On Friday I had the honor of speaking on “Online Legal Practice Management in the 21st Century” at an event called “The Practice”, a daylong nuts and bolts seminar pulled off to perfection by Brian Tannebaum and the folks at the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
One of the highlights for me was meeting Roy Black, who gave an inspiring keynote about achieving greatness. One of things he said aligns with our thinking about looking to other industries to improve the business of law:
Throw out your trial advocacy books and buy business and sales books instead.
In this spirit, I’d like to share my favorites. Over the past few years of building Rocket Matter, we’ve relied heavily on the sage wisdom of a handful of business and sales books which have really made a difference for us.
1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Hard to believe, but this book from the 1930’s connects as loud and clear today as ever. Every principle in this book is important for managing people and landing sales. It’s immensely readable, drawing on chapters from American history and written in a vernacular that’ll remind you of an old movie. If you read only one business book in your entire life, read this one. And if you’re a law student, pick this up right away. I batted 1.000 in job interviews after reading this book.
2. Good to Great by Jim Collins
What makes some companies great while others stay mediocre? Collins and his research team exhaustively research the factors which lead to greatness. Good to Great is in practically every executive’s bookshelf in America, and is often studied chapter by chapter by management teams.
3. Influence: Science and Practice by Dane Cialdini
Without reading this book on the psychology of persuasion and compliance, you’re selling (and consuming, for that matter) with one hand tied behind your back. With studies and evidence, Cialdini points out the trigger points in human psychology that lead to influence. He identifies seven “weapons of influence.” Read ’em and know ’em.
4. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
Getting Things Done®, or GTD for legal is starting to catch on. Allen’s book outlines a prescriptive system for getting life under control, and it’s not a technology or tool-specific system. Invented to work with C-level executives at some of the nation’s largest companies, GTD techniques can help you declutter the nastiest inbox and impose order on chaos.
5. The Big Moo by Seth Godin & The Group of 33
Seth Godin is a popular marketing writer and blogger. His ideas revolve around, loosely stated, providing excellence in your service or product, and creating tribes and fans of people who love what you do and spread the word. His work is also inspirational. The Big Moo, which was a follow up to The Purple Cow, is a collection of anonymous essays by successful business people and thinkers, including Malcolm Gladwell and Mark Cuban. This book fired me up.