December 23

Tom’s 12 Days of Christmas 2021 Reading List

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I’m a voracious reader. Always have been. In fact, I think the best Christmas gift I ever received was a Kindle Unlimited Subscription. I mean books are quite simply the cheapest, highest ROI investment you can make in your future and your career. So with that in mind… here is my Christmas gift to you this year. My 12 favorite books of 2021. 

On the first day of Christmas, my Kindle gave to me:

The Human Element

AUTHOR: LORAN NORDGREN

Why you should read: If your job involves persuading people to change their minds, alter their actions, or commit to a new way of doing things, get this book. The big idea is the roles of FUEL vs FRICTION in change adoption. I won’t spoil it for you, but chances are if you’re having trouble persuading folks to buy your product, change their mind, or adopt a new work process, you’re probably adding too much FUEL and neglecting the FRICTION. 

On the second day of Christmas, my Kindle gave to me:

The Referable Speaker

AUTHOR: MICHAEL PORT AND ANDREW DAVIS

Why you should read: This one really is only appropriate for folks that use public speaking as a business development tool or professional speakers and those folks that want to become professional speakers. While I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Michael in person, I’ve known Andrew since before he became “referable,” and watched enviously as his speaking career rocketed forward over the last five years. I always wondered how he did it—and now I know. This book is full of incredibly good and more importantly actionable advice for anyone that wants to spend more time on a stage talking in front of audiences.

On the third day of Christmas, my Kindle gave to me:

Never Split The Difference

AUTHOR: Chris Voss and Tahl Raz

Why you should read: Everyone negotiates. Maybe you don’t do it professionally, but you do it. You negotiate with your spouse or significant other, kids, co-workers, clients, vendors, etc. Life is a negotiation. So why not let a former FBI hostage negotiator teach you how to do it better. And if you really want a treat, grab Chris’ MasterClass — it’s AMAZING. In fact, I watched it with my wife and applied one of Chris’ tactics on her and it took her like 2-3 minutes before she realized I was doing it! And she had just watched the same class, LOL! But I digress. If you want to get more of what you want in 2022, download or buy this one. You can thank me later. 

On the fourth day of Christmas, my Kindle gave to me:

Your Journey to Becoming Unskippable 

AUTHOR: Jim F. Kukral 

Why you should read: Unskippable… holy crap do I LOVE that term and idea. I love this book because it puts the onus for getting someone’s attention where it belongs. Have you ever heard someone reference that study that says the human attention span is now less than that of a goldfish? I mean seriously. I throw up a little in my mouth every single time I hear that phrase uttered from a conference keynote or breakout stage. I’ve had to start traveling with antacids just to make it through most conferences. But I digress...

Content creators and marketers and even salespeople all love that little goldfish story because it places the blame on the consumer or sales prospect. But what Jim so eloquently shows the reader is that it is all BS. You have to earn people's attention, and Jim shows you how. 

On the fifth day of Christmas, my Kindle gave to me:

The Gifts of Imperfection

AUTHOR: Brené Brown

Why you should read: Whoa, didn’t see that one coming, did ya! Honestly, ANYTHING by Brené Brown is an amazing read. The woman is just brilliant. Who would ever have thought that Shame Research could reveal so much about the human psyche. But here is the thing about this book that places it on my must read list: it taught me so many lessons that I wished I had learned 30-40 years ago. Brené introduces you to her idea of Wholehearted Living and the role of Courage, Compassion, and Connection in achieving that wonderful state. So when you’re ready to take a break from your latest “hustle harder to win the day” missive from the popular grind star of the moment, grab this book and remind yourself what a happy life is truly about.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my Kindle gave to me:

The Proverb Effect

AUTHOR: Ron Ploof

Why you should read: I’ve always envied my pal Jay Baer’s ability to speak in tweets. He’s quite the genius at boiling complex ideas down into snappy little catch phrases that you just can’t get out of your head. Given how busy people are today and how much content, advertising, and noise we are all processing on a daily basis, the ability to make our ideas memorable is at a premium. Well, that’s why you should read this book. Ron does an amazing job of showing you how proverbs work as memory devices AND he shows you how to create your own. I mean, he doesn’t just show you conceptually, he actually breaks it down step by step. In fact, he even created a set of cards that helps you apply his techniques to create your own stories and decks. I bought a set myself, and they’ve helped me create tons of stories and decks faster than I could have imagined. 

