Review: Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype

Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype by Jay Baer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marketing is something I've always wanted to learn more about, especially digital marketing. I've of course dabbled in it to get the word out for various side ventures, and I'm on several social media platforms, but that's as far as my knowledge goes.

That's why I was happy when my Online Business Book Club members voted to read and discuss Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help, Not Hype by Jay Baer.

Not only is this a fast and enjoyable read, but you learn so much, all backed with great anecdotes.

Just a few highlights:

1. Whereas marketing used to be about top-of-mind or frame-of-mind awareness, in this day and age of information overload and social media, it must lead to friend-of-mine awareness to have any long-lasting impact. What this means is if you're marketing is useful to your customers, they'll remember it, share it, and turn to you when they're ready to buy.

2. To be useful, provide you customers with all the answers they need in a self-serve format and if possible, in a useful app that makes the information easy to access and relevant for their current experience. And don't look for it to lead to immediate sales.

3. Youtility (useful marketing) should be an ongoing, measured process at your company that is part of its DNA and gets all employees involved. It's also key to not only understand what your customers need and how they prefer to get that information to truly be useful, but to also then market that usefulness so that word gets out.

This is one of the best and most readable books I've read on marketing and it has totally shifted my thinking on the topic. I highly recommend it.

Review: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shoe Dog is why I love what I call business memoirs: although a business book, you get caught up in the narrator's story while learning so much. And Shoe Dog is one of the best business memoirs I've read, keeping me riveted nearly from the beginning. One can't often say that they didn't want to put a business book down.

In addition to learning about how a company and brand like Nike got started, you learn how a young man with a passion for running was able to overcome export issues, cultural differences, partner sabotage, cashflow problems, legal issues, and so much more while allowing his company to continue growing at the rate that consumers demanded. A highly recommended read for anyone interested in business—or running.

Review: One Perfect Pitch: How to Sell Your Idea, Your Product, Your Business--Or Yourself

One Perfect Pitch: How to Sell Your Idea, Your Product, Your Business--Or Yourself One Perfect Pitch: How to Sell Your Idea, Your Product, Your Business--Or Yourself by Marie Perruchet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've read quite a few communications and sales books, and One Perfect Pitch is one of my favorites.

Not only is it easy to read, well organized, and with great anecdotes, but Marie's approach is practical for all of us since as the subtitle indicates, we're all pitching something to someone.

She explains how storytelling is at the heart of a good pitch, how to break every pitch into three acts, the different types of pitches to have, how to prepare, and so much more.

This is a must read for anyone who has to sell, influence, persuade, motivate, or pitch.

Choose Happiness

How do you achieve happiness?

Have you been setting goals, milestones, or other measures of happiness, only to get there and realize you're still unhappy? If so, don't feel too bad since even Neil Pasricha, author of The Happiness Equation, fell victim to this.

It turns out that to be happy, you have to first choose to be happy and this will then lead to good work and success. Waiting for happiness won't.

And how do you choose to be happy? As per Neil, there are nine secrets:
  1. be happy first;
  2. do it for yourself;
  3. remember all that you have to be grateful for;
  4. never retire;
  5. overvalue you;
  6. create space;
  7. just do it;
  8. be you;
  9. and don't take advise.
The reason we find it so difficult to be happy first, as per Neil and the research he did, is that our brain is still in survival mode and always looking for trouble. We've also gone from a culture of enough to a culture of more. 

But there are seven quick tricks to instantly become happier:
  1. three walks a week;
  2. 20-minute replay of what you have to be grateful for;
  3. random acts of kindness to others;
  4. a complete unplug;
  5. spend time in flow;
  6. 2-minute meditation;
  7. and list five weekly gratitudes.
The book was a wonderful read that I highly recommend and that offers much more than I even touch on, but I will share a few things that resonated with me:
  1. Given that walking is my chosen form of meditation, and it is when I'm most unplugged too, I have first-hand experience that it can make one happier. And if walking is not your thing, any other physical activity or exercise will do.
  2. As someone who loves to read, learn, and keep busy, I can't imagine a true retirement and it's a good thing given that what we in Western Europe look forward to is not good for us—neither for our mind nor our happiness. To be happy, one needs purpose, challenge, and to be constantly learning. 
  3. Not only is it important to stay active, both in your body and mind, but it's important to find time to just let your mind wonder and not be actively thinking or doing. Neil calls this "space," and whether you do this in bed, the bathtub, or on the bus, these times not only allow you to mentally recharge but may be a source of inspiration.
  4. No one can be happy if they're not being authentic to themselves and therefore listen to advise but don't get too caught up in what others are telling you, just follow what resonates with your true self.
Not only was this book easy to read and inspirational, but Neil's research showing how happy people live longer, are healthier, and are more successful made me realize I need to figure out how to choose happiness for myself.

I therefore plan on starting a gratitude journal and be more aware of my mindset and how I react to events and people.

What can you do to choose happiness?