Book a Business Book Review

Looking for a great meeting Topic or Training?

Consider hosting a Business Book Review – The most successful business owners making learning a priority.

Studies have repeatedly shown that the most successful business owners are those who are constantly learning new ideas.  The good news is there are lots of great business books out there to learn from – the challenge for most of us is finding the time to actually read them.

Time to check out Aspire’s Business Book Reviews

Kansas City Business Owners have a new choice to learn

That’s where Aspire’s Business Book Reviews come in.  We’ve been doing great live book review sessions on some of the best business books around for a while now. We’re going to continue that regular ongoing series but if you missed a book or if you’re just looking for a great topic for discussion with your staff or your networking group then you can schedule Aspire for the book review of your choosing (see list below for available titles and topics). And the best part?  You don’t even need to read the book!  We’ll cover the key points, have a great group discussion and get you on your way.  You’ll walk out with a several page summary, some new knowledge and and a lot of great ideas to incorporate into your next planning session. This is a very cost-effective program for business owners and their staff. Cost will depend on what you’re looking for – so Contact Us and we’ll be glad to talk it over with you. Imagine a great leadership or staff meeting around ground-breaking business insights from the best business books out there. Also – for the right kind of networking group we’re happy to deliver a book review at cost (basically just printing costs). We like to meet great business owners and professionals who want to learn – so that’s always a good investment of our time. If you haven’t been to one of our ongoing Business Book Reviews, then you’re missing out

Here’s what people are saying:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the group discussion around the key points of the book…” “I’ve had the opportunity to attend many events and this was one of the more informative and relevant one’s I’ve attended. The book had some great information, however your insights and the way you presented the material were even more helpful. I have to be selective on how I spend my time and this was a great investment.” “This was a great experience.  It allowed me to get the benefits of a book without having to read it all first!  Shawn knows what he is doing and any time with him leaves a lasting impression.” “This really added a dynamic to the way I would have been able to think about and comprehend the material on my own.” How does it work? The reviews and the discussion typically take about an hour, but it’s best to schedule it for a bit longer. We can do these over lunch, breakfast or just as a meeting. We will have some great handouts and also a presentation (so a screen and projector are needed).

Complete Guarantee

If for any reason you don’t feel like you learned at least a couple of useful new ideas, then you will get a complete and cheerful refund…and get to keep your summary! If you’re interested in scheduling a Business Book Review for your team or group, contact us at 913.660.9400 or use our Contact Form and we’ll work with you to figure it out. These reviews make for great team building and growth type of events.

Business Book Reviews available (to date)

Tribal Leadership – by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright There are a ton of leadership books out there – many of them are great, but this is the first leadership book I’ve seen that gives you a framework (based on lots of research) that really explains why some organizations and leaders are more succesful than others. It’s a totally different way of looking at leadership and organizational culture…and there’s a road map for how you can start applying these ideas to your organization (and your life). Every organization is composed of tribes—naturally occurring groups of between 20 and 150 people. Until now, only a few leaders could identify and develop their tribes, and those rare individuals were rewarded with loyalty, productivity, and industry-changing innovation. Tribal Leadership shows leaders how to assess, identify, and upgrade their tribes’ cultures, one stage at a time. The result is an organization that can thrive in any economy.

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Great by Choice – by Jim Collins and Morton Hansen “Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not?” In Great By Choice Collins and Hansen identified companies who outperformed their peers by at least ten times (over a period of 15 years) – specifically in industries and environments going through rapid and chaotic change and growth. The study resulted in some surprising findings…and although they are based around large publicly traded companies, these are ideas that can apply to any company.  It’s a thought provoking, sometime counter-intuitive book that will apply to your business.

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The Power of Habit – by Charles Duhigg Studies show that more than 40% of daily actions are driven by habits rather than conscious decisions.  The beauty and the curse of a habit is that you don’t have to think about what you’re doing, it doesn’t require any special effort, you just do it – on autopilot. The lesson is that if you want to make real meaningful change, then you need to change your habits.  In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg uncovers the science of habits and how individuals and organizations have successfully driven change through the understanding of how habits really work. Want to lose weight, stop smoking, build a great company?  All of these tough changes can be best accomplished by transforming habits.

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The Pumpkin Plan – by Mike Michalowicz As a business owner, you don’t just want a run of the mill business…those are the businesses that don’t make it.  You want a business that stands out, that’s fundamentally better than the competition – and that’s why you need the Pumpkin Plan. A simple strategy to grow a remarkable business in any field

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Made to Stick – by Chip Heath and Dan Heath The heart of business success in today’s world revolves around communication.  If you can’t communicate to potential clients (marketing and sales) or to your employees (management and leadership) you’re not going to make it very far.  However if you can get your points across, you can write  your own ticket! And that is the real magic behind Made To Stick.  It’s a book about taking your great ideas and applying some science to them so that people ‘get’ them.

