Sunday, March 24, 2013

To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink

sellishumanThis is my first “must read of 2013”, it’s on the desks of almost every leader I know. This is a book so filled with value, I’ve read it three times in less than a month. There’s SO much here - it's five books in one!

Let’s dive in to why I feel every person in my network should read this book…

1. Sales is dead. We’re all in sales now.

The internet was supposed to destroy sales. Well video did NOT kill the radio star, nor did the web kill the role of face to face sales in business. What it did was push volume sales online and make every media user a marketing machine. The customer is the buyer and the seller because they have every bit of information they need but face to face interpersonal skills are more important than ever. It’s no longer caveat emptor (buyer beware) it’s caveat venditor ( seller beware, we the customer know as much if not more than you about your own product now! ).

*Warning–Alec has a potty mouth.
No one likes to be sold. Daniel references the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, like many people I had only seen this famous scene ( *Warning, crazy explicit language!!! ) but I went back and watched the whole movie. It reminds you how dark sales can be. This is the salesman that the internet killed. Good riddance.

But if we're all in sales now we could use some skill building right? That’s what the first section of this book focuses on, the new ABC’s of ‘authentic influence’. For professionals who hate the idea of sales, being of professional service is your new goal and the book lays out a perfect roadmap. Even things like body language, the concept of why adapting to the other person is something I wrote a chapter on in Mark Bowen’s book for sales professionals.  Daniel mentions the huge power of asking better questions and mentions a topic I love, Solutions Focus.

A special thanks Dan for the shout out to the fact that fundraising IS part of this world of influence. Nice to see social-profit tips on ‘content curation’ from Beth Kanter in the book too!

2. The rise of the Ambivert IntrovertExtrovertScale

Susan Cain set 2012 on fire with "Quiet: The Power of introverts”. I spent a lot of time sharing this book last year. A thousand people in my network bought it and confessed it gave them great comfort – that they’re not “useless” because they’re not an Extrovert. But many often said to me “we'll I'm in between the two”.  Dan shares the incredible power of having a foot in both camps, and how we can be comfortable growing our strengths as “Ambiverts” ( are you one? test yourself here ).

3. “Pitching” in a web and wired world.

This part of the book is almost worth the price alone! Some peers in my network are setting up pitch-nights to help each other develop how to talk about what they do in “one word” for discussion, networking, email and yes even Twitter ( bless you Dan for acknowledging that social business is a big force to be reckoned with in 2013 and beyond! ). Communicate better, dump the sales talk – focus on clarity! Powerhouse chapter, I highly recommend you watch the video below on this topic.

listen4. Leading with your ears.

I know, everyone says “listening is important” in relationship building. But no one every say exactly why, and exactly how to do it. Dan goes deep into how to listen with your body. How to listen deeply, honestly and even learn how to improvise as part of your listening. Probably the most unique and usable business resource on this done to death topic I’ve read in a decade.

5. Servant LeadershipServantLeader

This is a topic close to my heart. Most people know that I live to serve others. Partly it’s an expression of my faith life but it is also my personal business mission statement. It’s a lifestyle and business strategy that defines me, Paul Nazareth. So to read about how Daniel values this as part of the new sales ‘must-have’ attitude and skill set is nice. Especially since much of my motivation is combating many of the unsustainable management styles built around fear, micromanagement and intimidation I see so often.

So – I’m betting on this book. I’ve bought a dozen copies to give away during the year. I predict big things for it and highly recommend it.

Four items on the sheer awesome business power of Dan & this book:

  1. Daniel’s interviews with best selling authors
  2. NPR audio interview with Dan on listening & ambiverts
  3. Harvard Business interview with Dan on the book
  4. A resource board I’ve created of articles on the book

Watch the launch below but below that is a fantastic video on “pitching”.

PurpleThanks for reading, please share this post with your network!




  1. Thanks for this excellent post, Paul. I especially like your links to other resources. This book was also my first-read of 2013 :)

    You'll find my additional thoughts at you need to read To Sell Is Human.

  2. By "first-read", I meant "first must-read" :)

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  4. Great article about marketing, thanks for sharing it.

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