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on November 4, 2012
This book is not just likeable - it's loveable! As an MBA and someone who runs a small organization, I've read a lot of business books. But this is one of the few that I've thoroughly enjoyed - and will probably re-read because it's such a fun and information-filled book.

The book outlines and explores 11 principles of likeable businesses - and shares great stories that illustrate why each principle is important, how to carry it out, and how other businesses have been successful with it.

What's most likeable about this book is that it practices what it preaches. The authors don't just write about the principles in some abstract way; they illustrate them. The writing in this book reflects several of the principles it discusses: the book is great storytelling, authentic, transparent, passionate, surprising and delightful, and reflective of gratitude.

I highly recommend this book to anyone in any business or non-profit organization.

Disclosure: Dave Kerpen is a friend of mine. But that doesn't mean I had to like the book or write an honest review - and I still did.
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on March 5, 2013
I was directed to this book from a posting on Linked In and intrigued by what I read. The book was engaging from the get go and I could not put it down with it until I finished it. The principles described in the book are nothing out of the world nor revolutionary, rather they are common sense principles presented in such a way that makes sense to anyone who has ever interacted with others, either as a business or as a customer. I was able to liken the principles explained in the book to my real life situations and I often found myself pausing from my reading to review my everyday interactions and exchanges. I found the social media section and tips at the end of each chapter and the closing paragraph extremely useful and insightful. I was able to put together a plan of action taking ideas from each section that I have put into my every day life and it is starting to make a difference.

My most remarkeable experience with this book was on the section of responsiveness. At this point the author asks the reader to put him to the test and communicate with him via a social media channel. I did that very thing, I put my book down (really I just switched the app since I was reading the Kindle version) and sent @DaveKerpen a question on twitter. It was simply a little test and to my surprise in a very short time he responded back to my inquire @DavidParra with some good advice. I simply could not believe it. When I mentioned to him that I was impressed with his responsiveness, he simply said #PracticeWhatYouPreach. Since then I have followed @DaveKepren and he has even followed me back and RT a couple of my posts. No doubt, not only the book but the interaction with the author have been a remarkable experience and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to becoming more likeable. I liked this book so much that the moment I finished it I went ahead and purchased the Likeable Social media one and so far as enjoyable as this one. 5 Stars ++ for sure.

Thank you,

@DavidParra
[...]
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on August 23, 2015
Dave Kerpen transformed the way I do business. Social Listening is the best skill you will learn and Dave teaches you how to do it effectively. I highly recommend you read this book if you are serious about building a community and getting more customers with social media.
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on February 26, 2013
Dave Kerpen shows how in our age of social media, we must do more than be a good business, we have got to be a likeable business. In Likeable Business: Why Today's Consumers Demand More and How Leaders Can Deliver Kerpen explains why customers expect more from businesses and describes 11 qualities we need in our businesses to deliver on our promise to provide health and wellness naturally in a likeable way:

1. Listening is the foundation of any good business. Great leaders listen to what their customers and prospects want and need, and listen to the challenges those customers face. They listen to colleagues and are open to new ideas. They listen to shareholders, investors, and competitors.
Companies of all sizes can use listening to gain a competitive advantage. Kerpen gives examples such as a small recruitment firm searching Twitter for the term "We're hiring" in their city to listen for potential clients. A small law firm can listen on Twitter for the term "need a lawyer." A business consultant can search Twitter for terms like "my business" and "need to grow." Our businesses can listen on Twitter for “Bioidentical Hormone” and “Hypothyroidism” and “fatigue” etc.

2. Storytelling: Nothing communicates an idea like a story. A good story conveys drama and not only helps sell a product, a good story conveys ideas and helps build value in what our businesses offer. Storytelling grabs attention and prompts people to take action. A likeable leader like Dr. Hotze, has a strong vision and purpose and always has stories to sell that vision. Via the radio, speaking engagements, websites and publications we need to tell the Hotze story. How Steve Hotze became a wellness doctor and how our organization grew to its current stature. A good story needs an introduction, some conflict, and a conclusion. Interesting characters help to make a good story, too. Companies can ask themselves: Who are our interesting characters? What are our conflicts? The Board, Wyeth, conventional medical thinking. We all have our subplots of how our lives intersected with the Hotze story.

