Whatcha Reading? – April 2015 Edition

Business Book Reviews to Help You Succeed

Have you ever gone to a bookstore (either a virtual one or a brick and mortar location) and stared at the plethora of business books and thought to yourself, “Huh?” There is absolutely no shortage of business books out there – all of them promising some secret insight into how to make you a better leader, salesman, marketer, or social media master, just to name a few. It can be hard to know which books actually offer useful advice and which ones have slick covers and pages filled with useless fluff. Which is why the folks at SB Creative Content started this column. Whatcha Reading is going to cut through the noise and share with you which books business books our team are reading (and we read a lot!), which ones to add to your personal collection of business books, which ones to borrow from the library or a friend and which ones to avoid at all costs.

To make things easy on you, we provide links to these books on Amazon so you can either do further research or purchase them for yourself.

This is Whatcha Reading – The April 2015 Edition

Title: The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results
Author: Gary Keller with Jay Papasan
Final Grade: A+

This book is AMAZING. Sorry for shouting in all caps, but I am that serious about how much I loved this book. This is one of those books that is a “game-changer” for me. This is a rare find in the business book world and I wish everyone struggling to be more productive and wanting to achieve better results in their business would read this book.

Gary Keller has a thoughtful and engaging writing style that pulls you right in from the very first page. His ideas aren’t complicated. In fact, his advice is to narrow your focus and simplify your goals. By concentrating on the “one thing” and doing that one thing to the best it can be done (not only to the best of your ability) you will be able to achieve positive changes.. This book is motivating and inspiring – the two best feelings a business book can stir up in the reader.

As I was reading The ONE Thing, I wrote down a number of quotes that I will refer back to time and again when I need to give myself a little boost. An example of one of my favorites: “The people who achieve extraordinary results don’t achieve them by working more hours. They achieve them by getting more done in the hours they work.” Isn’t that what so many of us are striving for in our everyday lives?

If you only do one thing today, definitely go out and buy this book. You won’t regret it!


Title: The Millionaire Messenger: Make a Difference and a Fortune Sharing Your Advice
Author: Brendon Burchard
Final Grade: B-

In the The Millionaire Messenger, Brendon Burchard claims to provide all the information you need in order to launch a successful career as a subject mater expert. He claims that “You can reach millions of people with your message, and you can get paid millions of dollars for doing so.” He also promises to “reveal how experts start out and exactly how they get their message out to the world (and how they get paid for it).” Now, who doesn’t want that? It sounds too good to be true. Which is why I approached this book with a healthy dose of skepticism. Some of that doubt was well-founded but there were parts of this book that were also pleasantly surprising (and helpful).

One of the problems I had with this book was the overall tone. The author’s voice sounded far too self-admiring and self-absorbed for my taste. I understand that he was trying to prove that his advice brings about real results by using his own life story as an example. That’s all well and good, but I got tired of hearing about the thousands of people who wait breathlessly for his next word, or the millions of dollars he’s earned, repeated ad nauseam. Even during passages where he was expressing gratitude and humbleness, there were references to his ability to make millions of dollars. Thanks dude, I get the point. But the reason I didn’t throw the book against the wall is because I honestly believe he is grateful for everything his career has brought him and that he would like others to replicate his success.

The absolute best chapter in this book was Chapter 5, “10 Steps to an Expert Empire”. Brendon takes you through a series of steps with questions at the end of each section that helps you capture your life experiences, refine your idea, focus your business message and figure out what steps to take in order to translate that message into dollars. The biggest problem was that each of these 10 steps should have been their own chapter to create a much more practical and helpful book. Also, Brendon acknowledges that these steps take some work, but I felt like he skimmed over the actual amount of work it would take. To implement all 10 of these steps requires A LOT of work, time and dedication – something many business owners already struggle with on a daily basis. I resent any book that presents hard work in a breezy fashion. It is deceptive and not fair to the reader – we want to be able to take this author at his word.

Overall, this books ends well with a an uplifting message: anyone can become a subject matter expert that can lead to greater wealth (and there is truth to that). Share your life’s purpose, share it passionately with others, and then be sure to teach the people coming up behind you how to do the same. The overall theme of this book is positive, and in this cut-throat industry, that makes for a nice read. This book is worth checking out (of the library, at least).

Title: Ask ME About MARY KAY: The true story behind the bumper sticker on the pink Cadillac
Author: Jackie Brown
Final Grade: B+

Jackie Brown started at Mary Kay in December of 1963. She interviewed with Mary Kay herself and was instantly smitten by the woman, the company and the cosmetics. Selling Mary Kay products turned out to be the perfect career choice for her (at least, in the beginning). She went from being a legal secretary to one of the most successful sales directors in the company in an amazingly short period of time. Jackie and Mary Kay Ashe actually shared many of the personality traits that made them both so successful – driven, ambitious, loyal to their family, and fearless in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds. It was these traits that brought them together and later drove them apart.

There is a ton of insight into how much hard-work and sacrifice it takes to build an empire from the ground up. Opportunities for women to be successful in business were limited in the early 1960’s and the author does a wonderful job of recreating that era – both the good and the bad. I found this book as engaging and fun to read as a suspense novel. I couldn’t wait to turn the next page and see what happened next in this fascinating drama that pitted two strong individuals against each other.

The book did get a little melodramatic at times, especially when it tried to build up the tension about Mary Kay’s “secret past”. When the great scandals were revealed, it was a bit of a let-down and seemed rather petty. However, the book ends on a positive note and with a nice little reconciliation meeting between Jackie and Mary Kay Ashe. There was a feeling that both women really did respect (and even like) one another, despite all the negative things that had happened between them in the past. That just goes to show the greatness of both women.

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