Category Archives: “Sales”

Successfully helping people choose wisely.


This book, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, was recommended to me by a United Methodist Bishop from East Asia.  I think the line that hooked me was, “It’s the best book on change that I have ever read.”  That was my motivation for reading it, and I will agree with him.

I used to say that people couldn’t be changed; they have to want to change.  I now understand why that is wrong.  People change without even realizing they are changing!  This book takes a very involved process and reduces it to three fundamental concepts:

  1. The logical, reasoning side of us is like a person, a “Rider”, trying to dictate the direction of an “Elephant”.
  2. The “Elephant” is the emotional, feeling side in all of us.  It is more powerful than the “Rider” and can wear down the “Rider” after time.
  3. Both the “Rider” and the “Elephant” need clear, simple directions to follow.  They need a well-marked “Path”.

I love the instant practicality of the book.  I highly recommend it for anyone who struggles with individual or group change.  Thanks, Bishop!

My notes on this book can be downloaded in MS Word format from the blue “FILES box” in the left side-bar of this blog.  Look for “Switch” as you scroll through the box.


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Getting To YES

A friend recommended I read Getting To YES by Roger Fisher and William Ury.  I don’t remember the reason he gave for suggesting it, but I know now that I needed to read it.

For most of my adult life I approached disagreements as contests; I wanted to win.  It’s actually worse than that, I wanted the other person to know that I had won – and they had lost.  I can say I was competitive, but I think the real reason was ego.  My ego has caused a lot of problems, but that’s for another post.

I really appreciated the authors examples and suggestions on how to reach a solution that is fair and respectful to all parties.  And the authors emphasized that I, too, needed respect in the process and solution.  I must not make a bad agreement just to appease the other side.  It was this continual theme of respect for all parties that impressed me.  Although the authors made no references or claims, I feel the book’s principles coincide well with Jesus life and teachings.

I recommend this book to those of you who find yourself negotiating on a regular basis, whether that be at work, organization, religious group, or home.  With practice, I think it will add a breath of Shalom to what once held dread and resulted in injured relationships.

My notes on this book can be downloaded in MS Word format from the blue “FILES box” in the left side-bar of this blog.  Look for “Getting To YES” as you scroll through the box.


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Learning To Listen. Learning To Teach.

The secondary title of this book by Jane Vella is “The Power Of Dialogue In Educating Adults”.  I was already a believer in teaching adults through discussion.  But Vella gave me more details, direction, advice, and models in how to do it better.

For some reason we assume that teaching is something done through lecture.  Granted, there are powerful speakers who can make great points and engage their audience, but the reason for teaching goes beyond entertaining.  Vella wrote, “Lectured-to-adults learn.  They learn that they hold no influence and make no impact on decisions.  They learn that they are expected to be passive.”  But many adults want to do something with what they learn.  They want to carry this new attitude, knowledge, or skill into their future for a change in their life.

I join Vella in being a big fan of learning in small groups, or teams.  Vella says, “Teammates provide coaching, encouragement, accountability, and more.  They often do this better than the teacher.”  I’ll be more faithful to put into practice what I learned if I know someone I respect is going to ask me about my progress.   Not only that, they are going to expect me to ask them how they are doing.  The power of a team is greater than the power of all the individuals added together.

One of the items that Vella revealed to me was teaching that I need to teach people what they want to learn.  “People are naturally excited to learn what they want to know.  (Whereas teachers are excited to teach what they know.)”  She explains the importance of  listening to people before beginning to teach, that often the teacher must learn from the students before teaching them.

I could go on, but let me close with a challenge from Vella, “Our task as dialogue-educators is to make the learning so accountable, engagement so meaningful, and the material so relevant that lecture-style instruction will appear frail in comparison.”

My notes on this book can be downloaded in MS Word format from the blue “FILES box” in the left side-bar of this blog.

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The 5 Languages Of Appreciation In The Workplace

Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People  by Chapman and White

This book brings to light more than the need to show appreciation to co-workers.  It actually empowers me to do it.  I learned that everyone “speaks” a different language of appreciation.  Some people like verbal praise, others need some quality time from people, another may value a co-worker or boss assisting with a tough project, a gift is just what others want, and a few are affirmed by a sincere handshake.  And if I “speak” the wrong language to a co-worker, no matter how sincerely, the co-worker just won’t understand me.  They won’t realize I appreciate them.

With the purchase of the book, you are offered a free assessment of your languages of appreciation.  Upon completion, you will know which ones are most meaningful to you.  This, along with the other resources available in the book and on-line, , can help an entire company move toward better morale, productivity, and synergy.

My notes on this book can be downloaded in MS Word format from the blue “FILES box” in the left side-bar of this blog.

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Lincoln On Leadership

Donald T. Phillips has put together one of the most practical leadership books I have read.  He has managed to combine Lincoln’s words and actions to create a blueprint of a leadership style born during one of America’s most troubled times yet applicable for today.  It seems we are dealing with many of the same problems.  “All the “how to” of leadership is ineffective without integrity, honesty, and the resulting trust.  Morals must precede method.” 

I did not realize Abraham Lincoln possessed a temper that needed to vent.  I learned that this venting was often done by writing scalding letters that remained in his desk – never sent.  “Every human has flaws.  Leading always brings these flaws to the surface.  Leaders must learn to restrain those flaws from devastating their followers.”

It is a worthwhile book for all leaders, whether they lead their homes or their countries.

My notes on this book can be downloaded in MS Word format from the blue “FILES box” located in the left side-bar of this blog.

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