Talk Triggers

Talk Triggers by Jay Baer

Word of mouth is directly responsible for 19% of all purchases, and influences as much as 90%. Every human on earth relies on word of mouth to make buying decisions. Yet even today, fewer than 1% of companies have an actual strategy for generating these crucial customer conversations. Talk Triggers provides that strategy in a compelling, relevant, timely book that can be put into practice immediately, by any business.

The key to activating customer chatter is the realization that same is lame. Nobody says “let me tell you about this perfectly adequate experience I had last night.” The strategic, operational differentiator is what gives customers something to tell a story about. Companies (including the 30+ profiled in Talk Triggers) must dare to be different and exceed expectations in one or more palpable ways. That’s when word of mouth becomes involuntary: the customers of these businesses simply MUST tell someone else.

Talk Triggers contains:
* Proprietary research into why and how customers talk
* More than 30 detailed case studies of extraordinary results from Doubletree Hotels by Hilton and their warm cookie upon arrival, The Cheesecake Factory and their giant menu, Five Guys Burgers and their extra fries in the bag, Penn & Teller and their nightly meet and greet sessions, and a host of delightful small businesses
* The 4-5-6 learning system (the 4 requirements for a differentiator to be a talk trigger; the 5 types of talk triggers; and the 6-step process for creating talk triggers)
* Surprises in the text that are (of course) word of mouth propellants

Consumers are wired to discuss what is different, and ignore what is average. Talk Triggers not only dares the reader to differentiate, it includes the precise formula for doing it.

Combining compelling stories, inspirational examples, and practical how-to, Talk Triggers is the first indispensable book about word of mouth. It’s a book that will create conversation about the power of conversation. 

While I’ve been making dismal progress on my Goodreads goal, I did manage to finish another book earlier this year that I never reviewed even though it was a good one.

I had the opportunity to see Jay Baer eighteen months ago at Social Media Marketing World. The talk he gave was the best one of the entire event. It was the most mind-blowing thing I’d heard at the time.

The topic?

Talk triggers.

I probably don’t have to tell you guys that I spend a lot of time consuming marketing content and thinking up new strategies and things to try. So it’s rare for me to get so excited about something and have that excitement last.

Talk triggers is that thing.

I picked up this book to read because a) I still hadn’t and b) eighteen months later and I still think Jay’s talk is one of the best marketing presentations I’ve ever seen.

But rather than telling you what Talk Triggers teaches and what you’ll learn from this book (which you can read in the back cover copy up above) let me tell you why I find the concept of talk triggers so unique and cool.

As a marketer, I love word-of-mouth and referral-based marketing. In my opinion, it’s one of the best ways to build a lasting business and it’s also the area I see business owners failing in over and over agin.

A talk trigger is basically something that ignites word-of-mouth marketing. It’s the differentiator your customer can’t stop talking about. It’s the kind of thing that they love to share on social media which translates to free marketing for you. It’s like pouring gasoline on a fire.

The best part? You can strategically create a talk trigger of your own to explode your business and create a lasting impression on every single customer you serve. And it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money either.

If you’re ready to learn how you add more surprise and delight into every customer interaction, make sure you check out Talk Triggers.

Will It Fly?

Will It Fly? by Pat Flynn

Stop rushing into businesses born from half-baked ideas, misguided theories, and other forms of self-delusion. A lack of proper validation kills more businesses than anything else. As Joel Barker says, “Speed is only useful if you’re running in the right direction.” Will It Fly? will help you make sure you are clear for takeoff. It answers questions like: 

– Does your business idea have merit?
– Will it succeed in the market you’re trying to serve, or will it just be a waste of time and resources?
– Is it a good idea for you? 

In other words, will it fly?

Chock-full of practical suggestions you can apply to your business idea today, Will It Fly? combines action-based exercises and real-world case studies with anecdotes from the author’s personal experience of making money online, hosting successful podcasts, testing niche sites, and launching several online businesses.

Will It Fly? will challenge you to think critically, act deliberately, and dare greatly. You can think of the book as your business flight manual, something you can refer to for honest and straight-forward advice as you begin to test your idea and build a business that takes off and soars.

