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Archive for February, 2009

Cold Calling Techniques that Really Work

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

In today’s growing climate of economic insecurity, it is absolutely vital that people in sales be at the top of their game. Many companies reward their employees based on pure success and performance as opposed to guaranteed salaries. One of the most difficult parts of being in sales is landing initial appointments and getting a foot into a potential customer’s door.

Stephan Schiffman’s Reputation

Stephan Schiffman is a very well known corporate trainer who has written several books in this area of sales. In Cold Calling Techniques (That Really Work!), Schiffman outlines important first interaction scenarios that come along with building client bases and helps alleviate any possible barriers that may arise. Although technology is very important, it also inhibits some sales people from making contact with decision makers. For example, it is very easy for individuals to screen who they talk with through voicemail, email, cell phones, and other technologies. He addresses each one of these barriers and finds ways to overcome them.

In addition to these aspects, he also gives insightful instruction on how to generate leads so that the sales person can build a base of contacts. Through this he gives comfort that the dreaded word “no” that comes along with sales is actually a stepping stone for ultimately achieving success. His instruction is based on statistical facts and each no means the sales person is one more sales presentation away from receiving a “yes.”

Writing Style of Schiffman

Schiffman writes in a tone that is easy to understand and gives anyone willing to use his advice an advantage in sales. He provides superior, performance backed knowledge and is very useful to someone willing step out of their comfort zone and try. For any salesman or company that utilizes cold calling as their main way of generating leads and sales, this book comes highly recommended.

Lanark: A Life in Four Books by Alasdair Gray

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Lanark is a big book, not only in size (at 600 pages) but also in scope and ambition. Gray has stated he wished to write an epic of modern Scottish life, and took nearly 30 years to do so.

Lanark is structured in 4 books, although we start with Book 3. Gray has stated that “I want Lanark to be read in one order but eventually thought of in another.”

Lanark: Book 3

A man without a memory arrives in a dark labyrinthine city called Unthank where it is always night, he picks his name Lanark from a faded postcard on a wall, makes friends with a group of students and artists, but is overcome with alientation and angst and eventually developes ‘Dragonhide’ a disease which slowly covers his body with scales, starting with his arm. He is admitted to ‘The Institute’ for a cure, discovers horrifying facts about the diseases and the government and determines to escape.

Lanark: A Life, Books 1 & 2

Switch to a realistic wartime Glasgow, and are the story from the age of 5 of Duncan Thaw in a thinly disguised autobiography of Gray himself. Thaw grows up, loves art, goes to school at the Glasgow School of Art, is wracked by pain and the inability to love, creates a masterpiece painting the ceiling of a small scottish church, but eventually descends into madness and drowns himself.

Lanark Book 4

Book 4 is… different… Lanark finds his way back to Unthank, which is riven with violence and falling apart, a modern city in disintegration. But it also contains many surprises… in the Epilogue, which isn’t at the end of the book Larnark is confronted by the author himself, and has a conversation about the novel, it’s influences, aims, and how it should end. There are also extensive footnotes throughout and a Dictionary of Plagairisms where Gray notes the genesis, influence and effect of everything significant he has read on his own work.

In Summary Lanark is an amazing novel which carries you along with it’s own idiosyncratic brilliance and enriches your life for the better with it’s humour, thought and intelligence. Go beg buy or steal a copy and be changed by it.

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

In this 1930 classic book, As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner, the story is told as a stream of consciousness by the characters, who are family and friends of Addie Brunden. Addie’s family is attempting to return her body to Jefferson where she was born, but the bridge is out and they have no food or money for the trip. This leads to a series of unfortunate mishaps, arson, rape and eventually a new beginning for the family.

Addie’s husband, Anse, is portrayed as a lazy man that has relied on others to take care of him and who first asked Addie to marry him because he could not take care of himself. And she who accepted because she thought no one else would have her.

Five Children and Growing Pains

The woman’s five children, Cash, Darl, Jewel, Dewey Dell, the only daughter, and Vardaman, each with their own brand of pain, caused by growing up in a household with a cold father and cheating mother, now have to do more than any child should ever be asked to do. Cash, being a skilled carpenter, works on his mother’s coffin for days, right outside her window so she can hear it being made and therefore won’t worry.

Faulkner’s tale pulls the reader into the story so that they may feel the mud on the side of the rivers edge and smell the rot of the decaying body, as this poor family attempts to return their mother to her hometown for burial. It reaches down into the darkest part of the human mind and attempts to give the reader an understanding of why people do the things they do and how they close their mind to it afterwards. How people can do cruel things to the ones that they love the deepest when they can no longer hold back their selfish desires and the same people can risk their own lives to show their love and pain.

This book was eventually made into a movie, known as “Camera Three.”