Book Review: To Sell is Human

Awhile ago, I mentioned beginning a series of technical book reviews.  I will be focusing primarily on tech books, but occasionally there will be a more business-minded review.  Developers who understand sales, marketing, and business have a distinct competitive edge over those who don’t, so I look forward to sharing what I find here.

My company has their Sales Enablement Summit coming up in April.  One of the keynote speakers, Daniel Pink, is a well-known bestselling author of various sales and marketing books.  Since he’ll be speaking for us soon, I decided to check out his latest book, “To Sell is Human”.  The idea that hooked me was in the summary: everyone is in sales now, regardless of their role.

I was initially skeptical of this assertion, but was won over by Pink’s use of social science and real life examples, which included a lot of topics framed around software development.  The point of the “everyone in sales” bit is that we must find new ways to adapt to the always changing needs of our customers.  Especially those of us in technical roles, since traditionally developers are not exposed to end users. In order to build great software, we must gain an understanding of our customers’ needs, understand how they are using our products, and make changes accordingly. Therefore, in order to reach full potential, developers must adapt to this sales-focused world.

Another major theme that I loved: skills elasticity.  By expanding the breadth of our skills, we can become more innovative.  This book is a great wake-up call to re-examine our current roles: are we working effectively, or on auto-pilot?  Are our contributions making a difference?

To Sell is Human can be found on Amazon for about $10.

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