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10 Books that Bill Gates Recommends Everyone Reads

10 Books that Bill Gates Recommends Everyone Reads

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Whether during your morning commute, relaxing on a beach, or catching up while traveling, why don't you enjoy a good book?

Besides being enjoyable, reading is one of the best ways to enhance your life, both personally and professionally. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why the richest man in the world became so successful and well-respected.

Bill Gates makes no secret that he’s avid reader who frequently recommends books to his family, friends, and visitors to his website.

Gates has hundreds of suggestions through the years. Each year at TED Bill Gates give a great list to everyone attending the conference - and you can find that years' list on Inc.com, but here we narrowed his favorites down to ten books that he recommends everyone reads.

1. ‘Business Adventures’ by John Brooks

Gates says that ‘Business Adventures’ was recommended to him by Warren Buffet in 1991 - and it’s been recommended by the Young Entrepreneur Council. After reading Buffett's copy, Gates has said that this is “the best business book I’ve ever read.” While a lot has changed since it’s initial release, “the fundamentals have not.”

For example, Brooks examines why Ford’s Edsel was such a historic flop and how companies, such as Apple and Microsoft, “drew on Xerox’s work on graphical user interfaces.”

2. ‘The Rosie Project: A Novel’ by Graeme Simsion

Gates says that his wife Melinda was so enthralled by this book that she kept reading passages to him, which lead to him picking the book up himself. Gates says that, “Anyone who occasionally gets overly logical will identify with the hero, a genetics professor with Asperger’s Syndrome who goes looking for a wife.”

He also describes the book as “a funny and profound book about being comfortable with who you are and what you’re good at.”

3. ‘Tap Dancing to Work’ by Carol Loomis

This is a collection of conversations between Warren Buffett and his friend and Fortune writer Carol Loomis.

When reviewing the book, Gates said;

“I think anyone who reads it cover to cover will come away with two reactions: First, how Warren’s been incredibly consistent in applying his vision and investment principles over the duration of his career; and, secondly, that his analysis and understanding of business and markets remains unparalleled.”

4. 'Eradication: Ridding the World of Diseases Forever?' by Nancy Leys Stepan

Gates has written and talked a lot about how he wants to rid the world of infectious diseases. Because of the vision he sees for this goal, you can understand why he would recommend this book. Written by Columbia University historian Nancy Leys Stepan, it traces the efforts of “Fred Soper, who led efforts to eradicate yellow fever, typhus, and malaria, first at the Rockefeller Foundation and then, from 1947 to 1959, as director of the Pan-American Health Organization.”

Besides being an interesting read, Gates suggests that there is a possibility of ‘Eradication,’ because Soper “got a lot done, but he did it by being extremely demanding, both in his eradication methods and in his dealings with people, and that made him both very effective in some ways and very difficult to deal with in others.” This book also examines why we’ve failed to eradicate even more diseases.

5. ‘How to Lie With Statistics’ by Darrell Huff

Originally published in 1954, Gates picked-up ‘How to Lie With Statistics’ after reading an article in The Wall Street Journal. After reading the book, Gates says;

“One chapter shows you how visuals can be used to exaggerate trends and give distorted comparisons. It’s a timely reminder, given how often infographics show up in your Facebook and Twitter feeds these days. A great introduction to the use of statistics, and a great refresher for anyone who’s already well versed in it.”

6. ‘Stuff Matters’ by Mark Miodownik

Like most of us, you probably don’t think about everyday items like steel razors, glass cups, or paper notepads. But, as author Mark Miodownik points out, these are all pretty fascinating objects.

Gates elaborates about steel for example, saying that it, “is pretty magical.” He adds, “Its greatest virtue is that it doesn’t crack or break under tension, unlike iron, from which it is forged.” After finishing this “fun, accessible read” you’ll never look at the possibilities that these everyday objects possess.

