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Book Sm{art}: To Sell Is Human

Barron Ryan


I love books. I mean, I really love books. Talking with experts about subjects I'm interested in is helpful to get me excited about a topic, but there's nothing like a well-written and -organized book to help me understand and internalize new concepts.

So I'm starting a new series called Book Sm{art}, featuring reviews of books that I've found useful as an artist. Let's get started.

To Sell Is Human       Daniel H. Pink

As I've written about before, my present focus in business is getting better at converting interest into action, or selling. In To Sell Is Human, author Daniel H. Pink writes that whether or not you actually sell things, we all try to move people. Then once you're convinced, he explores we can get better at it.

The book is divided into three parts: Rebirth of a Salesman, How to Be, and What to Do. The first tells the story of how selling has changed from the Fuller Brush Salesman model to the current environment where literally everyone is in some form of sales. If you don't think you're in sales before you start reading, this section should change your mind.

How to Be introduces Pink's new ABCs of selling: Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity. He argues that today's salesman doesn't get ahead with the old, me-first attitude of the old ABCs (Always Be Closing), but by being empathetic and resilient, and by properly framing their solution to problems their customers are having. 

What to Do covers practical instructions for becoming better at sales. Pink describes the necessity to pitch, improvise, and serve in order to move people. The Pitch chapter is particularly interesting, featuring six possible successors to the classic elevator pitch: one-word, question, rhyming, subject line, Twitter, and Pixar.

Overall I found the book a refreshing take on sales in the modern world. Parts two and three were especially useful in setting a strong foundation of underlying principles to keep in mind. I highly recommend To Sell Is Human to any artist, entrepreneur, or even Twitter user who wants to hone their skill in encouraging action from their audience. If you read it, let me know what you think and post your six pitches!