3. Authenticity: Great leaders are not one person in a meeting or on air and a different person in private. Great leaders are who they say they are and they have integrity beyond compare. Humility and transparency are hallmarks of genuine leaders. The genuineness of leaders lives creates a positive, attractive energy. Genuine, authentic people draw out the best in people – a desire to see them succeed. By being genuine we will find that our guests/customers, staff and even the media will often want to help us succeed. Kerpen points out that their used to be a divide between one’s public self and private self but the Internet has blurred that line. Likeable leaders are transparent about who they are online, merging the personal and professional life together. Perhaps I should actually use Facebook.

4. Transparency: There is nowhere to hide anymore, and business people who attempt to keep secrets will eventually be exposed. Openness and honesty lead to happier staff and customers — and a happier you. This is a reminder to be consistent in living in such a way that we have no hidden areas.

5. Team Playing: We interact with others every day. We must continue to foster innovation and a culture of mutual support. We need a culture of success within your organization and one that includes out of the box thinking.

6. Responsiveness: Successful leaders are quick to respond to customers, staff, investors, and prospects. Each customer is a potential “viral sparkplug.” A successful leader recognizes this new reality and insists upon a culture of responsiveness. By responding we show we care and this gives our customers and employees a voice which ultimately prompts positive changes in our businesses.

7. Adaptability: There has never been a faster-changing marketplace than the one we live in today. Leaders must be flexible in managing changing opportunities and challenges, and nimble enough to pivot at the right moment. Stubbornness is no longer desirable. Instead, humility and the willingness to adapt mark a great leader.

8. Passion: It has been well said that those who love what they do don’t have to work a day in their lives. People who are able to bring passion to their business have a remarkable advantage, as that passion is contagious to customers and colleagues alike. We definitely have passion but we must cultivate this passion and make sure our culture of passion is a part of every staff member in every business. We will see the benefit of passion in our bottom line.

9. Surprise and Delight: Most people like surprises in their day-to-day lives. Likeable leaders underpromise and overdeliver. By making sure customers and staff are surprised in a positive way, we make ourselves more likeable. We all like to be delighted and surprise and delight create incredible word of mouth marketing opportunities.

10. Simplicity: The world is more complex than ever and yet what customers often respond to best is simplicity. We are weary of complexity and delight in finding simplicity in design, form, and function. When we distill complex concepts to their simplest components, our customers, staff better understand and buy into our vision. We humans all crave simplicity so the likeable leader must be focused and deliver simplicity. Health & Wellness naturally is simply replacing what is missing and removing what does not belong.

11. Gratefulness: The likeable leader is grateful for the people who contribute to opportunities and success. “Thank You” and “please” are two of the most important words in business. Whether done in person, in front of a group, or in a thoughtful, handwritten note, nothing shows sincere gratitude or motivates employees like saying thank you. Showing we truly care is never overrated or outside of the budget.
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on November 25, 2013
This book is well worth your time. It's a quick read but has a ton of good advice, stories and insight on how to run not only a "likeable" business but a successful/profitable one.

I think one of the big core messages of this book is that you can't be just "vanilla" in your approach to business. Sure you have to deliver on what you say you do but this book makes you want to go bigger, further and better. It doesn't give you a systematic approach to being likeable, i.e. - Step 1, Step 2, Step 3. It covers important topics like Listening, Storytelling, Simplicity and my person favorite Surprise and Delight - Every problem an opportunity (Chapter 9). Dave also has some great personal stories as well as other stories of businesses that are delivering on each chapters message which are not only inspiring but help tie everything together.

I highly recommend this book and am going to make it required reading for many of our current and new staff members.
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on October 15, 2014
I have other books by this author and they all are terrific. He writes as if you are there in front of him and you both are sharing a cup of coffee. I have a couple of his books, and I have listened to one of them on audiobooks. He offers so many great ideas and tips.
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on August 7, 2013
Likeable Business is a great book to have on your bookshelf. There were 4 reasons why I loved this book:

1. Being able to jump in and out. I purchased this book in October of 2012 and just finished it today (August 2013). When I had a few minutes to spare, I would read a few pages (sometimes more than I had planned because it was so good!). Because it's broken up into bite-sized chunks that string together, it's a great book to read during a commute or when you've only got a few minutes before bed or in the morning.

