If You Could Read Only A Few Books In 2021, Read These

I read at least one book every week. Some I enjoy more than others, and some really stand out for the quality and depth of advice they offer. The books I'm recommending in this list have helped me expand my mind, look at my business (and life) from a new perspective, and feel more confident about how to approach new challenges.

I believe every consultant could benefit from this selection of books, so if you only read 10-15 books in 2021, I strongly recommend to add these to your list.

Without further ado...

1. Known by Mark Schaefer

This book explains how to build and unleash your personal brand in the digital age.

Known_Schaeffer - The Visible AuthorityA quick summary: In this book, Mark Schaefer points out the difference between being known and being famous. Being known is about being in the position of authority and having a targeted audience that sees you as a thought leader in a specific field. "Becoming known is about approaching your digital life with an intent that establishes the authority, reputation, and audience to achieve your goals."

This book gives its readers a step-by-step plan to become known – a path that has been followed by the most successful people in diverse careers from banking to education to real estate. The book engages its readers via numerous examples, case studies, and exercises.

My 3 biggest takeaways from Schaefer

  1. Creating your personal brand is an intentional activity. The most successful people – the case studies that Schaefer presents – spent years and decades focusing their personal branding efforts. Being known requires a plan that step-by-step builds up towards a larger vision of how you want positioned.

  2. Finding your passions and strengths is the starting point, not the finish line. In order to be "known", you need to create content and a digital footprint that matters to a group of people. It's about having expertise in a narrow field and sharing it with your audience.

  3. Tenacity to dominate and a niche that matters come before intelligence and experience. Experience is a matter of practice. The more you work in a narrow niche and the further you dig into it, the more expertise you have. However, being an expert is not what will make you known. It's your determination to dominate in a very niche market that will drive your efforts. Failing to find a niche is why so many fail at establishing strong personal brands.

My favorite quote #1: "Being known is not the same as being famous. It’s not about having millions of fans and red carpet appearances. Being known is about having the proper authority, reputation, and audience to realize your potential and achieve your goals"

My favorite quote #2: "Failing to find a meaningful, uncontested space is the primary reason people fail in their effort to become known."

2. Value Proposition Design by Alex Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Greg Bernarda, and Alan Smith

How to create products and services customers want - it's all on the cover.

Value Proposition Design - The Visible Authority Recommended BookA quick summary: This is a must-read book for every consultant. Way too often, consultants are focused on their skills-based offering: this is what I/we can do for you (and I am the best!).

This is exactly the opposite of what Osterwalden & team are teaching in the book: your consulting offering should be problem-resolution-focused instead of skill- or activity-focused.

The core of this book: What is the output of the transformation you are delivering for the client?

The book lays out an all-inclusive approach for identifying what your potential clients value and explore how best to deliver it in a way that meets their expectations. Top book, beautifully illustrated!

My 3 biggest takeaways from Osterwalden & team

  1. Your customer profile and the value you deliver should fit. In order to design a value proposition that will deliver results, you first need to gain a strong understanding of your audience, their specific needs and wants, and pain points. You then need to identify how you can deliver value that perfectly matches your customer profile, especially their pain and gain points.

  2. Ask 'why' over and over again. To really get to know your customer, you have to keep digging. You need to ask 'why?' over and over again to get through superficial layers and get to the bottom of what makes them act a certain way, what shapes their preferences, and what a "gain" truly means to them.

  3. Your offering's value is relative, not absolute. As people change jobs, move within companies, etc., their gains and pains change. Your service or product can only offer value when it's at the right place at the right time. Its value is not set in stone, and diminishes or increases for each customer over time.

My favorite quote #1: "Relentlessly test the most important hypotheses underlying your business ideas in order to reduce the risk of failure. This will allow you to pursue big bold ideas without having to break the bank."

My favorite quote #2: "Remarkable value propositions focus on jobs, pains, and gains that matter to customers and achieve those exceedingly well."

3. The Win Without Pitching Manifesto by Blair Enns

This book describes the steps – or proclamations – that owners of professional service businesses can take to distance themselves from their competition and regain the high ground in their client relationships.

Win Without Pitching Blair EnnsA quick summary: Here's a bold statement: if you wouldn't read this book as a consultant, there will be a gap in your expertise! I am 100% sure this book will change the way you do business as a consultant.

As consultants we are all familiar with 'The Pitch'. In this book, Blair Enns shares the problems associated with what he calls 'the traditional way consultants pitch'.

