of giving up their new gift made it unthinkable to sell at $2.87.

Loss Aversion is a real thing.  Think about it.  As the research suggests a simple coffee mug causes people to want to charge two an a half times the price of what they would have said it was worth.  This makes the point that when it comes to decision-making that we all are more worried about what we lose versus what we could gain.  This causes us to not make a decision usually and stick with the status quo.  We have to find a way to fight this.

Researchers have confirmed over and over again that when we give advice to others that we think about the bigger picture pretty easily, but when we think of our own decisions we get stuck in the weeds.  That is why it is so important to get an outsiders perspective.

The authors suggest that when you have a decision to make ask yourself this question “What would I tell a friend in this same situation to do?”

When it comes to decision-making we all must make our priorities list.  By doing this it allows you to make decision better and quicker.  If you don’t know what your priorities are or values then when put in a situation you wont have any guard rails that can help guide your decisions.

Our calendars are great scoreboards for our priorities.  Jim Collins the author of “Good To Great” says this. When it comes to prioritization and managing your time, everyone needs a stop doing list.  What do you need to stop doing.

We can’t control the future, but with some forethought, we can shape it.

Prospective Hindsight: Is a term that the authors used when thinking about a decision.  Here is their example:

How likely is it that an Asian American will be elected president of the United States in November 2020? Jot dow some reasons why this might happen. 

Prospective Hindsight spin on this.

It is November 2020 and something historic just happened: The United States just elected its first Asian America president.  Think about some reasons why this might have happened. 

The second way it is asked gets you to think differently about the scenario.  It asks you in a way to make you feel different about it. The authors suggest that you approach situations like this.  Work backwards from the decision, this allows you to think about it more clearly.

Use trip wires to help you make a decision.  A trip wire is simple. It is built-in system that tells you when to act.  Example: A lot of people have heard the story about Divas in the music industry or in certain professions.  That they require certain items in their dressing rooms, certain food, etc.

One famous incident of this is Van Halen.  Van Halen was one of the biggest bands of all time.  When they were touring back in the early 1980’s their concerts were unbelievable. Their elaborate stage designs, pyrotechnics, and everything else that went with their performances made them legendary.  Traveling around the country setting these elaborate performances up required them to contract with various companies in a local market where they were playing a show to help them achieve this.  The contracts they had with all of the specifications of what was required to set these stages up, were like books.  But to ensure that it was done correctly every single time. Van Halen set a trip wire into the contract.  There was no way for the band to actually check to ensure everything was done like it was supposed to be done. So this trip wire helped them do this.

In all of the contracts Van Halen required a bowl of M&Ms’s on the stage with all of the browns M&M’s taken out of the bowl.  This was the trip wire.  Instead of checking every single thing with the stage and all of its production.  They could just walk over to the bowl of M&M’s, if the company actually read the contract.  No M&M’s, they really didn’t read the contract. M&M’s and brown ones included, means they didn’t read the contract either.

This trip wire that Van Halen used allowed them know when they needed to check closer or not.  This is what a trip wire can do for you.  It lets you know when you need to do something immediately.

Boundaries are necessary because of people’s tendency to escalate their commitment to their choices.

I highly recommend this book for people to read.  All of us our making major decisions on a daily basis in our work or in our personal lives.  How much thinking are we actually putting into those decisions?  The chances are not enough.  This book has equipped me with a few other things to do and be aware of when I am making decisions.  Most importantly conformation bias.

I hope you found this book summary to be helpful.  If so please share with someone you know.

To your success and your future.








Selling the Invisible notes and summary

There are times when I read a book that really changes the game. Either the information in the book does it, or the excitement I get from reading the book does it. In this case, it is both.

I have now read three books by Harry Beckwith. They are all very similar. The book Selling the Invisible which is a New York Times Business bestseller and rightfully so, is by far the best. I guess that is why it is a bestseller.

Like all of my quasi book summaries and notes. Below are my highlights from the book. My takeaways so to speak.

These notes are directly pulled from the book. Read the damn book though. If you want to change the game in sales and in marketing, read the book.

Almost three in four Americans work in service companies.

America is a service economy with a product marketing model. Services are not products, and service marketing is not product marketing.

When you buy a haircut you cannot see it before you buy it or try it out. It is a service.

Most prospects are shaking with worry. Your marketing must start; with a clear understanding of that worried soul.

Most doctors do not buy pacemakers; they buy that expert pacemaker salesperson who can go into the OR and advise on the device, procedure, and programming. Pacemaker buyers buy a service.

If you sell software, your core product is the software, but that critical part of your product is all the augmentations, the documentation, toll-free services, publications, upgrades, and support and other services. Your users are buying a service.

Faced with products just like their competitive products, today’s product marketers typically have two choices; reduce cost or add value.

This book is all for all those service marketers: the 80 percent of us who do not manufacture products and the other 20 percent who do.

In such a complex world there is nothing more powerful than simplicity.

This is a how to think book.

The core of service marketing is the service itself.

Get better reality.

Too often service, sucks.

Before you write an ad, rent a list, dash off a press release— FIX your service.

The Average American thinks he isn’t”, someone once said. Psychologists have proved it. We think we are better than we are. When researchers asked students to rate their ability to get along with others, 60 percent rated themselves in the top 10 percent. Ninety-four percent of university professors say they are doing a better job than their average colleague. Most men think they are good-looking.

Most companies think they offer great service. The chances are they are not.

Marketing is the brains of service marketing. If the brain fails, the heart soon will fail.

Stage 1 of business: meet acceptable standards

Stage 2 differentiation of your product because competitors have entered.

Stage 3 (few companies enter this stage) Go beyond what customers ever thought about. Disney. Apple. Lexus with heated seats and all of the other bells and whistles. Surprise the customer.

Create the possible service, don’t just create what the market needs and wants. Create what it could love.

People won’t tell you what you are doing wrong. Your prospects won’t tell you. Clients wont tell you, Your spouse won’t tell you. So how do you improve? ASK

Phone surveys produce more revealing information than in person surveys. On the phone people are willing to open up and give their real opinion and the information you need.

Don’t ask someone what they don’t like. People don’t want to answer because they won’t want to admit that they made a mistake.

Everyone in your company is responsible for marketing your company.

So much of what passes for brilliant insight in helping a company is reporting what everyone in that company could see, if only they could still see clearly. It’s hard to see the real scope of your business. Ask for help.

The walls in a business do more than keep the cold air out. They seem to block out clear vision of the world.

