book reviews

What do your colors say about you?

Do you want to convey power? Innovation? Leadership? Success? Whatever your message, color will contribute to the impression. Color—Messages and Meanings, is a great book from Pantone’s color resource collection that can inform your choices. A lovely little book filled with colors, color combinations, moods, visuals, designs and ideas, it sparks reactions, starts dialogue, and fuels creativity. Get your copy here.

Reaching the 18- to 29-Year-Old

In John Zogby's fascinating book,

The Way We'll Be

, he offers insights into how 18- to 29-year-olds think:

  • They care about more than just themselves—contrary to how they've been depicted
  • They celebrate diversity—and expect marketers to realize that
  • They think and buy globally, and travel extensively
  • Just about everything in their lives is public, and they're far more comfortable with this lack of privacy than their parents
  • Their space is the Internet—and they're easily accessible through social media

Whatever your business, you'll likely need to be talking with (not to) this demographic. Zogby helps start the interesting and relevant conversation about how best to engage them.

Source: The Way We'll Be, John Zogby. Buy it here.

Gladwell Looks Inside Success

In his fascinating book,

Outliers

, Malcolm Gladwell cites a study of world experts and what it took to them get there. While all his subjects had natural talent, they also got an early start, and were lucky enough to have opportunity to practice their talent more than others—logging 10,000 hours of practice, considerably more than their less famous counterparts. I'd rate this a 9 on the Bell Meter, so if the topic interests you, get your copy here.

The Art of Civilized Conversation

This pleasant little book declares itself to be a guide to expressing yourself with style and grace—and that it does. It's a delightful read for those looking to polish their speaking skills and offers practical advice on topics like:

  1. Greetings and introductions

  2. Body language

  3. 10 rules of good conversation

  4. Rescuing oneself from conversation blunders

  5. Conversations with all kinds of people

  6. Online conversations

  7. Graceful apologies

  8. Conversation starters (and stoppers)

  9. Being a gracious hostess

The authors share practical and entertaining advice about finding the right words for any situation—even the most difficult.

This book isn't just for professional communicators, but is a good book for anyone aspiring to be a better conversationalist. Buy it here

The American Dream in Transition: What Americans Really Think

In his insightful book, The Way We'll Be , veteran pollster John Zogsby draws on thousands of surveys to reveal four mega trends that are shaping how Americans view the world:

  • Living with limits as consumers and citizens
  • Embracing diversity of views and ways of life
  • Looking inward to find spiritual comfort
  • Demanding authenticity from the media, our leaders and institutions

Led by today's 18-29-year-olds, America's first "global" generation, Americans are becoming more internationalist, consensus-oriented and environmentally conscious—and less willing to identify themselves by what they do or how they spend their money.

Leaders and marketers who want to better understand how Americans think and what they believe will find this a valuable read.

What a Pollster Can Tell You About Reaching Consumers

Are you reaching America's consumers with messages they care about? Consider these four emerging consumer perspectives as you craft your firm's messaging:

1. Individualistic

America has always had a distinctly individualistic view of life, but this characteristic is becoming even more pronounced as consumers find their hopes in institutions dashed.

Choice, independence, and personalized service are messages they warm to.

2. Yet global

Even as their trust in institutions declines, they are not just focused on their own corner of the planet.

Their interests are global, not just local,

and they connect with organizations with similar interests.

3. Interested in sustainability

Consumers, especially the younger ones, want sustainability, and want to do business with companies that share those values. Demonstrating your company's focus on global sustainability—not just national—will resonate with them.

4. Not just young

Retirees are living longer and hold vast resources of discretionary income. But they're looking for more than just relaxation. Talk to them about matters they care about and that contribute meaning to their lives—and tap into their life experiences within your own organization.

Source: The Way We'll Be, John Zogsby, Chapter 3. Buy it here.

The Brain That Changes Itself

For 400 years, mainstream medicine and science believed that brain anatomy was fixed. The common wisdom was that after childhood the brain changed only when it began the long process of decline; that when brain cells failed to develop properly, or were injured, or died, they could not be replaced. Nor could the brain ever alter its structure and find a new way to function if part of it was damaged... [This] theory decreed that people who were born with brain or mental limitations, or who sustained brain damage, would be limited...for life.

We now know that the brain changes its structure with each different activity it performs, and that if certain parts fail, other parts sometimes take over. This process, called neuroplasticity, has been the most significant learning about the brain since its basic anatomy was first mapped.

The Brain That Changes Itself is a fascinating must-read that chronicles stories of how this theory is impacting people once labeled retarded, those with learning disabilities, stroke victims, those with OCD, and others whose brains have failed them in traditional ways.

Order this book by Norman Doidge, MD here.

Source: Paraphrased and quoted from the book's preface.