2. Tangible action items. You can read a blog post about how a company truly understands a principle of business, but Mr. Kerpen goes above and beyond to apply these anecdotes together to give you actionable items in your own life and career. Often, books in this category can fall short despite having great anecdotes and stories to share because the author cannot add anything more to the conversation. This is not true with Likeable Business.

3. I will reread this book. If you're debating on spending the money on this book (the reason why you are reading this review, I imagine), know that Likeable Business is a book you will want to come back to a few months after you read it. It took me 10 months to read this book -- slowly and in chunks -- but I know I will revisit this book when I am looking for inspiration and motivation.

4. A truly positive message. While I may not agree with all of the conclusions that Mr. Kerpen draws from his examples and personal experiences, I do know he is extremely genuine. Likeable Business plainly and clearly wants to help me in my career. For that, I am extremely grateful.
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on December 15, 2012
Kerpen is the co-founder and CEO of Likable, a social media and word-of-mouth marketing firm in New York. He has also been named the most social CEO of the Inc. 500. I read Dave's first book, Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (And Other Social Networks) and was so enchanted with it that when I heard that he had written a second book, I ordered it right away. Since the thesis and case studies in Kerpen's first book seemed directly applicable to businesses of every size and kind, it seemed natural that his consulting experience with companies and social media would easily translate into a more generalized business strategy book.

The gist of Likable Business is that the same key principles of effective business use of social media - to listen, be responsive, and tell stories - apply beyond social media, to business in general. The book is written for marketers and executives at small, medium and large companies who wish to "reorganize not only the way they do business around their customers, but the way they empower their people to become likable leaders." (6) As Kerpen states up front, this is not a research-based or analytical book - "for data junkies, something will be missing" (6) - nor is it a list or manual for the latest tools to optimize the online presence of a business. You could, however, call it a manual of business etiquette for modern companies of every size, from one-person consulting shops to large multi-national corporations.

Likable Business is written in the same accessible, conversational and highly readable style as Kerpen's first book. It is composed primarily of anecdotes and case studies from his personal life, his firm's customer interactions, and some fairly well-known corporate screw-ups (eg. Comcast) and rock stars (eg. TOM's Shoes). As the title promises, however, Likable Business enumerates and illustrates, via example and counter-example, the core corporate communications traits and behaviors that drive a likable (and therefore, presumably, successful) business. Many of the case studies still involve social media interactions, although there are some classic communications techniques, such as hand-written thank-you notes and techniques for appreciating and valuing employees (Really?) A few companies are mentioned that are not social-media-savvy (Trader Joe's) but still manage to earn Kerpen's "likable" moniker because of the way they treat employees and customers.

Kerpen begins by discussing why it is not only company-to-customer communications that matter, but company-to-employee likability. I think this is an important dimension, because how a company communicates with and treats its employees has a direct impact on how those employees treat customers. We live in a world where dissatisfied employees or dissatisfied customers can quickly destroy a company's reputation through the power of social media. Likewise, every employee today is a walking advertisement for a company. As Rod Brooks, VP of Marketing at Northwest regional insurance company PEMCO (and former president of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, WOMMA) says, he wants every neighbor and family member of his employees to be convinced that PEMCO is the best insurance company out there, because "advertising is the price you pay for having an unremarkable product or service." Word of mouth marketing, an ancient marketing method that seems newly resuscitated by the 21st century advent of social media, necessitates that companies truly walk the talk. Those ideas, really, are the heart of this book. In some ways, it is an almost moral argument that to do unto others as you would have them do to you will result in a successful business, almost as if by magic.

