The Business of Belief A book review by Bob Morris

The Business of Belief: How the World’s Best Marketers, Designers, Salespeople, Coaches, Fundraisers, Educators, Entrepreneurs and Other Leaders Get Us to Believe
Tom Asaker
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2013)

“The reason birds can fly and we can’t is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have such faith is to have wings.” from J.M. Barrie’s The Little White Bird

Several books have been published in recent years in which their authors address several of the same issues that Tom Asaker does in his latest book. However different all of these books may be in many respects, all of them examine the power of faith. I refer specifically to Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life, Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture, Clayton Christiansen’s How Will You Measure Your Life? and Ken Robinson’s Finding Your Element.

What we have in The Business of Faith is an anthology of information and insights based on Asaker’s personal as well as professional experiences. As he observes, “People have become very distrusting and easily distracted, making attention increasingly scarce and fleeting, Just consider the diminishing `issue-attention cycle’ of critical concern s like climate change and overpopulation, It takes a lot of money, talent, and energy to sustain people’s attention, to become one of their `comforting convictions.'”

Insofar as business is concerned, so what?

I agree with Asaker: It means a great deal: “These conditions point to why today’s most forward-looking people and organizations are moving beyond attention. They’re acutely aware that its not enough simply have people to choose them and their agendas. They need people to choose them, support them, work with them, and recommend them. In other words, they need people to believe…In fact, existence is defined by our beliefs. They determine how we feel, what we think, the goals we pursue and the actions we take…And it’s about how successful people inspire and move others, or how, in my lingo, they practice the business of belief .”

The material in this book is inspired by several sources and organized within three separate but interdependent Parts, best viewed as delineation of articles of faith:

o “What we believe is what we desire, and what we desire is ultimately what we do. It’s the human condition.”

o “Once leaders empathize and understand us, they take us along on an engaging mental [and, with great leaders, a spiritual] journey. One that appeals to our beliefs and desires. And one with a carefully crafted and motivating picture of possibility and transformation. A journey designed to draw us in and move us forward by making us feel comfortable, invested and in complete control.”

o According to J.R.R. Tolkien, “A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.” According to Asaker, “Reality is for wimps.”

It is difficult to explain in a brief commentary such as this (a) what this book’s thesis and core issues are, (b) the nature and extent of the material’s relevance to “business,” and (c) how, more specifically, the material can help strengthen one’s leadership capabilities. These are determinations that each reader must make.

My own “take” is that Tom Asaker provides in this volume an abundance of information, insights, and counsel based on his own experiences as well as what he has learned from others. Moreover, his primary purposes include these: To help accelerate the personal growth and professional development of each reader, and, to help an organization’s leaders to enrich mutual respect and trust between and among those at all kevels and in all areas of the given enterprise.

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