Every act is a marketing act. Make every employee a marketing person.

In planning your marketing, don’t just think of your business. Think of your skills.

People don’t buy hamburgers from McDonald’s, they are buying an experience.

Find out what clients are really buying.

Clients are experts at knowing if they feel valued

In most professional services, you are not really selling expertise, because expertise is assumed, and because your prospect cannot intelligently evaluate your expertise anyway. Instead you are selling a relationship. And in most cases this is where you need the most work. If you’re selling a service, you’re selling a relationship.

All people crave one thing, and this is appreciation. Before you try to satisfy the client, understand and satisfy the person.

With a few exceptions, companies are not battling to share that market. They are battling to create it: to get prospects to want to use their service instead of doing NOTHING or performing the service THEMSELVES.

If you implicitly criticize your competitors, you aggravate your worst problem: the prospects doubt that anyone in your industry can provide the service and value the prospects needs. Your real competitor is often sitting across the table.

Go where the competition ain’t. It isn’t only location it could be in a vertical.

Every service company should have a director of technology who studies and regularly tells management how new technologies can be used for competitive advantage.

Be second to none in all of your technologies.

Service businesses are about relationships. Relationships are about feelings. In good ones, the feelings are good, and in bad ones, they are bad.

Work performs a social function, most people want to be in office for the social interaction.

Even if you can identify and predict people’s attitudes, it’s not that helpful, because behaviors don’t always follow attitudes.

There are two tragedies in life: One is to not get your hearts desire. The other is to get it.

Accept the limitation of planning.

Second: don’t value planning for its result. The greatest value of the plan is the process, the thinking that went in to it.

Third: don’t plan your future. Plan your people. Develop people and skills.

Tactics drive strategy.

Todays good idea almost always beat tomorrows better one.

It appears that organizations actually are subject to the law that governs sharks: If a shark does not move, it cannot breathe. And it dies.

Think dumb.

Too often the path to perfection leads to procrastination. Don’t let perfect ruin good.

Any ideal might fail. If you’re doing anything worthwhile at all, you’ll suffer a dozen failures.

Most organizations work like groups of apes which we evolved. The alphas dictate what the group does and thinks. Alphas are not better at making decisions, they are better at taking control.

Appeal only to a prospects reason, and you may have no appeal at all.

People choose what seems most familiar. We tend to choose the one we hear the most about. even though the truth is that more people die from stomach cancer than car accidents.

This is because of human trait called attribute for getting. You have to make yourself familiar to your clients.

People don’t look to make the superiors choice, they want to avoid making a bad choice. Forget looking like the superior choice. Make yourself an excellent choice. Then eliminate anything that might make you a bad choice.

People remember the first and last impressions, but forget the middle. The rule of last impressions is reflected in dozens of ways. Consider apologies and forgiveness, for example. The last impression a person makes, by apologizing, often obscures the persons memory of the event that led to the apology.

Build quality into your service but make it less risky too.

The best thing you can do for a prospect is eliminate their fear. Offer a trial period or a test project.

Rather than hide your weakness, admit them. Tell the truth event if it hurts, it will help.

The more similar the services, the more important the differences.

You must position yourself in your prospects mind.
Your position should be singular: one simple message.
Your position must set you apart from your competitors.
You must sacrifice. You cannot be all things to all people, you must focus on one thing.
Stand for one distinctive thing that will give you a competitive advantage.

Rather than sacrificing opportunities, a narrow focus creates opportunities. To broaden your appeal, narrow your position.

In your service, whats the hardest task? Position yourself as the expert at this task; and you’ll have lesser logic in your corner.

We as people associate and judge. We assume prettier people are smarter and more put together. But it isn’t always true. That is why it is important to say one thing you are good at, because people will associate with many.

If people see differences in products such as catsups, flour, pickles, and sugar which are all identical, then people will definitely see differences in your services.

No company can position its self as anything. You can focus on one thing, but ultimately the market and the customers put you in your position. Dont fight it.

Avis knew they couldn’t be number one. So instead they said they were number 2. And said “We try Harder”. This allowed their business to grow.

Positioning Statement:

Who are you:
What business are you in?
Whom do you serve?
What need? What are the special needs of the people you serve?
Against whom: With whom are you competing?
Whats different: What make you different from those competitors?
SO: Whats the benefit: What unique benefit does a client derive from your service?
Example: Bloomingdale’s

Fashion focused department stores.
trend conscious, upper middle class shoppers.
looking for high-end products
Unlike other department stores
Bloomingdale’s provides unique merchandise in a theatrical setting
make shopping entertaining
Choose a position that will reposition your competitors, then move a step back toward the middle to clinch the sale.

You are what you are.

If no prospect can describe your position, you don’t have one.

If you think you can afford not to focus, think of Sears.

No matter how skilled you are, you must focus your skills.

Timberland was struggling in the early 1980’s. The company made a good boat type shoe and priced it below the leader, Topsiders. A great product for the price, but not a good business. Then Timberland did something fairly simple. It increased its price to be well above Topsiders. Sales boomed. Dont assume logical pricing is smart pricing. Maybe your price, which makes you look like a good value, actually makes you look second-rate.

If no one complains about your price, it’s too low.

If almost everyone complains, it’s too high.

Fifteen to 20 percent of people will complain about any price. Some want a deal. Others are mistrustful and assume every price is overstated. Still others want to get the price they had in their mind when they approached you, because it’s the price they hoped for an already have budgeted in their mind. So throw out the group that will object no matter what price. Then ask: In the remaining cases how often do I encounter resistance. Resistance in 10 percent of the remaining cases for a total of 20 percent is about right. When it starts to exceed 25 percent, scale back.

Setting your price is like setting a screw. A little resistance is a good sign.

If you are the high-priced provider, most people assume you offer the best quality. If you are the low-cost provider, most people assume you deliver an acceptable product at the lowest cost, also a desirable position. But if your price in the middle, what you are saying is “We’re not the best, and neither is our price, but both our service and price are pretty good.” Not a very compelling message.

Cutting costs require little imagination.

There is nothing unique about pricing. Be unique.

What is talent worth and why is some worth so much? What can you reasonable charge?

Dont charge by the hour. Charge by the years. Pablo Picasso.

If your primary selling position is good value, you have no position. Value is not a competitive position. Value is why every service company promises. In services, value is a given. And given are not viable competitive positions.

If good value is the first thing you communicate, you won’t be effective.

if good value is your best position, improve your service.

A name like Creative Design contradicts itself. The name after all, could not be less creative.

