12 Books - Author Led Business Book Group discussion

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Book Discussions > It's Not Just Who You Know - May 2014

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message 1: by Jacob (new)

Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments This is our official discussion of our May book, "It's Not Just Who You Know" by Tommy Spaulding. More info on the book here:
http://www.12booksgroup.com/the-books...


message 2: by Jacob (new)

Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Exactly 4 years ago yesterday I wrote a blog post titled "Its Only Sorta About Who You Know in Life." Now we are about to read a book with a similar title. I'm a little excited to see if the core ideas are the same :)

Here is a link to the blog post: http://www.jacobspaulsen.com/personal...


message 3: by Melinda (last edited May 09, 2014 12:30AM) (new)

Melinda (melindamb) While we've all experienced business 'relationships' where the only thing that you have left of it when you are no longer useful is the boot print in your back, it is a fact of business life that part of the process is cultivating relationships that can open the right doors.

If one is running their business strategically, it makes perfect sense that cultivating strategic relationships would be part the overall approach.

This is a good guide to finding and nurturing strategic relationships in a mutually beneficial and ethical way.

Favourite quote from the book: 'Focusing on the relationship first means taking the risk that you might never get some of the things you want.'

Side note: This book must have been written outside of the context of the Internet.

Within this context, this suggestion made me laugh: “Don’t ask for autographs and don’t ask to have your picture taken with them. They’ll look at you differently. You want them to look at you as a professional, not as a tourist.”


message 4: by Jocelyn (new)

Jocelyn Davis | 5 comments Spaulding has an inspiring story, but I kind of wish he had written another book, one called "Using Your Natural Strengths to Overcome Your Natural Weaknesses."

To me, that's what this book is really about. Spaulding is clearly a big, I mean huge, extravert; he is naturally great at connecting with people. He describes (very engagingly) how he used these talents to overcome his dyslexia and poor academic performance as a child and young man.

That's a good thing, and he is to be admired. But my strengths and weaknesses are the exact opposite, so I couldn't really relate to his approaches. They clearly come naturally to him, but they certainly wouldn't to me, so I was left wanting much more specific advice on how to put the tactics into practice and how to overcome my aversion to all of it (which I kind of would like to overcome, but I'd need a lot more direction than he provides).

What I could relate to is his perseverance and creativity in, as I said, using his natural strengths to overcome adversities. That aspect of the book is uplifting.

In the end, though, I was left wondering how "Miss Harvard University" would have written the story of how Spaulding won the Rotary Club scholarship based on the bartender's recommendation. It's a great story, but what was Miss Harvard's perspective? I'm guessing something like this:

"Great. I work my butt off for 4 years, and once again I lose out to Mr. Social. Story of my life."

I know Spaulding would say that's exactly the point: social smarts trump academic smarts. And please note, I'm not saying either style is wrong. I'm saying that there are folks who prefer to get by with the help of just a few good friends and certain other kinds of competence. I wish Spaulding had gone a bit further to acknowledge those folks and help them out.


message 5: by Jacob (new)

Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Jocelyn wrote: "Spaulding has an inspiring story, but I kind of wish he had written another book, one called "Using Your Natural Strengths to Overcome Your Natural Weaknesses."

To me, that's what this book is re..."


Jocelyn, Your response is really awesome because it is so sincere. I think your are dead on about your summary. I am very social and so I do identify with Spaulding in this case. Your perspective hadn't occurred to me until I read your thoughts here. (That is why I love this book group).

You might consider a book we read in our group a few years ago called "Getting Ahead" which I think would contain more of that tactical direction you may be looking for.


message 6: by Jocelyn (new)

Jocelyn Davis | 5 comments Thanks for the suggestion! (Getting Ahead) I will definitely look it up.


message 7: by Randy (new)

Randy Bennett (rxbennett) | 3 comments Maybe you’ll be put off by hard-luck story after hard-luck story that fill pages 7-41. No, keep reading. Maybe you’ll find off-putting irony in the way a book with this title is filled with names of the wealthy, of CEO’s, and of celebrities who do favor after favor for the author. But keep reading or you’ll miss a very worthwhile message, regardless of all the names being dropped.

Because in this blended memoir and business book is a great lesson, and a shining ray of hope for anyone who has ever despaired at networking.

You know the scene. You arrive at a networking event and must wade through real estate agents, financial planners, insurance salespeople, multi-level marketing types, etc. during the event. These are examples, and yes I am generalizing, of those who see networking as being about themselves and what they want.

Tommy offers a brilliant gem of wisdom to counter that attitude. “Netgiving,” his newly coined word, describes how we build relationships. Through netgiving we build relationships to help others succeed. He asks us to examine ourselves to determine if we are a giver or a taker.

