Business Books

Can we learn “sales” through books?

It depends on the type of books.


Business Books

Is it a book by “Prof. John Smith” (or any other scholar’s name) with 30 years experience in teaching business to undergraduates, or a book by Donald Trump, the successful American real estate tycoon or Steve Jobs the iconic marketing figure who transformed Apple into a technology giant or even Sun Tzu, the Chinese strategist and philosopher who wrote “The Art of War”, the important, ancient made contemporary, guide to business men all over the world nowadays?

Because, it does make a difference.

Is it "peanuts" to sell peanuts to any and everybody?

Is it “peanuts” to sell peanuts to any and everybody?

Now, no one should intend or even attempt the belittling of scholarly and academic work on the scientific aspect of sales (whether mathematics, psychology or other disciplines), since their contribution to the field are of invaluable importance.

Business from the outset and in the end is concerned with selling things, ideas, values or needs to others. And scholarly work has contributed great insights to the business field that couldn’t have been conjured with the simple practise of it, in the absence of the devoted intervention of observation, in-depth research, analysis and publication.

But in my personal experience, books of the likes of Steve Jobs and Donald Trump carry more applicable value to the sales discipline than “philosophical sales literature”, since the lessons they teach are derived from real business life experience with all their truisms & contradictions, success and failures, moralities & immoralities.

Innovative Business Doing

And by “applicable value to the sales discipline”, I am not necessarily referring to the blind copying of previous strategies that have proven profitable or successful or to the obedient fellowship of remarkable businessmen whose results spoke authoritatively for them.

Some of us may try to go about business, selling and entrepreneurship differently, trying to invent new idea’s or innovate old ones, for having critical thoughts about present-time business conduct. But, having any moral or practical objections to how business is conducted in our world can only thrive in a useful way, if preceded by applicable knowledge of (& awareness about) what has been done already or what is being done, in order to do it it differently, more responsibly, more humane or less selfish.

learning by practice

I can also speak of own experience and say that about 75% of my sales skills (that are still in continuous development) were gained through practise and training and not exactly from books!

And no, I wasn’t “born a salesman at all”. Actually I always was more of an academic person and a book worm, whose relationship with business and sales was only limited to the demands of my choice of education and my drive to pass exams. This was so, until I started practical selling of my language services and later those of others around the world through my language services agency, from 2008 up and until 2013.

It didn’t stop me from reading. On the contrary, it ignited an even greater thirst for knowledge in me, seeking it in a different way that is defined by my own demands and those of my company, customers and freelance co-workers. It gave me more freedom to interpret and apply theoretical knowledge with more real-life “wisdom”, sound scrutiny and due creativity.

Doing things was more crucial to my grasp of sales than “knowing how it is done” was.

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If you're not prepared to be wrong you'll never come up with anything original

Does education kill creativity?

I’m no teacher, but it surely is a profession close to my heart through my good experience with some excellent teachers and lecturers in the past, whose style of mind-stirring teaching was not less than fundamental to growing some of my most cherished passions, above all my passion for autodidactism (self-learning), research and analysis.

In my free time and during my 5 years of entrepreneurship, I developed this weird hobby of reading a lot about education history and futurist idea’s, in an almost daily dive into the world of knowledge and how it was transferred throughout history, transcending the chronological barriers of class, race, knowledge-level and age, and in some cases even barriers of time, geography, language & culture.

His work is a “must-know” for any modern teacher, I passionately believe. Therefore, it would be more than sufficient to refer to a true scholar and a gifted, intelligently & lamely entertaining, speaker in the field on transforming education for future generations:

 

Sir. Ken Robinson, with his all-times top TED talk with the title: “Do Schools Kill Creativity”.

 

And a wonderful animated presentation, narrated by Sir. Ken Robinson, on the same topic with title: “Changing Education Paradigms”.

laughing-my-ass-off-lmao_o_741829

Laughed My Ass Off Until I Woke Up One Day And Found That I Had No Ass Left!

I like to invent acronyms, as I ago (AIG). You know, like the wide-spread shortening of “By The Way” into BTW.

Weird topic, you think? Not really, give me and yourself 10-50 lines of break and we may both find out that I may actually be going somewhere with this. 🙂

A few years ago, I invented my own version of “LMAO“, the well-known internet slang meaning “Laughing My Ass Off”.  I invented it but I did not protect it, stupidly enough, cause it must be taking over the internet now like a storm without me noticing. Anyway, there is an intriguing background story to this whole thing too. Here it is:

Facebook-addict

I used to be overly active on Facebook from 2006 until about 3 years ago. You know, when I was young, fun (like you were) and obsessed with my second life, having only a positive & popular digital image to convey, after submitting to the “peer pressure” of another 1,5 billion people around the world who make up the total count of registered users of Facebook.

