Power Up – Recommended Reads from April

Although we may be apart, attending power up each week has definitely kept us together during the lockdown. Each weekly meeting has been a great success over Google hangouts and quickly became a milestone to ground the week.

If you’re looking for new inspiration for things you could read, look no further. In our monthly blog, we explore the books and podcasts our team have been digging their teeth into over the past month. Each team member offers their recommended read and a speed rating along with a number of key learnings that they have taken away.

Index

#GIRLBOSS
‘Digital Marketing – Strategy, Implementation and Practice’
‘Strategic Marketing – CIM Module Book’
‘Good Vibes, Good Life’
‘Girl Code’
‘The Wisdom of Psychopaths’
‘How Science Can Help You Have Better Ideas’
‘You Are a Badass’
‘Happier Now’
‘The Magic of Thinking Big’

 

‘#GIRLBOSS’

Author: Sophia Amoruso

Reader: Be Peters

6/10 – It’s written by the founder and CEO of Nasty Gal, an online clothing store. She tells the tale of her success, but doesn’t actually give you any of the business tools or advice to be able to replicate her recipe for success yourself, which is why I think it’s more inspirational than informative.

Key Learnings

  1. Tunnel vision is your best friend, throughout this whole journey, Sophia’s keen focus on the business and life she wants is outstanding. She rises above hateful comments and doesn’t focus on her competition because she’s too busy focussing on what she’s doing.
  2. Just because it’s tradition, doesn’t mean it’s right. There are lots of occasions throughout the book where Sophia explains that she had an idea but because people with no experience told her that it wasn’t the right way of doing things, they weren’t done in the way she wanted. She confesses her regret throughout.
  3. “Treat your mind like money; don’t waste it!” This is the section where Sophia talks about how if you think about what you want, how successful you can be and what you can achieve in life, eventually you’ll become obsessed and plant all the right seeds for your dream life to grow.

Read it yourself

‘Digital Marketing – Strategy, Implementation and Practice’

Author: Richard Carlson & Fiona Ellis-Chadwick

Reader: Paulina Cage

7/10 – Good support for students and professionals in gaining and developing the knowledge, however be prepared for mostly theoretical approaches.

Key Learnings

  1. Introduction of opportunities and challenges of digital marketing
  2. Explanation of different types of digital marketing platforms and media channels available to engage audiences online.
  3. Understanding of the planning framework that can be used to structure digital marketing strategies and case studies.
  4. Foundation for developing an integrated digital marketplace of an organisation

Read it yourself

‘Strategic Marketing – CIM Module Book’

Author: Cambridge Marketing College

Reader: Emma Squires

8/10 – Great companion guide for students, not so good for people new to marketing but also can only read when doing the qualification. Though there are some

other books that can be read that match the information that I had from the book.

Key Learnings

  1. Before attempting to put together a marketing plan, you need to first analyse the external and internal environments surrounding that business. This can be probably the most time-consuming element but also the most important stage in creating a marketing plan that will be effective for the business.
  2. Competitive advantage can be gained through a strength held by a business that gives it an edge or earning superior profits earned from virtue or customer values.
  3. Use Porter’s five forces theory to understand how to gain and sustain competitive advantage. “Sustainable competitive advantage should be a synonym for growth: without continued sales or market share growth, advantage will be lost. Organisations that do not grow, adapt, respond, research or value customers will stagnate and fail.”

Useful reading – 

Analysing the external and internal environments – first stage of the SOSTAC model – Read it yourself 

Porter’s Five Forces – Read it yourself 

Good Vibes, Good Life

Author: Vex King

Reader: Emma Squires

10/10 – This book is a definite must-read! Though I haven’t completed it, every section I have read has been really motivational and easy to read and follow and it’s only £6!

Key Learnings

  1. “If you can’t change a situation, change your perception of it. That’s where your personal power is. Either be controlled or be in control.” How we perceive events in life determines how we will experience it. Negative events breed negative emotion so understanding how you feel in those situations will give you a better awareness of how to act/react to the situation.
  2. Rather than trying to control external events which we have no control over, concentrate on how your mind responds to those events (what we can control). Take back your personal power!

Read it yourself

‘Girl Code’

Author: Cara Alwill Leyba

Reader: Be Peters

9/10 – I love Cara! I have followed her on Instagram for years and listened to her podcast too. She is so honest and open about everything in life. She’s a qualified life coach and business expert who took her small blog and monetised it into a multi million dollar business.

Key Learnings

  1. There’s enough for everyone. Once you realise that someone else’s success isn’t your failure, you are freed from the nasty circle of feeling envious or defeated before you start. Think of how many companies there are doing the same thing, each business offers something different, you are not the same as your competition.
  2. Celebrate the success of others. If you see someone doing really well, network with them, say what you admire about them or their business and ask if they have any advice from their journey or experience. Build each other up.
  3. Be authentic, one thing no one else has, is you. What ever your passion is, share it with others, this will help you build a following of people who not only buy into your brand or business but you. This will especially help with networking and getting yourself out there. Don’t follow “how to’s” and everyone else’s carbon copy of how to build your business.

