Books that Inspire the GP – “The Leader Who Had No Title”

Title: “The Leader Who Had No Title”
Authors: Robin Sharma

“The Leader Who Had No Title” is an amazing self-development book designed to bring out the best in you. Sharma believes that anyone can be a successful leader in whatever they do – no matter of their status. Unfortunately, he believes that people are too pre-occupied with climbing the corporate ladder and getting the title they seek before they believe they can be leaders. Hence, Sharma turns this around in a book that focuses on self-leadership as the foundation to achieving personal and professional success.

The book is written in a business fable style i.e. a story written about a business or person in a business setting where the moral of the story is a business lesson. Specifically, we read about Blake, an uninspiring young war veteran working in a book store, who strikes it lucky by meeting his mentor Tommy. Tommy is just one of four “Leaders Who Had No Title” who eventually transforms Blake’s life. As the story progresses, we get introduced to the other leaders and their conversations, and it is through them we get introduced to key principles designed to propel the ordinary person into a true leader.

The four leadership principles we get introduced to are:

1. You need no title to be a leader
2. Turbulent times build great leaders
3. The deeper your relationships, the stronger your leadership
4. To be a great leader, first become a great person

I would want you to read this book yourself so I’m not going to go into depth about what those above principles mean. Nevertheless, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that the above principles are pretty self-explanatory. At the end of each leadership conversation, the author provides the reader with useful instant-action points so that he/she can put into practise what has been discussed.

So should you read this book? If you’re lacking motivation in your current job but at the same time, you’re yearning to achieve greater things, then I would highly recommend this book. We have barely touched the surface of 2011 so there’s no better way get motivated than by reading a book that could potentially bring about long-term positive change.


Books that Inspire the GP – “Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs”

Title: “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs”
Author: Carmine Gallo

The key to being successful in dating, in your relationships, in your work and in life in general is really all about being an effective communicator.

Think about it – if you can’t even get your point across;
– How are you going to get your date to realise that you’re one hell of guy?
– How are you going to resolve that fickle argument with your fiancé?
– How are going to get your colleagues and management to rally behind you?
– Above all, how are you going to show the world that you are one unique and inspiring individual?

Although written as a guide for presenting to larger audiences, the principles discussed by Gallo through his in-depth analysis of Apple’s founder’s, Steve Jobs, presentation skills can be utilised at the fundamental one-on-one level. What I mean by this is that whenever we talk to someone, we are effectively telling that person a story. Now how effective your story is in engaging that other person is much like how an author engages her readers when she writes the next international best-seller.

Whether you’re presenting your case to your colleagues and management regarding a new money-making initiative or whether you’re acquainting yourself with the girl that you just met in the parking lot, EVERYONE wants to be either informed, educated and/or entertained. In effect, your chance of really engaging that person increases 10-fold if you’re able to tell a quality story. A quality story is where you create a sense of overall purpose, you introduce an antagonist, you reveal the conquering hero and then finally, as Gallo so strenuously points out, you reveal a “Holy Sh!t” moment that’s sure to create an everlasting impression.

At the end of the day, people just want to know the answer to one question: “Why should I care?”

Books that Inspire the GP – “Who Moved My Cheese?”

Title: “Who Moved My Cheese?”
Author: Spencer Johnson

Change is inevitable – you either accept it knowing it will provide you with a new enriching experience or you let it slap you on the face because you refuse to adapt. Now applying this to dating, if you’re constantly sitting on your ass on a Saturday night because you can’t find a date then you know it’s time for you to change tactics.

“Who Moved My Cheese?” is a parable on change that centres on 4 main characters looking for cheese in a maze. The “cheese” is actually a symbolic item that represents what we have in our lives i.e. relationships, money, family, job etc.

In this very enlightening book, Johnson provides the reader with two opposing views on how to deal with change. Hem and Haw are “Little Beings” who are lazy and refuse to change and as a result of this, they fail to find cheese to feed themselves because the section of the maze that once had an abundant supply is now depleted. Sniff and Scurry on the other hand are mice and instead of waiting for that certain section of the maze to re-stock itself, they realise that they would need to find a new source of cheese so they decide to venture out into the other sections of the maze.

The message in this book is presented in a very simple way. Ultimately, embracing change is all about becoming a better you. When get out of your comfort zone and place yourself in an unknown environment, the experience can only benefit you.

Books that Inspire the GP – “The Art of War”

Title: “The Art of War”
Author: Sun Tzu

“The Art of War” is the ultimate guide for men (and women) on how to deal with the many challenges of life. Although written for military purposes back in the 6th century BC, the principles discussed in the book transcend their original intended purpose. From effective ways to dealing with office politics to understanding how people behave, Sun Tzu has it covered.

One of my favourite quotes from this book is “To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” Now if we were to relate this to the dating arena, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that there a lot of people out there who are just genuinely afraid to open up (yes, there are times when it’s not your fault). Now the date might as well end there because your verbal slashings at her inability to come up with something interesting to talk about have failed. However, if you are able to ask the right questions that specifically targets her interests then the wall of resistance that she has put up will eventually break down. If you’re able to do this, you wouldn’t have to say another word because she’ll be doing all the talking. Hence, this is what I consider to be “supreme excellence”.

Since the original text was written in Chinese, there have been many interpretations of Sun Tzu’s work. With that said, it is imperative that you pick up a copy that gives you multiple interpretations from different people who have studied and applied these principles. Multiple interpretations equates to a more complete understanding of Sun Tzu’s original text. For this I recommend the work of Thomas Cleary who in addition to providing his own interpretations has commentaries from other key military strategists from Sun Tzu’s era.

Books that Inspire the GP – “Not Without Hope”

Title: “Not Without Hope”
Authors: Nick Schuyler and Jere Longman

This is a harrowing story that literally brought a tear to my eye. It acts as a reminder that having a strong mental attitude is what is going to set you apart in life and in Nick’s case, is what is going to keep you alive.

“Not Without Hope” is co-written by Nick Schuyler, the sole survivor of a fishing trip gone tragically wrong. It’s extremely difficult to imagine what Nick had to endure for over 40 hours – stranded at sea in the Gulf of Mexico with a capsized boat, 15-25 metre waves constantly bombarding you from all directions, blistering freezing cold winds that seemed like nature was trying to have a swipe at you and last but not least, having to look into the eyes of 3 of your close friends as they descend into their watery graves.

The descriptions of what Nick and his friends had to ensure can be quite graphic at times but that’s what you really want in a book like this. In terms of capturing true human emotion, the authors did an amazing job and for this, I highly recommend that you get a copy of “Not Without Hope”.

Books that Inspire the GP – “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

Title: “How to Win Friends and Influence People”
Author: Dale Carnegie

This an amazing book to get your hands on!

It’s timeless manual on how to become an effective communicator in any situation that life may throw at you. Although some of the examples used are a bit outdated, I can guarantee you that you’ll be able to take away a collection of principles or some other fundamental technique on how to really deal with people.

Principles discussed in the book range from being genuinely interested in getting to know people (i.e. asking questions that invoke the person’s interests) to admitting a mistake if you are in the wrong by doing it quickly and emphatically. Now a lot of these principles may seem very common sense and they are. It’s only when you consistently exercise and apply these principles to everyday situations that you realise its powers.