7. ‘The Bully Pulpit’ by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Gates, like so many other people, including yours truly, are fascinated by Theodore Roosevelt. That explains why he enjoyed Doris Kearns Goodwin’s ‘The Bully Pulpit.’ In it, Goodwin asks, “How does social change happen? Can it be driven by a single inspirational leader, or do other factors have to lay the groundwork first?” Goodwin answers those questions by examining how Roosevelt’s interviews were assisted by journalists.

8. ‘Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything’ by Joshua Foer

If you’re a forgetful individual, how can you expect to be successful? Which is why Gates recommends that you improve your memory by reading this “absolutely phenomenal” book.

Gates explains;

“Like most people, I’m fascinated by how the mind works, and memory is a big element of that. Part of the beauty of this book is that it makes clear how memory and understanding are not two different things. Building up the ability to reason and the ability to retain information go hand in hand.”

9. ‘The Box’ by Marc Levinson

Shipping containers may not sound all that exciting. But, Marc Levinson’s, ‘The Box’ explains how shipping containers have transformed the world the world that we live in. Gates says, “The story of this transition is fascinating and reason enough to read the book. But in subtle ways 'The Box' also challenges commonly held views about business and the role of innovation.”

10. ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell

Most of us are fans of Malcolm Gladwell’s work. So, it wouldn’t come as a shock that Bill Gates is as well. He describes ‘Outliers’ as “an interesting look at how some people become high-achievers.”

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4 Books Entrepreneur Turned Venture Capitalist Ben Horowitz Recommends

4 Books Entrepreneur Turned Venture Capitalist Ben Horowitz Recommends

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As an entrepreneur and business owner, filling knowledge gaps is an absolute necessity to get ahead of the game.

And someone who has consistently been ahead of the game is Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz. He co-founded and served as president and CEO of the company Opsware, which Hewlett-Packard acquired for $1.6 billion in cash in July 2007. He's also author of The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers.

In a recent live chat on ProductHunt, Horowitz shared some of his favourite books.

1. High Output Management by Andy Grove

Often labeled as the "bible for startup management" - Grove's expertise and knowledge in the world of management is timeless. It integrates both of production and management models that can be applied to any business model and activity.

Andy Grove's classic 1983 tome High Output Management integrates both the production (factory) and management (people) models essential to any business activity, no matter how "ethereal".

2. Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Taleb is a professional trader and mathematics professor and in this book he examines what randomness means in business and in life and why human beings are so prone to mistake dumb luck for consummate skill.

3. The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James

This powerful book is the definitive account of the Haitian Revolution of 1794-1803, a revolution that began in the wake of the Bastille but became the model for the Third World liberation movements from Africa to Cuba.

This book shares the story of the French colony of San Domingo, and how one slave led the black people of San Domingo in a successful struggle against invasions – which helped form the first independent nation in the Caribbean.

4. Tuff: A Novel by Paul Beatty

As fast-paced and hard-edged as the Harlem streets it portrays, Tuff shows off all of the amazing skill that Paul Beatty showed off in his first novel, The White Boy Shuffle.

At 300 pounds, Tuff is a true heavyweight in his East Harlem neighborhood. He robs, he kills, he gets high. But by the end of Tuff, he is as complexly drawn, as funny, and as lovable as any character. Beatty torques his man into an uncomfortable position: this mighty rose in Spanish Harlem decides to run for City Council.

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4 Fun Apps for When You're Taking Some Much Needed Downtime

4 Fun Apps for When You're Taking Some Much Needed Downtime

featureYou work nonstop during the week to ensure you're hitting your personal and professional goals. The thought of sitting on your couch, hanging with friends and watching Netflix sounds totally foreign to you at the start of the week.

But have you ever considered the fact that taking breaks, relaxing, and hanging out with friends can actually help you be more productive? Study after study shows breaks being incredibly important for not only mental health, but productivity too.

In this post, we'll take a look at some great apps you can play with when you're taking that valuable time for yourself and friends.

