You may remember that two years ago, I presented a synopsis of Simon Sinek‘s best-seller, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t (New York: Portfolio, 2014) . He is described as an optimist, and touts inspiration as his key deliverable in business. Sinek’s TED talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” is the third most-watched of all time, with nearly 29 million views. You can watch it by clicking HERE.
So, this weekend, his newest book released on September 13, has already cracked the business best-seller list. The book debuted at # 5, published by the Wall Street Journal (October 1-2, p. C16). It is entitled Together is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration (New York: Portfolio, 2016).
The book is already in the top 20 in three different business book categories according to Amazon.com. Here is how that site describes the book:
“Life is a series of choices. Do we go left or right? Jump forward or hold back?
“Sometimes our choices work out for the better…and sometimes they don’t. But there is one choice, regardless of every other decision, that profoundly affects how we feel about our journey: Do we go alone or do we go together?
“It is the courageous few who ask for help. It is the giving few willing to help others. We can all find the courage we need and know the joy of service – the minute we learn that together is better.
“Filled with inspiring quotes, this richly illustrated fable tells a delightful story of three kids who go on a journey to a new playground and take a stand for what they believe. The story is a metaphor for anyone looking to make a change or wondering how to pursue their dreams. And the message is simple: relationships – real, human relationships – really, really matter. The stronger our relationships, the stronger the bonds of trust and cooperation, the more we can accomplish and the more joy and fulfillment we get from our work and personal lives.
“The three heroes are archetypes who represent us all at various points in our lives. Their main challenge is the same one we face every day: How can we find the things we’re looking for? According to Sinek, if we each do our part to help advance a shared vision, we can build the world we imagine.
“In addition to the story itself, Sinek shares such profound lessons as:
· A team is not a group of people that work together. A team is a group of people that trust each other.
· Fight against something and we focus on the thing we hate. Fight for something and we focus on the thing we love.
· Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.
· A star wants to see himself rise to the top. A leader wants to see those around him become stars.
“This book was designed to be given as a gift to someone you want to inspire, or to say thank you to someone who inspires you.”
We will wait and see if this becomes a book that we present at our First Friday Book Synopsis. As of this writing, it is not yet on the New York Times business best-seller list. And, I don’t like books that are based upon fables.
I am frequently asked what has been the best book, the most influential book, and the most enjoyable book that I have read for the First Friday Book Synopsis over the 17 years we have been conducting the program. I entertained that question as recently as last night, as I distributed fliers for our August 1 program in Dallas.
The best book was Good to Great by Jim Collins.(New York: Harper Business, 2001). The most influential book was Winning the Global Game by Jeffrey Rosensweig (New York: Free Press, 1998). But, those explanations are for other posts.
In today’s post, I will cover the most enjoyable book.
Novel-like in its presentation, this book took you inside the operations of the company as well as inside the brain of its author. The book makes you feel as if you were celebrating with the author in good times, and struggling with him to feel the anger and pain in hard times.
In every event covered in the book, you not only read the facts, but also, the attitude and feelings that accompany them. Most striking was the story of a leaked e-Mail that found its way to the Internet, jeopardizing the future of the company. Another was the anger that Schultz expressed when he wanted his shops to smell like coffee, not burnt cheese, causing him to ask if they were going to start serving hash browns.
The story of VIA was captivating, as were the issues of expanding the business internationally.
Starbucks has been the subject of many books, articles, and posts over the years. The company’s success speaks for itself. But you will find nothing that takes you inside nearly as much as this book.
I sometimes wish that Schultz would keep his mouth shut. When he speaks out about politics, education, and other social issues, I visualize boycotts, picket lines, and lost customers. But, he can’t do it. He is outspoken and opinionated. And, he has enough money to cut his losses. There is no question that this book would not have been my choice for the most entertaining work had Schultz been modest and laid-back. That is simply not him.
It is dated now. Starbucks has moved on. Schultz and the company have solved many of the problems you read in this book, and they have been replaced by new challenges.
However, history is history. And this one is fun. Perhaps that is because I am a customer and have experienced in the stores much of what I read here. But, what makes it fun is going inside the boardroom, operations, and brain of its author.
For a period of time, this book was # 1 on the best-seller lists, such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
You can read a review of this book written by Bob Morris on our blog by clicking here.
I will explain why I selected the best book and most influential book in future posts.
