5 Winning Lessons from Book Covers

Photo by garyhutson flickr.

The other day I shared my annual best book cover list.

Did you ever think that a book cover could teach powerful life lessons?  What’s the leadership lesson from a book cover?  Last year, I shared how they can help with goal setting.  This year, let’s consider what the great book covers teach us.

A great book cover teaches us to:

 

Be expressive.  The best covers communicate.  They may be bursting with color.  They convey ideas but also evoke emotion.  Winners are people who express who they are without reservation.

Be original.  There are many book covers that look the same.  Winners stand out.  Name five people who you would define as winners and leaders.  My guess is that you also describe them as independent and unique.

The Best Book Covers of 2012

Do you ever buy a book because you are attracted to its cover?

Admit it.  You’re walking past a row of books when something catches your attention.  You pause for a second, linger just a moment and, before you know it, you’re flipping through it and standing in line at a register.

Book covers can do that.  A well-designed book jacket invites you in.

Readers of this blog know that I love books and am surrounded by them.  Last year, my wife even surprised me with bookshelves in the last remaining room without them: our furnace room!  Yes, devices are terrific and mine get used plenty.  But, I love the feel of a real book and I enjoy the artistry of a good cover.

So, here is my list of best book covers for 2012.  (And, if you missed, here are the best book covers of 2011.) Let me know your favorite.  And, if you see a great one in 2013, leave a comment here so we can consider it for next year’s list.

(See also 5 Winning Lessons from Book Covers.)

Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel

 

underwaterdogs

 

What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

 

Whats Left of Me

Make Your Days Count

Mastering Your Life Right Now (and a book giveaway)

For over thirty years (10,950 days), Robert D Smith has worked behind the scenes as Andy Andrews’ manager and as a consultant to numerous best-selling authors and speakers.  Most know him as THE Robert D, and his infectious energy and enthusiasm for life radiates into a room even before he steps into it.

SIGNED BOOK GIVEAWAY

We gave away some free AUTOGRAPHED copies of 20,000 Days and Counting.

Winners have been selected and notified.

To qualify for the random drawing:

  1. Leave a comment below. Why would this book be helpful to you?
  2. Send out this post. You can use Twitter, Facebook or Google+. You could also use a pigeon, but you’d likely miss the contest end date.

 

When I read THE Robert D’s book, I realized it was the perfect way to start a new year.  It’s packed with practical steps to make the most of your days.  It’s a fast read, but one that will linger with you as you contemplate your life.

Let’s start with the title.  20,000 Days and Counting.  That grabbed my attention as I wondered about the significance of 20,000 days.  Turns out that you realized in 2009 that you had been alive for almost 20,000 days.  That realization had a big impact on you, didn’t it?

I would say the impact was huge. When you see your number, it really gives you a sense of urgency and intensity.

2.  I love to invent reasons to celebrate.  My wife and I celebrate more dates than anyone, and I even invent anniversaries and holidays just so we can celebrate something.  So, I was thrilled to see you talking about celebrating in this book.  Why is celebrating so important?  How do you make it a part of your daily life?

20000daysCelebrating is critical because it’s the only way to withstand living a life of intensity and purpose. If you’re living each and every day with meaning and intentional action to fulfill your purpose, you’re going to be drained from time to time. Allowing yourself time to celebrate the little accomplishments along the way will keep you focused and help you avoid burnout.

3.  From what I read, you seem to love the word “no.”  Why is “no” such a power word?

When Words Aren’t Enough

Last week’s unspeakable tragedy in Sandy Hook, Connecticut left me speechless.  There really are no words to express the feelings, the raw emotions, the shock, anger, pain, and the heartbreak.  Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy tried to explain the unexplainable, saying “Evil visited this community today.”

Feeling Hopeless

How many of us just stared, open-mouthed at the television feeling completely hopeless?  I closed my eyes, feeling crushed under the weight of sadness as I thought about the children, the teachers, the school psychologist, the principal, and the first responders.

After watching some coverage, I turned off the television and said a prayer for all involved.  I recalled a scripture verse:

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18

I can think of no more crushing blow than this tragedy.

Lead With Love

How do you respond to events like this?  Dan Rockwell said it well when he said the response should be to lead with love.  I like what Dan had to say because love is always the best response.

Here are a few ways to respond to these sad events:

  • Love more. Hug your kids.  Even in a corporate setting, it’s possible to lead a company with love.
  • Be compassionate. Someone once told me that, when in doubt, assume the person you are talking with is hurting.  That’s because all of us face challenges, adversity and heartbreak.

What’s Your Yes?

Some people are defined by “yes”.  They live to fulfill their “yes”.  They dream, plan and act all according to their “yes.”  Everything they do revolves around the “yes” of their own lives.

Their opposites are “no” people.  These are people who don’t live for their “yes.”  Instead, they just try to avoid their own “no.”  They never discover their own potential.

My friend Mike Glenn recently wrote a book called The Gospel of Yes.  I asked him about the title of this book.  He grew up in a way and in a church that defined life with “no.”  (As in no drinking, no smoking, no this and no that.)

But, he later realized that life’s power is in the “yes”:

It’s not what we are against, but what we are for.

It’s not what you’re bad at, but what you’re good at.

It’s not about your limitations, but about your gifts.