1. Netflix Party

With Netflix Party, the notion of "Netflix and Chill" is taken to an entirely new level. 

Netflix Party is a Chrome extension for watching Netflix remotely with friends, e.g., for movie nights with that long-distance special someone. It synchronizes video playback and even adds a group chat functionality to the spin.

2. Push for Pizza

Push for Pizza is – you guessed it – a button you press to order pizza. A simple mobile app built by five college-aged friends with a simple dream: a world where you can push a button and get a pizza. 

No more phone calls with pizzeria employees. No more swimming through a sea of options on Seamless or Grubhub.

3. Yes or No?

How many times have you been with a friend or significant other and have spent hours trying to figure out where to go, if you should have pizza, or anything of the sort? Surely getting a third party's opinion with a simple "yes" or "no" would solve everything, right?

That's where "Yes or No" comes in. Yes or No makes decision making easy backed with a suitable calendar.

4. Masquerade 

Unless you've been unplugged from the internet for the past six months or so, you've probably noticed the excitement around video and filters – mostly popularized by Snapchat. 

But just recently, an app called Masquerade (acquired by Facebook) shot into the spotlight thanks to its incredibly accurate face tracking and 3D face placement. Record video selfie animations, change the way you look and send it to friends with your favourite messengers and social networks.

So, with all of those great apps lined out for you – it's time to step away from your computer, kick your feet up, order a pizza, and just take a break!

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4 Marketing Tools and Resources to Grow Your Business Today

4 Marketing Tools and Resources to Grow Your Business Today

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As a business owner, you know how important good marketing can be to the growth of your company.

And luckily, there are plenty of different resources and tools within a few clicks-reach that can help you accelerate that growth.

Today, we'll take a look at four marketing resources and tools to grow your business today.

1. Pexels

Sometimes it can be difficult to hire a professional photographer when you're just starting out in your business venture. In other cases, you simply don't have time to go through a hiring and vetting process when looking for the perfect photographer to work with. Or hey – maybe you just need a nice picture to use in your marketing material.

That's where Pexels comes in. With over 10,000 free stock images to use – there's no doubt you'll find the perfect image for your marketing material. All photos on Pexels are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license. This means the pictures are completely free to be used for any legal purpose.

2. Good Email Copy

As a business owner, it's essential that you have a strong email marketing list of potential customers, or existing customers. But a list is only as strong as the copy that accompanies it – which is where Good Email Copy comes in.

The website highlights copy from great companies like Slack, Basecamp, Zendesk, and more.

3. Charlie

Although this won't have the same direct impact on your business as something like Google Analytics might, Charlie is every business owner's secret weapon.

Charlie combs through 100s of sources online, and automatically send you a one page document on everyone you're going to meet with, before you see them! It's like having a private investigator to brief you on every client you meet with before meeting them.

4. Canva

Canva is an incredibly powerful tool for anyone no matter what role they play in your business. You can design presentations, social media graphics, and more with thousands of layouts at your disposal. It's a drag-and-drop tool with professional layouts to design consistently stunning graphics. 

Used by millions of people around the globe, Canva takes only a few seconds to learn.

Now that we've taken a look at four different marketing tools and resources to grow your business today, it's your turn to take action. Try using one of the tools and resources above and who knows – maybe you'll find one of them tremendously simplifies your business operations!

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5 Awesome Apps and Tools to Learn Something New Today

5 Awesome Apps and Tools to Learn Something New Today

featureSome people believe that learning stops after completing a degree – but that simply isn't the case. Life is full of experiences and each one makes us a more well-rounded person, even though sometimes its hard to notice.

In order to truly get ahead in life, you have to be consistently expanding your breadth of knowledge and learning to educate yourself on topics that interest you. That's why in this post, we'll take a look at a few different apps and tools that can help you learn something new.