And of course, he shows you how to eliminate those problems by...yes...ELIMINATING THE PITCH altogether! Fasten your seatbelts! His strategy is outlined in his '12 proclamations' of the Manifesto.

Guess what proclamation #1 is: specialize! I love that! 

My 3 biggest takeaways from Enns

  1. You have to find a balance between creating and selling your creations. Irrespective of how much value your creation – your idea, your service – offers, it is not going to sell itself. You need to consistently put effort into the sales side of your business in order to grow. What's the point of creating, creating, creating, if no one learns about your creations and the benefits it offers.

  2. Replace presentations with conversations. When you think traditional sales and sales pitches, you think "sales presentations!" And we all hate those. We instantly begin to come up with reasons not to buy a product or a service. "It sounds too good to be true and the sales person is trying to trick me" kind of mentality. So don't. Don't present. Just talk to your prospect. A conversation is a two-sided deal. You listen just as much as you talk (hell, you should listen more than you talk!)

  3. If you can't talk about money, you can't make it. Don't hesitate to discuss pricing early on. You are negotiating providing value to your customer. This value takes time and expertise. Don't be afraid to bring up your fees. If what you have to offer is truly worth it, money is not something you should shy away from discussing.

My favorite quote #1: "Expertise is the only valid basis for differentiating ourselves from the competition".

My favorite quote #2: "We must simply choose to take control, first by specializing and shifting the power back from the client towards us, and then we can begin to shape our future". 

4. Atomic Habits by James Clear

As the full title of the book clearly states, it offers an easy and proven way to build good habits and break bad ones.

Atomic Habits James ClearA quick summary: I am a big fan of James Clear’s writing (see also my newsletter #18 with some great business advice from James). He always addresses topics head-on and does not hesitate to give difficult advice.

His article, A Scientific Guide to Saying “No”: How to Avoid Temptation and Distraction, is something I recommend every consultant reads.

In this book, James Clear teaches how to create a system that will support the development of good habits, while eradicating the bad ones. It’s a complex topic, yet, Clear manages to explain it in such an organized and straight-forward fashion that it will reshape how you think about your daily life. Clear’s style is very relatable and easy-to-follow. An excellent read.

My 3 biggest takeaways from Clear

  • Framework: James Clear is one of the few authors who introduce a framework you can use in daily life. His four-step model for human behavior (cue, crave, response, reward) not only teaches us how to create new habits but also reveals some interesting insights about human behavior.

  • Little lessons: At the end of the book, James Clear compiled lessons that are confirmed by the framework. I really loved these little lessons as they clarify just how useful and wide-ranging this framework is when it comes to human behavior. Clear: ‘Once you understand the framework, you’ll see examples of it everywhere’.

  • Not a sprint: If you want to make a positive change in your life, you should recognize that it’s definitely possible. However, it will always require patience as well as the confidence that your habits are keeping you on the right path, even if you don’t see immediate results.

My favorite quote #1: "Habits are like the atoms of our lives. Each one is a fundamental unit that contributes to your overall improvement."

My favorite quote #2: "When attempting to change behavior, awareness is of utmost importance. You must be fully aware of the behavior and the habits that contribute to it"

5. Give and Take by Adam Grant

The book invites you to take a look at your own interactions with people and assess your style. Are you a giver or a taker?

Give and take Adam GrantA quick summary: No wonder this book has received so much praise. The likes of The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and others raved about it.

Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist and Wharton’s top-rated professor, examines the notion of success in the context of how we interact with one another.

There are givers and takers. 

Takers tend to focus exclusively on their own self-interest and exploit others to achieve their personal goals. Givers, on the other hand, are those who feel accomplished when supporting others, sharing their own knowledge and expertise freely and generously.

My 3 biggest takeaways from Grant

  • Helping instead of selling.
    Early on in my consulting career, I got inspired by Guy Kawasaki’s theory of ‘Bakers and Eaters’. His point of view is similar to Adam Grant’s findings. Guy Kawasaki inspired me to become a baker instead of an eater: 'Eaters want a bigger slice of an existing pie, bakers want to make a bigger pie and share it with others' (and they have an infinite supply of pie). Ever since then, this concept has been my guiding principle in consulting. Reframing your head from ‘selling’ to ‘helping’ gives you a better mental guiding principle as a consultant and authority and it makes it easier to embrace the marketing/selling aspect in consulting.

