Your Reading List at Linked-In

Sometimes I am a little slow to catch on to the value of a tool. I am just doing this right now, but I have been quite impressed by the way this tool is used by some of my connections. (This is a thinking aloud piece, as I am going through the process right now.)

Your public profile can show the book you are reading now and the book you want to read next. It provides a link to a list of your already finished reading if you create such a list. As with anything that has to do with Linked-In, these should be books that relate to the expertise that you are peddling. You don’t want to list golf books, for example, unless you are in the golf business.

Why have a reading list? You want to show potential clients and/or employers that you are so interested in what you do that you are spending your own time and money to extend that expertise. You are still busy being born, not just coasting on your previous knowledge and experience. If you are in a technical field, this may be the difference between being employable or not in a tight labor market.

If you are really looking hard for a gig, I would take the time to put all of the books that you have read into a reading list. People empathize with other people who have read the same books, and they want to talk about the common experience of reading that book. Books make an personal connection to potential employers and clients. If they are not readers themselves, they are still likely to have some respect for readers.

Put all of the professional books you have read on the list. Don’t fake it because anyone who is interviewing you who has read the same book will ask you about it. That’s what you want so don’t choose books you didn’t read, and don’t choose books you read but didn’t understand. This is supposed to be an ice breaker for a subject in which who hope you have some expertise.

Note that you can watch other people’s reading lists too. I have some friends who always have read the great books in my trade before I have. I am going to start watching their reading lists.

I wouldn’t put too many books on the list. If you are not going to connect with people in your business on your first ten tries, you are probably talking about a person who doesn’t read. There are lots of those peole out there in every profession. They still may be glad that you do, however, but adding more books will not make much difference here. Books that you read recently and vividly impacted you should dominate the list because you want to be able to speak about the ideas in the book with enthusiasm.

Are you helping Linked-In make money when you do this? No doubt. Linked-In should be kicking some of that income back to the members. I think they make a lot more money if they gave half the Amazon income to the member whose reading list was clicked to buy the book. I bet twenty times as many people would almost immediately add and/or expand their reading lists immediately. If Linked-In shares it fifty-fifty with the member, that’s still a tenfold increase in income from the previous results. They could also say almost immediately that they pay you to be part of their network. That could make their growth explode. (Note to Linked-In management: send me a taste of your massively increased profits that you will achieve if you implement this idea.)


The Tiger Woods Brand — At Work and Growing

I am a huge fan of Tiger Woods, and that goes well beyond what he does on the golf course.  I’d be pretty happy if I could handle the typical par four like Tiger handles an interview, for example.  He’s amazing!

Many professional golfers are pretty good at giving interviews and handling press conferences, and Tiger does have the huge advantage of constant practice, the confidence of the best golfer in the world, and everything that goes along with just being Tiger Woods.  Tiger Woods would be a brand even if he didn’t know he was a brand, and he knows.

He may know better than anyone.  He obviously studied Michael Jordan and Jack Nicklaus.  I bet he has studied everyone who has ever been a brand.  He’s not only been a brand for a long time; he’s been famous for being a brand for almost as long.  And like everything else he does, he keeps getting better at it.

Hosting his own tournament at age and having it be signifcant official event is quite an accomplishment at 33.  Many of the all time greats have their own tournaments, but they were all much older.  Tiger started this several years ago, just looking and waiting for a chance to make it an official event.

Now that preparation has paid off.  The Tour needs events and sponsors for the first time in years.  They not only made his event official, but he has the Fourth of July weekend in Washington, D.C.  honoring the Armed Forces at a storied golf course under the brutal heat of the Washington summer.  And if you still aren’t thinking that Tiger is the second coming,l active miltary and kids under twelve are admitted free.  Finally, the name of the tournament is carefully crafted to maximize the way it extends the brand: The AT&T National hosted by Tiger Woods.

It is instantly the most significant event between the U.S. Open and the British Open, and it reduces all of the other events in this period to second tour events because they are automatically relegated to the second tier if Tiger doesn’t play.Tiger won’t play between the U.S. Open and his event because he’s involved in the hosting preparation,  He won’t play between this event and the British because he’s getting ready for the British.

The television ratings will demonstrate once again that there are Tiger events and golf events.  When the Tiger events are spaced out and signaled well in advance.  The size of the Tiger audience will grow and the size of the golf audience will shrink.  Professional golf will more than ever have to ride on Tiger’s coattails.

I think Tiger really likes this position.  He is obviously a person who likes being in control, and this gives him even more control.  None of this happened by accident, and none of it happened in secret.  Tiger did it all, carefully and completely, right out in the open.

Was he lucky to get the Fourth of July weekend?  Somehow, I don’t think luck had anything to do with it, but the financial crisis has made the PGA Tour that much more willing to go along with anything that Tiger wants.  They know the tournament will make them far more money than anything else they could do in that time.

He’s also nice to children without being creepy about it.  The Tiger Woods Foundation is all about helping kids to make the most of themselves.  If there is anything people like more than being helped to suceed, it is getting their children to succeed.  Tiger makes children, your children, all children, part of his brand.

Capping off the tournament, Tiger follows a wounded veteran that they are honoring down the eighteenth fairway as he marches his way to victory.  Hunter Mahan shoots a 62 in the final round, but Tiger had to beat him.  He’s still building the brand.