How Chris Taylor makes money by reading books

In the past, Chris Taylor has been mistakenly referred to as Chris Anderson, which although is not a cardinal sin (he suffers fools gladly), it does make the conversation a little bit more awkward for him to relate some of his rich experiences.

After all, not many people can claim to have rubbed shoulders with Seth Godin, or have crushed goals and grapes (in that order) with Gary Vaynerchuk, that too, in personal, private face-to-face interviews. And that’s only a start.

As the President and Co-Founder of Toronto’s Goose Educational Media, Chris has managed to funnel his love for business literature into building up a company, and a personal brand, that’s dedicated to helping businesses accelerate their personal development and tweak business processes towards higher grades of efficiency.

He ploughs through some of the leading business and personal development books released on the market, gleans the core messages from them, and then works on them to turn them into actionable insights for businesses to adopt. Using this knowledge, and his site, he then offers consultancy services to businesses that want to push themselves towards more efficient operational activities.

I recently got in touch with Chris – long enough for me to fire 5 questions at him.

As the President and Co-Founder of Goose EMI, you regularly generate synopses of influential business books, and interview key players and thought leaders in the business and marketing disciplines – how has being in regular contact with these influential figures shaped your worldview?

Speaking and working with some of the big name authors of our time is inspiring, but not in the way I’d originally assumed it would be.  Getting to spend some time with these people reminds me constantly how we’re all human – we all have fears, concerns and aspirations.  The people who rise to the top are those who are crystal clear in their objectives and push through the fear.  Since starting “The Goose”, I’ve seen countless examples of Zig Ziglar’s quote, “You can have anything in life if you help enough people get what they want.”  Success truly goes to those who are passionate enough about their cause to help others around them whenever they can.  I strive to live that philosophy every day.

Are there any sources of inspiration or key figures who have significantly influenced both your personal and professional lives? How?

Seth Godin has been a hero of mine since I read Tribes 2 years ago.  His approach to life is one that I aspire to emulate as much and as often as I can.  One of the biggest things I picked up from him during our time together in January {link to interview} was the fact that he spends a solid portion of his day not doing; not responding or developing.  Instead, he consciously chooses to disengage from his work and look at it with perspective and an inquisitive mind.  His work, as a result, is always poignant and built with laser focus.  I have a lot of respect for that ability and willingness to constantly look for ways to improve the effectiveness of his message.

You attended the Art of Marketing conference a few weeks ago, were you introduced to any new insight and thought-processes that were new to you, but were logical and actionable enough to stick with you immediately? How do you plan to proceed with them?

As with all the workshops I attend, books I read and authors I speak with, I find the sheer volume of potentially useful information can be enough to put us in a state of “analysis paralysis”. My #1 tip to everyone (myself included) is to takeone message from each encounter and find a way to make it actionable today.  It’s the small, 1% changes that, over time, can completely rework the way we interact with the world around us.  Think about it – if you were to make one small behavioral or attitudinal change every week, you could effectively reinvent the way you interact with the world over the course of a year.  I went on that mission in 2008 and it’s held me in good stead.

Are there any companies you can cite that have implemented your business insights successfully and rewired their processes for the better?

I get emails regularly from Goose readers who have found ways to increase their enjoyment, performance or confidence in their jobs and lives due to our free weekly articles.  It’s an honor to be able to take material from leading thinkers, make it actionable (and bite sized) and then hear of real world success from people who have taking the initiative to change their habits.  

On your website, you retrace the inspiration that led you to start Goose EMI – what are your future plans for it? Where do you see your business going in the next 3-5 years? Beyond that?

My goal with the Goose has always been to make actionable the core messages from leading business and personal development books.  There are some great books out there, but not all of us have time to read them.  If I can distill an actionable takeaway that impacts those who might not otherwise have had a chance to find it themselves, I’m satisfied. 

I do want to explore new mediums moving into the future.  We recently launched the “From the Horse’s Mouth” author interview series, where we’re travelling around North America and video-interviewing leading authors.  I’d like to continue to grow and expand that program. These are some very smart people, and their books – however great – are mere snapshots of their ideas.  I’d like to create something less static and more fluid moving forward.    

We’re also (very soon) introducing a program that will allow team leaders to quickly and easily share (and make actionable) the messages from the Goose articles with their team members.  We’re calling it InFlight Leadership – employee engagement on the fly, and it will provide people who want to be strong leaders with the tools to do so.