The Necessity of Strangers

Greetings. I’m excited to announce that “The NECESSITY of STRANGERS,” my new book about the importance of connecting with, learning from, and collaborating with people who are different than us is working its way to publication on September 15th. Here’s a cool two-dimensional, 3D version of the cover (not exactly sure how that works) to hopefully inspire you to pre-order the book at your favorite brick-and-mortar store or online retailer. And as added motivation, depending on my schedule, I’d be delighted to come to your office or home to personally thank you for buying the book, autograph your copy with a kind and respectful message as soon as it arrives, welcome the book into your life, and sing a medley of your favorite Motown songs. All at no additional cost!

the necessity of strangers 3D

Sincere thanks for continuing to follow my blog and please know that every time you mention the title of the new book (“The NECESSITY of STRANGERS“) to friends, colleagues, neighbors, clergy, politicians, and total or partial strangers, the entire team here at VENTURE WORKS Inc. will be singing your praises!


Making Your Ideas Spread

Greetings. Looking to create much broader interest in your products, services, and ideas? If so, Jonah Berger’s new book Contagious: Why Things Catch On should be at the top of your reading list. Berger, a marketing professor at the Wharton School, is a thoughtful researcher and a wonderful storyteller…but more importantly, he is one of the smartest people around when it comes to helping us understand why some things take hold, spark amazing buzz, and go viral in a matter of days. And his insights can make a powerful difference in any business or walk of life.

Using powerful examples that include $100 cheesesteaks, blenders that can turn cell phones into smoothies, homemade videos of customer service nightmares, and the clever creation of Hotmail, he shares the “science” (and practice) that drives word-of-mouth…science that will change the way you look at your world and the challenge of being heard. It’s a formula that he summarizes in six essential STEPPS…







And while I’m particularly keen on the power of triggers and emotion, each chapter is filled with clear examples and ideas you can use today to spark your thinking and hopefully unlock the real genius in what you have to offer.


We win in business and in life when we fuel compelling conversations about ideas that really matter. And when we understand what makes ideas and possibilities spread.


The Importance of Selling

Greetings.  Dan Pink’s latest book–“To Sell is Human“–provides a fresh and intriguing look at the business of selling.  And it thoughtfully suggests that just about every one of us is a salesperson, whether we think about ourselves that way or not…because most of us are involved in persuading other people to do things that hopefully are in their best interest. We work hard to build teams and foster greater collaboration at work.  We launch new ventures that require broad support and often funding from others.  We try to convince our neighbors that initiatives will benefit our communities.  And we encourage our kids to prioritize school work, sports, music, art, time with friends, texting, walking the dog and even keeping their rooms clean in a way that will lead to their current and future success.  We just don’t think of these as “sales” activities even though they are.

And while we are doing all of these things, most of us continue to have a strong aversion to most salespeople…seeing them as pushy, self-serving, commission-driven folks, who aren’t particularly interested in our real needs, aspirations, and best interests.  Maybe we’ve simply been burned too many times.

Which is where this book comes in…showing all of us how we can reinvent or just enhance the way we go about selling based on a clear commitment to understand the real needs of those we are trying to serve by asking the right questions, paying careful attention to the answers, connecting in more meaningful ways, and committing to deliver value that makes a powerful difference in the lives of our “customers.”

As he does in all of his books, Pink taps into a wide range of social science research along with some very interesting stories from the “history” of selling to push our thinking in new ways while offering lots of practical guidance that should make all of us, including the most experienced professional salespeople, more effective and successful.  And it is an engaging read.


We win in business and in life when we seek to deliver the greatest possible value in all of our work and personal endeavors.  By persuading or helping others to reach their full potential.


The Genius of Imagination

Greetings.  I've often led leadership teams in dramatic readings of "Where the Wild Things Are"–Maurice Sendak's classic children's book about overcoming our fears and the power of our imaginations.  So his passing this week provides a reason to think about his special talents for storytelling, illustration and inspiring kids of all ages to imagine new worlds filled with possibilities where demons (and challenges) can easily be tamed.

I could write a long blog post about him, and maybe someday I will.  But for now, I'd simply like to suggest that you and your colleagues do your own shared reading of "Where the Wild Things Are" or another one of his stories.  Then imagine how you might work together to break through the barriers that separate your company or organization from reaching its full potential.  And how you might endeavor to tame the wildest creatures in your world before returning to the comfort and safety of home. 

Wild Things

We win in business and in life when we dare to use our imaginations. And when we discover that we're never too old to learn from the magic of a children's story.


Genius on Sale

Greetings.  If you haven't read "Surrounded by Geniuses" and own a Kindle or a Kindle-enabled device now is a great time to read one of my favorite books.  I mention this less as a promotional plug and more as a unique opportunity to buy the book for a mere $1.99.  Yes, the kind folks at have decided to put the book on sale which means that for a limited time you and every one of your closest friends, colleagues, neighbors and family members can have your very own electronic copy of this award-winning book for less than half the cost of a double decaf skinny mocha chai latte with soy milk.  Or roughly half the cost of a gallon of gasoline.  Or half the cost of a "Happy Meal" at MacDonald's or an "Unhappy" meal at another fast food restaurant.  Or less than half the newstand price of the latest issue of People magazine (which you can also read for free at your dentist's office).  Or roughly one fourth the cost of a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts (which are tasty but a bit unhealthy and provide very little insight on innovation and business success).  

Seems hard to believe, doesn't it?

But before I get you too hungry to read, I'll simply leave this link ("Surrounded by Geniuses" for Kindle) and go back to drafting an even more substantive blog post for tomorrow.  After all, a sale like this won't last forever.

Or will it?

SbG Kindle Edition