We asked, they answered. Here is the latest Q&A with our VIP CMO panel.
“What is the book you’ve gifted to others the most? Why do you love it?”
For executives, I share The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horiwitz.
Why? This book does a brilliant job sharing incredibly deep insights and expert advice about making tough executive decisions. Plus it helps put in perspective that you are not alone in challenges you’re facing, be that within the business, team, or industry and you can persevere.
At this point, it’s become an oldie but a goodie, but I’m still incredibly passionate about Seth Godin’s Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable. For 25 years, I’ve worked in the insurance brokerage industry where companies and services are seen primarily as commodities, and differentiation is very difficult to come by as a result. Much like the millions of cows Seth Godin describes, the only way to truly stand out is to have the courage and the fortitude to create a space of uniqueness so that consumers want to hear your story. I like to think the power of being purple is a lesson I first learned from Prince, but it took Seth Godin’s book on cows to finally make me understand what I’d already learned to be true!
Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
Like most things in life (and in business), the solution to complexity often lies in the simplicity of the answer or the pathway towards the answer. It was his last book to be published during his lifetime and I think one of the most profound philosophical looks at the journey of life and its challenges. Of the many heirlooms and items my mom gave me before she suddenly passed away in 2001 is a copy of this book that she wrote in when I graduated college. Her words, combined with the text and subtext of Dr. Seuss, is in many ways my opus. “Kid, you’ll move mountains! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So get on your way!”
Can I go with 2 books? I usually give them as a package! The first one is: Sticky Wisdom: How to Start a Creative Revolution at Work, it’s full of very practical, simple ideas to get more creative at work. The other one is: Thinking Fast and Slow, it’s a must to understand how we make decisions, which in marketing is a critical foundational element.
I give these 2 books to everybody who joins my team as an introduction into my way of thinking about our job, our purpose, our role – deeply rooted in the understanding of human behavior and peppered with creative problem solving.
Over the years, I have also gifted these to other colleagues and friends, I love giving books that inspire and enlighten our view of ourselves and others.
The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino is probably the book that impacted me the most. I read it during my early career days and it explains in a very simple way how to both succeed in sales, biz and life.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. Fiction that might remind some readers of Dickens, but contemporary in its plot. The plot, the characters, the pacing, the tone, all the little details, the dialogue and the descriptions are sublime. The story is an intricate plot that spans New York, Las Vegas, Amsterdam and spans several decades. If you don’t like a long read, this isn’t for you, but the story telling is captivating and worth the ride.
The book I have gifted the most is What Color is your Parachute.
Over a number of years, many of my mentees needed a way to re-look at their careers. This book never fails to provide a great tool kit to do just that!
The First 90 Days. Great place to get started on the right foot for anybody starting a new job whether at the same company or new company.
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