Never choose a name that describes something that everyone expects from the service. The name will be generic, forgettable, and meaningless.

If you need a name for your service, start with your own.

A brand is more than a symbol. In the publics eye, a brand is a warranty.

Customers will buy brands sight unseen, so brand names are less expensive to sell.

As time shrinks, the importance of brands increases. And time in America is shrinking; companies have down sized their staffs and upsized the workloads of all the survivors. This people need shortcuts every waking minute. They turn to service and brand products.

Your greatest competition is not your competition. It is indifference.

Saying many things usually communicates nothing.

Give me one good reason to buy. Not Ten. You can’t sell a confused person.

People are interested in other people, and their stories.

Stereotypes: Accountants are humorless. Lawyers are greedy. Collections agencies are bullies. Doctors keep you waiting. Attack your first weakness, the thing you are known for.

37 percent of people say doctors lack a genuine interest in their patients. But patient view the relationship side as so critical, there’s even a name for it, bedside manner, they think medicine is failing as a service.

How often are you looking for the best service? The best baby sitter, the best dry cleaners, the best tax adviser? Not often. How often do you know the best when you find it? Never. How long are you willing to look for the best? (not long) Nobody is looking for the best. You aren’t. So convey that you are good and people will buy.

People notice marketing communications that refuse to strain the truth because people notice the unusual, and understatement is unusual.

People hear what they see. Let them see greatness.

People trust their eyes before they will every trust your words.

The industry that best understands the importance of visualizing the invisible offers the least visible service of all. insurance. Prudential has its Rock Of Gibraltar. Travelers as its Umbrella. Allstates has its good hands. Transamerica has its tower. Each uses a visual metaphor. Make sure people see who you are.

Restaurants are not in the food business, they are in the entrainment business. People go there for the experience.

If you are selling something complex, simplify it with a metaphor.

Of course you are committed to excellence. People don’t listen to clichés. Get rid of them.

Get to your point or you will never get to a close.

Most presenters don’t know what their point is. Tell people one thing. Why they should buy from you instead of someone else.

There is no such thing as an uninteresting subject, only an uninteresting person.

Find out what they want.

Find out what they need.

Find out who they are.

Missions statements are for you. Keep them private.

Revlon founder said this: In the factories we make perfume. In the Stores we sell hope.

People are buying happiness or the hope for it.

Dont make a client think you can do more than you can actually do.

A customers expectation is the GAP between what the customer expects and what the customer gets.

There is no such thing as too often, too grateful, too warm, or too appreciative.

Say PM and deliver AM.

To fix sales people, fix your message. If they don’t believe, it is your fault that your marketing doesn’t make them believe.

Sales is risking yourself. Nobody likes to risk themselves, but that is what sales people do daily. Rejection.

Services are human. Their successes depend on the relationships of people. People are human, frustrating, unpredictable, temperamental, often irrational, and occasionally half mad. But you can spot patterns in people. The more you can see the patterns and better understand people, the more you will succeed.


To your success and your future.

What Clients Love; book summary and notes

Whenever I read a book that is impactful to me, I like to write down my notes and highlights that I took from the book.  When I do this, it allows me to read the book again, because I have to go back to the book and basically read it again, and extract my highlights from the book.  You are lucky because I share these notes with you.

I recently read What Clients Love; A field guide to growing your business. This book was written by the bestselling author of Selling the Invisible Harry Beckwith.

Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.com/What-Clients-Love-Growing-Business/dp/0446556025/

Below, in bullet point format, are my quick notes I took from the book.  I hope you enjoy.  I also encourage you to find the book and read it as well, it is really that good.