The complete set of "likable" business traits and behaviors that Kerpen lists are listening, storytelling, authenticity, transparency, team playing, responsiveness, adaptability, passion, surprise and delight, simplicity and gratitude. He treats each characteristic by giving it a chapter of case studies, examples, and anecdotes. The focus throughout the book is on "likability" achieved through a return to the, perhaps old-fashioned, idea that marketing and selling are fundamentally social activities. A likable business leader, and thus his employees and company by following, initiates transactions that build trust and create positive relationships. This is not really rocket science, but apparently businesses and leaders need reminding after having spent the 90's and 00's feeding their slavish worship of capitalism, the free market, greed, and financial gain - often at the expense of both employees and customers.

"[Listening] requires being extremely present to people as individuals and to the environment that they have created around themselves" (19) "...listen like children watch TV." (21)

According to Kerpen, being the leader of a likable company starts with listening to employees as well as customers. Kerpen offers several examples and counter-examples of good corporate listening, including Netflix, Build-A-Bear, Blockbuster, and Dell.

"Storytelling is a primal form of communication, connecting humans universally." (31)

Great storytelling has always been at the heart of great corporate marketing, from Coca-Cola to Apple. Here, as well as in most of the other chapters, the overlap between Kerpen's first and second books become pronounced. Storytelling, we have been told again and again, is at the heart of great social media interactions, because social media is really nothing different than well-executed corporate communication. A good product story is what grabs us and makes us pay attention (and ultimately, pay money)....[ Read the rest of my review on my blog at [...]
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on April 28, 2013
I read Likeable Business through 12 books group, which is an online book club that features a new personal development book to read and discuss each month, and it is definitely a book that I can see myself referencing back to often in the future. This material addressed in this book is by no means a new concept, which the author fully acknowledges, however it is presented in a way that significantly makes it easier to grasp and understand why these practices need to be put into place.

Likeable business addresses topics such as; listening, transparency, passion, responsiveness, authenticity, and more interesting topics. The book is full of wonderful examples of how each of these ideal business practices have been put into practice already. I felt like it was a lot easier to relate to what the author was writing with examples and tips of how to actually implement much of this within an organization. While the topics discussed felt like basic skills a manager, employee, or organization would already use, it was easy to see how many had lost the focus of going back to the basics.

This book helped me understand responsiveness and what going the extra mile for a customer can mean for an organization. There were also a lot of examples of organizations that chose not to go the route of applying these skills to their organizations, and unfortunately many of those organizations are no longer in business. The examples of businesses that went the extra mile made me want to jump on Twitter at that moment and let them know that their actions are not going unnoticed. They have me as a customer for life, even if I haven't yet had the pleasure of doing business with them, I will in the future.

I would definitely recommend this book with ease to individuals looking to improve on their customer service skills, organizations who can't understand what they're doing wrong and anybody at all that would just want to learn how to apply these skills to their own personal life. It definitely comes down to treating individuals as you would want to be treated. It overall has improved my understanding and ability to identify organizations and businesses I currently shop at, that at the moment, do not seem to care if they lose my business.
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on January 29, 2013
What Dave Kerpen has done in this impressive, but incredibly readable, book has been to reduce to the most basic, those elements in today's business world necessary to be not just 'likeable' (or one that can and does endure) but also most positively memorable. With real-time examples of businesses that measure high in 'likeability' (and some that don't) we see first hand how the construct of his "likeable pyramid' fits neatly together. The eleven principles of 'likeability' that make up the pyramid are not "revolutionary" according to the author, but are "quite intuitive" and yet many of us find that we have wander off of the straight and narrow and find ourselves not nearly 'likeable' enough. The great news is that it is almost never too late. While some of the eleven principles may take a bit longer to have a real impact, they can all be implemented today, and many can effect the 'likeability' factor immediately. Especially with the strong influence of social media, a business can monitor much more closely their customer's responses to the good and the not so good and respond more quickly. As a personal example, a local business that I have have frequented since they opened with fanfare and success just a few years ago had recently slipped, in my mind, in their quality and service. Following what Dave had outlined in a number of his examples, I went to their Facebook page and commented, and to my delight, they responded both positively and quickly. Like listening and storytelling, responsiveness and adaptability, passion and gratefulness, these are only a few of the sound and simple principles that are of the bedrock of the most successful and 'likeable' businesses today. I was fortunate to have read this book as part of the 12 Books Club and would highly recommend it. I need to read Dave's first book,'likeable social media' now.
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