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I was initially hesitant to post a review of this book for fear it would make be seem like an obsessed fangirl. I’ve actually met the author before and I started going to his monthly entrepreneur meet-up in Downtown San Diego. BUT. This book is really good. Really good. And I figured you, the readers of my blog, should know about it!

After all, that’s why I started this blog right? To give reviews of books I’d read and liked to people in need of recommendations? So here you go!

This book is very practical and interactive. It walks you through the framework and encourages you to actually take time to do it as you move through the book.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Shannon there’s a million books like that on the market, why should I get this one?”

You should get it because I, who have spent a good chunk of the last couple years consuming podcasts and books about self-development, entrepreneurship, business, and marketing, still got something new out of this book. Something about the way Pat Flynn describes the Five Years exercise really made me think about my business in a different way and deepened my focus and commitment to what I really want and don’t want out of life.

But more than that, as I said, this book is highly actionable. Meaning if you put in the work, you will get something out of it. In fact I’ve had this book on my desk for two months since I finished it (yeah, I’m just now writing the review, leave me alone) and I keep thinking I need to go back and do the exercises from Part 3 because I didn’t have time when I was reading it to do the exercises. Though I’m know they’re really good and worth doing because I heard a scaled down version of it at a talk Pat gave that I attended.

Also if you enjoy his podcast, you will not be disappointed in the book because it sounds exactly like him. You can practically hear him reading it aloud in your mind. So that’s nice!

Leapfrog

Leapfrog: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs by Nathalie Molina Niño

Think the most critical factor for becoming a great entrepreneur is grit, risk-taking, or technical skills? Think again. Despite what every other business book might say, historical data show the real secret ingredients to getting ahead in business are being rich, white, and male.

Until now. Leapfrog is the decades-overdue startup bible for the rest of us. It’s filled with uncompromising guidance for winning at business, your way. Leapfrog is for entrepreneurs of all stripes who are fed up with status quo advice–the kind that assumes you have rich friends and family and a public relations team.

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Let me start by saying this is a good read for any female in business, not just entrepreneurs. And though this book does talk to and assume its audience is female minorities, there’s still good stuff to be gained if you’re a woman that’s not a minority. Basically, the only people I don’t recommend this to are the old money white males Niño names on the back cover blurb.

I heard about this book from an interview with the author on Sunny Lenarduzzi’s podcast. It was a really good episode, you can listen to it here. And as has happened to me so many times this past year, after the podcast was done I went to Amazon and purchased a copy of the book. I’m always looking for new books to fill up my Miracle Morning book pipeline since that’s the only thing I seem to be reading these days!

Leapfrog has a very loose structure: the fifty hacks in the book are divided by the themes of Ready-Set-Go-Fund-Grow. But what’s great about this book is that, similar to Tribe of Mentors, you don’t really need to read it in order or even read the whole thing in a timely fashion. You can pick it up and just read a hack here and there. Each of the hacks are only a couple pages long so the content is pretty digestible. But they’re also highly actionable!

When I’m reading fiction, I usually judge how well I’m enjoying a book by how often I get the craving to just pick it up and read a few more pages or another chapter. With non-fiction, I still use that same metric, but I also add in how passages I marked or how many pages I dog-earred (I know, I know). Leapfrog hit the mark on all three points.

I’ve already recommended this book to some female entrepreneur friends in my life so today, I’m recommending it to you too if you’ve ever found yourself frustrated or feeling alone as you build your business or career! This is a book I’m sure you’ll return to often.

2018 in Review

It should come as no surprised to anyone who’s been paying attention that this year was incredibly BUSY! If you needed a marker to go by though, I read less than half as much as I did in 2017. I made my Goodreads goal, but only after I adjust it a time or two or six. Apologies in advance for a pretty boring book year in review, but I’ve done one of these for the last seven years and now I’m not about to stop now!

Yep, my blog is seven years old!! I started it at the end of 2011 and here we are getting ready to round the corner into 2019!

Honestly though, it’s probably a miracle I managed to read anything at all this year, let alone 31 books. I pretty much credit any reading progress I did this year to the Miracle Morning. Most days those 5-15 minutes in the morning were the only time I had to read. This was also the first year I read far more non-fiction than fiction….which is basically all because of the Miracle Morning.

