The best books for improving your relevancy in business and in life

J.W. Huebner Author Of The Irrelevant Old Brand: A Business Fable about Taking Your Brand from Mediocre to Must-Have
By J.W. Huebner

Who am I?

I’ve spent most of my career helping companies figure out how to become more relevant to their customers. And the more time I spent understanding what makes a brand relevant, the more I realized it was the same thing that makes a life relevant. Just as a brand needs to uniquely give something to its customers, human beings also need to give in some way to be relevant in this world. So if what I write—and the books I recommend—can even in the smallest way guide some company or individual toward a more important, more meaningful, more relevant life…well then, I guess my job here will be done.

I wrote...

The Irrelevant Old Brand: A Business Fable about Taking Your Brand from Mediocre to Must-Have

By J.W. Huebner,

Book cover of The Irrelevant Old Brand: A Business Fable about Taking Your Brand from Mediocre to Must-Have

What is my book about?

More than half a million U.S. businesses fail every year. Big and small, they all have one thing in common: They become irrelevant. It doesn’t happen overnight or with one executive misstep, but as a slow drip. The brand is no longer meaningful to the customer. 

Author J.W. (Jim) Huebner lived this story from both sides. He’s been the business owner facing irrelevance and the brand consultant called on to help companies find more relevance in their marketplaces. The Irrelevant Old Brand combines his experience over the last 30 years into the story of a fictional CEO trying to save his failing business by re-discovering why it matters to his customers. The Irrelevant Old Brand offers tangible advice to keep any brand from falling into the same trap of irrelevance.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

Why did I love this book?

There have been a number of books written over the years supporting the theory that it’s better to give than receive—and Adam Grant’s Give and Take is one of the best.

Adam breaks down the different types of people in the world: givers, takers, and matchers. And he shows us that the givers—the ones who give without expecting anything in return—are the most successful in life and in business. 

This book makes a wonderful case for the power of generosity, and how helping others can actually benefit us in the long run.

It's a must-read for anyone who wants to improve their relationships, achieve success, and—if you’re like me—needs a whack on the head sometimes to remind me that giving is always better than taking.

By Adam Grant,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Give and Take as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking look at why our interactions with others hold the key to success, from the bestselling author of Think Again and Originals

For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But in today's dramatically reconfigured world, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. In Give and Take, Adam Grant, an award-winning researcher and Wharton's highest-rated professor, examines the surprising forces that shape why some people rise to the top of the success ladder while others sink to the bottom. Praised by social scientists, business theorists, and corporate…

Book cover of What Clients Love: A Field Guide to Growing Your Business

Why did I love this book?

This book is a game-changer for anyone who wants to grow their business and make their clients fall in love with them.

It's all about understanding what your clients really want and need, and then delivering it to them in a way that is authentic and meaningful. 

I love Beckwith's short-chapter writing style as it’s very easy to read, and his insights are incredibly valuable.

Putting his thoughts into practice, like “Respect your client’s time,” “Be specific,” “Before you pick a name, test it.” “Take time and write notes by hand.”…will all help make you more relevant and more trusted by your clients.

So if you’re looking to create a roadmap on how your team can better connect with your own clients and make them feel truly appreciated, What Clients Love will help you build it.

By Harry Beckwith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Clients Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In WHAT CLIENTS LOVE, Harry Beckwith discusses effective business tactics with the practical, down-to-earth style that has made him a best-selling author and trusted marketing expert. He explains the sheer simplicity of a marketing plan - how to find your company's position, how to define a brand and how to manage that brand so it has its full and overwhelming impact. With sections such as 'Thinking and Planning', 'Communicating' and 'Serving The Client', Beckwith shows how effective marketeers need to be brief, succinct and 'cut to the close'.

WHAT CLIENTS LOVE also reveals the very nature of a service and…

Book cover of Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People

Why did I love this book?

Goff teaches readers how to love everyone, no matter what.

He emphasizes the importance of showing love and kindness to those who may be difficult to love and even those who may have hurt us in the past. 

As someone who likes to be a people-pleaser, this book really resonated with me. It's a reminder that we're all human, and we all make mistakes. By choosing to love everybody always, we can create a world filled with compassion and understanding.

For anyone looking to improve their relationships and become more relevant to the people around them, this book is for you.

When you learn how to love everyone—even the difficult people—you’ll discover that’s where a life of fearlessness can be lived.

By Bob Goff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everybody, Always as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What if we stopped avoiding the difficult people in our lives and committed to simply loving everybody? What happens when we give away love like we're made of it? In Everybody, Always, Bob Goff's joyful New York Times bestselling follow-up to Love Does, you'll discover the secret to living without fear, constraint, or worry.

Bob teaches us that the path toward the outsized, unfettered, liberated existence we all long for is found in one simple truth: love people, even the difficult ones, without distinction and without limits.

In Everybody, Always, Bob shows us the simple truths about life that have…

Book cover of That Question Book: Friends Edition

Why did I love this book?

Ned has a gift for asking the kind of thought-provoking questions that get us to think deeply about our lives, relationships, and faith.

His books are filled with questions that will challenge and inspire you to live a life of purpose and passion—and will help you connect in a more meaningful way with the people you love. 

I’ve found that whether you're a young person just starting out in life or a seasoned adult looking for fresh insights, there’s something valuable in every one of these books.

Ready to go deep with the people who matter most to you? Then grab one of these books and start asking some big questions!

By Ned Pauley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked That Question Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Research shows that few things affect the quality of our lives more than the quality of our relationships. We long for friendships where we're known and appreciated, but we're often left unsatisfied. The problem is we can’t create meaningful relationships with superficial conversation.

That Question Book: Friends Edition is your tool to solve that problem. These 360 conversational questions create fun and meaningful interaction with any gathering of friends, leading to the authentic connections you desire.

That Question Book: Friends Edition. Because life is better when relationships are better.

Book cover of Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

Why did I love this book?

The message is simple: Offer something meaningfully different than anyone else to your prospective customers...clearly communicate that difference...and you’ll be on the path to greater relevance.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referred back to this book for guidance on category creation, naming, brand leadership, and more.

Positioning teaches you how to create a unique position for your brand in the minds of your target audience, and how to communicate that position effectively. It's all about standing out, being different, and showing your customers why they should choose you over your competitors.

Published more than 40 years ago, I find Positioning to be incredibly relevant and insightful even today. It continues to be a must-read for anyone looking to take their brand to the next level!

By Al Ries, Jack Trout,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Positioning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book to deal with the problems of communicating to a skeptical, media-blitzed public, Positioning describes a revolutionary approach to creating a "position" in a prospective customer's mind-one that reflects a company's own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of its competitors. Writing in their trademark witty, fast-paced style, advertising gurus Ries and Trout explain how to:

Make and position an industry leader so that its name and message wheedles its way into the collective subconscious of your market-and stays there Position a follower so that it can occupy a niche not claimed by the leader Avoid letting…

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