  • Takers lose respect and damage their reputation
    While takers may enjoy periods of success, I’ve experienced many times such consultants got ‘punished’ by what Adam calls the ‘taker tax’ (spreading the word of a taker’s bad behaviour), greatly hindering their chances of continued success.

    The new consultant archetype is transparent, helpful, caring, empathic, supportive, generous, educative, authentic, vulnerable, real, genuine. If you are a taker-personality, you will struggle to get in sync with this new archetype and you will struggle to become an authority!

    As I always say: ordinary consultants sell (the takers), authorities share (the givers).

  • Givers can get at risk to burnout (or being abused by the takers)
    Many givers I know, flourish thanks to their enormous generosity. Unfortunately, quite a few of those consultants end up exhausting themselves trying to please everyone.

    If you are always saying ‘Yes’ to your clients, you’ll end up engaging in far too many activities, and you won’t have the time you need to dedicate to your top priorities, deepen your expertise, and build authority. The biggest authorities in the world relentlessly say ‘No’ in order to protect and maintain their narrow positioning, without becoming takers though.

My favorite quote #1: "The fear of being judged as weak or naive prevents many people from operating like givers at work."

My favorite quote #2: "If you're a self-sacrificing giver, you'll find plenty of insights for ascending from the bottom to the top of the success ladder...But if you do it only to succeed, it probably won't work."

Watch Adam's awesome TED presentation here...

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6. The Power of No by James Altucher and Claudia Azula Altucher

If you are struggling with protecting yourself from saying Yes to everything, the Altuchers' book is a great starting point.

The Power of No AltucherA quick summary: This book conveys my long-held belief that we should actively train ourselves to say ‘No’. It’s not always easy – in fact, as consultants it always feels like we’re going to disappoint our clients if we say those dreaded two letters.

However, as James and Claudia brilliantly explains in this book, learning to say ‘No’ at the right time (or, rather, to the wrong things) will give you back your power and save you time and trouble. It will give you a better understanding of yourself and those around you.

My 3 biggest takeaways from Altucher and Altucher

  • Saying No empowered me to stay in my lane all the time. Altucher provides simple techniques to learn to say No, both in personal and professional lives.

  • Saying No is not easy at all. In a world full of opportunity, we need to overcome our deep-rooted need to respond to everything. To become visible as an authority, we need to be ruthless in discerning what is important and what is just noise.

    I’ve seen so many consultants fear saying ‘No’ to ill-suited opportunities in order to please a client (and earn an income), compromising their market credibility and ultimately seriously compromising their future consulting growth.

  • Getting better by saying No. It seems like a huge contradiction for many consultants: how are you supposed to grow by saying no and doing less? The Jack of All Trades has no chance to survive. You either specialize and stand out in the very crowded consulting market or you’d better start looking for a regular job.

My favorite quote #1: "Being grateful is the bridge between the world of nightmares and the world where we are free to say no. It's the bridge between the world of delusions and the world of creativity."

My favorite quote #2: "Often you hear it's not about the end; it's about the journey. This is not true. It's not about the journey, and it never was. It's about right now. It's about choosing to be healthy in the four areas right now and saying no to everything that blocks that. Right now is the only place you'll ever be. Choose not to waste it."

7. So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

"Follow your passion" is a terrible advice. It's dangerous and often leads to chronic job hopping. Becoming highly skilled at something – that's what will allow you to love what you do.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal NewportA quick summary: In this book, Cal Newport argues against passion. We are used to thinking that if we follow our passion, we will eventually succeed. Newport makes an interesting argument that first comes your work. Passion only comes after you put in the work and start excelling in it.

An interesting new perspective!

My 2 biggest takeaways from Newport

  • The passion hypothesis: Newport states that the key to occupational happiness is to first figure out what you’re passionate about and then find a job that matches that passion. While he does acknowledge that such pre-existing passion can get matched with the right work you do, it is rare. Furthermore, Newport believes that subscribing to the hypothesis is dangerous as it can make you less happy.

  • Hard work: Newport celebrates hard work that leads to deep expertise and excellence. THAT is what’s satisfying. THAT is what will make you feel accomplished and happy professionally. Skills trump passion. I love that!

My favorite quote #1: "Compelling careers often have complex origins that reject the simple idea that all you have to do is follow your passion."

My favorite quote #2: "When you look past the feel-good slogans and go deeper into the details of how passionate people like Steve Jobs really got started, or ask scientists about what actually predicts workplace happiness, the issue becomes much more complicated. You begin to find threads of nuances that, once pulled, unravel the tight certainty of the passion hypothesis, eventually leading to an unsettling recognition: "Follow your passion" might just be terrible advice."

8. Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky

We live in the world of endless tasks and endless distractions, with us, bouncing back and forth between the two all day long. The book explains how to break free of this pattern and focus on what matters.

Make Time- How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John ZeratskyA quick summary: Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky are the creators of Google Ventures' renowned ‘design sprint’.

They are the masters of organizing and managing time. This book is spot-on when it comes to the struggle that I witness many consultants experience – constantly being busy, overworked, and programmed to be reactive towards any and all incoming requests as if your life depends on it. Never achieving the 75/25 to grow their visibility and their consulting business.

As the authors explain, ”Make Time is not about crushing your to-do list, optimizing every hour, or maximizing personal productivity. It’s about rethinking the defaults of constant busyness and distraction so you can focus on what matters every day.”

My 3 biggest takeaways from Knapp and Zeratsky

  • Change your default settings: Those familiar with me, know that I’ve always been obsessed with maintaining my 75/25 time distribution (75% client work, 25% growing my visibility) at any time during the week. I have gone deep in finding strategies and tactics to get there. This book has been another help (together with a few other books, summarized in my ‘2021 book blog’) the past 2 years in improving again. It confirmed to me again, to save time, we all need deliberate strategies to change our default settings. People always look strange when I tell them I have ‘a time strategy’.

  • The busy bandwagon: There are 2 phenomena at work in our daily lives. The first is the Busy Bandwagon. This is the modern mindset telling us that we need to jampack as much work as possible in a day. It pushes us to be extremely productive and this desire to be productive just leads to more busyness. To be honest, I had never thought about productivity in this way. Productivity leads to overload. Something to reflect on.

  • The rise of the infinity pools: No other book or article has ever explained it so well to me: our social media accounts, news apps, and the Netflixes of this world, we keep scrolling through them to death. These infinite pools, according to the book, are THE biggest time wasters in our lives, and statistics back it up. Why don’t you check the time you’ve spent on it last week? It’s a scary exercise and I am doing it week after week.

What’s worse is, says the book, that the Busy Bandwagon and the Infinity Pools have joined forces to become a monster-like duo of time destroyers. The book really made me think about those moments, exhausted by the Bandwagon and the risk I start passively soaking up the Infinity Pools content.

My favorite quote #1: "The best tactics are the ones that fit into your day. They're not something you force yourself to do; they're just something you do. And in most cases, they'll be things you want to do."

My favorite quote #2: "Perfection is a distraction – another shiny object taking your attention away from your real priorities."

9. One Hour Content Plan by Meera Kothand

This book addresses a big problem many consultants face: generating a solid volume of relevant content.

One Hour Content Plan by Meera KothandA quick summary: In this book, Meera Kothand presents a fantastic guide to generating new content ideas, explains which types of content can deliver different kinds of results, introduces readers to the notion of a ‘brand voice’ and how you can develop one for yourself, and so much more.

I have learned many of the things Kothand explores in her book (and several other of her great books) through trial and error, through years of experience. So to read it all in a structured, easy-to-consume, logical order will certainly be a timesaver for consultants who want to get it right from the start.

My 3 biggest takeaways from Kothand

  • Define your audience
    I am seeing a lot of consultants writing stuff that doesn’t really resonate with their target audience. They write irrelevant stuff, not really adding value to the ‘problem resolution’ of the typical pain points of the ideal client (yes, ‘ideal’ is important...not just ‘any’ prospect/client).

    The book has helped me a lot - despite having written >200 articles - to be as sharp as possible in my audience focus and Meera Kothand provides excellent thoughts and support frameworks.

  • Define your unique and consistent voice
    In working with my consulting clients, I've experienced firsthand that many consultants are struggling to translate their (often technical) expertise into ‘a voice’ that is easily understandable, attractive to read, and value-adding to their target audience.

    Developing ‘the right voice’ (both in speaking and writing) creates a much deeper connection with your potential clients as they will understand what and who you are standing for. At least, if you are able to exhibit your voice in a consistent way, recommends Kothand.

    I’ve always been the somewhat rebellious guide/mentor and I’ve never muddled around with the consistency of ‘my persona’. As Kothand states in her book: ‘Inconsistency confuses your readers’ (and disconnects from your prospects/clients, I’d like to add).

