I do not have a lot of favorite writers, but there are a few whom I just love. One of them is Geoff Burch. So far I’ve read 4 of his books and learnt something from each of them. But my ultimate favorite book written by him is The Way of the Dog. Let me explain.
First of all, you should know that GB’s style is a bit unusual to those used to reading self help and business books. Funny is a bit of an understatement. And describing him as a person thinking outside the box (such a cliché) is just a way of underestimating the power of his charm. Did I mention that he wanted to name this book Doing’ it Doggy Style? 🙂
Enough about the author who, by the way, is brilliant.
The Way of the Dog is not just about how to make a sale; it’s more than that. It is a book about personal success that busts myths such as positive-thinking and motivation is enough if you want to be successful. The story really makes you believe that anyone can become a highly successful person. Of course, you have to have a clear objective in mind, to know your product, to overcome obstacles, you need a road map and you must constantly develop your skills.
The book tells the story of Derek Stubbins, a mediocre salesman who just hadn’t had the lucky breaks that a lot of his colleagues have received. One day, he is magically transformed into a sheepdog by a witch. This way he must adapt, he must learn to contribute to the team’s success and he has to achieve personal success in order to become human again. So, he experiences again the first day at work in a dark looking-shed, where his workmates were a bunch of collies. He understood that working in an environment where the fittest survive is not motivating at all, but discouraging.
Continuing his adventure as a sheepdog he has learnt a lot about mistake management, about a really good and effective pitch, about people (well, dog) management and about what are the qualities and behaviors of a good boss. Moreover, he dealt with complaints and learnt to accept full responsibility of his actions and to respect the customer (aka the sheep).
Derek found out that obstacles are just small problems to which he needs to find a solution every time, in order to overcome them and that even if he had a certain progress during the “sales” process, if he did not achieve his purpose, this would still be a failure. So not fooling yourself was another valuable lesson.
The book is an allegory of a sheepdog’s journey with the sheep to make us think about our journey with the customer. The fact that it looks and sounds like a children’s book is, in my opinion, one of the best ideas for a business book.
Funny little stories (do not skip pages 74 and 75, about the farting cat), concise conclusions, interesting metaphors and subliminal messages make The Way of the Dog an irresistibly persuasive book.