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Abundance – by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler If you spend much time at all watching or reading the news, you’d quickly be convinced that the world is teetering on the edge of ruin. The Mayans may not have been right, but it’s only a matter of time before the whole thing just tanks!  Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler believe (strongly) that the ‘End is Near’ viewpoint is all wrong.  In fact they present a compelleing argument that:  The Future Is Better Than You Think

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To Sell Is Human – by Daniel Pink According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1 in 9 of us are officially in Sales.  However the real truth of the matter is that the other 8 out of 9 of us is also in sales – or at least have the responsibility of moving others (which is the same thing).  Whether you’re trying to close a deal, secure a partner, get your kid to study or get a patient (or client) to take action – you are selling something.  And for many of us, that’s an uncomfortable idea. Daniel Pink’s newest book does a great job explaining why we’re all actually in sales and how the traditional sales approach no longer works.  The good news is that he also shares the formula for what does work today and it doesn’t require you to act like you sell used cars.

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Start with Why – by Simon Sinek One of the most important things you can do as a business owner is motivate and engage your staff.  The best way to do that is eloquently described by Simon Sinek in Start with Why. People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs and the Wright Brothers have little in common…other than success and the fact that they Started With Why. Simon Sinek studied great leaders and discovered they have a unique way of communicating – he calls this framework the Golden Circle and it explains why some people and organizations are more influential, more innovative and command greater loyalty than others…and they can repeat their success over and over again. It doesn’t matter what you do, what matters is why you do it.  This is a completely new way of thinking about things and as a business owner or a business professional it can have a huge impact on your success.

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Uncommon Service – by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss The US is primarily a service based economy – 80% of the jobs fall somewhere in the service sector. Everyone loves to talk about good service – it’s well known that keeping  your customers happy is one of the best investments you can make. If all that is true, then why is it so rare to find a company that consistently has excellent service?  The reality is that most companies are doing it wrong. As you might expect, it’s not as easy as saying “The Customer is always Right” (they’re not by the way).  And it’s not as easy as finding great service minded employees – that helps, but you have to build a model that works with normal employees as well. Uncommon Service shares the framework, the 4 Keys to designing and excellent service model in any business.

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Instant Influence – by Michael Pantalon Would it be valuable for you to be able to quickly motivate yourself or someone else to take action.  Maybe you’ve got an employee who is great most of the time, but has some behavior that needs to change…maybe it’s a family member who wants to start working out or eating better. Behavior change is hard – especially since most of us don’t know what we’re doing. That’s where Instant Influence comes in.  The author Michael Pantalon is a PhD in psychology and a professor at Yale and he has packaged up a proven approach to unlock motivation quickly.

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Give and Take – by Adam Grant Adam Grant has written a fascinating, heavily researched book that takes a different kind of look at how people succeed. It turns out you can classify people into 3 different types…Givers, Takers and Matchers. Just like it sounds, Givers have a strong tendency to give more than they get and do so willingly, even enthusiastically. Takers try to get more out of every exchange than they give and Matchers will tend to give and take based on what the other person does. It turns out that one style has dramatically more business success than the other two…and that same style also accounts for the worst performers as well!

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Youtility – By Jay Baer Marketing has changed dramatically in the last 5 to 10 years – what used to work, doesn’t work so well anymore…however what does work is what Jay Baer calls Youtility. The idea that your marketing should be so incredibly useful to your target market that they will want to become a customer. It’s a completely different way of looking at marketing – how do you add value consistently? Packed with great examples and challenging ideas, Youtility will teach you how to start creating a different kind of marketing in your own business.

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Decisive – By Chip Heath, Dan Heath Collectively we aren’t very good at making decisions – we’re wrong a lot more than we’d like to admit, but it’s not really our fault. There are all sorts of hidden biases and issues that lead to bad decisions and outcomes. In Decisive, Chip Heath and Dan Heath explain the issues behind decision making…and more importantly lay out a clear process / framework on how to consistently make better decisions. This book is for anyone who’s making important decisions in their business or in their life…!

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Getting Naked – By Patrick Lencioni If you want to create amazing customer loyalty, then you need to look at how you operate. In fact, you need to consider Getting Naked with your clients. Not literally of course, but Patrick Lencioni does recommend opening yourself up and being vulnerable with your customers (and others that you work with). People are looking for real, honest relationships…that’s where long term loyalty comes from…and that’s only possible if you are a real person when you interact with your clients. Learn how to overcome the 3 Fears that sabotage business owners – you’ll be amazed at what’s possible.