  • Grow your consulting business with valuable content
    Creating engaging content is one thing, but using it to convince your readers to hire you for your expertise as a consultant, is quite another thing. Content without a lead generation strategy is wasting your time in the long run. It’s what too many consultants don’t get: your content indirectly reflects the services you provide and the learnings you are sharing, inspire your prospects to get in touch with you.

    It's what Kothand calls ‘The Offer Method’ in her book, a technique for designing content that shows your readers (or your future clients) how your services as a consultant can solve problems they didn’t even know they had. She uses a five-step process to develop such service-oriented content. Really worth reading!

My favorite quote #1: "The problem isn't that you have no content ideas, or you don't know what to create. The problem is that you don't have a system for coming up with content ideas".

My favorite quote #2: "Whatever your goals are, your content has to contribute to inching the reader forward in the direction of your end goal. And this is something that you may be sorely missing".

10. The Practice by Seth Godin

This book is your guide to creativity. But it’s definitely not another book on creativity!

The Practice by Seth GodinA quick summary: Seth's latest book is another New York Times bestseller. What an inspiring read! I’ve sent it to all my clients as a Christmas gift.

Many believe that creativity is something one is born with. It’s something that’s exclusively the domain of artists, musicians, designers, etc. I believe – and that’s probably why I loved Godin’s book so much – that creativity is a skill. Like any skill, it needs to be nurtured and practiced. And, like any skill, it has applications in a variety of fields and professions.

My 3 biggest takeaways from Godin

  • Getting unstuck: Godin’s goal is to help his readers get unstuck. He argues that e.g. the concept of a writer’s block is a myth. What matters in what you do is consistency. It’s about commitment and sticking with it. That’s how you can unleash and channel your creativity. He explains how to take your passion from a private distraction to a productive contribution, the one you've been seeking to share all along.

  • Trust ourselves to ‘ship’: “We care enough to stand out as a leader,” Godin writes, “whether on the stage or behind the keyboard, and say, ‘Here, I made this.’ For some, this moment of being judged – where we’re nothing but an imposter acting as if we belong – is overwhelming. And so, too often, we walk away from a creative life (or moment), a chance to be generous, an opportunity to solve problems.”

  • Sharing your thought leadership: Being creative is being generous with what you know. It’s about opening up yourself to criticism, yes, but also allowing your audience in. Letting them see what you think and how you think. That’s what thought leadership is about. It’s not about pleasing everyone with your opinion. It’s about having an opinion, and being able to back it up with experience and accomplishments. A great lesson for consultants!

My favorite quote #1: "Creativity doesn't repeat itself; it can't. But the creative journey still follows a pattern. It's a practice of growth and connection, of service and daring. It's also a practice of selflessness and ego in an endless dance."

My favorite quote #2: "Identity fuels action, and action creates habits, and habits are part of a practice, and a practice is the single best way to get to where you seek to go."

11. Peak by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool

Do you want to master a new skill? Or deepen your overall craftsmanship? THIS is the book you read.

Peak_Ericsson_PoolA quick summary: The central idea of the book: contrary to public opinion, deliberate practice and not talent is the key to becoming extraordinary.

Ericsson and Pool argue that there is no such thing as a “natural talent” and they present some pretty darn convincing evidence of that. There is only practice. The only shortcut is to practice in the right way. But you still need to put in the time and effort. You absolutely can improve in anything you desire. You can master a new skill.

These 3 keywords are guiding me in my work and life: (1) mental freedom, (2) impactful advice, and (3) mastery of my work.

This is how I find balance in my life and feel tremendously fulfilled in what I do. That’s probably why this book resonated with me so much.

For the past 12 years, I have (at an almost astronomic speed) established and cultivated radically new expertise and created new businesses far beyond my comfort zone.

My 3 biggest takeaways from Ericsson and Pool

  • Purposeful practice is focused (yes!)
  • Purposeful practice involves feedback (you’d better get a coach!)
  • Purposeful practice requires getting out of your comfort zone (I love that!)

My favorite quote #1: "Generally speaking, no matter what you're trying to do, you need feedback to identify exactly where and how you are falling short. Without feedback – either from yourself or from outside observers – you cannot figure out what you need to improve on or how close you are to achieving your goals."

My favorite quote #2: "Get outside your comfort zone but do it in a focused way, with clear goals, a plan for reaching those goals, and a way to monitor your progress. Oh, and figure out a way to maintain your motivation."