At that timethere was a female Facebook-friend of mine who used to have a monopoly on the use of LMAO on Facebook, thereby slowing the loading time of the whole Facebook website on a daily basis. She would add LMAO to almost every post, at the end of almost any and each status update on Facebook, almost everyday! 

annoying-facebook-girl-meme-generator-truth-is-lololol-memes-lol-forever-alone-11-omg-3-lol-but-dont-tell-anyone-about-memes-lol-everybodies-russian-lol-get-over-here-c93ad9

This should have been quite positive social media daily habit, right? After all, we are constantly told that social media is all about being positive, right? Well, NO! [That was my alter-ego speaking]. And my alter-ego thought of it differently at that time and triggered me to come to “the rescue” of that poor girl from a looming hazard to her future self-image. You see, I have seen that Facebook female friend in real life since she was a real life friend too in college, as an international student.

We had an excellent friendship enabled by our shared love for “social life” and discussion. Knowing the meaning of LMAO, while having a crystal-clear picture of how her almost anorexic body-posture looked like in real-life, and an idea of how she thinks of it in her not-so-real perception as being too fat (!), constantly popping into my mind every time she claims that she just “Laughed Her Ass Off” about something, I became scared. Terrified! So I came to her rescue and posted a well-meant status-reply on Facebook trying to be as subtle as I could, saying: LMAOUIWUODAFTIHNAL!

anorexiacartoon

She [liked] my post on Facebook and replied with a big innocent smiley. I guess she was still “laughing her ass off” and she viewed my reply as “gibberish”, while rolling on the floor. No surprise there! But I was serious and I had to break it down to her, so she gets my very urgent life-saving warning. So, I posted this as a follow-up: Laughing My Ass Off Until I Woke Up One Day And Found That I Had No Ass Left, expecting her to get the hint. Her reaction?

Beauty portrait of smiling asian girl healthy long straight hair isolated on white

Well, she posted three lines of a weird collection of laughing social media slang, tens of “haha’s” and smiley’s, skilfully jammed together in one reply that was visibly giggling on my screen, almost causing it to shake in “solidarity” with her giggle, and nearly causing it to fall off my desk and break! I held my screen with both hands to stop the “giggling” and clicked on a different page to calm down my PC. Now, that was some literally “damaging positivity”, wasn’t it?

Do you get my point? Well, she didn’t. She was a bright young lady, but she did not get it. She never broke that “damaging habit” of laughing too much, despite my stubborn resolution to “talk some positive sense” into her in the sense of “A day not laughed, in YOUR case, is a day gained”! I was just trying to be positive!

And, BTW (which, BTW, also means: Added-Value Tax in Dutch), the only reason why my self-invented term: LMAOUIWUODAFTIHNAL, did not pick up steam to go viral in the ever-expanding universe of social media, and the only reason why it was not added to the vast dictionary of internet slang (or the likes of Merriam-Webster) was the length of it. It was way too long. Even typing it was a pain in the BPTWSO (body part that we sit on). This subtracted from the very function of coining an acronym: shortening & simplification.

Other than that, I pride myself on the fact that many people, especially that girl, who did have a name but whom I preferred to call Meskina (which means “poor girl” in Arabic), still thinks it was a spark of “pure disturbingly disturbed genius”, or as she put it; PDDG!

In Arabic they say:”Good things you do, bad things you get”. My intentions were good and positive. I was just trying to relieve her from a future misery resulting from being “too positive” about her posts at the expense of… her BPTWSO. I hope she is happy now in a more “positive” way, and has a BPTWSO left to sit on.

sad-happy

 

work vs education

In college, we pay to get education. At work, we get paid to get educated. Do you agree?

Normally, I would spontaneously & passionately agree.

But if I’m to be more rational, we must give education more credit for providing us with the knowledge basis on which applicable creativity (as opposed to artistic creativity) can thrive more in our competitive and more advanced world.

We should also give “work experience” a proper and subjective definition, judging it by the actual useful experience gained (not only years) and benchmarking it against other restraints to creativity like “negative conformity” and “assembly-line corporate cultures” that are built around task- specialization and not around idea’s imagination.

Sir-Ken-Robinson-TED-Talk-Schools-Kill-Creativity


When I read your wonderful question, my thoughts went automatically to that great Matt Damon (Will) speech in the wonderful Oscar winning movie “Good Will Hunting“, being an MIT student and standing up to a “wanna-sound-smart” born-rich fellow student who wanted to degrade his less-gifted friend in a café, and teaching him a lesson about the truth about his high elitist education.

Will: See, the sad thing about a guy like you is, in 50 years you’re gonna start doin’ some thinkin’ on your own and you’re going to come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life: one, don’t do that, and two, you dropped 150 grand on a fuckin’ education you could have got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library!

Brilliant and disturbingly plausible, isn’t it?creativity1