How do you decide a book is worth reading?
This week I've read two books, because I am trying to learn something deeper than you can get on social media. But, I have about 20 new books sitting on my floor. PR people send them to me, thinking I'm going to read them. There's no way I can. At least not if I'm going to get videos posted, blogs written, emails answered, interviews done, etc.
So, last night when I was invited to +Marissa Mayer
's house (what a treat!) for a book launch party I asked myself that question while munching on little goodies and saying hi to lots of famous geeks and investors (Kleiner Perkin's Ellen Pao, for instance, invested in Flipboard, Elon Musk, Frank Quattrone, and many others were seen there -- I collected a bunch on Highlight).
I went home and started reading. But why? Because of all these famous people I was meeting they were all praising the book.
The other book I read? +Reid Hoffman
's "The Start-up of You." Why read that one? Because Reid is the most-connected person I know. As CEO of LinkedIn, you'd expect that. But did you know he invested in Zynga and Facebook too? He is possibly the best investor alive right now and I wanted to read his thoughts. He, like, Olivia, give you tips for how to succeed in this new world where your social network defines what doors you can get into.
Now, Olivia and I have been talking for years after we were introduced at a robotics press conference at Willow Garage. I'm including a video I did with her back in 2010. She's been working with many of the world's top executives for years, and her book springs from both that work, as well as work she's done with Stanford and other universities.
But, let's say you don't care about the two methods I've already detailed, in other words, social proof (people I respect say to read the book), and real-world authority (you won't read Reid's book just because he's CEO of LinkedIn?) then look at the professional reviews:
Fast Company: http://www.fastcompany.com/1826514/cultivating-charisma-how-personal-magnetism-can-help-or-hurt-you-at-work
Psychology Today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beyond-words/201203/the-charisma-myth-book-review
Amazon Reviews (all five stars): http://www.amazon.com/The-Charisma-Myth-Personal-Magnetism/dp/1591844568/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332984613&sr=8-1
And, if you don't think these techniques are useful, you are wrong. The people I notice, who get ahead in life (and that I can tell great stories about) are charismatic. They hit you at some level, just by looking in their eyes and listening to them. What are they doing differently than other shlubs, like me? They've figured out a few ways to make the other person feel great and they've figured out how to greet and stand and make you believe that they know where the future is going.
Olivia's been studying these people for years and trying to quantify what they do that separates them from the rest of us, and her book is full of techniques to help make you more interesting at that next cocktail party or business pitch.
Reid's book is a great compliment. He teaches you how influence networks work and how to get other people to do things for you. Very important if you are going to be successful in business and he's one of the best.