Definitely hoping for better in 2019, but we shall see how it goes! Missing my fiction for sure, but at the same time I feel like I got a lot smarter year from all the non-fiction reading and podcasts so it’s not all bad I guess.

HOW MANY BOOKS READ IN 2018?

–32 books

FICTION/NON-FICTION?

–  10  Fiction /    22 Non-Fiction

MALE/FEMALE AUTHORS?

–    20  Male /   7 Female

OLDEST BOOK READ?

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (2000)

NEWEST BOOK READ?

Leapfrog: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs by Nathalie Molina Niño (August 2018)

LONGEST BOOK READ?

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard (662 Pages)

SHORTEST BOOK READ?

Yuletide Lords by Gama Ray Martinez (16 Pages)

ANY IN TRANSLATION?

Not this year!

BEST BOOK READ IN 2018?

If 2016 was the year of the good book and 2017 was a year of books that were pretty evenly divided between really good or didn’t like it, then 2018 was the year I actually gave the crown to a work on non-fiction. Educated by Tara Westover was the best book I read this year! Riveting story, stunning writing, a book you couldn’t put down – a must read!

MOST DISAPPOINTING BOOK IN 2018?

Dropping a note here to say this question will be retired after this year. See this blog post for why I’ve stopped writing reviews for books I didn’t like.

MOST BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN BOOK IN 2018?

Educated by Tara Westover

MOST SURPRISING (IN A GOOD WAY!) BOOK OF 2018?

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – check out the review for the reason why!

MOST THRILLING, UNPUTDOWNABLE BOOK IN 2018?

I didn’t read too many books you’d classify as “thrilling” but here’s a few I had trouble putting down:

Educated by Tara Westover

Ghost Bully by Brian Corley

S.H.E. by Shannon Hogan Cohen

BOOK THAT HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON ME IN 2018?

Maybe an unconventional entry, but How to Break Up With Your iPhone by Catherine Price. I’ve been consciously trying to put some space between me and all my devices. Seems weird for someone who does marketing and in particular social media marketing, but it’s the truth. I changed all my notification settings around for the better and have been religiously trying to start my day with the Miracle Morning (my me time!) before I do anything.

BOOK THAT HAD A SCENE IN IT THAT HAD ME REELING?

This is kind of a fiction question and because I didn’t read too much fiction this year, I got nothing.

BOOK I MOST ANTICIPATED IN 2018?

-War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas (Currently Reading)

MOST MEMORABLE CHARACTER IN 2018?

-Jazz Bashara in Artemis

-Juliet Ashton in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

HOW MANY RE-READS IN 2018?

None

BOOK I READ IN 2018 I’D BE MOST LIKELY TO REREAD IN 2019?

Deep Work by Cal Newport, Will It Fly? by Pat Flynn, Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

BOOK I RECOMMENDED TO PEOPLE MOST IN 2018?

Tribe of Mentors, Educated

FAVORITE NEW AUTHORS I DISCOVERED IN 2018?

Tara Westover

MOST BOOKS READ BY ONE AUTHOR THIS YEAR?

2 novels by Marie Lu and 2 books by Gina Wickman

FAVORITE COVER OF A BOOK I READ IN 2018?

FAVORITE PASSAGE/QUOTE FROM A BOOK I READ IN 2018?

“Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.”  – Cal Newport, Deep Work (I actually liked this book a lot, I just never got around to reviewing it!)

“The entire universe is not just outside, but also within us. We have unlimited power – the power to solve any problems facing us or facing others. We get to create our realities. It’s a simple and small belief, but it can change the course of humanity. Being mini gods mean we never lack. We know we already have everything. We don’t need a million dollars. We don’t need a trillion followers. We are complete. We are full. So full that we can give without counting. The day we will all start acting like mini gods is the day there will be peace in the world.” – Jerome Jarre, Tribe of Mentors

DID I COMPLETE ANY READING CHALLENGES OR GOALS IN 2018?

