Hello and welcome to Success Books Review. I’m Johnny, and I want to give you an introduction to my new YouTube channel and tell you who it’s for, what it’s about and why I created it.
My goal is to give reviews of the very best books in personal and professional development. My channel is aimed toward the following groups of people:
- Trainers (private & corporate)
- Public speakers, especially motivational speakers
- Anyone working in personal and/or professional development
- Anyone passionate or curious about personal and professional development
If any of those categories fit you, then you’re in the right place. If not, my hope is that you may still find value from the reviews and they might inspire some excellent reading choices for you.
My aim is to offer clarity on why certain books are especially important for coaches and what lessons you should be looking to take away from them that particularly relate to you personally and professionally, and also to your clients and your content creation.
This isn’t going to be like Blinkist, I am not giving you the summary points and lessons of the book but instead encouraging you to know certain books and information really well. There is an ocean of books out there, and finding the best is a matter of hit and miss for most people, and you can’t always rely on Amazon or Goodreads ratings.
I’ll share what I thought was great as a coach, and I’ll even share whether I think there are things to watch out for or to pay special attention to as you read them. I also want to help people take action on their learning, so will discuss next steps and where you can go for additional or further information.
As someone with a big passion for personal and professional development in general, and as someone who has worked in and around this field for many years now, I have spotted some problems with people’s learning strategies and often meet coaches who don’t seem to have the level of expertise I would hope them to have in particular areas of knowledge.
I believe any good coach should have their own coach and maybe more than one, but you can bet I am not going to hire someone who doesn’t appear to have a sufficient level of knowledge, experience and expertise to be able to deliver great coaching and help me get results.
The most common learning strategy I encounter is to learn as much as possible over a broad range of related information, much like the general education system aims to do. To me, it’s more important that if I am going to work with someone to get a result, they should have a strong foundational knowledge and should also be an expert or specialist in THAT area.
In my experience and observations, most coaching and personal development courses teach you the how-to but rarely teach the background or supporting elements. I don’t necessarily think it’s realistic for them to try and do that but it does often mean that many people are using systems and models for change but not always understanding how or why they work, how they came about or how to adapt or develop them.
I’ll refer to a bit of ancient stoic wisdom here from Seneca:
“What’s the point of having countless books and libraries, whose titles could hardly be read through in a lifetime. The learner is not taught but burdened by the sheer volume, and it’s better to plant the seeds of a few authors than to be scattered about by many.”
(On tranquillity of mind, 9.4)
The point here, as Ryan Holiday aptly expresses it in his book ‘The Daily Stoic’, is to prioritise quality over quantity. This alone is quite a feat in a market now somewhat flooded with self-help books. It’s better to aim for expertise than to be a generalist. The niching issues most coaches seem to have are a testament to this being easier said than done. As my Nan was fond of saying, ‘Jack of all trades, master of none.’
You might wonder why I am doing this, and why now? I’ve been a life and business coach for many years now, T. Harv Eker referred to me as one of his veteran coaches just recently, which I am pretty sure was a compliment. I’ve been in and around personal development for a long time. In that time, I’ve seen some of the very best personal and professional development has to offer, but I have also seen some of the worst too.
The same is true for personal development and coaching psychology books. There are some classic works which I think everyone should read, there are some decent books, some OK books and really bloody awful books. If I can help steer you to the best of the best that I have found as a coach, then I will be achieving my mission with Succes Books Review.
It’s important to understand that a passing acquaintance with a book or the lessons of a book does not mean you really know it. If I am discussing influence with someone and I cite Robert Cialdini’s book but I can’t fully remember his name or I can only remember a few of the points of influence, then I am not going to come across as credible or expert.
However, to make a clear citation and to be able to give a quick introduction to all the key points of influence is not only more credible, but it also shows a high level of learning and commitment to understanding. Perhaps this is one of the reasons people say that to really know something you need to teach it.
Shall we go deeper on this? There are two types of knowledge; explicit declarative knowledge and implicit procedural knowledge. Knowing what something is is very different from being able to do it or use it.
The point is, if you want to have the implicit procedural knowledge, or unconscious competence if you’re more familiar with that term, you are going to need to repeat, study and apply the explicit declarative knowledge until you no longer need to verbalise it or visualise it in order to access and apply it.
Reading a book a day, as some people claim to do, or packing your brain full of blinks and abridged versions of classic texts might be good for brain stimulation and idea generation but can actually be detrimental to your longer-term memory for what you learn. As John Medina says in his ‘Your best brain’ course, the best you can hope for in reading a book or attending a lecture is to gain an acquaintance with the information.
In Benedict Carey’s book ‘How we learn’, we start to get a clearer picture of the keys to solid learning and knowledge acquisition, which according to the latest research from the fields of neuroscience and advanced learning requires significant re-familiarisation, application and review to become part of your knowledge. It’s true that we either use it or we lose it.
One of my clients recently complained to me that as much as he loves books and online learning resources, they still don’t help him figure out which stuff is most worth knowing until you’ve finished going through the book or the resource. When I mentioned to him my mission with Success Books Review he was certainly excited that someone was finally just going to help point the way to the best books and resources, rather than relying purely on recommendations in Amazon or Goodreads.
I have a philosophy that I apply to the books I will be reviewing. They need to genuinely add value and be stuff that everyone could apply and get benefit from. To me, this means my reviews will be much more based on science, research and secular wisdom and will not be spending significant time on spirituality or woo-woo stuff.
There’s a problem I am aware of in the coaching world which I think very few coaches are truly aware of. Many of them will be losing clients because of it and the clients are unlikely to tell them why they are really leaving, because it’s potentially embarrassing and maybe even a little insulting, and it’s the reason why coaches and personal development professionals need to be staying on the bleeding edge of learning and development, as well as having good knowledge, if not mastery of the core materials and philosophies of personal and professional development.
Brian Tracy covers this issue quite well in his audiobook on accelerated learning, and author/marketer Dan Meredith is also pretty clear on this in his book ‘How to be f*cking awesome!’ I will be covering this problem in an upcoming live webinar which I will be making available for free to all subscribers to this channel, for those who may be interested to know more.
Each week I will be posting up a review video of a book that I have found profoundly useful and insightful into development and personal growth. I have the first 40 books to be reviewed already planned out, but certainly, there are going to be more if the channel grows and shows a demand.
I will aim to keep most review videos around the 10-minute mark so they are easily digestible, and your feedback (constructive and developmental only please) will hopefully guide me in improving quality and content as I progress.
If this sounds like it could have value or interest for you, please subscribe to the channel and you will get the notifications for all new videos. I will also be offering exclusive access to my own mind-maps which I create and use to help me review my learning. They are not a replacement for actually reading the books but they can be a valuable tool in helping you make that transition from explicit declarative knowledge to implicit procedural skill, or from conscious incompetence, to unconscious competence if you prefer.
My hope is that Success Books Review will become a valued and trusted resource for those who are truly passionate about personal and professional development and the sciences of positive life transformation. To do this, I need your help. Your subs, likes and shares can help me to grow this channel into something special and something of value to committed life-long learners like yourself. Thank you for your time and be on the lookout for my very first review video, already recorded and edited and coming to YouTube very soon.
As I will be signing off all my videos…
Action is the bridge between what’s in your brain and what you can create in the real world.
As you increase your learning potential, you will also be increasing your earning potential.
Remember, Confucius, says: to know and not to do is to not truly know.
So, keep on reading, keep on learning and keep on doing.
See you on the next Success Books Review.