In the last episode before Christmas, Chris and Ritchie talk about their top five business books – some great suggestions for a last minute stocking filler! They talk about the key learnings from each of the books and how they can apply to your business, and also discuss some great books which didn’t make the top five.

Show Notes:
The Serviced Accommodation Podcast is a show brought to you by Chris Poulter and Ritchie Mazivanhanga aimed at new and experienced property investors alike. With each show we help you Start, Systemise and Scale your Serviced Accommodation Business.

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Hi Im Chris.

Hi I’m Ritchie

And welcome to the serviced accommodation podcast.


Today we’re going to be talking about our top five business books.



So today is a little stocking filler, we’re going to talk about our top five business books. It’s our last episode before Christmas, with the next one coming out on Boxing Day.

And we won’t be sat there on Christmas day recording it don’t worry. The show will be recorded a few days beforehand cause no offense to you lovely people but we’ve got better things to do on Christmas Day.


So today we’re going to be talking about our top five business books but we’ll start with our not top five business books.


So what’s the first book which didn’t make the top five Ritchie?


It’s The Values Factor by DeMartini, really good book, we’ve found it very useful. And the exercises as well along with it because I whilst listening to it it tells you to go and take actions and sign up.


Definitely. I mean so to anyone who hasn’t read the book in essence it’s talking about the importance of values and you know how a lot of what you’re doing is driven by values and it’s certainly an interesting concept.


It’s about having a fulfilling and inspiring kind of life based on your values living by your values.


And then you know if that sounds a bit airy fairy then just label it as what’s important to you. And like you say I think the exercise of just going through and finding out what’s important to you you know what are your values it’s really useful.


It’s great because if you speak to people people tell you my values are this, my values are that. But then after doing the test it’s kind of very clear you think oh hold on a second my values this but I tend to do this every day. Based on what I do every day this is what my value actually is at this time and moment. Values are adaptable and changeable sometimes it’s a good exercise or a good book to learn how or what values you are focusing on now. So you can then focus on what you intend to focus on in due course and adapt your values accordingly. So yeah it’s a very mind opening book.


Yeah definitely but didn’t make the top five.


Actually speaking values what are your values Chris your core values?


Well my core values are Strategy, Knowledge and Innovation.


Okay. Were you aware of this before doing the reading this book and doing the exercises?


Well the funny thing is I actually probably read the book like four or five times and then the audio book probably another three or four times so yeah definitely found it useful but I think I thought my values were something else. And then when I actually went and did the did the values test online then it came out quite differently to what I was expecting. So even though I’d read the book and listened to the book a number of times I think doing the exercise was absolutely invaluable because it brought a lot more clarity around what my values were really. Okay so how about you, what are your values?


My values my values are completely different from yours as in the other end of the spectrum, so my values are family, relationships and being of personal value. So family I’m very very family oriented, well I’ve got a big family and I’ve got an immediate family. So my extended family and immediate family means a lot to me a lot, I’ve got family across the world over different continents but yeah family is number one. Relationships be it social relationships, business relationships that’s it that’s one of my top values and being a person of value, giving back and being a person of value in other people’s eyes so giving back when I can.

Which second book didn’t make it to the top 5?


Start With Why by Simon Sinek. Again I think it’s a really interesting book and it shows the power of purpose if you like you know in that simple comparisons but kind of apple release an MP3 player and people say it’s amazing then Dell will release an MP3 player people don’t even look at it. Because everyone kind of understands why Apple do what they do, it kind of makes a lot more sense and a much more powerful brand really. So again I think in business it’s a really really fundamental book I think they’re both from kind of understanding yourself and your business and from a marketing perspective.


Yes it’s starting with why’s like understanding your passion, your purpose, why are you driven to do something. Yeah starting with the end in mind so to speak why are you actually doing it?


Yeah definitely which again is something that we use in a lot of stuff that we do like strategy reviews for instance. It’s all about what are you trying to achieve and making sure that your business kind of revolves around that and a lot of Start With Why is also about then communicating that to the outside world and how much more powerful it is if people understand why you’re doing something rather than just what you’re doing.