12. Never Say Sell by Tom McMakin and Jacob Parks

"You can deliver exceptional services and have a long record of high ROI performance with a client and still not grow within the client organically. Why is that?" That's the question this book answers.

never say sellA quick summary: Tom McMakin is a fantastic author and expert. This is Tom's second book and it’s a sequel to the first book I summarized last year – How Clients Buy.

McMakin and Parks address a topic that is spot-on for the consultants - how do you expand your existing client relationships?

The book explains how to work with your clients in a way that continuously expands your projects and relationships with them, allowing you to grow your business without being completely dependent on recruiting new clients.

My 3 biggest takeaways McMakin and Parks

  1. Focus on existing clients: A lot of the focus in consulting marketing these days is on new client generation. I loved to be pulled back by the authors reflecting on existing clients. They inspire to read and learn the techniques that will allow consultants to cross-sell, add value, and drive recurring revenue.

  2. A framework for growth: I really liked the framework the authors present to explain the difference between selling to a new client and growing an existing client from within. Farming (existing clients) versus hunting (new clients). The framework is called ‘The Diamond of Opportunity’ by the authors and covers six areas of ‘farming’ existing clients. I must admit: I’ve never thought about developing existing clients with the help of such a framework.

  3. Trust and credibility: Similar to the previous book (How Clients Buy), the authors focus on building trust and credibility as consultants. We do this to win new clients (prospects only buy when they trust - consulting is a credence business) but also to grow our work with existing clients. What I learned from the book is that scaling trust and credibility (to get more business from within) is done in a very different way, depending on which type of growth we are chasing i.

My favorite quote #1: "The world of business is not mechanical. It's a word where people are busy and distracted, but a world where, ever once in a while, we're able to step back with a friend and get some perspective on what we're doing."

My favorite quote #2: "The most straightforward way to grow within a client is to capitalize on previous good work with a buyer to do more of that same work for the same buyer."

13. Think Again by Adam Grant

We all fall into this trap of thinking and acting inside our own bubbles. These bubbles are defined by social media, our circle of friends and family, colleagues, etc.

think again adam grantA quick summary: Adam Grant sure knows how to write insightful, engaging, and thought-provoking books! I recommended another book of his in the 8th edition of my newsletter - ‘Give and Take’

In this phenomenal book, Grant makes a shrewd observation: we tend to favor the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt.

We indulge ourselves. We cherry pick which opinions we listen to and, almost always, they confirm our view of the world or opinion on matters. Disagreements are often seen as a threat to our ego rather than an opportunity to learn and grow.

Grant encourages his readers to assume a different mindset - a more productive, embracing way of thinking. It’s OK to be wrong. It’s OK to let go of old beliefs and preconceived notions. Being truly open-minded means making room for the possibility that what you’ve learned may have to be unlearned.

I love this book because it makes me face this reality, and actively and consciously fight my own bubble, looking for knowledge and opinions from those I find myself, at first, disagreeing with.

My 3 biggest takeaways from Grant

  1. onQuestion your habits. You can fall into a rut both physically – performing the same activities, irrespective of their benefit – and intellectually, when you fail to question why you believe what you believe. This leads to mental laziness.

  2. Rethinking is a skill that can be learned. Whether it’s on an individual level or making it a part of corporate culture, the ability to question assumptions should be actively developed.

  3. Remain humble. Humility is what powers our ability to question our own assumptions and openly engage in dialogues with those we don’t agree with.

My favorite quote #1: "Most of us take pride in our knowledge and expertise, and in staying true to our beliefs and opinions. That makes sense in a stable world, where we get rewarded for having conviction in our ideas. The problem is that we live in a rapidly changing world, where we need to spend as much time rethinking as we do thinking."

My favorite quote #2: "We all have blind spots in our knowledge and opinions. The bad news is that they can leave us blind to our blindness, which gives us false confidence in our judgment and prevents us from rethinking."

Recommended reading: I've been writing about Adam Grant's previous book 'Give and Take' in the context of 'The 2021 Trends in Consulting'. Have a look at Trend #9


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Luk Smeyers

Hello, I’m Luk Smeyers and I’m guiding consultants through the journey of growing their business by helping them transform into visible authorities.  I have been in consulting businesses for almost 20 years, in very different roles: as European CHRO in a global consultancy, as a startup founder in an analytics consultancy, and as a leader in a 'Big 4' consultancy, post-acquisition of the startup. I had the privilege of achieving global visibility as a consultant and I never had to sell, persuade, or negotiate as a result. I have now bundled all those experiences, expertise, know-how, research, reading, successes, struggles, and failures from managing and growing that visibility in the past years. 

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