On the Bookshelf: Be Different, Be Flexible, Be Yourself

UPDATED: May 24, 2023
PUBLISHED: March 13, 2012
On the Bookshelf: Be Different, Be Flexible, Be Yourself

We’re bombarded with messages telling us we can’t be happy or complete unless we are like this or unless we do that, so it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that being ourselves isn’t enough. The following books illustrate clearly that authenticity is an essential ingredient for real success. Remaining true to ourselves doesn’t mean we don’t have to change. Indeed, adaptability is critical to thriving in today’s business world. But it’s still possible—in fact, essential—to adapt while remaining true to our personalities and values. Because being ourselves is the defining feature that sets us apart from our competition.

The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking . . . Because People Do Business with People They Like

by Michelle Tillis Lederman
AMACOM, 2012

Schmoozing—the word, just like the behavior we equate with it, seems phony. Sure, we want people to like us, but does getting people to like us require putting on a mask and pretending to be something we’re not? Absolutely not, says Michelle Tillis Lederman, author of The 11 Laws of Likability. In fact, Lederman explains that we have a much better chance of connecting with others if our actions, thoughts and words are authentic to us.

Lederman’s book is about networking—connecting with others in a meaningful way. But to attain that goal, she challenges readers to first examine their behaviors and attitudes. Once our mindset is in check, she shows us how to engage people in conversations and eventually establish long-term relationships. The 11 laws—authenticity, self-image, perception, energy, curiosity, listening, similarity, mood memory, familiarity, giving and patience—work together to create an effective, natural system for creating and maintaining relationships.

With practical applications and real-life stories that make these laws tangible, this book is engaging and extremely helpful. If you ever feel like you’re forcing conversations or missing out on networking opportunities, you’ll appreciate the tools and strategies offered in The 11 Laws of Likability.

Noteworthy Quote: “Harnessing likability is about uncovering what is authentically likable—in you, in the other person, in your connection.”

A few things you’ll learn:

How to approach and converse with new people without being phony.

How your energy affects the people around you.

How to continue the conversation after the networking event.

Identity: Your Passport to Success

by Stedman Graham
FT Press, 2012

Know yourself, be yourself, stay yourself; if you don’t understand and own your own identity, others will define you, whether you like it or not, says author Stedman Graham. In determining your own identity, you gain clarity of purpose, focus, motivation and vision for your life, he says. And not only do you become the master of your own success, you also become a more effective leader.

In his new book, Graham explains why happiness and success flow directly from establishing your identity. He offers a process for gaining this precious self-awareness and cites the experiences of other people who achieved a clearer sense of themselves, determined values to live by and found a greater sense of purpose through their own personal journeys. He also provides his nine-step plan for success to help readers build lives that matter to them and the people around them.

Noteworthy Quote: “How in the world is somebody going to give you value or respect if you don’t stand for something?”

A couple things you’ll learn:

How to determine and understand your own identity.

How to align your values with your goals and actions.

Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd

by Youngme Moon
Crown Business, 2012

The proliferation of products in America has numbed consumers to choice and almost closed the coffin on the concept of “brand loyalty.” Human nature—and marketing nature—leads us to follow the herd. So what do you do if you’re trying to break the surface in a saturated market category? Not surprisingly, Youngme Moon says you should be different.

In lyrical and conversational prose, Moon reminds marketers how to distinguish themselves and be a market standout. The book also offers tips on how to restore imagination, surprise and originality to our lives.

Noteworthy Quote: “Differentiation begins with nothing more than an idea that it is possible to do things in a fundamentally novel way.”

A couple things you’ll learn:

How to get excited and inspired enough to innovate.

How to stand out in a saturated market category.

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