Having worked with a person like Stuart Melody, we had the vision, the passion, the purpose and that’s the Starting With Why as well.


Another book didn’t quite make it to the top five Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. I think we both found this quite an eye opening book. Well we can’t get round it males you know we haven’t experienced a lot of what Sheryl Sandberg is talking about. You kind of forget you’d like to think oh in the 21st century you know there’s equality all around. And when you start looking at it that’s very far from the truth. No I think you know female equality is a very important thing for both of us. And so it was very shocking I think to kind of read the book and understand actually how far away from that we still are now in the 21st century.


The most shocking thing I found was how that way of thinking is ingrained in women’s brains as well you know and how that works because it’s cultural thing and an upbringing thing yeah there was an example where she was doing a talk just before the end of the talk and she says I’ve got five minutes before finishing please put your hands down and then at the end she spoke to one lady and she was like wow thank you very much this is amazing talk and when she asked what she learnt from the day she goes I learned not to put my hand down and then she asked her to elaborate. And then this lady was like go right when you ask us to put our heads down because you were about to finish the talk all of us put our hands down mostly women and then two men kept their hands up. But you you still asked them the question because they had they had their hands up and she was so shocked at how her way of thinking and she asked those gentlemen to put their hands down. And she thought to herself what it had had been women would I have done that. And it’s just that way of thinking we are just conditioned into that we are taken of our being in this environment living the social circles and everything else so yeah it’s a mind opening book.


Ok so Creativity Inc. it’s a very interesting book about Pixar right.. So obviously being about Pixar it also touches on kind of Steve Jobs and a lot of his involvement in there and a little bit around Apple and that type of thing as well. I don’t think you’ve listen to this.


No I haven’t read or listened to that.


I listened to it quite a long time ago and I think I’ve started appreciating Pixar a lot more after that. I think for anyone who’s interested in business in any respect it’s a really great book because it talks I mean I guess the hint is in the title Creative Inc. It is about the story of Pixar and how they came about. But it does talk a lot about how to nurture creativity within organizations and you know maybe that’s easier when you’re kind of starting small but as your business starts to grow and you have a lot more structure around it I think it becomes harder and harder to nurture that kind of creativity which you need to really drive businesses forward. So it’s kind of fascinating to look at how Pixar have done that arguably in a more successful way than any other company in history. How they’ve managed to commercialize creativity so yeah really good book for anyone who’s interested this at any level I would say which would also apply to Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.


Yes that’s the one next one which did not make it. Fantastic book we’ve read that book a few times over and over again and this is about as they say is this in the title of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and it’s just about these habits and the reason they are called habits is because you’re doing them over and over and over again you know whereas you can’t just do this and just leave it and hope you’ll be successful, no as it’s about continuously doing these activities.


Yeah yeah it’s almost like fundamentals of business really. I think the one that’s probably the most famous habit is start with the end in mind. Again it’s something we very much apply, like we’re saying before it’s a bit like Start With Why, you’ve got to understand what you’re trying to achieve in order to really achieve it whether that’s on a personal level, whether that’s on a business level.


And stuff like generic stuff like the one, be proactive. Starting with the mind is what we use on everything we do. So we’re not going to break down all the habits. But yes Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a good book to read.


Yeah definitely. So final book which didn’t make it into the top five is by one of our favorite people, Daniel Priestley we’ll give a bit of a spoiler and another book did make it into the yes life we had some quiet discussions about which one it should be but the one which didn’t make the top five was Key Person of Influence. It is interesting because I think it’s very very applicable particularly to property entrepreneurs because there’s a lot in there about kind of networking, about communicating with other people, about pitching.


The pith that’s not a pitch and how about the part about conveying your value and conveying your message across in the right way based on what’s in it for the other person and how you can help that other party whereas people just talk about them. So yeah it is a great book yeah.


