The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

Happiness: The Key to Success. If you work hard, you will be successful; once you are successful you will be happy. This is a common lesson, learned from a young age. Shawn Achor argues that this conventional wisdom is backwards – stating that people who start off happy are more likely to succeed than their counterparts who start off unhappy. This conclusion comes from Achor’s own studies at Harvard as well as from scientific studies and supporting research from around the world. Achor is an advocate of positive psychology, which, unlike traditional psychology, draws lessons from successful people rather than the failures. In The Happiness Advantage, Achor presents seven principles of happiness and success based on the research and his experience consulting companies around the world. It’s All in the Mind The first principle is also the title of the book: The Happiness Advantage. This principle says that people who are happy have a psychological advantage over people who are unhappy. One way to test this is through studies over time. For example, college freshmen that were empirically shown to be happy had a higher income 19 years later than their unhappy classmates. Other experiments showed that happiness led to more creativity and greater vision. The second principle, The Fulcrum and the Lever, talks about the power of a mindset. The fulcrum is the mindset of the person; the length of the lever corresponds to the potential power and possibility that person believes he or she has. If someone moves the fulcrum in the right direction by adopting a more positive mindset, the lever of possibility lengthens, which leads, as...

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Contagious is an interesting read that delves into the analysis of the science of social transmissions while providing entertaining examples of campaigns that have gone viral. Using this pattern Jonah Berger shows you an outline for creating ideas, campaigns and messages that go viral – spreading contagiously. He claims that there are six essential factors to a contagious idea, all of which are at work to make something truly successful. These are: Social Currency, “we share things that make us look good” – As individuals we tend to share things that make us look good, or compare favorably to others. Social currency is the “prestige” factor involved in an idea. Triggers “top of mind, tip of tongue” – Something that is top of mind spreads. Stories, occurrences and environment can all create trigger responses, reminding people of an idea. Emotion “when we care, we share” – When you care about something, you share. Make your idea stick by creating an emotional response associated with it. Public “built to show, built to grow” – People tend to follow others, and do things by example. Ideas need to be public to be copied. Practical “news you can use” – Everyone loves to give advice and offer tips. Make your idea have practical value, and people will move it forward. Stories “information travels under the guise of idle chatter” – As well as sharing information, people also like to tell stories. Create a story that is related to your company’s products, but make it shareable. Have it carry your ideas, brand and information. This book offers many valuable insights to marketers, and...

The Spider and the Starfish

The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations By Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom  Key Take-Aways: Spider organizations have a hierarchal order – they have a head and a body. In contrast Starfish organizations are decentralized because of their undifferentiated neural network. Starfish organizations do not require CEOs or extensive headquarters because they are decentralized. Because of this Starfish organizations are far more flexible, adaptive, and change readily. In Starfish organizations culture matters more than codes of conduct. When attacked centralized organizations – Spiders – become more rigid, whereas decentralized organizations – Starfish – expand and adapt. Starfish organizations stand on five legs: circular structure, a catalyst which “initiates a reaction,” an ideology, a pre-existing network and a champion. Put a catalyst to work if you want to promote your product in an innovative way. There is a current trend of companies becoming hybrids, with traits of both Spiders and Starfish in place. _____________________________________________________________________ The spider is a simple organism. It has a head, body, and legs. Take away a leg or two and it can survive, but if you cut off its head it quickly dies. On the other hand a starfish has many legs, but no central neural centre. You can cut a starfish into pieces, and each piece will grow into a whole new starfish. There is no “command center”, each piece is as equally important. Apply this to your business. Having an organization composed of many strong parts that don’t rely on a hierarchy enables it to adapt and become stronger despite change. If one person, or one aspect of your...

The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuck

The Thank You Economy focuses on the rise of good manners once again. The “old world values” of courtesy and respect, knowing the local storeowners, and good customer relationships are once again back in fashion. The corporations that once cut corners in the pursuit of profit are realizing that with the introduction of social media their business once again depends on word of mouth and good customer relationship – they can either thrive or suffer. Social networking sites provide a way to reconnect and recapture the social satisfaction missing from many business transactions. Happy customers can become your strongest advocates, and you can learn from unhappy customers. By joining the online conversation you inform people that you care, and want to be a part of their experience – boosting your reputation and credibility as a company that is good to do business with.  “People don’t talk about things they don’t care about. So it’s up to you to make them care, which means you have to care first”. The Thank You Economy reminds you not to dismiss the potential value of social media, and warns against making excuses that hold no water. Social Media Savvy organizations care “obsessively” about customer service – and hold a culture of caring which they promote. Create a strong company culture and value your employees, they are the messengers to the customer, and having them share your company culture is the best way to create a fantastic customer experience. Some guidelines to creating a effective social media presence are: “Begin with yourself” – Exude your company’s culture, create an impact. “Commit Whole Hog” –...

Tribes by Seth Godin

Humans are social beings – we need emotional connections to live happy, fulfilled lives. Seth Godin emphasizes this in “Tribes”, and explains why you should act on your lifelong dreams, and how strong leadership skills can lead you to success. Start forming a tribe, “a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.” By gathering those around you who share your values and vision you can create a powerful force, with the ability to create change. Be a happy, joyful, encouraging, and charismatic leader – be the type of leader the world needs. By making this active choice, you have more room for success, and you will be a valued leader to those around you. Tribes can be any size, as long as they focus on a purpose. A passionate, committed leader, and engaged members who provide aspects of leadership form a successful tribe. By connecting and valuing all voices within the tribe you focus on a vision rather than mere management. Shine a light, build a tribe and make a difference. You are the change. Membership within a tribe should be dynamic, vocal, and full of communication. Listening is also an important aspect of being a member, and a leader, of a tribe. If you communicate clearly in four directions: “leader to tribe, tribe to leader, tribe member to tribe member [and] tribe member to outsider” you will be able to improve and expand your tribe. Challenge mediocrity. Pursue a goal, and create new challenges and improvements that will push success forward. Eliminate the fear of failure by managing it,...