My January Book Review & Re-Read List – James Ker-Reid

by James Ker-Reid - February 14, 2020

Books I re-read in January:

  • Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
  • Key Person of Influence by Daniel Priestley
  • The Alliance by Reid Hoffman/Ben Casnocha/Chris Yeh
  • They Ask You Answer by Marcus Sheridan

I remember the first time I really started reading. I was not an avid reader as a child, I read out of obligation.

For example, I’ve read serial books Harry Potter, Brian Jacques, Famous Five and even Horrible Histories.  As we were told you must read. To relieve my boredom, I started skimming but not with any talent. I just used to look at the page for about 10-15 seconds and then turn the page.

I loved movies, I was an avid movie watcher and still am to this day. I loved history books and before Wikipedia and even before secondary school I would go to the National Trust bookshops and want to open up books finding out further historical information. And yes I’m one of those weird people who read those historical sites and loves to know about what was her before, what was it used for and who owned it.

But I didn’t really start reading in any big quantity non-fiction until I went to Sri Lanka to set up a charity in 2014. For the first time, I had a Kindle e-Reader, with the integrated light and on ‘Airplane Mode’ I could travel from Colombo to Jaffna by bus without losing battery. I even stopped in the hotel lobbies during fuel stops and bought and downloaded new books for the next multiple hour trips.

Now I’ve switched from Kindle to Audible after you can get a bit trigger happy with Kindle and I still have 10s of books not read…

This year I decided to do something different. After reading 100s of books, I asked myself how many of these have I read twice or thrice? How many have I taken insights and knowledge and applied it to my life? Do I practice these new habits or use these insights regularly in my daily life?

My answer was no on many levels. There is a tendency for over-consumption of content. I have made this mistake on many occasions and even reviewed on one weekend the crazy increase of reading just before I’ve resigned or been fired in my career.

So 2020 is a year of re-reading, I’m going to be using an 80/20 rule for my reading practices this year.

So here are my insights from the 4 books that I re-read in January:

Profit First Insights
  1. Sales – Expenses = Profit —> owners distributions after tax year-end is a broken system.
  2. Taking profit first increases the value of your business and how you spend your money, does this expense create profit for my business? Does it protect me against great risk?
  3. GAAP system means you often go from crisis to crisis early on in your startup life. Whilst creating a bigger monster each time. It’s like a delayed and ever-growing monster!
  4. Having money to pay your tax, VAT, employees with ease is a great feeling. Simple but true.
  5. Bank balance accounting is a better live system for SMEs and any Founder can manage it with Profit First system.
  6. A Flow system means you use accounts to judge expenses, tax, vat separately rather than one catch-all account.
  7. Percentages create progress. A small percentage increase with increasing revenue can result in a big transformation in your finances.
Key Person of Influence Insights
  1. Vitality is more important than functionality. Vital adds something. It is irreplaceable. Functional – great at what they do, they perform a task that is replaceable.
  2. It’s the message that makes you rich, not social media. Social media is a microphone for your ideas, theories and opinions.
  3. It has been 6 years since I read this book, I saw Daniel speak to a group of budding entrepreneurs recently. The tips he’d mentioned in his book I had done. The news diet, three calls, a month’s earnings in the wallet.
  4. The inner circle is where the opportunities lie. They pass them between each other. Income moves from one wealthy person to another. I saw this recently when I stumbled and met someone who was going to buy an island in the British Virgin Islands and people nearest in his network were joining in and investing in his project.
  5. Publishing creates credibility, Products create cash. Product and services ecosystems create money, not just prospects.
  6. Go looking for partnerships when networking. Look for relationships.
  7. Can get addicted to the struggle and let complexity get in the way of simplicity, you let the unimportant take priority over the most important. A desire for immediate quick wins creep in.
  8. Disarming questions and the language of opportunity: often we ask disempowering questions of ourselves and others and we certainly don’t light up their character by using the language of opportunity to enable them and encourage them to go above and beyond our expectations
  9. From live event with Dan… When you write down your ideas, you have space for new insights to come flowing in. Also by writing down you can examine it, the same can be said for sharing and teaching others. You understand where the gaps are and what you need to become better at.
The Alliance Insights
  1. Are you creating an environment for greatness? Would you arrive at the office or at the desk and think I can’t wait to get started?
  2. The employee/employer relationship is often never really discussed. You have the opportunity to grow the company with great talent and increase the market value of the employee.
  3. A career is full of successful tours of duties not jobs. Focusing on finishing a specific project or stage of a company’s growth builds trust incrementally and makes you part of something bigger.
  4. Types of a tour of duty – Types: Rotational, Transformational, Foundational. * Entry-level employees – start with rotational or transformational * Higher level – transformational to foundational. Tech startups – normally 80% transformational tours. Small % on rotational and foundational. High performance and highly adaptive culture.
  5. Personal value exercise for employees: 1) Three people she admires. 2) Three qualities she admired most, 3) Number 1-9. 4) Match these against the company values. OR  For 1) What is your proudest career moment? Who is the best coworker you’ve worked with? OR Life journey – 3-5 minutes. How it led you to be the person you are today and how it’s created some of your decisions in the last couple of years? What were the values you held dear during these decisions or time period? What drove you?
  6. HubSpot employees – share/ comment/update – 3x more. 6x more connections.
  7. Setup a networking fund – interesting people fund. Learn from interesting people. Got to put the learning meals in place. Can expense meals with smart people if summarise on the expense entry on what they learned and happy to share with others at the company.
They Ask You Answer Insights
  1. 70% of the buying decision is made before contacting you – this is old data over 6 years old. Will this be 80 or 85% in this next decade?
  2. Be obsessed with customer fear. Every reasons, fear, concern, worry. People who eliminate this fear from the buying cycle are the most progressive businesses, so you need to create the content to help and facilitate this buying experience.
  3. Five types of content: 1. Pricing and qualifications 2. Problems 3. Vs and comparisons 4. Reviews 5. Best in class.
  4. Creating content is about getting more time, more sales time. You could never service the questions and answers with prospective clients as you could online in a blog article.
  5. Hiring a Content Marketing Manager: 1. They love to write – communion 2. They are skilled at editing – 5 to 93. Excellent interviewing skills – Buyers point of view 4. They embrace social media and get it 5. Solid video editing skills 6. They are extremely likeable 7. They know what makes employees tick 8. Organised and goal-orientated – editorial calendar – interviews, newsletter, releases 9. Love analytics and measurement – love tools like HubSpot 10.  Think outside the box – creativity – get things done.
  6. Assessment tests for Content Manager: Do they embody your top 5 brand values? * Turn a poor draft into a nice article – two full-blown articles * Blog titles – interview question * Main question – get them to interview them – 24-48 hours – blog or video post. * Likeable – interviewed by others, personal interests – video, photography, creative hobbies.
  7. The more you share about the questions and answers for your product or service the better your value proposition and deeper understanding you have of your target market. Otherwise, it is latent potential sitting in a CRM or the back of your mind.

Thanks for reading this far. I’m still amazed at how many skim these things!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on if re-reading is a thing you practice regularly. Do you do it with all your favourite books or find yourself doing it with only a few books?

Hope you enjoyed this, feel free to like, comment and share this article with those would actually care. Not because I need external validation just so perhaps I can share with you other insights on other reading I may do in the future! 😉

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