1. Lrn

Lrn is a mobile application available for iOS (Android soon) that lets you learn to code at your convenience. You'll gain an understanding of how to read, write, and speak different languages like HTML, CSS, Python, Ruby, and more – just using your phone!

Lrn takes a fun interactive approach to learning through mini-quizzes to help you become fluent in code.

2. Highbrow

Highbrow simplifies the idea of "learning something new" every day by simply using email to send you free 5-minute lessons delivered to your inbox every morning. The lessons are broken down into different courses that cover everything from the history of cinema, to the basics of writing english. 

Join the community of 200,000+ lifelong learners and get access to 87 courses across 13 different categories with new courses added in regularly!

3. Duolingo 

Duolingo is a simple app that lets you learn any language for free. It's incredibly fun and addictive. Earn points for correct answers, race against the clock, and level up. Their bite-sized lessons are incredibly effective in learning a new language. They have an iPhone app, Android App, and even a Windows desktop app so you can learn wherever you spend most of your time!

4. Brain Pump

Have you ever had a desire for knowledge but you just don't know where to start? Perhaps you want to learn something new but can't find a good topic. Brain Pump fixes that. Brain Pump will show you a random educational video on any topic from psychology to artisan goods.

5. Salted

Salted is a platform that teaches you how to cook the same way famous chefs do with video recipes and tutorials. You can go inside the kitchens of expert chefs across the country, and learn step-by-step how they make their best dishes, and every tutorial includes step-by-step instructions to help you go from watching to cooking.

Now that we've taken a look at five awesome apps and tools to learn something new today, what're you waiting for? Start to close your knowledge gaps today!

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5 Must Read Sales Books for Any Entrepreneur

5 Must Read Sales Books for Any Entrepreneur

If there was a one-size-fits-all model for salespeople then it would probably be a pretty easy gig. However, we all have various methods of learning, growing, and perfecting our pitch. That’s why there are thousands of outstanding sales books that we can relate to. But, if you need a solid starting point, here are five sales books that every salesperson should read.

1. Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness by Jeffrey H. Gitomer

Jeffrey H. Gitomer, a leading authority on sales and customer service who has worked with IBM, AT&T, Coca-Cola, and Hilton Hotels and is the author of the bestselling book "The Sales Bible," released in 2004. There’s no filler here. Gitomer gets directly to the point by discussing the reasons why people purchase items and how to take note of what they’re thinking.

Preview: “Your job as a master salesman is to create an atmosphere where people want to buy.”

2. Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar was a world renowned author and motivational speaker for organizations of all sizes. He was also the best selling author of inspirational books like “Born to Win,” “See You at the Top,” and “Developing the Qualities of Success.” With this 1985 book, Ziglar explains the importance of building relationships with clients and how to achieve that goal in 432-pages. Any book written by Zig Ziglar or any speech he gave during his life is well worth the time or effort it takes to read or hear his work. YouTube has most of his speeches and they are a great listen as you drive to work.

Preview: “There are five basic reasons people will not buy from you. These are: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, and no trust. Since any “reason” or “excuse” for not buying will cost you a sale—and will cost the prospect the benefits he would accrue from the purchase—the missed sale is a loss for both buyer and seller.”

3. Growth Juice: How To Grow Your Sales by John A. Weber

John A. Weber is an Emeritus Professor of Marketing at the University of Notre Dame who has worked with organizations such as General Electric, AT&T, Federal Express, IBM, 3M, Xerox, Kellogg, and Bristol-Myers. In “Growth Juice,” Weber divides the book into three different sections that examine proven sales concepts, an explanation of Solution Selling, and how to convert one sale at-a-time in a steady stream.

Preview: “Growth starts when you first recognize your company’s true business. You can do this by asking what set of fundamental needs your company is trying to address with its current primary product or service. Focus on identifying these underlying needs.Thinking of your business as providing solutions rather than specific products or services can open up entirely new avenues of potential growth.”