Yeah definitely, a lot of useful stuff in there and like we said we follow Daniel Priestley very closely and a lot of his writing and thoughts around business and actually we’ve adapted a lot of his philosophies, information is free implementation costs in 2017. And that’s why we’ve got you know course level information which people would and have paid lots of money for in the past for free in a podcast and we were in the process of writing a replacement book, not quite free but as close to as we can make it. And you know in essence I think we’d kind of started coming to that conclusion and I think reading Daniel Priestley’s work really helped to solidify that that real feeling that that is the way the world’s changing and information is going to be free move forward and you know anyone whose business is based on selling information is going to be you know in decline let’s say over the next 10 to 15 years.


And to be honest implementation is the way forward, helping people to implement stuff is self rewarding and you see people’s progress from start to finish whereas if you just give people information what they do with it is up to them. Whereas if you’re helping them implement it, you get taken on the journey.


At the end of the day you’re creating more value because you’re actually helping people to create the kind of life and the business that they want. So you’re a lot more value than just telling people how to do something and go out and create it and we know that business is all about creating value. So for us there’s a lot more long term sustainable business in creating the bigger value which you can do from the kind of implementation side of stuff.

So that’s the books which didn’t make it into the top five.

So what about the ones which did what’s what’s coming in at number five?


Coming in at number five is one of my favourites autobiography books, it is a long book so you’ve got to have time but it is an amazing journey, it’s Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger.


Yeah yeah quite an amazing guy right.


Wow, it’s just like we’re talking about a vision, as a young child he always told his parents that he’s going to move to America, he wants to live in America that’s what he wanted to do. You know having been brought up in Austria and the journey from his life as a child to him moving, doing what he, going to America to do what he wanted to do on that Ironman bodybuilding stuff and then pivoting going into acting, adapting to different things. He was a property investor as well before he became an actor, he’d already made like millions from property. So he made money from his Ironman bodybuilding, invested in property you know oh my gosh and he became the governor of California of all places. I mean really it’s an amazing journey.


Yeah definitely. And like seeing some of the way he does things and around vision and goals. It’s very interesting and quite inspirational I guess you don’t necessarily have to like him as a guy because I’m sure like everyone here has its faults.


No one is perfect but his vision goals to have that plan to execute stuff and stick to it and then changing if things change as well, adapting to certain scenarios and then moving. It’s just, it’s an amazing book to read. Like I said it’s a long book. It’s about 23 hours, 24 hours on Audible. So yeah it’s long anyway it’s a long time but it’s worth it. I’ve listened to it three times now so yeah if it’s 24 hours that’s three of my days gone.


So number four The Chimp Paradox.


Very interesting book to learn about yourself and learn about other people and why people react the way they do, overprotectiveness, territory and that so it’s like taking it back to your animal instincts so to speak.


Yeah because I mean he uses analogies I think is that correct term, you know it’ based based on the genuine neuroscience but he’s maybe simplified a few things to make it easier to comprehend. But essentially he breaks the brain down into three different areas, the chimp, the human and the computer and talks through the kind of impact on that.

It’s really interesting because you can start to see that in day to day life and we were having conversation yesterday at one of our mastermind groups about someone’s neighbour in an old house and he’d always have to park right outside his front door and then even though it was on street parking and if anyone else parked in front of his house he’d kind of come out and get really angry and start threatening them and that kind of thing. And I think it’s just ridiculous why do people do this. It’s like well yes it’s ridiculous but if you think about it, if you start looking like the chimp paradox and you know breaking the brain into different parts, it’s the chimp part of the brain. And in fundamental terms the chimp is saying this is my territory and someone else comes and parks there it’s like this is an attack someone is invading my territory, I need to defend myself. Yeah so ridiculous though it is you can actually start to to understand the psychological motivations between a lot of stuff which on the surface seems massively illogical and it’s the same you know if you’re driving and someone cuts you off and suddenly you’re in a massive rage. Let’s be honest we’ve all been there.

You know it’s a natural reaction because you’re that confined space in your own little car, that’s my territory and it’s the same. You know someone who invaded your territory so your reaction is arrgh.