  • Forget benchmarking. It only reveals what others do, which is rarely enough to satisfy, much less delight, todays clients.
  • What has made companies in our industry successful? Leads you to the old answers, which ends you to copy and refine rather than INNOVATE.
  • Next time you ponder strategy, ask:  If I ran a competing firm, how would I beat ours?
  • If you were starting business from scratch, what would do differently?  Now do that.
  • plan around what you can predict; what people love.
  • Listen more rests on a flawed assumption: It assumes people say what they think.  They do not.  People often say whatever will make them look good to the person asking the question.  Almost no one confesses to drinking too much fudging expense reports. Thousands of men who teared up watching The Remains of The Day insist it was a silly chick film. The second flaw: listen more is the assumption that people understands themselves well enough to reveal themselves accurately.
  • Of all life’s mysteries, we are most mysterious to ourselves.
  • Life happens at the level of events, not words, the noted psychologist Alfred Adler once said.  Trust Movement.  Nothing else.
  • We overvalue research, particularly when its conclusions are expressed in quantified form.
  • Overconfidence bias. Whenever you are certain of something, you are wrong 15 percent of the time.
  • Not moving inspires more not moving. Dynamic people require a dynamic environment.
  • The company that waits for guarantees is doomed.
  • Do something, if only because doing produces learning, and learning is perhaps a service business most valuable asset.
  • A mission statement is a PURPOSE statement.  Call it that.
  • A mission is your higher purpose. Visions by contrasts are selfish. Visions are your long-term aspirations for your business, not for those that you might serve. to be the best regarded, most profitable, or most reliable for example.
  • JFK’s vision was a man on the moon.  Peace was his mission.
  • Avoid being NICE too much.
  • Like concealed priests, anonymous interviewers get more truthful answers.
  • We want good products, on time, from people we trust.
  • The economy is new, but the people are old.
  • We still love things that we can see and feel.
  • AS NOBEL winning economist Herbert Simon said, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.
  • Speak visually, we often cannot hear words, but we notice images.
  • Our expectation changes our experience. Social Scientists call this expectancy theory. People experience what they expect to experience and see what they expect to see. Our challenge in marketing especially invisibles, is to shape those expectations.
  • Intrude in people’s lives and you risk losing them forever.
  • Publish anything and everything because you never know what could happen.
  • Only in writing do you discover what you know.  Anne Beattie author.
  • Nothing teaches like writing.
  • Americans tend to mistrust academic credentials and scholarly writing and presentations.  We disdain the person who speaks with too much authority. We cherish humility, even in people we suspect may be brilliant.
  • The clearer the communication, the more expert the communicator is looked at.
  • Clarity cuts through fog and conveys your value to a prospect. Clarity assures the prospect that you will not cloud the issue or confuse the sale.  Clarity moves the prospect from confusion, which aggravates every persons ear of the invisible to confidence. Clarity breaks down mistrust. Clarity wins.
  • Prospects often tell service providers “We will get back to you.” Sometimes this means they are not in position to decide.
  • Mark Twain’s rules on adjectives.  Leave them out.  Replace excellent with proof.
  • We always weaken whatever we exaggerate.
  • Using you also compels you to think about those prospects.  You start becoming more client focused because the word directs your focus toward them.
  • Specific words such as crystal bowl and strawberries paint clearer pictures–a key task in selling things people cannot see.
  • If you cannot describe what make you different or excellent in 25 word or less. Fix your company.
  • A theory is not complete until you can explain it to the first person you meet on the street.
  • Edit your message until everyone understands it.
  • Admit a weakness. People who reveal something negative about their service win more business. Psychologists insist this can be easily explained. We assume that people who reveal a weakness are inclined to tell the truth, even when the truth can hurt them. Which means we can trust.
  • How the best sales people sell in order: Themselves, Their Company, Their service or product. Price.
  • Stories help humans understand ideas. the oldest hardwired neural pathway in the human brain is for stories.
  • Your audience includes four people: The TOP dog and three associates.
  • Remember to always present your people well, before your product. Only use slides to present a point you cannot express well.
  • A legendary football coach said three things can happen when you pass a football. And two are bad.  The same principles applies for presentations.
  • Thirty Slides don’t show that you know more.  It shows that you don’t have command over the material you are trying to explain.
  • Three points, three words each.
  • FAMILIARITY breeds attraction.  The  more you hear something, the more you like it.
  • Remember what your brand is:  Gerber tried to do adult food.  People couldn’t buy it.  Because Gerber Adult food sounds awful.
  • It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.
  • It is not what you communicate, it is what gets communicated.
  • You respond more strongly to seeing an American Flag than you do reading the following two words “American Flag”  The Nazi flag invokes more anger than the word Nazi.
  • A first principle of business and marketing: Everyone believes that their industry is unique. You must approach every client with this in mind. 
  • People prefer specialists over generalists.
  • To seem special sound it.
  • Your company name should name you, not describe you.  Example: Wells Fargo Bank.  Now it is just Well Fargo.  CNN removed television from its title.  It is just CNN.
  • Uncommon names stand out more than anything else.  SPANX
  • Whoosh appeals to your senses.  It sounds better than wind.
  • If you’re dressed for golf, be sure you are golfing.
  • Casual policies attract causal employees.
  • Thomas Edison wore ties even when he was cutting his grass.
  • If your professional clothes feel uncomfortable, change clothes.
  • Efficient means cheap, and compared to most forms of marketing, mass communicating looks cheap.
  • Cheap efforts produce cheap results or worse.
  • When you buy a product, you purchase something tangible. When you buy a service, however, you buy the people who perform it.
  • You buy products based on your feelings about the product, you choose your services based on your feelings toward the providers.
  • To connect with your clients, make connections for them.
  • Two Basic principles: A service always involves more than a the exchange of something tangible for money. You must build more into a service warmth, connection, friendship, rest, status, or community. People will pay extra for a feeling of a community.  Ask Starbucks.
  • Sociability: is necessary for human survival. Adults who isolate themselves from the world are more likely to die at comparatively young ages. We have a central dependence on others.
  • Whenever you try to satisfy a client, this feeling dominate the transaction, that persons need to feel important.
  • Efficient customer service tools tell them. My time matters more than you.
  • Relationships are the most powerful form of media today.
  • If a prospect is most interested in cost you will never be happy and always be vulnerable.
  • Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.
  • One does what one is, one becomes what one does.  Robert Musil.
  • We do what we say,  and then we become what we do.
  • Your words will become your behavior. Your behavior will become your habit. And your new habit will reward you. At the end of the year, everything will be different: you, those you touch and your business.
  • Passion, inflamed by belief and purpose, wins.

Please share if you found this summary to be beneficial to you.

To your success and your future.

Handbook of Self-Determination Research; summary/notes

In my constant study of human behavior and what motivates us as humans and individuals, I ran across a book titled “Handbook of Self-Determination Research”.  This book takes all of the research and studies that have been conducted by the most recognized and highly influential scientists, researchers, psychologists to ever study human behaviors. The data is condensed in to a 500 page book that hits the highlights of what we know and can proven by data to show why humans behave and what motivates us.

The book was put together and edited by two of the most recognized in the study of human behavior and the Self-Determination research. Edward L. Deci and Richard. Ryan.

You can purchase the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Handbook-Self-Determination-Research-Edward-Deci/dp/1580461565/

In my typical summary and notes fashion.  I have provided here my notes from the book and what I am taking away from the book, and in this case, the study of Self Determination. This book was very academic and honestly over my head at times, but it was well laid out and an excellent read for anyone studying humans and why we do what they do.

Notes and paragraphs from the text: 

In the classical, Aristotelian, view of human development, people are assumed to possess an active tendency toward psychological growth and integration. Endowed with an innate striving to exercise and elaborate their interest, individuals tend to naturally seek challenges, to discover new perspectives, and to actively internalize and transform cultural practices. By stretching their capacities and expressing their talents and propensity, people actualize their human potentials.

Self determination Theory begins by embracing the assumption that all individuals have natural, innate, and constructive tendencies to develop an ever more elaborated and unified sense of self.

There are three basics needs of everyone: They are competence, relatedness, and autonomy.

Competence: refers to feeling effective in ongoing interactions with the social environment and experiencing opportunities to exercise and express ones capacities. The need for competence leads people to seek challenges that are optimal for their capacities through activity. Competence is not, then, an attained skill or capability, but rather is a felt sense of confidence and effectance in action.

Relatedness: refers to feeling connected to others, to caring for and being cared for by those others, to having a sense of belongingness both with other individuals and with ones community. Relatedness reflects the homonomous aspect of the integrative tendency of life, the tendency to connect with and be integral to and accepted by others. The need to feel oneself as being in relation to others is thus not concerned with the attainment of a certain outcome, but instead concerns the psychological sense of being with others in secure communion or unity.

Autonomy: refers to being the perceived origin or source of ones own behavior. Autonomy concerns acting from interest and integrated values. When autonomous, individuals experience their behavior as an expression of the self, such that, even when actions are influenced by outside sources, the actors concur with those influences, feeling both initiative and value with regard to them.

Autonomy is often confused with, or melded together with, the quite different concept of independence (which means not relying on external sources of influences), but the Self Determination Theory view considers there to be no necessary antagonism between autonomy and dependence. Indeed, one can quite autonomously enact values and behaviors that others have requested or forwarded, provided that one congruently endorses them. In short, independence versus dependence is a dimension that is seen Self Determination Theory.

