Thom Singer, Professional Speaker & Podcast Host, on How Books Can Trigger Success
Thom Singer is a professional speaker and master of ceremonies, podcast host and author.
Thom has had an eclectic career in sales and marketing, working for companies of all sizes – from small to medium and Fortune 500. His first job was as a bus boy at a restaurant in California. It was in his early employment that he learned the importance of customizing his work for whomever he interacted with and relating differently to each audience.
For almost a decade, Thom worked as a keynote speaker and master of ceremonies and came to see the role as more than a commodity that fills the space in the agenda. Speakers can set the tone for the whole event, bring energy and create a memorable conference attendee experience. It was then that he discovered how much he loved being part of the meeting business, and became obsessed with helping people take the leap across the gap that exists between potential and results.
Thom also hosts a podcast for those with an entrepreneurial mindset, called Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do, where he shares his experience as a solopreneur and interviews business leaders. He also has a group coaching program called “The Potential Mastermind Project”, a community designed to help participants find their own path toward running a small business.
Earlier this year, Thom started doing stand-up comedy at open mic nights – an experience that helped him learn more about business and life, but also made him a better speaker.
Keep on reading and find out more about his favorite books, including those that showed him how to start making things happen, build relationships, and why the books we read when we’re young will set the patterns that impact us.
What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.
Business – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I read this book 26 years ago at a time when I was unsure how to build a life or a career. It was a life changer and a blueprint.
Non-business – I don’t read a lot of fiction, but used to be a big fan of the author Jay McInerney.
Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?
When I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People I was hungry to set a direction for my life and to start making things happen. I was 25 years old, but did not understand anything about how business or careers worked. I assumed you worked for a company and stayed there forever or that there was supposed to be a career ladder. This book showed me that for win or lose it was going to be up to me and the actions I took along the way.
What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)
The other book that had a lasting impact was Swim with the Sharks by Harvey Mackay. Again, I read it in my 20s, but the book showed me how to build relationships and be a good salesperson. No matter what we do for a living, we are in sales, even if we are just selling ourselves.
What five books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)
- 7 Habits Highly Effective People – life blueprint
- Swim with the Sharks – realize people and how you relate to them are key
- How to Win Friends and Influence People – a classic that matters a lot in our digital world
- A Curious Mind by Brian Grazier – we all need to put curiosity higher as a priority
- Peak Performers by Charles Garfield – examples of greatness
Most of these books are 25 years old or more (Not A Curious Mind)… But the books you read when you are young set the patterns and habits that impact you. I read these when young and they had real impact on my success.
I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?
I used to read 25 books a year. From age 25 to 45 I had this habit. I still read, but only about 5 books a year. I know read more articles, blogs, and l listen to a ton of podcasts.
How do you make time for reading?
I read first thing in the morning for 30 min to an hour most days.
Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?
I try to write down one thing that inspires me each time I read, but do not always remember to do this. This means I have notes and scraps of paper all over with ideas. I wish I was more organized about it.
How do you choose what books to read next?
I tend to look in bookstores for something that inspires me. As a professional speaker I have a lot of friends that write books, so much of what I read these days is the work of people I know.
Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?
I am currently reading LINGO by Jeffrey Shaw (he is a friend). It is a great concept of learning the language of your customer. It is really good.
Links where you can follow Thom Singer or find out more about his projects:
All books mentioned by Thom Singer in this interview:
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
- Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive: Outsell, Outmanage, Outmotivate, and Outnegotiate Your Competition by Harvey B. Mackay
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer, Charles Fishman
- Peak Performers by Charles Garfield
- LINGO: Discover Your Ideal Customer’s Secret Language and Make Your Business Irresistible by Jeffrey Shaw