But again you know what’s brilliant about the book is not just helping you to understand it but how to deal with it right because once you know okay that’s my chimp raging then you just let it go and let it go for a little bit and then you just go okay yeah but you know he’s not really invading my territory and they didn’t really mean to do it. So then the human can kind of use logic to kind of calm down the chimp and then you’re fine and you know you don’t have to go and shout and scream at people or be pissed off at the rest of the day because you you justify well you know they probably did accidentally, they didn’t mean it, there’s nothing personal about me and it’s not going to affect the rest of my day. So yeah again really interesting book and very useful I think on a day to day basis as a lot of psychology stuff is.


Yes. And number three we’ve got one from like I said one of our favorite people, Daniel Priestley and it’s Oversubscribed.


Yeah. So it was it was a very close call for us whether Key Person of Influence or Oversubscribed made it in. I think Oversubscribed probably because it’s more applicable maybe directly to what you’re doing business, specifically marketing an understanding you know what’s the tagline how to get people lining up to do business with you and that’s very powerful in business. I think we’ve discovered quite early on that really business is about marketing and 90 percent of success of business is about marketing, if you can get enough people doing business with you then you can create a successful company. You know you need to learn to deliver whatever product is you offering and you need to learn to deliver it well. But if you never get customers in the first place and you’re never going to be able to do that right.


So it’s about knowing your, what he just highlights in this book is about knowing your capacity and then how to become oversubscribed so if your capacity is five people, the target is five people got more than five people over subscribed. You know if you got 10 people on you’re oversubscribed. So it’s about knowing your capacity, what you’re going to do and then how to become oversubscribed and the steps you take to become oversubscribed. Yeah a very insightful book.


Yeah definitely and very practical as well. Yes you know it takes you through the steps of creating a campaign driven enterprise as he calls it and exactly how to put together campaign and everything like that. So in terms of modern marketing it’s a very interesting concept, it applies extremely well to social media and I don’t think there’s a lot of kind of high level books which really deal with a lot of that kind of psychology and the strategy behind social media campaigns. So again just like really really important book.


At number two people are going to be surprised number two because it’s a cliche, most people probably think it’s a number one, it’s Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.


Yeah and I’m sure it’s been talked to death so you know if you haven’t heard of it then you should read it. I think the funny thing with Rich Dad Poor Dad is when I first started to, I wouldn’t say get into business cause I’ve been doing business for several years but maybe take it a bit more seriously. I started in the growth accelerator program which was around at the time from the government and I went and did that one day you know an initial kind of what you call a training workshop is probably the word and the guy who was running a workshop recommended three books to people. The first book he recommended didn’t make it onto the list that was Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy who’s a very good business writer and probably a little bit unlucky not to have a book on this list. The second book he recommended was Seven Habits of Highly Effective People which we already talked about and the third book was Rich Dad Poor Dad. Now I read the other two books. I thought Rich Dad Poor Dad, that sounds a bit American for me. I don’t think I’m going to read that one and it was only about a year later that I kind of finally when I heard about it a few more places, I should actually read it. And let’s be honest it’s a very simple book and it’s mainly about kind of analogies and stuff like that. But for us the reason it’s on there because it was you know fundamental to, it changed to our way of thinking changed completely now with money and wealth.


Money and wealth, about assets and income generating assets and that’s why people are rich, why people are wealthy and why some people are broke.


And it’s just that real fundamental model which you can really break it down to is that poor people take money and spend that money, rich people take that money, invest it in assets and spend the money which is generated by the assets. And that’s really all it is. Don’t need to read it now if you haven’t read it, that’s pretty much what it comes down to it will help you to understand why it is and how powerful it is. But ultimately that’s what the book’s about and once you get your head round that, that just completely completely changes your perspective on money I think yeah and certainly a game changer for us.


Yeah and at number one our favourite book, absolutely I guess I think the reason is because it’s so applicable right.


Yes it is. Its Influence by Robert Cialdini.


That’s the one. Absolutely and Cialdini is a very interesting guy, you know a lot of business writers can be you know business people or gurus you might find that kind of thing. Cialdini is very much a career academic who has put his entire career into psychology and specifically behavioral psychology and influence. So he has essentially done 20-30 years worth of real experiments and of course pulled in all the research from the rest of the field to come up with a series of six different and he calls them weapons of implements which is a funny term but it’s essentially different ways in which people can be kind of subconsciously influenced when they’re making a decision.