Self Determination Theory conceives of humans as active, growth-oriented organisms, that innately seek and engage challenges in their environments, attempting to actualize their potentialities, capacities, and sensibilities.

Two Types of Motivation:

Intrinsically motivated behaviors are those whose motivation is based in the inherent satisfactions of the behaviors, rather than in contingencies or reinforcements that are operationally separable from those activities. Intrinsic motivation represents a prototype of self-determined activity, in that, when intrinsically motivated, people engage in activities freely, being sustained by the experience of interest an enjoyment.

Intrinsic Motivation implies engaging in an activity for the pleasure and satisfaction inherent in the activity.

  • To know: implies engaging in activities because of the pleasure and satisfaction derived from the learning, exploring, and understanding new things.
  • To accomplish: refers to engaging in activities because of the pleasure and satisfaction derived from trying to surpass oneself, creating or accomplishing something.
  • Experience stimulation: operates when one is engaged in an activity because of the stimulating sensations associated with it.

EX: Students doing their homework because they enjoy it and find that learning new things is interesting and satisfying.

Extrinsic motivation is focused toward and dependent on contingent outcomes that are separable from the action. A broad array of behaviors having in common the fact that activities are engaged in not for reasons inherent in them bit for instrumental reasons. They are undertaken to attain an end state that is separate from the actual behavior.

Three examples of extrinsic motivation/values: financial success, image, social recognition.

Intrinsic values/motivation: self-acceptance, affiliation, and community feeling.

The concept of intrinsic motivation refers to behaviors performed out of interest and enjoyment and extrinsic motivation is pertains to behaviors carried out to attain contingent outcomes.

A meta-analysis of 128 experiments confirmed that expected tangible rewards which require engaging in the target activity do indeed undermine intrinsic motivation for that activity, whereas verbal rewards tend to enhance intrinsic motivation.

Self Determination Theory from the authors is very simply: that humans have three basic types of needs or motives, for autonomy, competence, and relatedness.  That is humans are happiest and healthiest when environments, and their own inner processes, permit them to feel effective, choiceful, and connected in their ongoing experience.

Self-Handicapping, which is the tendency to erect impediments to ones own success in order to provide an excuse for failure..  Hence, self handicapping can be considered a defensive preparation to maintain self-esteem in case of later failure.

NEEDS and Motives: Needs differ from lives in that they are part of the individual inherent psychological makeup and therefore represent a psychological requirement, which means they must be attended to and satisfied for the individual to function in optimal fashion and experience well-being. In essence, a need may be seen as a motive that has innate roots. The need for competence is conceptualized herein as innate, multidimensional need, and is presumed to have a powerful widespread influence on personality functioning and wellbeing.

Motives rather than needs: examples include the need for closure, the need for dominance, self-presentation motive, and self verification motive. Such motive dispositions clearly have an important influence on everyday functioning, but we suspect that their influence is qualitatively different from that of a basic need such as the need for competence.

Goals may be distinguished from needs and motives in that the latter are dispositions that energize behavior and orient the individual in a general way., whereas the former are cognitive representations that serve as directional function for behavior by focusing the individual on more specific possibilities.

Goals are related to needs and motives in the self-regulatory process, in that individuals sometimes adopt goals that help save their dispositional desires by channeling them in a more concrete direction. Needs or motives can and often lead directly to behavior, but these general dispositional desires sometimes need to be strategically channelled in a specific direction to be satisfied in an effective and efficient manner. This the need for competence can influence behavior in two ways: it can impel competence based behavior directly, or it can lead to a competence based behavior indirectly prompting the adoption of competence goals that proximally regulate behavior.


People are most motivated when they have a sense of autonomy. Where they are controlling their environment and how they do something.  We don’t have a problem with parameters, but we want to feel like we have the autonomy to do a job or to pursue something that we want to pursue.  Our self determination and motivation is higher when we have a certain level of competence as well. We want to understand whatever it is that we must do.  When we don’t understand something our motivation and determination is much lower.  And lastly, relatedness.  We want to have community and be in alignment with others that we are around.  We want to love and to be loved.  Love meaning connected with others who are in alike thinking as we are as well.

Leaders must create the right environment that includes the three factors of autonomy, competence, and relatedness for their team to perform at peak performance. Leaders must create an environment where team members have intrinsic motivation to do the work that they do.  You can hire people that are intrinsically motivated, but you have to create the right environment to sustain that motivation.

To your success and your future.

Primed to Perform book summary and notes

To build a high performing culture, you must first understand what drives peak performance in individuals. The answer sounds simple: why you work affects how well you work.

In their book Primed to Perform; How to Build The Highest Performing Cultures Through the Science of Total Motivation, the authors Neel Doshi and Lindsay McGregor take a look at research and case studies of successful companies and successful leadership that have created motivational environments for their employees. They call it TOMO (Total Motivation) You can find the book here https://www.amazon.com/Primed-Perform-Performing-Cultures-Motivation/dp/0062373986/

Here are the questions leadership should be asking about building a high performance culture:

  • What leadership style should you use?
  • How do you design motivating jobs and career paths?
  • What is the best way to establish core value and build a strong sense of community around them?
  • How should you manage the performance of your people?
  • What is the fairest and most effective compensation philosophy?
  • What is the best processes for managing culture?
  • And, how do you change a culture that is already in trouble?

All companies need a purpose a reason the company exists.
There is a spectrum of reasons, or motives, for why people perform an activity. The first three, which we will call the direct motives, are directly linked to the activity and drive performance. The next three, the indirect motives, are further removed from the work itself and frequently harm performance.

Direct Motives:

PLAY:  You’re most likely to lose weight, or succeed in any other endeavor when your motive is play. Play occurs when you’re engaging in an activity simply because you enjoy doing it. The work itself is its own reward. Scientists describe this motive as intrinsic.

  • Curiosity and experimentation are at the heart of play. People intrinsically enjoy learning and adapting.
  • We instinctively seek out opportunities to play.
    Because the play motive is created by the work itself, play is the most direct and most powerful driver of high performance.

Purpose: A step away from the work itself motive, is the purpose motive. The purpose motive occurs when you do an activity because you value the outcome of the activity. (versus the activity itself). You may or may not enjoy the work you do, but you value its impact.

  • The purpose motive is one step removed from the work, because the motive isn’t the work itself, but its outcome. While the purpose motive is powerful driver for performance, the fact that its a step removed from the work, typically makes it a less powerful motive than play.

