1. says

    You really made me smile.
    Firstly, you did not promote your own book. The book that you carefully built on your own Sales experience and insight. Together, that is with the Strategies of Miller, Heiman and Tuleja, Stephen Covey, Jack Welch and of course the ancient wisdom of Sun Tzu.

    It would, in my opinion, fall into all three of your categories!

    The second reason, you made smile, was the Flanking attack on The Challenger Sale, the number one best book on Selling on Amazon dot Com list.

    TCS written by Researchers, who may have never sold and you suggest they fall short in the area of “How you should do it.” The alternative you put is a “Good ‘ole How to…” based on “Practical” experience and insight for example Linda Richardson (amongst others).

    I think, you really missed a fourth and vital category; Sales Skills books based on active first hand research.

    I would cite SPIN Selling, in this category, Rackham’s Sales Classic still topping many, of the Amazon categories. In addition, in high end selling SPIN is still THE most influential book.

    Could it be we should ignore it because Neil was initially a researcher, before becoming a very successful Seller of his own programs? It had great how and what, more than enough to qualify as “Practical” but did not make your list.

    I reject category one, “Selling my way” I have read hundreds, because sellers do not know what makes them successful, they just believe they do.

    I reject category two, “Selling our way” which despite their success for a given Company IBM, Xerox or Apple, for a given Product-Marketplace, at a given point in time. They seldom (unless you are a current competitor of theirs) transfer to an alternative Product-Market, and a different point in time, for a different Company.

    Moreover, as for the “secret sauce”, withheld by Sales Training companies, there is not any.
    If there were, they would bottle it and sell it!

    As to your third Category, the “What you should do” books, these (IMO) are not dominated by Researchers, who are rarer than Chicken’s teeth. No, the “what you should do” books are dominated by Categories one and two being sold as Category three!

    And, that not only makes me smile, it makes me laugh.

    As any Gen Y, would tell you being “hot” on social media and Amazon may not be everything, but being cold on Social Media and Amazon tells you everything you need to know!

    • Dave Stein says

      Hi Brian,

      You made me smile as well…

      A few points:

      • I have a limit of only 600 or so words for the column.
      • I wrote about books that were less known, rather than the “usual suspects.”
      • There is no doubt that SPIN Selling and The Challenger Sale are driven from research and they are both best-sellers.

      Thanks, as always for your comments.


  2. says

    Intriguing list, Dave. We could all debate which exact books to include, and opinions are…. well, let’s just say that we all have them. But your thought process was on track, for me personally, and you included two books that I couldn’t agree more about – Let’s Get Real and Making the Number. I was not familiar with Lehman’s work, so appreciate the recommendation, especially on that topic.

    Brian, you can fix anything with enough duct tape, right? Oh, never mind, that’s the OTHER McGuyver… 😉

    Seriously, gents, I had lunch today with someone pursuing her PhD in organizational effectiveness (I like to hang with smarter people; not hard to do 😉 and we had a fascinating conversation (to us, anyway) about evidence-based management practices (and the opposite, or what seems to be the “normal” management approach these days). I found myself quipping, as usual, that business books are dangerous, especially sales books, because of the “here’s how I did it” approach. It bothers me that advice is frequently dispensed without regard for what I’ve started to call “sales nuances:” things like B2B vs. B2C, high-ticket vs. low-price, long-cycle vs. short-cycle, complex vs. simple, product vs. service, etc. I find this about as disturbing as company leaders thinking that they can buy sales training off the shelf, run a few classes, and get results.

    Anyway, here’s a cheer for evidence-based approaches, great research, and consideration for the specific sales nuances and forces at play that influence effective implementation, and a special cheer for any companies or books authors who take those things into consideration.

    • Dave Stein says

      Thanks, Mike.

      The point you made here: “It bothers me that advice is frequently dispensed without regard for what I’ve started to call “sales nuances:” things like B2B vs. B2C, high-ticket vs. low-price, long-cycle vs. short-cycle, complex vs. simple, product vs. service, etc.” is right on target.

  3. says


    I enjoyed reading your article in SMM (I receive the printed copy every month). Thank you for mentioning Let’s Get Real—obviously I agree that it is a useful book. I am looking forward to reading your other suggestions.

    I wanted to let you know that we are offering a free copy of Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play for a limited time on our website:

    Hope you are well. I would love to chat with you soon.

    Chris Carson