2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Don't be deterred by the subtitle (initially I was) because, in fact, Harry and Christine Beckwith provide in this volume a wealth of invaluable insights concerning personal improvement as well as professional development rather than cynical self-serving strategies and tactics. They know exactly what Peter Drucker meant when he observed that "Each of us is a CEO." Moreover, they wholly agree with Bill George and countless others that the most effective CEOs are "authentic" leaders in that they demonstrate (in George's words) "the highest integrity, [are] committed to building enduring organizations...who have a deep sense of purpose and are true to their core values...who have the courage to build their companies to meet the needs of all stakeholders, and who recognize the importance of their service to society."
Moreover, this book is not - as at first I incorrectly assumed -- a significant departure from Harry Beckwith's previously published books. On the contrary, it is wholly consistent with the values he affirms in each. For example, except for commodities, I agree that people buy from other people, not from companies. When commodities are involved, competitors (e.g. Sam's Club and Costco) must "sell" themselves because their products and prices are about the same. In this volume, the Beckwiths point out that authentic people are credible - as are companies -- because they have earned respect and trust. What individuals "sell" may be invisible (decency, character, integrity, dependability, etc.) but authenticated or contradicted by their behavior. These are precisely the same values that Harry Beckwith affirms in his earlier works, notably Selling the Invisible and What Clients Love. As with most (if not all companies), whether or not an individual achieves success (however defined) will depend almost entirely by (a) what she or he does and, more importantly, (b) who he or she is. The standard of measurement is authenticity.
Of special interest to me are the "Successes and Delightful Failures" which the Beckwiths discuss (pages 275-306) because each focuses on basic human experiences with which any reader can identify. Better yet, with two exceptions (i.e. Larry Gatlin and Arnold Palmer), those involved will be wholly unfamiliar to almost all readers. They introduce us to them as if they were close personal friends of theirs. (In fact, they are.) The Beckwiths suggest that important life lessons can be learned from each of them and these lessons are best revealed within the narrative. The book ends with "three thoughts - no, three passionate convictions." And again, yes, I will not reveal them in this narrative. That would be like opening someone else's gifts.
However, although the Beckwiths have years of experience in sales and marketing, and are knowledge leaders in those separate but related "competitive sports," their book is only secondarily about selling and promotion. The primary focus is on personal development during the journey to self-fulfillment.
By the time the Beckwiths offer "three thoughts - no, three passionate convictions" as the book ends, they have made it crystal clear that each of us must be personally and fully accountable for what our life is...and isn't, for what our life becomes...and doesn't. During any "journey" of personal development and self-fulfillment, it really helps to have companions from time to time when help is needed.
Those who read this book will be grateful to have Harry and Christine Beckwith among their companions. And grateful to them for introducing them to others who also offer valuable insights: Larry Gatlin, Morrie Wagener, Arnold Palmer and "Dr. Buck," Sheryl Leach, "Bruce" from Procter & Gamble, Raphael Asti, and Gionanni Freeli. As readers then continue their own "journey," they will be grateful for the practical and principled wisdom the Beckwiths so generously share and, especially, for the pleasure of their company.
Those who share my high regard for this volume are urged to check out Bill George's Authentic Leadership as well as True North which he co-authored with Peter Sims. Also Michael Ray's The Highest Goal, James O'Toole's The Executive's Compass and Creating the Good Life, David Whyte's The Heart Aroused, Secrets of Success (an anthology of Fortune articles), David Maister's Practice What You Preach, and Success Built to Last co-authored by Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery, and Mark Thompson.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I like books that contain two voices but merge the perspectives: I learn more that way and the material is a lot more interesting. Imagine my happy surprise when I realized that You, Inc. not only has that feature but also combines the concepts for several books: one on sales; one on entering the workplace as a young person; and one on manners. The resulting mix is interesting and lively.
While many books about the business world are all about techniques, independent of your identify and values, the Beckwiths don't have that limitation. They see presenting yourself honestly and approachably as good for everyone.
The book is also deeper than many books that focus in those areas. You'll find lots of snippets of research information that properly reinforces their messages. For example, we tip more when people make us feel good than when we get great service. But how much time do most of us focus on how the other person is going to feel? Well, we should do so a lot more. In essence, a lot of this book is simply explaining the practical reasons why the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) is so widely admired by various religions and ethical thinkers.
This book will make a great gift to any college or post-college soon-to-be-graduate who is looking for a job. It will be a lifesaver for people who find that they've stalled in their careers . . . or might even be on the downside.
I personally found that I could use the book as a sort of compass needle to help test if I'm relating well to others. I was helpfully reminded not to share with people too many things that I do (that will overwhelm and confuse them) and to act consistently.
I thought that Selling the Invisible was an exceptionally good business book. I suspect that You, Inc. will be a more helpful one because so many more people can use the advice in this valuable volume.
But if you are looking for ways to accomplish things other than rapport, you won't find much help here. So you'll need some other books. But that's all right. No one book can give you everything you need except the Bible.