Potential: The third motive is potential. The potential motive occurs when you find a second order outcome (versus a direct outcome) of the work that aligns with your values and beliefs. You do the work because it will eventually lead to something you believe is important, such as your personal goals.

  • Ex: you may work as a paralegal to eventually get into law school. Dieters are motivated by potential eating healthfully to achieve others things they care about, such as to run faster to keep wth their kids. Another example: Stepping stone jobs.

The potential motive is not as powerful as play or purpose, since it relates to a second order outcome of the work, which is two (or more) steps removed from the work itself.
We call play, purpose, and potential the direct motives because they’re most directly connected to the work itself. As a result, they typically result in the highest levels of performance. Remember this from Primed to Perform, a culture that inspires people to their jobs for play, purpose, and potential creates the highest and most sustainable performance.


Emotional Pressure: When emotions such as disappointment, guilt or shame compel you to perform an activity, this emotional pressure. These emotions are related to your beliefs, (self perception) and external forces (the judgements of other people). The work itself is no longer the reason you’re working.

  • When your motive to work on anything; work, dieting, etc. because of emotional pressure, your performance tends to suffer

Economic pressure: Economic pressure is when you do an activity solely to win a reward or avoid punishment. The motive is separate from the work and separate from your values and own identity. Money alone isn’t the only cause of economic motive.

  • From the research we expected to find that people with the least income experienced the highest economic pressure. Instead they learned that income and the economic motive were statistically unrelated. People at any income level can feel economic pressure at work.

Inertia: The most indirect motive of all is inertia. With inertia, your motive is so distant from the work itself that you can no longer say where it comes from, you do what you do simply because you did it yesterday. This leads to worst performance of all.

  • Ex: A college student may continue to attend school purely because of inertia, they are on the path, so they just continue slogging. An executive continues on their job not because they are engaged in it, but because he can’t think of a good reason to leave.

Why we work:

Direct motives typically increase performance and indirect motives typically decrease it.
The more directly connected the motive is to the activity itself, the better performance becomes. Play is the motive that is closest to the work itself, so its the most powerful. Purpose is on step removed, so it is the second strongest. Potential is two or more steps removed from the activity, so it is the third strongest.
These two insights define total motivation. (TOMO for short) High levels of total motivation occur when a person feels more of the direct motives and less of the indirect motives. Total motivation is the foundation of any high performing culture.

Direct motives typically enhance performance while indirect motives decrease it. Second, the closest the motive is to the work itself, the better the performance. Play is the strongest motive. Then purpose. Then potential. Inertia is the most destructive, them economic pressure, then emotional pressure.

Tactical performance:

How well a person executes a plan. Every job requires specific actions to be done in specific ways. EX: a certain number of calls, or emails for a sales person. Tactical performance is productivity, efficiency, and control.
Adaptive performance:

Someone having the freedom and ability to make adjustments to their job while they are doing to account for things that change and processes to be changed.
The military uses the phrase VUCA to describe limitations of tactical performance and why adaptive performance is so crucial. The letters in VUCA stand for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Tactical performance is not enough to address VUCA. People and organizations need to adapt.

If a job only has tactical performance behaviors, then you can create performance through indirect motivators. When a job has the need for more adaptive performance, like problem solving, indirect motivators can make performance worse.

As total motivation decreases, adaptive performance decreases with it, and maladaptive performance takes its place.
As total motivation increases, so does adaptive performance. Adaptive performance is the secret sauce behind innovation, creativity, great customer experience, distinctive salesmanship, and may other outcomes that have remained a mystery for so long.
Culture: Is our shared set of values and behaviors within an organization.

A high performing culture is a system that maximizes adaptive performance through total motivation.
It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest thats survives, but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.–Leon Megginson

Managing culture is like managing your finances, it is a never ending process.

Four Types of leaders:

Quid Pro Quo leaders: Definition of quid pro quo is latin for something for something. This is how these leaders lead. They believe in giving rewards for good behavior and punishments or threat to control bad behavior. They produce high levels of emotional pressure, Inertia, and economic pressures.

Hands off Leaders: They use neither direct or indirect motivators. They tend to get involved only when there is a problem. Like most people, many hands off leaders have good intentions. They believe their teams want lots of space. The problem is they’re wrong. Teams perform best when the leader is involved.

Enthusiast: There isn’t a motivator an enthusiast won’t try, direct or indirect. Problem with this is the indirect will cancel out the direct.

Fire Starter: They use direct motivators and do what ever they can to eliminate the indirect motivators.

Fire Starters: Play

  • Provide you with time, space, and encouragement to experiment and learn.
    Makes it clear on what it looks like to performing well.
    Challenges you to solve problems for yourself.
    Fire Starters: Purpose: The blame bias makes us believe that everyone works for solely money. Fire starters hep you see and believe in your works purpose:
    Helps you see the work is important and meaningful.
    Role models and expects you to live by positive, comsisitnet, values in a common sense of a purpose.
    Puts the customers interest first.
    Fire Starters: Potential: Help you connect your work to your personal goals and needs. They show your investment in your work is also an invest meant in yourself.
    Actively links the work with your personal goals.
    Helps you to develop and focus your time on your strengths rather than to your weaknesses.
    Provides you with more responsibility as your skills grow.
    Fire Starters: Emotional Pressure: Reduces the potential for feel of fear, shame, guilt, or peer pressure.
    Ensures targets and goals are reasonable.
    They are fair and transparent.
    Enables friendships at work.
    Fire Starters: Economic Pressure: Avoid using rewards or punishments to coerce people to work. Ensure you are evaluated holistically.

Fire Starters: Inertia: Remove obstacles from your path and make sure your work will have impact. Makes it easy to get things done and you don’t waste time doing it.

If you hire people who are smaller than you are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. If you hire people who are bigger than you are, we shall become a company of giants.

From the testing, we learn that flexibility in how people work, rather than where or when they work is key. People who had freedom in how they worked were more motivated.

What the research found:

  • A job designed to enable experimentation increase motivation by 68 points.
    A job designed to enable learning through a variety of increase motivation by about 68 points.
    A job designed to make you feel a sense of purpose increases motivation by about 64 points.
    A job designed so that you do not work alone increases motivation by about 36 points.
    While money is poor motivator, it can be an effective activator, overcoming ones inertia.
    To be perfect is to change often-Winston Churchill.

