Tag Archives: book summaries

What is the Question that the Book You are Reading Can Answer?

Basically, we learn from one another.  And then, when we learn, we think, and probe, and keep learning on our own.

Sometimes the thinking and probing comes from what we read.  Sometimes it comes from a conversation.  But it definitely comes to the perpetually curious mind.

So, earlier this week, I had lunch with Dan Weston.  Dan has been coming to the First Friday Book Synopsis since… I don’t remember when.  He is a thinker, and an accomplished and valuable business consultant.  Among other things, we talked about the value of the book synopsis presentations – and how he uses them with his clients.  (and he does use them!).  He is a subscriber to our 15minutebusinessbooks.com site, where he, and anyone else, can get full access to audio recordings of our synopses, plus handouts — one at a time, or, subscribers can get all of the synopses, including at least two new ones per month, for one yearly price.

As we talked, I thought again about a simple yet profound idea – that each good business book answers a key business question.  (I do not remember who I first heard/read this from).

We jotted down a few titles, and asked “What is the question this book answers?”  Here’s a first attempt…

Book Title The Key Question it Helps you Answer
Mastering the Rockefeller Habits (Harnish) How do you grow your business?
The Checklist Manifesto (Gawande) How do you keep from letting something important fall through the cracks?
Made to Stick (the Heath Brothers) How do you sell a good/important idea?
Drive (Pink) How do you motivate individual employees?
The Black Swan (Taleb) How do you prepare for an unpredictable future?
The Inside Advantage (Bloom) What is your uncommon offering, wanted/needed by your core customer?
Where Ideas Come From (Johnson) Where do ideas come from?  (OK – this one was easy)

Anyway, you get the idea.

Now, here is your challenge.  What question do you need to answer right now in your business?  Discover that, and then find the book that helps you answer it.

This exercise really is worth your time!


By the way, our blogging colleague Bob Morris is really good at asking “what are the right questions?”


Networking + Content = Greater Value

Lifetime corporate employment is dead; we’re all free agents now, managing our own careers across multiple careers across multiple jobs and companies.  And because today’s primary currency is information, a wide-reaching network is one of the surest ways to become and remain thought leaders of our respective fields.
Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone  And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time


Fact:  Networking has never been more important.

Problem:  So many networking events turn out to be something of a waste of time.

But we don’t know which events will be worth it – and which will be really valuable.

What to do?

Let me weigh in with a simple observation.  We really are able to do two things at once – or, at least, squeeze two purposes into one gathering.

So, let’s try this formula:

Networking + Content = Greater Value.

OK, I admit, I’m biased.  But, yes, I have just described the First Friday Book Synopsis.  For nearly thirteen full years, Karl Krayer and I have led a monthly event that has both of these two ingredients with, what I think, is just the right mix.  On the first Friday of January, nearly 120 people gathered for great networking.  They arrived beginning at 6:40 am, and mingled, conversed, exchanged business cards, met new people, and talked about how they could help and support each other.

And then, at 7:25, the content started, with two fast paced synopses of two terrific books, each with a valuable multi-page handout.

At 8:05, we were finished.  The networking continued for many, but those who needed to go elsewhere were out the door just after 8:05.

I think this formula is a good one for any networking group/event.

Of course, there are many ways to facilitate the networking component.  And there are many ways to provide terrific content – a good speaker; useful topics.  I admit, again, that I am biased toward our formula, because it has a built-in “keep it current” approach.   The books themselves provide a constantly changing “topic,” because each good business book offers valuable help/wisdom/counsel to those who aspire toward life-long learning and constant improvement.  And, this is always the essence of content:  “how can I keep learning in order to keep getting better?”

For those who just want to network, make sure you have adequate time built in to do that.  For those who want just content, make it worth their while.  And for those who seek both, this formula is a slam dunk.

Networking + Content = Greater Value.

or, maybe…

Content + Networking = Greater Value.