How to Read – A Parable of Love and Hate

How to Read – A Parable of Love and Hate

I love reading Jeffrey Gitomer. I also hate reading his books. If you do not know, Jeffrey Gitomer is a self-proclaimed King of Sales. Unlike so many self-proclaimed people, like many social media “thought leaders,” he is the real thing. So I love his books. They are terrible.

Wandering Minds

Have you ever been reading something and suddenly realize your thoughts have wondered off without you? You are two pages from what you last recall reading, but what a great mind trip you have been on!!! I will often assess books by this involuntary action.

If my thoughts wander off into my to do list, or the noises outside, or that phone call I should be making, or some other irrelevant (to the book) thing, I know I’m into a snoozer. I will usually finish reading it, but at a much faster pace to get to any of the good stuff that might be there.

Wandering into Business Mischief

If my wandering thoughts hinged directly off what I was reading and I have begun to figure out ways to implement the idea, then I know I’m onto a good one. I still have to backtrack and re-read pages. Until I realize my mind has started planning business mischief again. This is why I hate reading Gitomer. I can’t keep my mind intact for at least a page. Which is why I love reading him.

Three Things that Improved my Thinking

One of his recent books is “Sales Manifesto” (2019) which had been sitting on my TBR shelf. Having hit a bit of a snag in a COVID-induced sales slump, I knew I needed to get into this one. I was not disappointed. I am more than halfway through it and I had to stop and collect some of the great ideas he presents. Let me share just three of them.

  1. I have always been a goal setter. I’ve studied it, I’ve written about it, I’ve taught so many others, I now at least 7 interpretations of ‘SMART’ goals, and I tweet about goals frequently. What more could I learn about goal setting? Then I ran into this: “Goals without intentions are worthless. Anything you set your mind to do, must be committed to, intended to, and dedicated to achieve. The secret of goals is not setting them, it’s intending to achieve them, and committing to a deadline. Just do it.” (p. 35) Note to self: New step in goal setting process. What is my true commitment?
  2. As a consultant, I rely on my experience and knowledge to generate the wisdom with which I dazzle my clients (!). I know many people who are “certified” in some way. I hold several myself. Then I tripped over this: “To transfer ‘The Knowledge,’ prospects and customers need to feel your passion – your belief – your intelligence – your ideas – and your sincerity beyond the hype of your sales pitch. ‘The Knowledge’ is the certification for a London Taxi driver. To get a full license he or she must know the city like the back of his/her hand. It takes four years. Same with your knowledge.” (p. 41-2). The certificate on the wall is ultimately meaningless. How am I converting my knowledge into wisdom to serve clients?
  3. I long ago got this quote from one of his books. I have restated it myself (with attribution) many times. As an introvert, however, I am not naturally gregarious. I can stand in a conference center full of people and deliver a talk or class with no problem, but I do get exhausted when I have to interact with lots of people. Part of me has used it as an excuse, but the time for excuses is long over. I NEED to be better at fostering friendships. The quote? “All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. All things being not quite so equal, people still want to do business with their friends.” (p. 47) Which is much better motivation than what my doctor once told me – to lose weight or get two new friends because 6 pall bearers wasn’t going to cut it!

Using Stickie Tabs

Another thing I do when reading any book is use little stickie notes or tags to mark things that I find particularly poignant. When I am done, if there are only a few flags, I know the book was not that enlightening. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. I’ve plowed through a few that earned no flags.

If the flags sticking out the side of the book look more like a pine needle branch, then I know I have some real work ahead of me to capture those great ideas and memorialize them for future use. I’m a stickler on attribution where appropriate, so it’s important I mark where I found things.

Gitomer’s books use a lot of my stickie tabs.

Understanding Selling in a Way You Can Use

I love Gitomer’s books and highly recommend them. I hate reading them because no writer is as good as Gitomer in cutting every single ounce of fat out of a point. Each and every word has rich meat in it. It looks like an easy read until you actually start reading it and realize the massive amount of good information buried within it.

It takes a long time to read a Gitomer book. The mind wanderings are fruitful and constant. You find yourself re-reading it over and over, page by page. You will leave it much smarter if you just stop to think about it.

Sustained Leadership WBS refers to and recommends 7 different Gitomer books. If you are involved in any aspect of selling, you need a healthy dose of Jeffrey Gitomer.

Buy Sustained Leadership WBS here. eBook:; Print:

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With an extensive career in government contracting, Tom has found many examples, both good and bad, of leadership. These posts are based on his latest book, Sustained Leadership WBS, published by Morgan James. Tom is available to speak to your team on the importance of developing sustained leaders.


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