So you got the first weapon being reciprocity. It’s not really a weapon really you know I wouldn’t call it a weapon. It’s just a tool.


So shall we call them the tools, it sounds less manipulative.


So we’ve got reciprocity which is basically the obligation to repay where if you do something nice for someone they tend to do something nice. You’d be surprised even with a smile, walking down the street you smile at someone they tend to smile back it’s just you know


Or like if someone sent you a Christmas card you know and they’re like oh dear I didn’t send them a Christmas card. Yeah it doesn’t really matter in the greater scheme of things but reciprocity is kicking in and saying all this is really bad.


If you think about if someone does your favor you know gives you something and then you subconsciously think that you owe them something, you feel owe them something.

And reciprocity is quite a very powerful very powerful.

What’s the second tool Chris?


The second tool is consistency, commitment. Again very very powerful. And you see this a lot with trainers for instance you know particularly the big American trainers like you get everyone in the room, do you know you want to make more money? Yes! Do you want more time? Yes! Do you want to buy my course? Yes!

Exactly. So you know consistency. I mean that’s that’s probably a silly example but that’s certainly the thing you kind of get people going. Also how many times have you, you know had a conversation with someone and they’ve kind of held an opinion and you’ve demonstrated how they might be wrong in a very clear and logical way that can’t possibly be denied but they are like no no this is how it is.


They’ve committed to their decision that way I think and they’re not going to change.


That is that consistency and commitment. You know it is again it very interesting to look at it as a kind of biological evolutionary development because if we think about absolutely everything in every minute of our day then our brains would be completely overpowered and essentially what it comes down to is that we make a decision once or a judgement once about something and then we kind of stick that into our computer if you like to use The Chimp Paradox analogy and then we kind of stick with it. So once we’ve made the decision about something and made a judgment then we tend to stick to it unless we can kind of jog the brain back into making a judgment and deciding oh you know I need to kind of re-evaluate this and again it’s the reason why when people have a staunch opinion on something they’ll look at some evidence and they’ll have optimism bias right. Yeah. So whatever evidence they find it will support their argument and someone else with the opposite side of the argument might be using the same evidence because as far as they’re concerned it supports their argument.


The third tool in the toolbox is social proof and social proof is basically being influenced by what other people do. So the power of what others do and you tend to see it like you gave an example earlier at training places where you go to a table that people started running to the table and people just start going up there. Well this actually happened just when I went to Scotland. I remember walking down the High Street and there was a queue of people giving these pint glasses as you remember and we just joined the queue. We didn’t know what quality the pint glass were, what the company was about but we just joined the queue but that’s social proof. We’ve just sort of just been influenced by what other people are doing and they do these tests as well where people just stand up and sit down and they just end up seeing people standing up or sitting down just for no reason.


Do you remember Dom Joly? And like how did he’d do these little things like he’d be in the lift and he’d get like three actors in the lift and everyone in the lift would like turn around 90 degrees and everyone does the same thing. People would be like oh what’s going on and they basically did the same thing because it’s social proof if everyone else is doing something that you assume it’s correct yeah. You know again it’s very very interesting to see. I mean there are two real applications of these tools as we’ve called them.

You know one is kind of understanding how you’re being influenced and being able to monitor that yeah and maybe kind of soften some of the impact of some of these tools on you and the second is to utilize it in a kind of ethical way, hopefully ethical way because again if you talk about training organizations how much social proof do they use. Look at this person they came on this course and two weeks later they were multi millionaire and they were living in the Bahamas.


Yes yes. So it shows you the social proof just because the people that become a success, you kind of want to be in their shoes as that’s social proof that these this person has done so. So can you but that’s also the company if that person has actually really being successful that’s the company just leveraging that person’s success to the advantage so leveraging that social proof to their advantage.


The fourth tool is liking.

