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InsightsIn5: 4xi Thought Leadership Book Series

At 4xi, we believe in the constant search for knowledge and learning. We believe in the importance of understanding the perspectives of others and learning from those perspectives. Learning isn't just a process of reinforcing your own point of view but assimilating and blending with others.

In the 4xi Thought Leadership Book Series, we're going to share some of our experts-in-residence favorite books, and why. Here is the first in the series from 4xi's Managing Partner and Co-founder, Simon Elliot.


I have always enjoyed reading and learning. As a child, I got lost in the adventures of Tintin, the story of good, gluttony, and greed in the characters of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. I loved the stories of discovery and adventure by novelist Wilbur Smith in South Africa, The Covenant that told the story of the discovery of the same continent. The fantastical and detailed works of J.R.R. Tolkien and the invention of new lands, peoples, and cultures. And, in all of these the different messages that they portrayed to the reader about different lands, cultures, and perspectives.

My own reading journey has been one of discovery - a theme that runs through the 4xi principles - a journey to new lands, new horizons, and one of my favorite sayings:

"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time" - Andre Gide

For me, learning about different people, cultures, thoughts are so important in the process of understanding. Only once you truly understand can you embrace - whether that be a different culture, country, group of people, religion, or race - understanding is the basis for harmony, and if there were more understanding there would be less pain and conflict in the world today.

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go!" - Dr. Seuss

I have been a lifelong supporter (and formerly player) of the glorious game of Rugby - the culture behind the game is one of understanding, civility, discipline, and mutual respect - this is reflected in the pre-match anthems and rituals of dance and song that educate the other team in their passions, their commitment, and their culture - a tough sport, however, the global fraternity and family created by the game breaks down all cultural barriers and unites.

I believe reading and the thirst for knowledge can help us in this regard but also build deep understanding, empathy, and perspectives that help us solve sometimes complex problems in the world of business too.

Here's my selection for the first in 4xi's Thought Leadership Book Series. I hope you enjoy the read(s)!

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing is a book that always sticks out in my memory sharing what some might think are obvious principles, however not immediately apparent, at least to me.

It dispells the myth that the most successful companies are the ones with the highest quality products, when in fact, it's those organizations who know how to market them best in most cases are the winners.

In the book, Ries and Trout offer a compendium of twenty-two innovative rules for understanding and succeeding in the international marketplace. From the Law of Perception (#4) that highlights the fact that marketing is not a battle of products but a battle of perceptions, to #3, the Law of the Mind - it's better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace, and the Law of Category (#2) that states if you can't be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in!

These valuable insights stand the test of time and present a clear path to successful products. Violate them at your own risk.


For those that know me, I have always had a rebellious streak and never shy to challenge the status quo - that is why I love the Punk Rock of Business.

Inside, author Jeremy Dale, former Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s worldwide retail sales, offers a unique perception and road map to success.

How through authenticity, and moving away from the hurd and towards innovation, and by adopting a mindset rooted in punk rock principles, can help you redefine your place in the corporate world for the better.

Dale outlines a set of characteristics to strive for that will liberate you and accelerate your success, including a set of characteristics with straightforward lessons that draw on both the classic stories from the music genre's industry-changing legacy and Dale's years of business success that illustrate these principles.


As child and teenager, and throughout my life, I have always wanted to know more than the "what" but also the "why". Responses like "well that's just how it is" or "that's how we've always done it" have never quite worked for me. Challenging the status quo is a duty that we are all obliged to undertake in order for us to create real change and impact.

The Challenger Sale looks at this principle in a sales context.

Based on a study of thousands of sales professionals across multiple industries and geographies, The Challenger Sale argues that classic relationship building is a losing approach, especially when it comes to selling complex, large-scale business-to-business solutions.

The authors' study found that every sales individual in the world falls into one of five distinct profiles, and while all of these types can deliver average sales performance, only one, the Challenger, delivers consistently high performance.

By tailoring the sales message to the customer's specific needs and objectives rather than acquiescing to the customer's every demand or objection, Challengers are assertive, pushing back when necessary and taking control of the sale.

The authors explain how almost any average-performing seller, once equipped with the right tools, can successfully reframe customers' expectations and deliver a distinctive purchase experience that drives higher levels of customer loyalty and, ultimately, greater growth.


One of the greatest tests of human bravery, loyalty, and leadership took place during the legendary 1914 Trans-Antarctic Expedition led by Sir. Ernest Shackleton with the crews of both The Endurance on one side of the Antarctic and The Aurora on the other. Cold Courage, Extraordinary Times tells this epic tale like never before.

The book starts with Willy Mitchell's grandfather, and Harry McNish meeting in Wellington, New Zealand.

In exchange for a hot meal and a pint or two, McNish tells Mitchell his story of his voyage on The Endurance. Years earlier, while flipping through the London Times, McNish came across a classified advertisement for crew members to join a ship's journey to the Antarctic and on to the South Pole.


Despite the austere wording, Shackleton wasn't short of applicants with over 1,000 applying to join him.

As World War I was breaking, on the 6th of August 1914, The Endurance set sail from Plymouth, England on its way to Buenos Aires, Argentina, onto South Georgia, and the great frozen southern continent.

As the ship got trapped in the ice, crushed, the desperate 28-man crew escaped across the ice eventually to reach Elephant Island and the safety of land. With rations running life threatenly thin, and the sub zero conditions, they did their best to stay alive. Shackleton and 3 others took one of the lifeboats, the James Caird to make the almost impossible journey to South Georgia with just the use of a sextant for navigation.

Shackleton returned to Elephant Island months later and rescued his crew to only go back to England 3 years after departing, and for them all, immediately and without question join the war effort.

Although set in a different era this story is a homage to those brave men and women who go to extraordinary lengths to achieve their goals and provides lessons on leadership, resiliance, grit, and determination in the face of extreme adversity.


Continuing the theme of exploration, and sharing the name of 4xi's Strategic Partnership & Growth Academy, Discover Your True North sets out the journey of self development and journey to authentic leadership.

Originally based on first-person interviews with 125 leaders, this book instantly became a must-read business classic when it was introduced in 2007.

Being a leader is about much more than title and management skills—it's fundamentally a question of who we are as human beings. This book offers a concrete and comprehensive program for becoming an authentic leader and how to chart your path to help you find the true leader inside you and how to use your natural leadership abilities to inspire and empower others to excellence in today's complex global world.

If you see a topic that strikes a chord for your team or business, please let us know, 4xi Global Consulting can help. Don't forget to leave your book recommendation in the comments! 

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