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The Slight Edge – by Jeff Olson Jeff Olson is a life long student of personal development and how success is achieved…and what he’s discovered is that people who successfully get fit, make money, build businesses, build relationships all share a secret of sorts.  They didn’t achieve their success through luck or any single big act. Rather they used The Slight Edge – the idea that making effective, small choices every day, consistently over time is what drives to great outcomes. If you’ve ever felt frustrated with a New Year’s resolution not working out…or just don’t know how to really effectively change for the better, the Slight Edge will change the way you think and show you a better way to win.

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Traction – by Gino Wickman If you’re looking for the textbook on how to build a business that’s geared for growth, then Traction is my first recommendation. Most business owners hit a point where they feel like they’re spinning their wheels and not getting anywhere. That’s because the fundamentals of how they’ve created the business are off.  The good news is that they can be fixed and it’s a fairly simple set of ideas.  That doesn’t mean it’s easy.  The Traction book review will really help you get a handle on the concepts and get you started on how to start transforming your business into one that will continuing growing and driving success.

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Drive – by Daniel Pink For the last 100+ years we’ve collectively been operating under a motivational model that’s fundamentally flawed – the straightforward concept that everything we do is driven either by a carrot or a stick. And if you want more of some behavior, you reward, and if you want less…you punish it.  It turns out that model doesn’t really work in today’s modern business world. In Drive, Daniel Pink explains the problems with the old model and offers up a powerful straw man for a new model that posits people are motivated by big ideas like Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.

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Hooked – by Nir Eyal Working from the intersection of psychology, technology and business, author Nir Eyal walks us through examples of habit forming products and a step by step model on how to incorporate those same powerful ideas and attributes into new products and ideas. A product that your users start using habitually is the holy grail of product success and it’s not easy to do, but it is possible and there is a proven approach.  Great book and discussion on how people use today’s products and technology.

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Ownership Thinking – by Brad Hams Imagine having your entire team on the same page and worrying about the success of the business as much as you, the owner, does. Ownership Thinking is about how you create that culture of accountability that will lead to extraordinary profits, purpose and an engaged team of employees. Great ideas on how to create incentive plans, how to identify and avoid entitlement and how to get everyone focused on the most important parts of your business.

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Profit First – by Mike Michalowicz  If you’re in business but not bringing home a healthy profit, despite having a business that’s growing (and thriving from the outside at least) then you need to read Profit First. Most business owners will at some point fall into the ‘Survival Trap’ and sacrifice a healthy bottom line in exchange for growth or just keeping the doors open. Once you understand what it takes to have a healthy business and implement some key ideas, you’ll be amazed at what’s possible when it comes to making money and enjoying your business.

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The Ultimate Sales Machine – by Chet Holmes  Chet Holmes was a superstar salesman…but even more then that, he had an amazing gift for creating businesses that worked. This book distills his best ideas down to the core. If you can implement and perfect even a handful of these ideas (he covers 12 in all) then you’ll likely have a high performing business – or as Chet would call it…an Ultimate Sales Machine. Great book for business owners.

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You Already Know How to Be Great – by Alan Fine  We’d all like to perform better and Alan Fine has uncovered important ideas on the best ways to improve performance. The concept boils down to 3 key ideas: A paradigm – the importance of Inside Out Development, A principle – Use intentional focus to eliminate or minimize interference as the best way to improve performance, and a Process – the GROW model as a great way to consistently improve your focus.

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The Challenger Sale – by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson  Using a data driven, research based approach the authors examine sales success (for complex sales) and uncovered several surprising ideas. First they identified a particular selling style (1 of 5) that greatly outperformed others…and they also identified the specific behaviors and actions that work best in today’s sales environment.

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The Automatic Customer – by John Warrilow. Successful long term growth of a business requires the right kind of business model – generally that means some sort of recurring revenue…or Automatic Customers. This book will help you identify how to transform any business into a stronger business model and to create automatic customers.

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The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – by Patrick Lencioni.  One of the best business / leadership / management books of all time. Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions model clearly illustrates why teams struggle and supplies the answers on what to do about it. It’s a simple, but not easy, idea that is fundamental to building a great team or a great business.

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Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits – by Greg Crabtree.  Successful businesses run on profits and although Finance is a second language for many business owners, it doesn’t have to be that hard. There are four fundamental financial practices that are simple to understand that will transform your business into a healthy, profitable venture.

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The One Thing – by Gary Keller  If you’re struggling to get things done and feel like you’re stuck in your business. The odds are you’re trying to do too much. The One Thing will help you understand why and how to narrow your focus down and how a One Thing approach can drive immense success.