I recently listened to a summary of Influencer by Kerry Patterson. The book was alright, and I'm not sure if it was the summary or the book, but the content didn't seem as unique as I would have hoped (a lot of the same material as in other psychology/influence books I've read). That's not to say it wasn't a good introductory/summary book for the topic.
The book started with the two most basic questions people ask: Am I able? and Am I motivated? The book's goal was to demonstrate six steps to influencing people's attitudes towards those two questions.
1. Make the undesirable desirable
In the Leadership and Ethics class I'm taking with former Mayor Riordan, we had an interesting speaker a few weeks ago: Michael Phelps. It was the one on the right of the photo above, not the swimmer on the left. The one on the right, it turns out, is equally interesting (and athletic).
Michael Phelps is the inventor of the technology behind the PET scan, which he later sold to Siemens. He's now a professor at UCLA.
Phelps is Irish, and he began his story with an Irish saying: "When you lose something, you gain something." He taught that life is not about the plans you make but the people you meet. When his parents died, he began to live with a new family that introduced him to boxing. He was a boxer for 10 years and then went into a coma from a car accident. This made him switch away from boxing and go back to school.
Another one of his sayings was, "fake it 'til you make it." He had no background in math, but he studied math and chemistry and ended up getting a Ph. D. in chemistry. He then went on to join the faculty in the medical school at Wash U and now UCLA.
He started a company with two others that went on to create the PET scan. He developed PET while at Wash U, but the university claims no rights on inventions. (He said UCLA doesn't help as much and does take rights.)
PET works by emitting a positron that combines with an electron to annihilate mass and emit energy (2 photons). A camera collects 40 million such events and makes an image from thousands of slices. Positrons are massless, so there is no pharmacological impact, and the scan is safe.
Some other philosophical points he made:
I don't drink coffee, but I thoroughly enjoyed Onward by Howard Schultz, the story of Starbucks and its long, complex history (I like hot chocolate and tea). The audiobook I listened to was quite long,, and at times it felt more like Starbucks marketing than actual story and analysis. However, for the most part, I enjoyed hearing about the challenges the Starbucks CEO faced and how he and the right people around him helped turn around the business that we all know and love. I also grew to have a much deeper appreciation for the process around growing and roasting coffee, the training and culture behind the baristas and Italian coffee shops, and why "going out for coffee," something so commonplace now, is actually quite special and worthy of analysis.
The author/CEO starts the story with his own background. He grew up in New York in the "projects" and started in the marketing department for Starbucks, a company that just sold coffee beans at the time. He went on a formative trip to Italy, where he felt the intense cultural love for espresso bars and the community created in the neighborhoods through coffee. The coffee shop has become the "third place" in one's life (with home and work being the other two).
He took this idea back to the US and started his own coffee shop. In the process, he bought his former employer Starbucks and grew it to what it is today.
Some key points that I found interesting in the introduction is how they treated employees and managed their team. Starbucks gives all employees (including part-time) equity options and health insurance. They also lowercase all titles and call employees "partners."
The book focuses its attention on the problems in the US economy, their effect on Starbucks, and how Schultz came back to be a second-time CEO to deal with problems and turn the company around.
Part 1: Love
Ch. 1: A Beverage of Truth
Ch. 8: A Reservoir of Trust
Ch. 17: Whirlwind
Ch. 22: Truth in Crisis
Ch. 27: Innovate