As you an see by the book summary here the main points of the book are the motives of why people are motivated on the job. Play, Purpose, and Potential being the main reasons for motivation at work. These motives allow for flexibility and adaptive performances where the employee can be creative and do what they feel like is necessary to get the job done within the parameters of the company. And the person who is responsible for setting yp this Total Motivation enevirnemnt is the leader. In this case the call a good leader a Fire Starter. Meaning a good leader gets the team (fire) started and the allows the team (fire) to take off any do what they need to do.

I hope you enjoyed this book summary. For more book summaries and notes from other books I have read and really enjoyed, checkout http://www.thebrianwillett.com/literature/book-summaries/


The Four Agreements; book summary

As a reader I read lots of books that are sometimes complex and take too long and too many pages to make a simple point. Then there are times I run across little gems that are quick reads with a strong, straight to the point message.

On of my most recent reads The Four Agreements was one of the latter. It was a quick read with a powerful straight to the point message with very specific action steps.   I guess that is why it was on the New York Times Bestsellers list for over seven years.

You can find the book here http://www.amazon.com/Four-Agreements-Practical-Personal-Freedom/dp/1878424319

The author outlines four basic agreements that we all must have with ourselves.  These agreements are between you and you.  Which means you can control them.

Here are my notes as well as mini book summary of the book itself.

  • The need for attention is something that all adults have and is something that is ingrained in us in childhood.
  • Most of the agreements that we have accepted in our lives were established when we were young.  Think about it, you accepted your own name.  You had no decision in your own name.
  • Children don’t usually get to choose their own beliefs.  Instead we accept the beliefs of our parents or others as we are growing up.
  • To be alive is the biggest fear humans have. Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive–the risk to be alive and express what we are. We have learned to live our lives trying to satisfy other people’s demands. We have learned to live by other peoples point of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good for someone else.
  • The way we judge ourselves is the worst judge that ever existed.

The First Agreement: Be Impeccable with your word.

  • The word is a force; it is the power you have to express and communicate, to think, and thereby to create events in your life. You can speak. What other animal on earth can speak? The word is the most powerful tool you have as a human.
  • The word can kill millions of people or save millions of people. Choose your words carefully.
  • Impeccability means “without sin”. A sin is anything that you do which goes against yourself.
  • So when you are impeccable you do not do anything that goes against yourself.
  • Self-Rejection is a mortal sin, this is the sin that most humans inflict on themselves.
  • Changes must first occur with yourself so later you can make changes on how you deal with others.
  • What you say to yourself and how you say things to yourself is why you must be impeccable with your words. Never do yourself harm with your words.

The second agreement: Don’t take anything personally.

  • Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about me.
  • Nothing other people do is because of you.
  • You will only need to trust yourself to make responsible choices. You are never responsible for the actions of others, you are only responsible for you. When you truly understand this, and refuse to take things personally, you can hardly be hurt by the careless comments or actions of others.
  • By following this second agreement you avoid many upsets in your life. Your anger, jealousy, and envy will disappear.

The third agreement: Don’t make assumptions

  • We all have the tendency to make assumptions about everything. The problem with making assumptions is that we believe they are the truth.
  • We make assumptions about what other people are thinking or doing–we take it personally, then we blame them by reacting.
  • When you make assumptions, you are asking for problems.
  • The whole war of control between humans is about making assumptions and taking things personally. Our whole dream of hell is based on that.
  • We create a lot of emotional poison just by making assumptions and taking things personally.
  • We make assumptions because we don’t have the courage to ask questions.  
  • We overestimate and underestimate ourselves because of the assumptions we have made.
  • If others change, it’s because they want to change, not because you can change them.

The fourth agreement: Always do your best

  • This fourth agreement allows the other three to become deeply ingrained habits.
  • Under all circumstances always do your best.
  • Remember that your best will and can vary depending on that moment.
  • When you always do your best you learn to accept yourself.
  • Action is about living fully. Inaction is the way we deny life.

There is no way. If you are impeccable with your word, if you don’t take anything personally, if you don’t make assumptions, if you always do your best, then you are going to have a beautiful life. You are going to control your life 100 percent.

  • Who stops is from being free? We blame the government, we blame the weather, we blame our parents, we blame religion, we blame God. Who really stops us from being free?  We stop ourselves.
  • Awareness is always the first step because if you are not aware, there is nothing you can change. If you are not aware that your mind is full of wounds, and emotional poison, you cannot begin to clean and heal the wounds and you will continue to suffer.
  • First Mastery of Awareness: This is to be aware who we really are, with all the possibilities,. The second is Mastery of Transformation–how to change, how to be free of domestication. The third Mastery of Intent. Intent from the point of view is that part of the transformation of energy is possible; it is the one living being that seamlessly encompasses all energy, or what we call God. Intent is life itself; it is unconditional love. The Mastery of Intent is therefore the Mastery of Love.
  • Forgiveness is the only way to heal.  We can choose to forgive because we feel compassion for ourselves.
  • It is the emotions that control the behavior of the human, not the human who controls the human. 
  • Maybe we cannot escape from the destiny of the human, but we have a choice: to suffer or to live and be happy. To live in hell, or to live in heaven.

As I read this book I was reminded that when I apply these four agreements everyday that  I will live a happier and less complex life.  These four agreements are areas that I have full control over in my life.

To your success and your future.

16 behaviors that are killing your sales

One of my favorite authors and speakers is Marshall Goldsmith.  Marshall is a New York Times best-selling author of several books.  One of his best-selling books, titled “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” he discusses the many actions and behaviors leaders demonstrate that prevent them from growing and having the influence that they would like to have in their organization and with their peers.  The key things in this book are the 20 behaviors that managers should stop doing. You can access a book summary that I wrote similar to this one you are reading here.  Marshall spent a lot of time with one of the greatest management thinkers of all time Peter Drucker. Mr. Drucker said that most leaders, and people in general, focus on learning more things to do, when they should really focus on what they should stop doing.  Marshall has spent most of his career and life’s work coaching executives on behaviors they should stop.

Marshall partnered with Don Brown and Bill Hawkins and wrote the book “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There in Sales”.  In this book they discuss the 16 behaviors that sales people demonstrate that prevent them from making more sales and having the influence they would like to have with their prospects.

Below are the 16 behaviors that Sales People demonstrate that they need to stop.

Habit #1:  Failure to be present

  • Are you that sales person who takes a phone call while meeting with a client? Or responding to a text while giving a presentation.  Ignoring the prospect you have in front of you to pursue another one that walks by. These are some of the things sales people do that kill rapport and kill sales.  I know you are thinking to your self, I don’t do this, be sure you don’t.
  • There are three-time zones.  The past, present, and the future.  Sales people need to be sure they are in the right time zone with their prospect.

