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.
On Friday, July 8, I present a synopsis of Angela Duckworth‘s # 1 best-seller, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (New York: Scribner, 2016). You can register for this event by clicking HERE.
You might be interested in an earlier version of her thoughts on this subject. While the book more fully develops and refines what she says, this is a TED talk she gave in 2013.
As of this writing, the talk has had more than 8,700 views, making it extremely popular.
Here is the URL, or you can click HERE to see the video.
Famous TED talk:
The new book by Chris Anderson, TED: Guide to Public Speaking (Houghton Mifflin, 2016), rocketed to the #3 position in its debut week on the Wall Street Journal best-selling hardcover business list, published on May 21-22 (p. C14).
We rely on the New York Times business best-seller list as our primary source for selecting books for the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas. We will consider this book, as well as others, as soon as we see its listing there.
Other new books include The Ideal Team Player (Jossey-Bass, 2016) by Patrick Lencioni at #7. It debuted at #8 last week.
I wish I were as optimistic as Chris Anderson, who wrote today, “Anyone Can Give a Memorable TED Talk,” in the Wall Street Journal (April 30-May 1, C3).
You can read the entire article by clicking HERE.
Anderson, who is the President of TED, has a new book that hits the market next week entitled TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016).
He gives these tips:
- ask yourself if you have something worth saying
- slash the scope of your talk so that you unpack the idea properly
- give people a reason to care
- build your case piece by piece, using familiar words and concepts
- tell stories
His premise is that anyone, with the right approach, and enough practice, can be a greater presenter. In the article, he tells the improbable story of Richard Turere, a 12-year old Maasai boy, who gave a talk at a TED conference, in front of an audience of 1,400 seasoned professionals.
I don’t think so. I have provided instruction and critiqued thousands of speakers in Business Communication courses over the past 39 years, and have coached individuals one-on-one countless times. In fact, even today, I am meeting a speaker for individual coaching who gives a talk next week. I can start naming people right now who you would never see on the TED Talks site, no matter how much time I would spend coaching them, and I would still be listing names hours from now. And, I don’t think it’s because I’m a lousy coach. Sorry – everyone can’t do it.
His assumption is that there is something within an individual, that if unlocked properly, will propel a person to greatness. He would say that if you stay with it long enough, and apply the correct instruction and techniques, success is simply a matter of time.
I will admit that for many people, presenting is more a matter of “will” than “skill.” There are people who simply don’t want to get any better, and therefore, even intense training and coaching will not get them there. They could be great, but they don’t want to be. Fortunately, there are enough people who do respond to training and coaching, and who do become great speakers, that keeps me going as a professional resource.
But, what about people who can’t? What if fantastic presenting is not a will or skill issue? There are plenty of people who fall short of any or all of the six behaviors listed as tips above. They just can’t do it. It’s not their strength. It never will be. Do we beat them up and put them through the misery of intense scrutiny toward an end that will never happen? I would far rather build on something else that they are good at – one of their strengths – to work around their presentation weakness, than to consistently badger them to speak well.
I also think that the title of Anderson’s article today insults the great TED speakers. I am well aware that writers rarely get to construct titles to their articles. They usually see the title the same time all the readers do, so I am not bashing Anderson. But the title is there for all to see. TED Talks are premium presentations. Great content with great delivery. And, it is a very competitive product. These are not like “uploads to YouTube” from your web cam. Even many really great speakers are not to the level of TED presenters that you watch on that site.
To suggest that everyone can be like TED, is about the same as saying everyone can be like Mike. No way.