Why is this important? Because, as he points out, you can’t be a great leader unless you genuinely care about people. When you care about other people, you want to help lift them up, to elevate them. Building such a relationship with people is hard work, just like any relationship. But, as the author points out, a relationship reaches its highest and best potential when you elevate another without regard for personal gain.

This book builds on ageless concepts found in Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, a book Tommy has devoured and loves. He offers an improvement on Carnegie’s approach. So if you can only read one portion of this book, make it Section Three. On page 151 Tommy offers his nine keys for building what he calls “genuine relationships.” He then follows up with further explanation and examples (yes, including names) in chapters 20 through 28.

Those chapters are the key! What Tommy Spaulding offers is not a program to follow, but a mindset to adopt. Become a net-giver and you will find your way to relationships that build value into themselves, collecting a number of what Tommy Spaulding calls, “fifth floor relationships.” Read the book to learn more about those. It’s worth your while.


message 8: by Jacob (last edited May 21, 2014 01:10PM) (new)

Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Randy wrote: "Maybe you’ll be put off by hard-luck story after hard-luck story that fill pages 7-41. No, keep reading. Maybe you’ll find off-putting irony in the way a book with this title is filled with names o..."

Thanks Randy. Your thoughts are dead on with mine. Great principles at play in this book.


message 9: by Mm (new)

Mm Walter | 1 comments As an introvert I initially found the book to be off-putting - oh great, another book about how extraverts have all the advantages! I kept reading because the stories were interesting though I could not see myself in them. Continuing my read was a good idea since I discovered sound and practical ways of establishing and growing relationships that I once knew but had forgotten. Reading this book encourages me to go back to step one and look at my relationships and evaluate how I am participating in growing them. I know I will use the information in this book to rekindle relationships that were once meaningful to me. Thanks for the encouraging words.


message 10: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 1 comments The author starts out strong with engaging stories that describe how the relationships he developed helped him to overcome a learning disability and become a leader. However, by the time I reached the middle of the book I was worn out by the level of connection and amount of networking involved. The author is connected to many well-known people, and my thoughts turned to discouragement that this was way more than the average person could ever expect to manage. One review on Amazon describes Tommy Spaulding’s approach as “extroversion on steroids,” and after awhile introverts like me will likely begin to find the ideas daunting. Yet, there is useful information that can be employed on a smaller scale and I’m glad I read the book.
I especially liked the author’s model of understanding relationships based on the five levels of communication from communication theory. Relationships range from the basic transactions of the First Floor to the high level of Fifth Floor relationships.
The book shows how to build relationships beyond the basic information that is on the front of a business card. He encourages thinking of turning the business card over to the back and filling in the blanks by discovering more about a person’s interests with observation, questions, and listening. He coins the term netgiving rather than networking for a focus on what we can give rather than what we can get in our interactions with others. Many of the articles I’ve read about networking also recommend this approach.
Nine Key Traits are helpful in achieving real relationships: authenticity, humility, empathy, confidentiality, vulnerability, curiosity, generosity, humor, and gratitude. With short chapters on each of these traits, the author shows how many of the traits can be developed.


message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan Beamon (susanbeamon) | 18 comments I just finished reading this book. I took it slowly because of the memoir aspects of the book. I am also an introvert, and that can be a problem. By the time I process something, the extroverts around me have galloped off to the next thing, chattering all the way. Parts of the relationship building described in this book appear to mix both personality types. We have the wide open extrovert tendency to open and forge relationships where they can be useful with the introvert desire for deeper knowledge and understanding of the other person. (You may see that I have found too many of the extroverts in my life to be shallow and just right now people).
While I have read abridgments of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, I have not read the book itself. What I have read leads me to feel that that book forges a form of manipulation that I do not feel comfortable with. Mr. Spaulding says he took the book as a starting point and expanded it, adding a "win/win/win" component to the basic principles, and that I really approved of. It's been a long time since I studied business in school, but this work could fit in the lesson plan successfully.


message 12: by Ken (new)

Ken | 17 comments Susan wrote: "While I have read abridgments of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, I have not read the book itself. What I have read leads me to feel that that book forges a form of manipulation that I do not feel comfortable with."

I have not read Carnegie's book, and the multiple references in this book makes me wonder how I would react to this book if I had read it. Can anyone who's read both books share their thoughts on how it might've affected your perspective on Spaulding's book?


message 13: by Jacob (new)

Jacob (paulsen) | 245 comments Ken wrote: "Susan wrote: "While I have read abridgments of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, I have not read the book itself. What I have read leads me to feel that that book forges a fo..."

I have read both now. I always admired Carnegie's book and believed in the principles. Only upon reading Spaulding's book did I start to reflect on how manipulation based Carnegie's book is. I don't think Carnegie meant or intended to teach people to manipulate others... he just never addressed the topic of intentions at all.

I would recommend both books.


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