On the seventh day of Christmas, my Kindle gave to me:

TED Talks

AUTHOR: Chris Anderson

Why you should read: I have a pretty short bucket list…yes, I probably need to work on that…and speaking at a TED event is on it. But, that’s not why I bought the book or even what I hoped to gain by reading it. I bought it because a friend told me it was full of amazing advice for anyone that gives presentations for a living—on or off stage. And she was right. Here’s just one of the many notes I took: if you’re making presentations designed to create or stimulate change, the key to your success is unlocking empathy, stirring excitement, sharing knowledge and insights, and promoting a shared dream. How’s that for a high level talk template? Seriously, though, I’ve been speaking on stages all over the world for over 20 years and I must have made close to 100 notes in this book. 

On the eighth day of Christmas, my Kindle gave to me:

The Hero and the Outlaw

AUTHOR: Margaret Mark and Carol S. Pearson

Why you should read: Ok…I have to admit, I didn’t actually read this book this year. I read it about 20 years ago when it first came out. But I’ve read it another 10 times since and I reference sections of it monthly. If you’re a fan of Carl Jung’s archetypes theory and how they can be employed to bring meaning and profit to a brand, then you’re gonna love this book. If you’ve never heard of Carl Jung or archetypes, and you work in sales or marketing, please…for all that is holy… go buy and read this book. It is a total game changer. 

On the ninth day of Christmas, my Kindle gave to me:

The Mitch Rapp Series

AUTHOR: Vince Flynn

Why you should read: Come on…all work and no play makes Tom a dull boy. Yes, I’m a sucker for a good espionage thriller and I stumbled on Mitch Rapp a few years back. Since then I’ve read pretty much every one of the books in the multiple series. Sadly Vince Flynn passed not long ago but Kyle Mills picked up the mantle and has continued to churn out page turners that do a great job of helping you escape the stresses and strains of life while you disappear into the murky world of undercover operatives, secret CIA wars and political espionage.  

On the tenth day of Christmas, my Kindle gave to me:

When Sorry Isn’t Enough

AUTHOR: Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas

Why you should read: I know this is going to blow your mind BUT I actually make mistakes (lots of them) and if you don’t believe me just ask my wife. 🙂 So, I spend a good amount of time apologizing for being an idiot. And not just to my wife, but also friends, family and unfortunately, occasionally clients. Yes, we actually do make a mistake from time to time here at Converse Digital.


So I picked this one up to see if I could improve my apology game. And while the jury is still out on that one, it’s got nothing to do with the quality of the information and insight in this book. It’s chock-full of amazing tips and insights to help you cool down heated arguments, restore and strengthen valuable relationships, and trade in tired excuses for honesty, trust and joy. Go grab a copy and I promise you won’t be sorry. 

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my Kindle gave to me:

Chatter: The Voice in Our Head

AUTHOR: Ethan Kross

Why you should read: You are your own worst critic. It’s true. As a closet Imposter Syndrome sufferer I know this more than most. So when I read a review of Ethan’s book, I just had to download a copy and see if I could learn a trick or two to quiet that rather loud and opinionated guy that lives between my ears. What I found was an amazing array of relatable real life stories of people hobbled by their inner critic and how they shut that critic up.

From a pitcher who forgets how to pitch, to a Harvard undergrad negotiating her double life as a spy—Kross explains how our inner conversations shape our lives, work, and relationships. He warns that giving in to negative and disorienting self-talk—what he calls “chatter”—can tank our health, sink our moods, strain our social connections, and cause us to fold under pressure. This book will give you the power to change the most important conversations you have every day: the ones you have with yourself. 

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my Kindle gave to me:

The Invisible Sale

AUTHOR: Tom martin

Why you should read: You didn’t really think I was going to miss a chance to pimp my own book did you? But seriously, while it’s a little dated, the core concepts of the Invisible Sale, Self Educating Buyers, Propinquity and the step-by-step instructions to build a digitally powered sales & marketing machine to help you prospect, nurture, and close new leads virtually has never been more important than it is in today’s WFH, hybrid office, pandemic-laden world. You can grab the Kindle version—or if you’d prefer an old-fashioned autographed copy, click here and I’ll send you one for a penny more (since it’s Christmas and all). I’ll even ship it for free. 

And that’s it folks… go grab one or all of these great books here. Yes, I’m so nice I put them all on a single Amazon List to make it easy for you to grab a copy or two for your holiday reading enjoyment. Have a very merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year. 

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