Book Reviews by David Anderson and Eric LaRue
Tommy Spaulding has built a successful career by being a leader and teaching others to be leaders. In his book, It’s Not Just Who You Know, Spaulding acknowledges that his success is greatly due to living the credo of Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People. However, It’s Not Just Who You Know does more than expand or update Carnegie’s classic. Spaulding has re-imagined Carnegie’s ideas and infused them with his own spirit. This is a book about love.
Spaulding starts off with his own story of being a good kid who had trouble succeeding in school because of what would eventually be diagnosed as dyslexia. Yet he was the youngest Eagle Scout in his town, the captain of his high school football team and the president of his senior class.
Young Tommy was also fortunate to have chosen his parents well. Tommy Spaulding, Sr. told him three profound things: First, living with goodness in your heart counts more than good grades. Second, you have an obligation to make a contribution to this country because Democracy isn’t free. Third, the people who are making top grades in your school are going to work for you someday.
Relationships move Upward
Spaulding talks about the different levels of relationships. These start on the first floor where the conversation never gets past news, sports and weather. The top floor is the fifth, or Penthouse, where you don’t just get a Christmas card – you get invited to Christmas dinner.
This book also shows you how to get to the Penthouse and what to do once you arrive. Spaulding advises against being a chirping bird – someone who is also asking for something out of a relationship. He goes further and challenges us to find unique ways to keep in touch and connected with our friends, colleagues, business partners, etc. By making his business life personal, Spaulding is a friend first and always looking for ways to give to others without a thought of what should be given in return.
Spaulding calls this way of thinking a Return on Relationship (ROR), a twist on the financial Return on Investment (ROI). He isn’t some guy who charmed his way into the corner office; he firmly believes that his ROR delivers a better ROI.
When I signed on to read and review this book I did it with an eye toward how it might help me, but I want to conclude with an attempt to help you.
Over the past few months I have been using these methods. I have hand-written a number of notes in situations where previously I would have called or sent a quick email. The response has been remarkable and universally positive. I even wrote a letter to the IRS, because I owed more than I could pay this year, and soon after I got a phone call from a charming woman who works for them. She is by far the nicest person I have ever spoken to at any government agency. We worked out a deal in a friendly manner and now I have a friend at the IRS.
It’s Not Just Who You Know has got the goods. Read it, and if you are bold enough, live it. I have begun that journey and my Return on Relationship has been incredible.
Review by: Eric LaRue
Most people will come to read It’s Not Just Who You Know in the same way they read How to Win Friends and Influence People. However, through personal experience and illustration, Tommy Spaulding manages to show why the book which so influenced him (How to Win Friends) in his youth, while revolutionary when first written in 1937, is no longer adequate in the 21st century.
Told largely through narrative from the author’s own life, Spaulding begins the second section with an analysis of the “Five Floors of Relationships,” with the most casual interactions taking place on the first floor, such as the interactions most of us have with the grocery store clerk, then moving up through our regular business transactions and finally up to the fifth floor relationships with our family and closest friends. This section will do wonders for readers at their next networking event. If Dale Carnegie teaches the importance of focusing on the interests of one’s negotiating partner, Spaulding teaches in these chapters how to demonstrate it.
However, the real value of the book comes in Sections 3 and 4, where Spaulding teaches how to move a business relationship into an intimate one, and how to leverage that relationship for everyone’s benefit. Section 3 teaches the reader how to build a relationship of trust to the point where you want that person to succeed, moving beyond the simple quid pro quo relationship. He shares examples of his most trusted friendships that’s he developed, from a bartender to old clients. Section 4 talks about building a simple business practice and moving into something “bigger than you” – a powerful force for good in the world, aligning those fifth floor relationships into a vision that results in a powerful movement.
It’s Not Just Who You Know is the perfect book for those who want to increase their business. It’s the perfect book for those who want to have more fulfilling relationships with the people they work with. It’s the perfect book for those who want to grow something bigger than themselves. And it’s the perfect book for the No Shortage of Work community.
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