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A Little Story About What Matters Most in Business

by Bob Burg and John David Mann

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59184-419-8
Publisher: Portfolio

An entertaining parable that could help hone business skills.

Those who think a successful sales strategy involves aggressive badgering may be surprised by Burg and Mann’s (Go-Givers Sell More, 2010, etc.) latest release. Despite the title of their third collaboration, they argue that it is about you; it’s about how you need to learn to listen to others and focus on their needs. Do so, Burg and Mann imply, and you'll not only make the sale but learn to lead in the process. The protagonist of their story is a young salesman, Ben, who has been sent to buy out a struggling yet beloved chair manufacturer. Over the course of a few weeks, Ben becomes close with the four company executives, each of whom exhibits a different leadership trait. At the behest of his mysterious mentor, “Aunt Elle,” with whom he meets regularly for tea, Ben learns how to navigate the tumultuous waters of salesmanship—as well as leadership, since Ben ultimately discovers that learning to lead is at the heart of all business transactions. This slim volume is lighter and more readable than many business books, with accessible language and universally applicable lessons. The roadblocks Ben encounters along the way offer helpful instruction for how to deal with others, regardless of one’s profession.

Hardly a gripping tale, but as a paradigm for those struggling to make their way in the world of corporate sales, it could prove somewhat enlightening.