Yes, but I cheated on this one. I can’t remember what my original goal was, but I kept downsizing it throughout the year.

BOOK I CAN’T BELIEVE I WAITED UNTIL 2018 TO FINALLY READ?

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell mainly because I think I’ve had it on my shelf for eight or nine years…no joke. This is why I have so many books and won’t get rid of them. I usually get around to reading them eventually!

Tribe of Mentors

Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice By the Best in the World By Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss, the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek, shares the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure book—a compilation of tools, tactics, and habits from 130+ of the world’s top performers. From iconic entrepreneurs to elite athletes, from artists to billionaire investors, their short profiles can help you answer life’s most challenging questions, achieve extraordinary results, and transform your life.

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Tribe of Mentors was actually my first Tim Ferriss book. It was a Christmas gift and I have been reading it off and on since the beginning of the year. I finally finished it this month as I knocked out the last 200 pages or so during my Miracle Morning reading time.

This was a good book, but it is dense. You don’t need to read it in order or read every page or even read it in a short span of time. Each interview is between 1-10 pages. There’s a forward by Tim where he discusses the methodology and how he chose the questions he asked. But he asked the same questions of everyone, though not all answers were included for each person. So really can just start anywhere in the book.

I read this book cover to cover as I read most things (unless I peeking ahead). But you could just open this book to random sections or just skim through to read the interviews with the people you know and like. I enjoyed the experience of reading cover to cover because I read interviews from a lot of people I had never heard of, but who had great advice to give.

This book is one I would recommend buying since you’ll likely want to underline or otherwise mark up passages. This book was so beautifully bound and pristine I was hesitant to start marking it up myself, but halfway through I decided I was leaving some of the experience on the table by not interacting with the text. At some point, I’ll have to reread the beginning so I can mark that up, too. This is a book I plan to hold onto as I’m sure I’ll revisit it often and get something new out of it each time I read it.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading what successful people have to say and also to anyone who engages in personal development work – this book is a great choice for Miracle Morning reading!

I’ll leave you with the passage that resonated with me the most:

“The entire universe is not just outside, but also within us. We have unlimited power – the power to solve any problems facing us or facing others. We get to create our realities. It’s a simple and small belief, but it can change the course of humanity. Being mini gods mean we never lack. We know we already have everything. We don’t need a million dollars. We don’t need a trillion followers. We are complete. We are full. So full that we can give without counting. The day we will all start acting like mini gods is the day there will be peace in the world.”

Building a StoryBrand

Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller

Donald Miller’s StoryBrand process is a proven solution to the struggle business leaders face when talking about their businesses. This revolutionary method for connecting with customers provides readers with the ultimate competitive advantage, revealing the secret for helping their customers understand the compelling benefits of using their products, ideas, or services. Building a StoryBrand does this by teaching readers the seven universal story points all humans respond to; the real reason customers make purchases; how to simplify a brand message so people understand it; and how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media. Whether you are the marketing director of a multibillion dollar company, the owner of a small business, a politician running for office, or the lead singer of a rock band, Building a StoryBrand will forever transform the way you talk about who you are, what you do, and the unique value you bring to your customers.

Okay, so this book may seem like it’s kind of a niche interest, but it’s actually really good and is applicable to anyone building a company or building their own personal brand! Storytelling in marketing is super powerful. I think most people understand this on some level. Just think about your favorite brands…chances are they’re telling great stories!

Building a StoryBrand really lays out how to use storytelling to accelerate your brand’s results by discovering how to craft a message you’re customers want to and need to hear. It walks you step-by-step through the framework and explains the concepts in a clear, easy-to-read format.

I’ve also read Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson, the founder of Clickfunnels. While I liked that book a lot, I think Building a StoryBrand is easier for a non-marketing person to understand. The examples Donal Miller gives are a little more tangible and aren’t necessarily bound up with the online world. I think sometimes people who aren’t digital natives (and even some that are) struggle with concepts when they are tied up with the digital space. It’s a lot easier to understand an example from a movie, a book, or even a company that sells physical products like cars or t-shirts.

