Beach Blanket Bibliography.

We're hurtling toward the Independence Day weekend and the beaches and lakes and country porches are calling. Maybe you'd feel guilty spending a couple of days on some Dean Koontz thriller but are intimidated by something like "Capital in the 21st Century." Or perhaps you'd just like to take a fresh look at your strategy and approach, and come back from your summer break with fresh momentum. With that in mind, here are a few previously recommended sales and management books to toss in your bag as you head out for the long weekend.

Anyone who's been in a workshop with me in recent years will be familiar with "The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation." For my money, this is the best sales book of the past 15 years, and particularly relevant for the asymmetrical, dynamic world of online marketing. An efficient and engaging read over its first 100 pages, "The Challenger Sale" exposes the failings of "solution selling" and butchers many of the sacred cows of sales theory.

This week's Drift is proudly underwritten by Bionic Advertising Systems, an advertising technology company focused on delivering innovative software that streamlines and automates media workflow for marketers, their advertising agencies, and publishers.

While not technically a sales book, "A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future" just may be the most important thing a digital seller reads this summer. We're all drowning in statistics and throwing data at one another with savage regularity: but where's the meaning? It turns out that - just like Dorothy - we had the power all along. By tapping into your inner artist, you learn to synthesize, fuse ideas, interpret and make the numbers start to sing. And you can finally show your Dad that the painting class you took senior year wasn't a waste of tuition after all.

I never miss a chance to recommend "The One Thing You Need to Know" by Marcus Buckingham. A sharp and engaging business writer, Buckingham distills the most important things we each need to know about Leadership, Management (quite different from Leadership, thank you) and sustained personal success. One of the very best, and a perennial read for me.
Engaged Leadership by Clint Swindall. Great follow up read to "The One Thing..." Written as a series of parables, it gives the sales manager some good tactical guidance on cultivating employee engagement, which is the soil in which success and excellence grow.
The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann is told as a dialogue-intensive 'fable,' and will take you all of about two hours to finish. But the sales - and life — wisdom is so significant that you'll want to read it again immediately. What happens when you base your personal strategy on generosity instead of the zero-sum thinking that drives most sales behavior.
Have a recommendation or two of your own? Please add them in comments. Happy summer.