14 Best Business Books Recommended by Financial Services Professionals

What’s the best business book you’ve ever read?

That’s a question I ask each of my guests on the MPAF Podcast. After ten episodes they’ve named books I’ve read and enjoyed plus many I now have on my “to read list”.

And here are the 14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals on the show.  Of course there are more than ten!

Click the image or the title to see the book on Amazon.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Boomerang (The Meltdown Tour) by Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis’s drives through Europe’s economic innards and describes the consequences of a world plagued by debt. Politically incorrect enough to keep me happy. What about you?

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Who Moved My Cheese? by Doctor Spencer Johnson

Ever feel like you live in a maze? Cheese represents your goals in life in Spencer Johnson’s story that mimics reality. It’ll only take an hour to read.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Improve Your Punctuation And Grammar by Marion Field

Their, there, they’re. A great read for anyone upset by apostrophe abuse.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

In for a Penny: A Business Adventure by Peter Hargreaves

Financial services entrepreneur Peter Hargreaves refreshingly outspoken on what it takes to succeed. He could teach the Dragons a thing or two.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Start Your Business Week by Week by Steve Parks

In 26 weekly steps, this cleverly structured book will walk any budding entrepreneur through everything you need to know and do, in the exact order you need to do it, to get your new business up and running.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Flash Boys by Michael Lewis

Lunch definitely is for wimps in this modern take on Wall Street which swaps braces for computer code. Now, the world’s money is traded by computer code, inside black boxes in heavily guarded buildings. Even the experts entrusted with your cash don’t know what’s happening to it. And the very few who do aren’t about to tell – because they’re making a killing.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis

“Making money is a knack, a knack that can be acquired. And if someone like me can become rich, then so can you – no matter what your present circumstances. Here is how I did it and what I learned along the way.” So writes Felix Dennis, who believes that almost anyone of reasonable intelligence can become rich, given enough motivation and application.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Over 70 years old and still relevant today.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

Read Tim Ferris’s advice and you really will believe you can cut your working week to just 4 hours. But do you think it really is possible?

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Made to Stick – Chip and Dan Heath

What is that makes urban myths so persistent but many everyday truths so eminently forgettable? How do newspapers set about ensuring that their headlines make you want to read on? And why do we remember complicated stories but not complicated facts?

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell

New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell looks at why major changes in our society so often happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Ideas, behaviour, messages, and products, he argues, often spread like outbreaks of infectious disease.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Never Eat Alone – Keith Ferrazzi

In Never Eat Alone, Ferrazzi lays out the specific steps – and inner mindset – he uses to reach out to connect with the thousands of colleagues, friends, and associates on his Rolodex, people he has helped and who have helped him. He then distills his system of reaching out to people into practical, proven principles.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Not Knowing – Stephen D Souza

In order to thrive in these worrying times, this book proposes we head, uncomfortably, towards the unknown, not away from it. By developing a unique relationship with Not Knowing we discover a new way of living, working and succeeding in our modern world.

14 best business books recommended  by Financial Services Professionals

Permission Marketing by Seth Godin

Whether it is the TV commercial that breaks into our favourite programme or the telemarketing phone call that disrupts a family meal, traditional advertising is based on the hope of snaring our attention away from whatever we are doing.

Seth Godin calls this Interruption Marketing, and, as companies are discovering, it no longer works.

Instead of annoying potential customers by interrupting their most coveted commodity, time, Permission Marketing offers consumers incentives to voluntarily accept advertising.

Now it’s your turn:

What’s your favourite business book? Please leave a comment below and a link to your recommendation. And if you want to appear on the MPAF Podcast to talk more about your business, do please get in touch.

Cheap Rate Life Insurance is increasingly just an Illusion

Price rules in the term assurance market.

Compliance, the comparison engines (such as IRESS and iPipeline), and the consolidators perpetuate the notion that cheapest is best.

Cheap Rate Life Insurance

Over the last two decades I’ve sat in sales a marketing meetings and heard a similar plea from the sales teams.

“We have to be competitive”

“We’ll need to be there or thereabouts”

“Top five but average third or we’re out of the race”

You’ve heard these phrases to haven’t you? You might actually have said them on occasion.

In order to keep headline prices low, providers re-tender their reinsurance frequently, and re-adjust their prices daily.

But cheap rate life insurance is increasingly just an illusion.

Despite competing fiercely for the cheapest headline rate, providers do not actually accept all clients at these rates. Ordinary rates acceptances are averaging 75% compared to 95% over a decade ago.

That means one in four clients don’t get the rate quoted.

If you went into a supermarket and one in four of the items in your trolly was incorrectly priced would you be happy? No. You’d complain. Why is it acceptable then in the protection market?

One company allegedly only takes 65% of cases at ordinary rates. That’s even worse.

In order to charge extra for the 25-35% providers have hardened their underwriting terms and routinely gather more information on applicants, either through longer application forms with reflexive questions or tele-underwriting.

It’s a strange situation that an industry that makes such a big deal out of offering the cheapest rates, actually disappoints at least one in four of its customers in this way.

Advisers and consumers constantly complain about the lengthy process brought about by this underwriting approach and clamour for simplified acceptance. But of course simplified acceptance requires a higher headline price which does not fit with the mechanics of the industry.

And the cheap headline rate prevails.

We discussed this issue at the Protection Review Conference in London recently. The majority feeling was it was wrong. But I felt little appetite to do anything about it.

How long will it be before this practice becomes unacceptable? When providers load 50% of cases? Or 60%?

There’s an opportunity to try something different here. Perhaps to introduce a pricing system where the client has a better chance of getting their quoted rate. Or a shorter application process in return for a higher start price. Launching such a proposition would be difficult given the focus of the market on headline price.

There is at least one way we could move to a shorter application form without hiking the price too much.

But is anyone brave enough to do it? And would a market that’s stuck with the illusion of cheap rates accept such a solution?

Now it’s your turn:

Do you agree that cheap rate life insurance is increasingly just an illusion? Is it acceptable that we disappoint 1 in 4 of our customers? How do we break out of this cheap rate trap? Please leave a comment or post a link to your own article.

Edmund Tirbutt on Financial Media Case Studies and Storytelling – MPAF Episode 4

Positive Stories. Case studies and videos could be the way to overcome the poor perception consumers have of the financial services industry.

In Episode 4 of the Marketing Protection and Finance Podcast – I talk to journalist Edmund Tirbutt.

Edmund is a freelance journalist and writer and has covered financial services topics for the last 27 years.

His articles are always painstakingly researched and hard-hitting.

A one-time semi-pro stand-up comedian, he’s recently started doing comedy again, performing alongside world-renowned comedians like Mike Wozniak and John Maloney.

Listen as Edmund talks about his early days as a media champion trying to get declined claims paid. Hear his views on how we use humour in financial services communications. He asks whether seminars in the workplace the key to future market growth.

Edmund Tirbutt on Financial Media Case Studies and Storytelling

Edmund feels that positive financial case studies are key to improving the public’s view of financial services. Listen as he explains what works and how advisers can talk to the media to showcase their positive stories.

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Now it’s your turn:

If you enjoyed this episode – Edmund Tirbutt on Financial Media Case Studies and Storytelling – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes. And if you know anyone who would enjoy the show – please share it with them. You can use the buttons below to share on social media.