I am not surprised at all to see the statistics published on February 20, 2012 by the Pew Research Center that reveal very few Americans receive political news from social networks.
Where do we get our information about politicians, campaigns, platforms, etc? It’s not from social media. Here is the breakdown, when Americans were asked to identify the sources they used regularly to follow political news. Note this is not a “fixed pie” of 100%. Rather, these numbers reflect how many Americans sampled identified a source:
Cable news (36%)
Local TV news (32%)
National network news (26%)
Local daily newspaper (20%)
Talk radio (16%)
Late-night comedy shows (9%)
Why would this surprise anyone? Social Media is just what it is – it is social. It generates conversation, spreads opinions, and highlights reactions. Social Media is not a source that generates or distributes information. It is post-news. It is filled with what people think about what they already know.
It is not that Social Media is unimportant. In fact, it is the focus in my MBA research methods class this term at the University of Dallas. My students are learning research methods by focusing their research on Social Media.
Americans don’t get their news from Social Media outlets. Americans talk about the news through Social Media.
Are you surprised by this? If so, let’s talk about it really soon!
Holly Finn is a columnist for the Wall Street Journal. She wrote a recent impactful article, “Making Nice in the Online World: In the New Peer-to-Peer Economy, Being Courteous is a Must” (August 13-14, 2011, p. C12).
I pulled this line out for you to think about: “In this world, you trade wares personally, everyone knows your business and gossip is gold.”
This line is true because younger professionals today spend more time socializing digitally than face-to-face. She calls this “clicking not cliquing.” There are many options available online to everyone for a vast variety of products and services. Each day, the Internet features a start-up company that tries to nudge its way into the marketplace.
She states: “The trick is that you have to make the bed, say please and thank you and be true to your word. All these start-ups rely on a rating system. Buyers and sellers are the same people in this community, and as it grows, you stay only if you behave well. It’s Emily Post etiquette, digitized. And it’s effective: Millenials may not listen to anyone over 35, but they’re rapt with each other.”
The implication of this article is that it is not price, features, or benefits that makes as much of a difference as how you are treated. “It’s smart to act nicely if you might meet again, particularly if your actions are unceasingly recorded”
Do you agree with this? Does this fit into your online experiences?
Let’s talk about it really soon?
The August 13 edition of the New York Times included an informative article by Neal Gabler entitled “The Elusive Big Idea.” Gabler is the author of a book about Walt Disney and a senior fellow at the Annenberg Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California.
His thesis in the article is that we are drowning in information, with neither the time, nor the desire to process it.
Think about this for a moment. Just 15 years ago, you would not be doing what you are doing right now – reading a blog. There were no blogs. Your phone would not beep when a new development in the news occurred. Everyone has knowledge to share, and everyone has the capability to access it. But, in what ways are you processing, implementing, or transforming what you know?
As a result of all this access to knowledge, your big idea is easily lost. As Gabler says, “If our ideas seem smaller nowadays, it’s not because we are dumber than our forbears but because we just don’t care as much about ideas as they did. In effect, we are living in an increasingly post-idea world – a world in which big, thought-provoking ideas that can’t be instantly monetized are of so little intrinsic value that fewer people are generating them and fewer outlets are diseeminating them, the Internet notwithstanding. Bold ideas are almost passe.”
He goes on to say that in the past, “we collected information not simply to know things. That was only the beginning. We also collected information to convert it into something larger than facts and ultimately more useful…[now] we prefer knowing to thinking because knowing has more immediate value. It keeps us in the loop, keeps us connected to our friends and our cohort. Ideas are too airy, too impractical, too much work for too little reward. Few talk ideas. Everyone talks information.”
And much of that information is personal – where you are going, what you are doing, who are you meeting with, and so forth. The early days of Twitter popularized this method of sharing personal knowledge.
The problem is that we now have fewer thinkers, and fewer people who transform the way we think and live. We have no shortage of information. We know more than we ever have before. The question is what are we doing with it?
Gabler’s article suggests that we won’t be thinking about what we know. “What the future portends is more and more information – everests of it. There won’t be anything we won’t know. But there will be no one thinking about it.”
So, he ends by saying, “think about that.”
I don’t believe many people will think about it. They will just turn to the next blog entry, the next page, the next news channel, and so forth, filling themselves with short-term knowledge.
What do you think? Let’s talk about this really soon!