I don’t read many business books.

I buy books or borrow them from the library but, truth be told, I skim through most of them.

I read the first 25 to 50 pages to understand the key points, thesis or argument and then pick off sections or chapters that seem interesting.

one ideaPersonally, the key part of reading/skimming business books is discovering one good idea.

It’s a tool, insight, or a story that enhances your knowledge or sparks new possibilities and opportunities.

For example, I recently read Joe Polish‘s new marketing book, which is driven by his experience running a carpet cleaning business.

The good idea from Joe’s book is conducting an “audit” when bidding for business.

Rather than simply providing a proposal or estimate, he says companies should do an audit that showcases your expertise and value.

I like the idea of an audit because it differentiates your product and shows potential customers your approach is unique, personalized and better.

Another “good idea” book is “Uncommon Service” by Francis Frei and Anne Morriss.

One of the key points is identifying your customers’ biggest needs and determining how your company is meeting them. These data points are placed on a chart to show if there is alignment.

It is an interesting exercise because it can show different perspectives from different parts of an organization, and from customers.

A sales team, for example, could see opportunities for improvement, while a product development team thinks that customers are happy. When this happens, there’s a problem.

The third book on my “good idea” list is Robert Bloom’s “The Inside Advantage”, which looks at how to identify the ideal customer.

A long-time advertising executive, Bloom offers thoughts on the importance of knowing your customer and ways to identify their needs, interests, and buying habits.

Through personal insight and case studies from large brands, Bloom walks you through how buyer personas are developed so brands can be laser-focused on who matters.

Bottom line: There are so many good books from smart people that it is difficult to really embrace a single book. Not to suggest my “lite” approach to business books works for everyone but it’s an efficient way to collect lots of ideas.

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