Wednesday, September 27, 2023

FALL BACK TO READING SERIES – Featuring Dennis Geelen

This year, as the seasons change and we enjoy fall, I’ve launched my FALL BACK TO READING SERIES. The series will feature two dozen leadership and marketing experts, who will share their inspiration in both fiction and nonfiction, and hopefully, provide the impetus to read more. To quote New York Times Bestselling author Kristin Harmel, “If you give a person a book, you give him the world.” For today’s post, I’d like to introduce Dennis Geelen.

Dennis Geelen is an author, consultant, and coach. In 2018, Dennis launched his management consulting company, Zero In, helping businesses to build a more customer-centric and innovative culture. His book, The Zero In Formula, takes a deep dive into this area with strategies, tactics, and stories that will inspire and educate. His latest book, The Accidental Solopreneur, is a getting rave reviews as an engaging fictional parable that follows the lead character on a journey from burnt out corporate executive to successful solopreneur, with valuable lessons along the way. His weekly newsletter, Happy Accidents, shares a new true story each week about a business or product that was created through luck, happenstance, fluke, or complete serendipity.

QUESTION: Which three business books have made the biggest impact on your career?
DENNIS GEELEN: Here are my three:
[1] The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey: This book really helped bring a lot of clarity and practical advice in the areas of personal success, productivity, and happiness.
[2] The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team: I love so many of Patrick Lencioni's books. But this one really drove home (through an engaging parable) the need to instill trust in teams in order to get everyone working effectively toward the same goals.
[3] Built To Sell by John Warrillow: When I was starting my own consulting business, this book was instrumental in helping me to understand how to build a business where I am not just simply trading my time for money. So good!

QUESTION: Who is your favorite author, and why?
DENNIS GEELEN: For nonfiction business books, I have a few. Patrick Lencioni has so any great books (Getting Naked is another favorite.) I love his use of parables to teach valuable lessons. Matt Watkinson is another author I enjoy. We have a lot of similarities in our thinking and approach to business. For fiction, I'm a sucker for a good John Grisham novel or book of short stories by Stephen King. I just love a good courtroom drama or a thrilling edge-of-your-seat story.

QUESTION: What book did you read in high school or college that, to this day, you still remember vividly, and why?
DENNIS GEELEN: The one that stands out the most is Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I remember I had to read both this one and 1984 by George Orwell and then write an essay comparing and contrasting the two. Brave New World really stuck with me because of the idea of society’s being controlled through a drug called 'soma'. We see this all around us today, except that it's through dopamine. We're so addicted to that next dopamine hit, whether it be via social media shorts, text messages, or posting selfies that it feels like Huxley hit this one directly on the head.

QUESTION: Do you intersperse fiction with your business reading?
DENNIS GEELEN: Definitely. In fact, I prefer to read fiction before bed. I love getting lost in a good story before falling asleep. It makes for some pretty cool dreams. Plus, if I read a business book right before bed, I find myself up for hours thinking of and writing down new ideas for my own business! So, I tend to read nonfiction during the day and fiction in the evening. That's a great routine for me and it makes for a great mix in the content I'm taking in.

QUESTION: If you created a nonprofit organization to promote reading to children and young adults, what would you name it, and why?
DENNIS GEELEN: What a great question. First of all, I'd love that! For a name, I think I would go with Turn the Page. This name could bring a lot of meaning. First of all, there's the obvious play on words with reading and turning pages. But also, the phrase Turn the Page also is a metaphor for moving on. Reading is such a fundamental skill in so many aspects of life. Teaching people to read is a great way to help move them into the next chapter (pardon the pun) in their life.

SHARE THIS: Teaching people to read is a great way to help move them into the next chapter in their life. ~@dennis_geelen #Reading #DebbieLaskeysBlog

My gratitude to Dennis for participating in this year’s fall back to reading series and for sharing his inspiring recommendations!

Image Credit: Frank Holleman via Unsplash.

Connect with Dennis at these links:

Check out Dennis’ previous appearance here on my blog:
The Alignment Between #EmployeeExperience and #CustomerExperience

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