 

Read it yourself

‘The Wisdom of Psychopaths’

Author: Kevin Dutton

Reader: Sam Parnell

8/10 – It’s written by a British psychologist and writer, specialising in the study of psychopathy. It was written in 2012 just after Jon Ronson’s work and is a refresher in tactical thinking.

Key Learnings

  1. Psychopaths are fearless, confident, ruthless and focused – qualities tailor-made for success in a post covid world. The author works through what psychopaths can teach us about calculated action rather than reactions.
  2. At a time of uncertainty many people see a direct emotional reaction, even though they know this is pointless and rarely affects outcomes it’s hard for them to detach from the issue and focus on solutions and what they can control.
  3. This book outlines, time and time again, how we can use influence outcomes by looking at problems in a different way.

Listen to it here

Read it yourself

‘How Science Can Help You Have Better Ideas’

Author: Kirsty Hulse -Talk from Search Leeds 2019

Reader: Poppy Mace

9/10 – Kirsty has great delivery and her talk is

 highly engaging. She not only offers great insight into how we can enhance our creativity but she’s a great advocate for women in digital!

Key Learnings

  1. Creativity is a taught skill. Creativity is like swimming ‘some of us are naturally better at swimming but we can all learn to swim’. Everyone is a creative person, whether you’re a designer, SEO expert or developer.
  2. Marketing is becoming incredibly oversKirsty comes from an SEO background and was interested in finding out what content traits lead to a higher number of links. After studying a variety of websites across different industries, she found that content with the highest proportion of links had the following:- Authenticity – content that emotionally resonates with users.
    – Originality – is it a new concept or an old concept approached in a new way?
    – Timing – is it relevant to what’s going on in the world.
  3. The average person is exposed to 4,000 ads a day! To break through the noise, creativity is key. The problem is that the majority of us are not willing to take creative risks as we are too focussed on hitting KPIs. We therefore tend to rely on solutions that we know work.
  4. Whilst Kirsty does believe in brainstorming, there are some key tactics which she uses in order to make them more valuable. The problem with group brainstorms is that users are often apprehensive of their ideas being criticised. To overcome this, she suggests doing non-verbal brainstorming. Take a notepad, and get everyone to write down their ideas on the pad. Users can then keep a record and evolve other people’s ideas.

Watch it here

‘You Are a Badass’

Author:  Jen Sincero

Reader: Paulina Cage

8.5/10 – Advertised as New York Times Bestseller. Easy to read/listen, funny, sometimes controversial but straight to the point. People love it or hate it. I definitely enjoyed it and I can recommend it to anyone with an open mind who is looking to boost their self confidence.

Key Learnings

  1. Our conscious mind thinks it’s in control but it isn’t. Our subconscious mind doesn’t think of anything but it is in control.
  2. You are the only you there is and the only you there ever will be.
  3. Your thoughts and beliefs dictate your reality so if you want to change your reality, you need to change your thoughts.

Listen to it here

Read it yourself

‘Happier Now’

Author:Nataly Kogan

Reader: Emma Squires

7/10 – Just started this book, good read so far!

Key Learnings

  1. “Happiness isn’t a reward that is earned by achieving, happiness is the key ingredient for helping us live a healthier life.”
  2. Research has suggested that there are simple small things we can all do to increase our happiness and emotional well-being. The key finding was ‘gratitude’. Practicing gratitude is the best way to increase your body and mind’s ability to cope with stress. The best thing you can do in these stressful and unknown times is to take five minutes to write down three things you are grateful for every day.
  3. People who take the time to acknowledge what they are grateful for each day are far more likely to have reduced blood pressure, better weight control and healthier blood sugar levels.

Read it yourself

‘The Magic of Thinking Big’

Author: David J Shwartz

Reader: Paulina Cage

10/10First published in 1959, written by Ph.D. David J Shwartz. This timeless classic is a really powerful guide for self-development. I honestly think everyone who feels any kind of limitation should read it. This book covers everything you need to know to become a successful and happy person. Highly recommended!

Key Learnings

  1. “Think Big and you will leave Big”
  2. “Action cures fear.”
  3. “Never underestimate your own intelligence and overestimate the intelligence of others”
  4. “Winners find solutions, losers find excuses”
  5. “The right attitude and one arm can beat the wrong attitude and both arms every time”

Listen to it here

Read it yourself

 

Stay tuned each month as we offer our monthly round up of our Power Up sessions sharing our insights into what we’ve been learning each week.

If you’d like to know why we created power up and the benefits of reading our reading group, check out the Power Up introduction blog here.