The book is divided into three sections. The first section introduces the concept and explains why storytelling is so powerful for brands. The second section is where you get to go through the StoryBrand framework and create a script for your brand. The third part shows you what you can do with your StoryBrand script once you have one.

After reading the book, I went online to MyStoryBrand.com where you can actually fill out the framework for yourself. Even though it’s been a little bit since I finished the book, the notes at the end of each chapter helped me quickly remember what each part of the framework was about and fill out my StoryBrand script.

Even if you don’t run a company or have anything to sell, this book is great for anyone who is building a personal brand, running an organization, or just managing an entity that needs an identity. This book makes the concept of storytelling easy to understand, develop, and implement!

Crushing It!

Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—and How You Can, Too by Gary Vaynerchuk

In his 2009 international bestseller Crush It, Gary insisted that a vibrant personal brand was crucial to entrepreneurial success, In Crushing It!, Gary explains why that’s even more true today, offering his unique perspective on what has changed and what principles remain timeless. He also shares stories from other entrepreneurs who have grown wealthier—and not just financially—than they ever imagined possible by following Crush It principles. The secret to their success (and Gary’s) has everything to do with their understanding of the social media platforms, and their willingness to do whatever it took to make these tools work to their utmost potential. That’s what Crushing It! teaches readers to do.

In this lively, practical, and inspiring book, Gary dissects every current major social media platform so that anyone, from a plumber to a professional ice skater, will know exactly how to amplify his or her personal brand on each. He offers both theoretical and tactical advice on how to become the biggest thing on old standbys like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat; podcast platforms like Spotify, Soundcloud, iHeartRadio, and iTunes; and other emerging platforms such as Musical.ly. For those with more experience, Crushing It! illuminates some little-known nuances and provides innovative tips and clever tweaks proven to enhance more common tried-and-true strategies.

Crushing It! is a state-of-the-art guide to building your own path to professional and financial success, but it’s not about getting rich. It’s a blueprint to living life on your own terms.

I REALLY enjoyed this book! I haven’t read much this year so it’s maybe less significant when I say this is my favorite book I’ve read this year, but I’ll say it anyway: this is my favorite book I’ve read this year.

If you’re a business owner, content creator, influencer, or desire to be any of those things, I think Crushing It! is absolutely required reading for 2018.

I didn’t read Crush It! until September of 2016…basically seven years after it came out. While I liked Crush It!, it did feel dated at that point in time. I suspect how I feel reading Crushing It! now is how some people felt who read Crush It! soon after it came out.

The first half of Crushing It! reads like a motivational, personal development/business book. I highlighted so many great nuggets in this section. It’s like listening to one of Gary’s podcast episodes except that it’s laser focused because someone took an editing pen and applied a tight structure to it. The second half drills down into specific platforms and gives ideas on how you can use them and where those platforms are going. So if you want to know how to kill it on Instagram, Gary’s got advice for you. Want to be a podcaster? That’s in here, too.

Crushing It! also includes many case studies of people who were able to put into practice the things Gary wrote about in Crush It! and have been able to really dominate with their brands and companies. One of the things I think that’s really important in the personal development and business space, whether it’s a book, blog, video, or podcast, is to give examples of real people who are doing the things you’re teaching about. It’s easy to assume one person’s success is a fluke, but once you start giving examples of others who have had success, it’s hard to argue it away as, “Well, you’re Gary Vaynerchuk. That would never work for me”.

Aside from this book being pure Gary Vaynerchuk (meaning if you don’t like Gary, don’t read this book), the thing I found most significant about Crushing It! is that whenever I stopped reading, I felt really inspired and motivated. One of the things that most excites me about with my new business (Minute Marketing) is the chance to experiment and try new things to create better and more impactful content. And that’s true not only for Minute Marketing, but for my clients and even this blog! I had some great thoughts while reading this book about both of my brands and I’m looking forward to getting back to being creative and playing around with content.

I wanted to share one quote I really liked from the book with you:

“When you really own it, and you put yourself out there and be you, your vibe is going to attract your tribe, and you’re going to be able to make change in this world.”

So here’s my commitment to you: to be really authentic and unapologetically myself. To be less strategic and more focused on putting out the best of the best. To crushing it in all spaces and places.