Habit #2: Vocal Filler

  • The sales person who talks too much tends to use words that are fill words or negative qualifiers.  Words such as however, but, or even no.  Have you ever had that conversation with a teen, that says “like” like 100 times, (lol)during a short conversation.  I have been guilty of these filler words, before, “Um”, “Just like”,  “I am going to be honest with you”, etc.  What about “No, You are right”.  All of these little filler words are killing your ability to be persuasive with your prospect. Record your next meeting with a prospect and see if you have any filler words, qualifiers, or other words you might be saying that could be turning your prospect off.

Habit #3:  Selling past the close

  • Some sales people try to explain the entire process from start to finish.  It is good to educate your buyer, but sometimes we try to add too much value.  Once the customer says yes, stop selling.  You don’t have to add the benefits you didn’t go over yet.  Once the customer is ready, let the customer buy. One car lot required a buyer to meet the service manager before they purchased a car.  Sure this seems nice in theory.  But sometimes a customer wants to make the purchase and leave.  Don’t send your buyer through hoops that they don’t care about.  Find out what interest them and sell them on that and move on.

Habit #4: Selective Hearing

  • There are several levels of listening.  The best form of listening is what is called active listening.  Meaning being actively involved in the conversation with someone.  Listening is a skill that can be learned.  Do you have selective hearing that is preventing you from earning more sales?

Habit #5: Contact without purpose

  • Some sales people just call their customers for the sake of calling them.  Wasting their prospects time and their own time.  Sure we need to call our prospects and follow-up with them.  But you must have a purpose for contacting.  Let a customers needs drive the contact.  Don’t bug your customers, add value to them when you are reaching out to them.  Don’t always be looking to sell something either.  Be willing to share new information or something they can use.

Habit #6: Curb qualifying

  • We think we know everything we need to know about a person just by watching them cross the street.  We assume we know everything based on appearance.  Or what we assumed they were willing to spend.  Think about Julia Roberts in the movie in Pretty Woman.  She is dressed like a hooker and the sales people in the store wouldn’t help her.  She later comes back and tells that sales person that they made a big mistake by not serving her earlier that day, as she stood there with several bags of clothing that she had purchased.  Don’t qualify your prospects based on anything.  Get to know them by asking questions.

Habit #7: Using tension as a tool

  • “Sale ends Saturday.”  Have you ever used this sales technique?  Sure we have to create urgency for our prospect sometimes, but it can sometimes backfire.  Using discomfort and scarcity to persuade the customer to buy can alienate the customer.  It can work short-term, but it doesn’t create long-term loyalty, especially when it isn’t real.

Habit #8: One upping

  • Has your spouse ever come home and said they had a really bad day at work?  And your response is, “You think your day was bad, let me tell you about my day and how bad it was!”  This is an example of one upping.  Sales people do this all of the time and don’t even realize it.  The best thing to do most of the time is to say nothing. Don’t attempt to one up your customer by telling you story or your situation.  Just like your spouse wants you to do, just listen.

Habit #9: Over Familiarity

  • The use of words and gestures as if we are closer to the prospect than we actually are.  Familiarity and being too informal can be a killer if used too soon.  The best thing to do is to be more conservative and more professional until you have good rapport built.

Habit #10: With-holding passion and energy

  • If a sales person isn’t enthusiastic about their product and services, their customer wont be either.  People make purchases on emotion, not logic.  If your presentation is flat and not exciting, then your prospect won’t be motivated to buy.  You have to give yourself a hard reality check here.  Maybe you have been doing what you are doing for years and years and you just aren’t as passionate as you used to be.  If that is the case, that is okay, just be honest with yourself and move towards something that you can get excited about.

Habit #11: Explaining failure

  • Telling the customer why you failed to deliver.  When is the last time you were in a restaurant and your food took forever and when you finally received it your waiter said that they were really busy.  They used the “we are busy” as an excuse you didn’t get your food very quickly? Did you really care that they were busy?  I know I don’t care.  How often as a sales person do you try to explain the failure to your customers instead of just owning it and moving on.  The excuse is usually worse than the actual failure.  Nobody really likes hearing excuses, even when they are real.

Habit #12: Never having to say you’re sorry

  • Refusing to say I am sorry is another thing sales people fail to do when they should be willing to do it.  “I am sorry” are three words that can change the dynamic of almost any personal relationship, so why wouldn’t it work in a business relationship?  The answer is, it does work.  Sales people must be willing to say it when a customer has been wronged. Regardless if you agree or not, if the customer feels that way, just say it and move on.

Habit #13: Throwing others under the bus 

  • Sacrificing a colleague for your own shortcomings.  If we fail to deliver what we promised, it is on us to make it right.   Blaming others shows more about who you are than it does about anything else.  Sure there are times when it is other people’s fault within your organization. However, since you are the face for the organization, just own it, correct it, and do whatever you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Habit #14: Propogandizing

  • Over-reliance on your company mission and philosophy.  Instead of adapting to a customers needs and wants, you state your company’s mission and values and processes.  Relying on the company line instead of focusing on the customer and showing empathy.  Substituting prepared information over genuine conversation.  This turns the customer off.  Be real with a prospect and do whatever you can to tailor to their needs as necessary.

Habit #15: Wasting energy

  • Hanging out at the water cooler and taking to your colleagues about what is wrong with the company and the manager.  Discussing who screwed up.  These negative actions don’t usually take place in front of your customer, but it does takes it toll on your ability to positively sell to your customer.  If you waste energy participating in this, you wont have the energy to take care of what you need to take care of. This spills over to your personal life as well.  The next thing you know you are coming home talking about how bad things are at work.  The best thing to do is to not waste energy and just do your job.

Habit #16: Obsessing over the numbers

  • At what cost is it acceptable to hit your numbers?  Sure goal obsession can be a good thing, but when does it become a bad thing?  It can become bad when we start putting sales over customer needs.  When we start embellishing the truth and not telling the truth just to make a sale.  Sure I am sure you don’t do this, but focus on serving people and the numbers will work out.

Which of the above 16 behaviors do you need to stop?  Be honest with yourself.  Focus on eliminating a few of these at a time.  Or contact me if you would like to learn more about coaching and how I could possibly work with you and your sales team to become more effective and eliminate these behaviors.  I am a certified coach in Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching.

I hope you enjoyed this book summary and notes.

To your success and your future.