Book Review: To Sell is Human by David Pink

to sell is human

Rating: 4/5

The premise of To Sell is Human is that most people are selling, whether they know it or not.  Selling is more expansive than what was generally perceived as a role for shysters and sleazy used car salesmen; actually, selling has to do with having others part with resources, whether it is time, money, or something else another party has.  Essentially, it is process of moving others to do something.  Instead of “Always Be Closing”, Pink introduces the concepts of attunement, buoyancy, and clarity.  An interesting trend that Pink delves into is the fact that in the past, selling was based largely on the disparity of information between buyers and sellers.  Today, there are many more channels for buyers to obtain information, and the ensuing parity means that methods of the past are unlikely to be successful in the present.

Part of what makes To Sell is Human enjoyable is Pink’s writing style.  He is engaging and writes in a way which readers can understand without being overly simplistic.  In short, he is effective at illustrating his points.  At the same time, he inserts little tidbits in his own life, making him relatable and making the reader smile.

Another aspect to commend Pink on is the book’s organization.  The chapters begin with an anecdote, then move to Pink’s main points (support with various experiments and studies), and then there are action sections, which are a gem.  It is one thing to point out best practices or advice to become better at selling, but ways to action on new knowledge is woefully lacking in many books.  One of the most useful techniques is replacing “yes, but” with “yes, and”.  It is amazing what a difference changing one word has changing the whole direction of conversations.

This is a book that everyone should read, especially graduates prior to starting “real jobs”.  Many of the action items take serious consideration and practice to implement, as it is changing a habit, and younger people who have not been exposed to certain company cultures or been entrenched in the same work will adapt easily.  This book can definitely help someone wanting to improve their ability to sell, whether it is an idea, a good/service, or even themselves, and I wish it was around before I started my career.

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