4. The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

Matt Dixon, a managing director of strategic research at Corporate Executive Board, and Brent Adamson, a renowned speaker and facilitator, conducted a study of sales reps in multiple industries to develop the theory that the most effective salespeople just don’t build relationships with prospects, they actually challenge them by teaching the prospect something new about their business.

Preview: “If your customer is dead set on buying the cheapest option today, then chances are pretty good they’ll be dead set on buying the cheapest option tomorrow as well. And that may or may not be you. After all, there’s usually little stopping your competition from discounting their way to a win. In that game, loyalty is essentially irrelevant, as customers aren’t looking for a partner, they’re looking for a bargain. And that’s not what this story is all about. This is a story about a customer’s willingness not only to keep buying from you, but to buy even more over time and to advocate on your behalf. And if that’s your goal, price is simply a bad way to get there.”

5. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino

First published in 1968 by Og Mandino, who is considered the most widely read inspirational and self help author in the world, as well as the former president of Success Unlimited magazine and the first recipient of the Napoleon Hill Gold Medal, “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” focuses on habits as opposed to sales techniques. Through the story of Hafid, an impoverished camel boy who achieves success through ten ancient scrolls, this book is one that provides uplifting and motivational advice.

Preview: “In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the difference of their habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Thus, the first law I will obey, which precedeth all others is—I will form good habits and become their slave.”

 

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5 Pieces of Awesome Workspace Inspiration for Modern Businesses

5 Pieces of Awesome Workspace Inspiration for Modern Businesses

Not in a traditional cubicle-style setting? The new norm is creative, open office space that allows for fresh ideas and attracts potential employees. Here are a few inspired office ideas for any business, big or small.

1. Minimalist and Shared Spaces


Image via Front + Main

A shared creative space can provide separation for different industries and interests, yet share aesthetics. Come together with your peers in neutralized common areas.

2. Small Home Office


Image via Harper’s Bazaar

Make the most out of your small space by adding storage and shelving as well as personal touches. Set your desk next to a window for natural light.

3. Encouraging Movement


Image via Gizmodo

If you have the extra space, provide employees with the opportunity to move around, whether it’s a walking track around the office, a yoga studio or loft, or a spot for stationary bikes. Exercise throughout the day will provide workers with an energy boost, causing a more productive workflow.

4. Bringing the Outside In


Image via Design-Milk

Get fancy with plants to keep the air clean and the office pretty. Succulents are easy desk plants to care for, while a wall of green is visually appealing.

5. Keep it Homey

Image via Hype Beast

Small touches like area rugs, TV’s and coffee tables keep an office space cozy, while creating a comfortable working environment. Even board rooms can be fun and bright, instead of stuffy and lackluster.

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5 Plants You Need in Your Office to Be More Productive

5 Plants You Need in Your Office to Be More Productive

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Offices without pictures, plants, souvenirs or more are often hard places to work. In a paper published by a group of psychologists – it turns out we actually perform better when plants and other trinkets are added to workplaces.

In this post, we'll take a look at five different plants you can have in your office that will not only make you feel better about work, but will make you more productive.

1. English ivy

English ivy (also known as common ivy) reduces airborne contaminant particles. It has also been shown to filter out formaldehyde found in some household cleaning products – making it a fantastic plant to help clean up and freshen the air in your office.

2. Aloe

Aloe is very easy to grow. Just place it in a sunny place, and it'll flourish. This succulent helps clear formaldehyde and benzene from the air. Besides its air-clearing abilities, the gel inside the plant can help heal cuts and burns.

3. Weeping fig

Any type of ficus in your office can help with filtering out air pollutants that cleaners might use on furniture and carpets. Easy to maintain, these plants are seen in many offices that get lots of natural sunlight.

4. Peace lily

The peace lily tops NASA's list for removing airborne particles including formaldehyde benzene, and more. On top of that, it also helps combat toluene and xylene.

5. Spider plant

Spider plants battle benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and xylene – which are quite prominent in offices considering some of these chemicals are used in leather cleaners.

