Summer Sales Reading, 2012 Edition.

It's halfway through your two weeks at the beach house and maybe the thrillers you're reading are not so thrilling anymore. Or perhaps you're just not completely letting go of that second half number that you're still going to need to hit when you're back at it. Well, fear not! Set up your umbrella and beach chair and spend a few hours feeding your sales mojo with a great idea book. Without further ado, here are The 2012 Drift Summer Sales Reading Picks.

Anyone who's been in a workshop with me over the past few months 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.

The Drift is proudly underwritten this week by PubMatic, which helps premium publishers take control by giving them a real-time media selling platform for managing revenue and brand strategy.

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.

Yet another antidote to the noise, confusion and indifference we all face every day is....quiet. Actually, that's the title of the book: "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking." This is a book that I've only skimmed so far, but which I'll be digging into in the days ahead. The importance of not only quiet but also the concept of "open space" within the sales process is fascinating. Too many sellers habitually fill up every pause or quiet moment with ever more words and data, thereby choking off the chances for their customer to actually participate in the discussion. This concept is also covered in "In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing." If you've ever heard me talk about bringing "Half an Idea" to a customer, this is brilliant reinforcement and explanation of that concept.

Finally, 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.

Have a recommendation of your own? Fire away. Happy Summer!