Sunday, August 2, 2015

Networking Must-Read: Give and Take by Adam Grant


The greatest lie ever told about networking is that a great networker is master of the present moment - that fortune favours only the brash and bold.

Being a life-long student of networking I have observed that the true master is one who transcends time and space to stitch together past, present and future for the purpose of creating value. Let me digress in a little nerdery for a moment....

Dr. Who is the greatest networker. Ever. 

Fuelled by curiosity, his super power is not the time machine he uses. Nor is it his virtual immortality, yes he's lived 13 lives since we Whovians have been following his exploits. It's how he manages his network. Giving first, saving civilizations then engaging the wisdom of and calling for help from those he's worked with when needed. When critics wonder what about this low-budget, campy crusader could possibly captivate humanity for over 50 years? It's not the swashbuckling but rather the connections he makes, the relationships he builds and what he does with them that endures. Life and work for us can be as adventurous should we choose....but on to the book....

Written in the context of this digital age, technology is something older best-selling networking books in the world only touch on and Adam Grant full immerses you in. Most importantly he addresses the elephant on the room that others do not, LinkedIn IS inextricably part of business networking right now and we need to pay attention to the internet of things to come.

Why is this the most-read book by successful people?

I love that this is on the reading lists of the world's business publications and the nightstands of successful people I know. Why? Because it's for people who value relationships, integrity, character - who understand that life is not short - it's long. Too long to think 'hunting' but too short to think 'farming' too. I love that it profiles people at all stages of career and life. Discusses the thorny issue of how to give and take credit at work, manage yourself as you ascend the ranks and most importantly, how to manage an established network.

The BIGGEST value of this book

Are you stymied about networking time management? Don't think you have time to network? You'll learn how to allocate time between meeting new people, keeping in touch with those around you and those you've lost contact with. This is the ROI of a network and you'll finish it with the tools to finally know where your biggest value is right now, and how to engage them.

The subtly of dealing with people is what will impress you about this book. Chapters on what the value of and how to master 'powerless communication' is a must have skill in today's influence economy. As our own career evolves, the insight to conduct 'motivation maintenance' on yourself highlights something that people often overlook - relationships change over the years too.

What makes this mandatory reading for the thinking class is the answer to an age old question - how do I give without being a pushover? This New York times article featuring the author on 'giving to get ahead' was one of the most-read articles of the year. Those who like to network and can't find the time will find an added bonus in the concept of the "5 minute favor".
You'll gain vital insight into
givers, takers and those in between. It's a vital and valuable read for seasoned professionals and new graduates alike. And it's been endorsed by my top two authors of the past few years: Susan Cain, leader of the Quiet revolution to regain strategy, dignity, sanity in business. And  Daniel Pink author of 'To sell is human' on how we ethically influence in this digital and connected age.

Enjoy this very quick video on the power of moving between time and space in your network by activating the power of weaker and dormant ties.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Focus by Daniel Goleman

focusDaniel Goleman has built his career being the bridge between business and the brain. A global best selling author of ground-breaking books on ‘emotional intelligence’ and ‘social intelligence’ . Goleman is no social media slouch either, he is skilled in Twitter and one of LinkedIn’s original official ‘influencers’ with viral posts on the site and almost 2 million business followers. I don’t say this often, the man is a master.

Not many people understand the value of the brain, how it works at work, what distracts it from productivity and how to overcome that distraction. Focus1There is NO better book to read at this moment, when we are at the height of distraction, than his book – Focus.

Goleman brings value to the reader by providing insight and resources to strengthen three types of focus:


  1. Inner Focus: He shares the concept of ‘cognitive control’ that will allow us to calm the noise in our heads, the noise we’re attacked with constantly. Whether it’s through learned mindfulness through breathing, meditation in a practical way or understanding yourself and what breaks your focus, you will gain tools to regain some sanity in this age of distraction.
  2. Other Focus: Empathy is a word we’ve weakened by ghettoizing it to the touchy-feely world of feelings. This is a critical skills for anyone who works with people, leaders especially. There are many examples of how high performers who were struggling with a change of focus from their own success to a career evolution to leadership where they are now responsible for many people’s success. This is listening 2.0 training!
  3. Outer Focus: Goleman is truly a man of this time. He grasps digital tools both software and hardware as well as being a master of social media. These resources help the reader understand how to move from distraction to curation of the noise for personal success and organizational leadership.Focus2

This book is a touchstone and reset for people who want to continue to integrate into this brave new world of communication and retain a personal focus and mental strength. If you want to quickly learn more about the three types of focus, read this Forbes article and watch the video at the end of this post.

We work out our bodies all the time but we take for granted that mental strength and focus is like a muscle that constantly needs to be exercised but none of the academics who teach these skills are part of this century’s business or digital ecosystem – Goleman is. Which is why this book is the how-to that is a must-read.

It’s also a wonderful reminder that one of the strongest assets to focus is rest and downtime. Stories like Mark Benioff’s ( the creator of SalesForce ) and many more leaders finding powerful ideas and business value in taking time away or off will inspire you to make time for yourself. In a world where we don’t take vacation for our career, we need to be reminded that it will stagnate if we don’t make room for creativity.

If you have the attention span ( do you? ) here is a brilliant 1 hour talk by Daniel Goleman at Google on Focus.

The Harvard Business Review reminds us that leaders need focus now more than ever. For now, enjoy this quick 90 second video on the 3 types of focus.

And if you haven’t read his previous books, check them out.

Thanks for reading. Paul Nazareth