The BOUNDLESS 2020 reading list: 12 must-read sales and success books recommended by the experts

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Editor in Chief, Sell to Win

It’s like they say: Learners are earners.

One of the most common questions we got in the live chat during BOUNDLESS 2020 was, “What was the name of the book that the speaker just mentioned?” Since personal development was a frequent theme at our virtual event, several of the speakers name-checked sales and customer success books that were meaningful to them or taught them important lessons.

To save you the trouble of hunting down all those book titles, we put together the reading list below. Enjoy, and please shoot us a tweet if there are any sales, marketing, or customer support-related books that you’d like to recommend.

From Jeffrey Gitomer’s opening keynote, “Redefining Competitive Advantage”

Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative Thinking Techniques by Michael Michalko

Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius by Michael Michalko

Serious Creativity: Using the Power of Lateral Thinking to Create New Ideas by Edward DeBono

Jeffrey says:

“Where do ideas come from? Mine come from my morning routine. I read. I read Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko, who I’ve given away so many of his books that we’ve become friends. He has a new book, Cracking Creativity. Get both of them and read them…

“When you’re done with those two books, then you get the benchmark book on creativity by the great Edward De Bono, Serious Creativity: Using the Power of Lateral Thinking to Create New Ideas. You don’t have to say ‘I don’t get ideas,’ that’s bullsh*t, you go and read books on creativity and recognize that how you look at things can help create new ideas. Ideas pull the sale so you don’t have to push the sale.”

He Can Who Thinks He Can by Orison Swett Marden

Jeffrey says:

“Orison Swett Marden in 1908 from the book He Can Who Thinks He Can said, ‘The world makes way for the man with an idea.’ A hundred and ten years ago, he nailed it…

“[National Cash Register Company founder] John Patterson was the father of American salesmanship and I wrote the book The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching!, which started out as The Patterson Principles of Selling, because I wanted to write a book on the father or the grandfather of sales in America…While I was in Dayton, Ohio, doing the research and creating the book, I got a call from a guy and he said, ‘Hey I have some actual books from John Patterson’s library, would you like to buy them?’…

“One of the books was He Can Who Thinks He Can by Orison Swett Marden, and the key passages were underlined in the hand of John Patterson. This book belongs in the Smithsonian Institute, but right now I possess it.”

Jeffrey also mentioned a few of his own books during his keynote…

Get Sh*t Done: The Ultimate Guide to Productivity, Procrastination, and Profitability

Jeffrey Gitomer’s Sales Manifesto (“Weak salespeople look at quotas and become fearful. Mediocre salespeople look at quotas as a goal. Manifesto salespeople look at quotas and laugh.”)

Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching!

Good, Better, Best (free eBook download)

From John Barrows’s presentation, “Get 1% Better Every Day: A Personal Development Crash Course for Sales Pros”

Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles

John says:


“One of the things I was asked to speak on was this whole concept of ‘the rule of 1%,’ which is about getting 1% better every single day and really focusing on continuous improvement. And I adopted this mentality back in my first startup when we read this book by Ken Blanchard called Raving Fans, and it’s all about customer service and success, because we were really a service-based industry, we did outsourced IT services to the SMB market.

“So the concept was how to provide better service to your customer. And there were three pillars there: 1) Know who you are and what you deliver, 2) know what your customer expects from you (make sure that those things align), and 3) try to get 1% better every single day.

“And that really resonated with me because earlier in my career what I was doing is I was setting very high and lofty goals for myself, and I would achieve those goals, and then I would set another huge mountain to climb. And what was happening was a lot of times I’d get very frustrated on reaching that next pinnacle that I set for myself. So instead of doing that I started just trying to get 1% better every day.”

From Dave Blake’s Q&A, “Building a Culture of Customer Success in Your Organization”

The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty by Matthew Dixon

Dave says:

“Even outside this space [of Customer Success], there are books that I think have been great. There’s one called The Effortless Experience…it’s just the fact that you want your customers to engage with you with as little effort as possible. You hide the complexity, you absorb the complexity, and you focus on delivering an amazing experience so that your customer can engage without that friction that you might have in some businesses.”

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni

Dave says:

“It’s not necessarily a Customer Success-focused [book], but Patrick Lencioni has created one called The Advantage that’s about aligning your leadership teams or regular teams in execution. There’s some great books out there that apply to growing and scaling Customer Success teams or delivering an extraordinary experience, but maybe not under the title of Customer Success per se.”

From Colin Campbell’s presentation, “Popsicle Moments: How to Inject Magic Into the Customer Journey”

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Colin says:

“By the way, that story [about the Magic Castle Hotel in Los Angeles] is not my own, it came from a book called The Power of Moments. Maybe you’ve read it; if you haven’t, I recommend it. It’s full of all kinds of great stories just like that. I don’t make money when you buy it. And I found it really, really inspirational. It’s what started me on this journey of being obsessed with creating little magic moments.”

From Sujan Patel’s presentation, “How to Expand Your Marketing Net and Give Each Lead Source the Right Attention”

Superfans: The Easy Way to Stand Out, Grow Your Tribe, and Build a Successful Business by Pat Flynn

Sujan says:

“Build an audience of one thousand true fans. Pat Flynn has a good book called Superfans, Read it. Google ‘1,000 True Fans,’ and you’ll find a great article on the topic. The point is, you really only need to build 1,000 true fans to start growing. And you build these fans through educational content.”

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