Now this one is really weird. I mean it makes sense that we all, you know you’re more likely to kind of be compliant. Compliant is a word they use a lot because it’s essential if you want someone to do something and they do it that’s kind of compliance now. Now liking I guess it’s a bit strange because on the surface of course you are more likely to be compliant with someone you like if someone you know let’s say you got an office job and someone you like asks you to do a quick favor you like yeah no problems. If the guy or girl which you really can’t stand comes over like will you do this, probably no. That kind of makes sense now because I like it. It’s actually crazy what level of detail it comes down to because I think it’s quite, in a way it makes sense that you like people who are similar to you have stuff in common with sports. One of the reasons you like them because you kind of get on you’ve got you’ve got common ground but this goes to like such a ridiculous subconscious level like they’ve they’ve done quite extensive research which shows if someone has the same name as you, you’re much much more likely to like them.

I mean it gets even more detailed than that. They were looking at sales and sales people who had the same starting character as the other person’s name, so if I’m Chris and I’m selling to a girl named Catherine or a guy called Charlie then I’m 20 percent more likely to make the sale just because my name starts with the same letter.

So it’s absolutely incredible kind of what subconscious level this really goes down to. You know you wouldn’t really credit it because you ask someone oh you more likely to you know buy off this person because your name starts with the same letter I think you’d have a very firm answer. But it is just crazy how powerful it is and this is why we love Influence because you start to feel these crazy little things that our brains work.


Number five in our toolbox is authority. So we tend to obey those who are in a respectable position so those in charge and if someone’s got that level of authority.

We’ve had this example loads of times if someone with the high vis jacket starts giving people directions on the street or telling people what to do they listen to him because they’ve got high vis jacket and a helmet on. It’s just that level of authority.


Or like there was a very good, an effective campaign from a local kind of magazine who phoned up and said you know this is such and such from the local police force and you know as soon as they say that you kind of tense up, okay and you know then what they’re saying has some kind of authority behind it. Now this was you know for me actually very ethical because what they were really were, they weren’t really the police force at all, they produced this magazine which then kind of gets distributed to the fire and the police and everything like that. But in terms of how they got people’s attention and how they kind of built authority on what they were saying it was you know that was that was unethical use of it because they used oh we you know we work with the police force or for the police force as an actual driver for authority and then you kind of took what they were saying and you are much more likely to kind of buy off them.


Yeah and number six which is last but not least in the influence tool box is scarcity. So when there’s not enough of something.


Yeah I mean but again it’s a little shortcut and that’s what a lot of these tools are. They’re shortcuts aren’t they. So it’s a bit like social proof, it’s very closely associated with social proof. But you know if you were in a bakery and they’ve got five different types of bread but there’s only one left then it’s like oh well that one might be the best because everyone’s bought it already. There’s only one left so I’ve got that.


So we want what may not be available. We want what’s limited, what we might not be able to have.


It it’s got high value hasn’t it does it because it’s scarce, the value increases more and we want it more. So again very interesting. I think maybe you identify with this example RItchie, maybe not because you got a big appetite but how many times have you been really full up. You’ve been eating pizza with your friends and one slice you want it.

But that’s the thing you don’t even necessarily need something and people buy it just because it’s the only opportunity I’ve got to buy it or it’s the only one left you know for lack scarcity is very powerful and again you see it used a lot in sales. You know to say yeah either say it’s time limited oh you’ve got to I’m sorry sir you’ve got to buy this today if the offer expires today you know or I’ll we’ve only got two places left you know or one customer left or one car left in the lot. So if you want it you’re going to have to buy it now before it’s gone.

So yeah that’s influence. And that’s our top five books.


Yeah so not top five and then our top five.


Hope you enjoyed it and yeah hope you find this useful and hopefully you’ll get to read or you’ve already read these books.


If not then all of them I believe are available on Audible as well as you know Kindle and paperback because we listen to a lot of our books on audio.


They don’t give us a commission by the way for telling you about them. I wish they did.


We do hope you have an amazing Christmas, have a very Merry Christmas, enjoy your time and we’ll see you on Boxing Day for our next episode.


Have a great one, take care.



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