If Oprah Can Do It, So Can We

It’s hard to believe that in 2018 — when we’re assaulted by artificial intelligence, virtual reality, ubiquitous social media, and “roll your own” news outlets for every bias and prejudice, that the antiquities that we call “books” still matter. (Wasn’t that what Amazon used to sell before they decided to become the world’s largest “everything” store? You can even get your bone saw there!)

And yet they persist. 

A couple of weeks ago on the Wednesday Marketing and Management Call-In, one member asked me if I had any specific books to recommend. I thought it was a terrific question — one worth answering here in writing. In fact, it’s an excellent enough question that we’ve turned it into an ongoing discussion on the TaxCoach Forum. So, here we are. What books, from decades ago or on today’s best-seller lists, have made a difference for YOU — in your business and even your life? 

I’ll start with two books that have made a big difference to me and are well worth your time and your investment.

1. Winning Through Intimidation. (Robert Ringer, 1973)  

This, to me, is the foundational personal development book. The title is misleading — it’s not about how to become an intimidation machine, it’s about how to not be intimidated yourself. If you’ve EVER wished you had the courage or confidence to stand up to an abusive boss, employee, client, or colleague, this is the book for you. It’s a quick and easy read — I revisit it myself every couple of years for a refresher. And Ringer’s “leapfrog” theory is more responsible than anything else for the existence of this wonderful community that we’ve brought together here. If you haven’t read it, you simply must. 

2. No B.S. Marketing to the Affluent (Dan Kennedy, 2008, 2015) 

Dan Kennedy has been the single biggest influence on my marketing and selling skills. He’s written a bunch of books on all sorts of topics from marketing to sales to social media. But this book is the most directly relevant to what most of you are looking to do with your practice (specifically, move away from basic 1040 preparation and “upgrade” to a smaller number of more-affluent clients). Kennedy’s book helps you get inside their heads. This is especially valuable if you don’t personally come from an affluent background — you’d be amazed how much more important “psychology” is than “reason” or “logic” when marketing to these prospects. 

Tax season is over. Do yourself a favor and order these books from Amazon, then take a couple of evenings to devour them. If you’ve already read them, read them again. Then take your thoughts on my two recommendations, plus your own, to the Forum and share them with the rest of your TaxCoach community so we all get smarter!

Updated Content

We’ve gotten great reviews for our new seminar kit covering the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Now we’ve expanded it to focus more attention on two specific areas that have come up on the regular TaxCoach Case Study and Marketing calls.First, we’ve expanded the discussion of Qualified Business Income from two slides to 12, with much of the extra attention going towards the Byzantine “specified service business” rules. (Speaking of which, why do the Byzantines get such a bad rap for over-complicating things?)

And second, we’ve added a nifty chart that walks through the new rules for meals & entertainment in far greater detail. We know there’s real controversy over whether prospect/client meals are still deductible or not, and we come down on the side of keeping records as if they still are, pending clarification from Congress or the IRS. Better to have the records and not need them than to need them and not have them, right?

You’ll find the revised presentation the same place as before, as #1 in the “Seminar Presentations” section of TaxCoach. There’s a full PowerPoint presentation, which of course you’re welcome to customize as you see fit, as well as a complete script package in PDF.

I actually delivered the presentation twice last week to business owner audiences in Detroit. There’s more material in the discussion than 90 minutes can accommodate, especially if you like to take time answering questions during the talk. So feel free to skip over some of the material on minor changes like disallowing deductions for Congressional living expenses and opening up the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. I wanted the presentation to be as complete as possible, knowing that in most cases there wouldn’t be time to present all those slides. And even if the audience sees you skipping a bunch of slides to get to the close, they still enhance your credibility and expertise.