As an added bonus, this plant is considered safe for pets if you have a pet-friendly office!

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5 Smart Money Apps to Manage Your Cash Like a Millionaire

5 Smart Money Apps to Manage Your Cash Like a Millionaire

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Millionaires are willing to do what a large majority of the population is unwilling to do – be smart with their money.

Becoming a millionaire, and being good with your cash is certainly a learning process. It isn't easy, especially when there's an awesome coffee shop on your way to work, and having a glass or two of wine after a long day is a habit of yours.

But that doesn't mean it isn't impossible to manage your money like a millionaire. In this post, we'll take a look at some smart money apps that will help you on your path to becoming a more intelligent money mogul.

"Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving." - Warren Buffett 


1. Truebill

Truebill lets you find, track, and cancel all of your paid subscription services with just one click. That recurring bill on your credit card statement that you just keep forgetting about before it's too late? Truebill takes care of that. In fact, the average Truebill user saves $512 per year by cancelling unwanted subscriptions.

2. Final

Final – a credit card built for the 21st century – eliminates the hassle associated with a cancelled card, fraud, or theft. Final lets you give a unique credit card number to every merchant, or a disposable one-time use number for one-off purchases. Think of it almost like a "burner phone" but as a credit card.

3. Qapital

Qapital describes itself as the everyday banking app that helps you save for the things you want. By using gamified, automatic savings that let you set aside small amounts of money regularly, you can meet your savings goals quickly. You can also do things like round up your change, 'fine yourself' when you buy something you're trying to cut back on, and more.

4. Facebook Pay

Facebook Pay lets you send money to your friends directly through Messenger. The money you send is transferred right away, but could take one to three business days to make the money available to you depending on your bank. It's a great way to pay friends back, or to even buy something using Messenger.

5. Penny App

Penny is your own personal finance coach. According to their website, "Penny sends you beautiful tailored charts and insights to help you know how you’re spending in real time." The app was built as a solution to some of the problems other apps like Mint were having, by making it incredibly intuitive from the get-go. 

Now that we've taken the time to look at some smart money apps to manage your cash like a millionaire, what are you waiting for? There's no better time to get ahold of your personal finances than today. Set yourself up for a successful, flourishing future.

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5 Things Good Listeners Do Differently

5 Things Good Listeners Do Differently

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Despite being told from a young age to listen attentively – many of us in our professional and personal lives still have trouble really listening.

One study even shows that the average person listens with only 25 percent efficiency – meaning there's a lot we're letting go in one ear and out the other. On top of that, a recent study from George Washington University showed that listening can influence up to 40% of a leader’s job performance.

So, what is it that good listeners to differently that allow them to excel?

1. They focus on the conversation

One thing that a lot of us do is think about what we're going to say next. How many times have you been in a meeting and have been thinking about how to word your next sentence?

It's incredibly distracting, and good listeners are able to be entirely present in the moment – paying attention to what each person in the conversation is really saying. 

2. They put their phone away

Okay, so yes it's common sense to put your phone away when you're having an important conversation – but it's not uncommon to get bored of a conversation and whip your phone out to check the time. Or, if you're in a long meeting that isn't too stimulating, you might check your phone and email from time to time. The problem with this is it removes you from the importance of the conversation in its entirety and stops the act of listening attentively.

3. They're empathetic

Empathy is something everyone should learn. Empathy is the experience of understanding another person's condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. Good listeners are incredibly capable of being empathetic.

4. They ask good questions

If you're listening attentively, you should be able to ask good questions. These are the types of questions that dig deeper into the matter at hand – they're the ones that really get to the meat of a discussion.

5. They use positive body language

Good listeners are aware of their gestures and how they're perceived. If the conversation is important, they'll lean in with wide shoulders. Good listeners are enthusiastic when listening, and feel as though they really have something they can learn from whomever it is that's speaking.

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