What To Love about Trust Agents

I don’t often do book reviews. I read TONS of books, usually several simultaneously, and I suppose I’m just not usually focused on them as part of my blogging (and I probably think other people do reviews better than I do). But I wanted to share my initial thoughts after voraciously consuming Chris Brogan and Julien Smith‘s newly minted Trust Agents. Why?

  • Chris and Julien are good friends of mine. That means I’m biased toward their success, I’m excited about the book, and I wanted to draw attention to their acheivement. (No they didn’t pay me or bribe me or give me a pony to write this. They were kind enough to send me an advance copy of the book.)
  • They’ve earned my trust. Ironic? I think not. Did I mention I’m biased?
  • The book is GOOD. Really good. And worth your attention, if it’s not on your radar already.

One of the principal things I love about this book – or the topic, really – is that the conversation around trust and what builds, defines, and removes it never gets old to me. Especially in a business context, and in an online universe where our attention and sense of what’s useful is more splintered than ever before.

Chris and Julien aren’t going to tell you how to win trust. That’s up to you. (Sorry). What they do do, however, is very artfully point out some of the behaviors and actions – especially amongst the anonymity online – that engender trust in others.

They do so simply. Clearly. Articulately. They say it’s about trust, but I’m saying it’s even more about just new human dynamics and behaviors in a digitized world.  And Chris and Julien beautifully bridge some ideas and concepts that we often brush past, but rarely articulate. Things like:

  • There is great power in how the web enables you to spread, propegate, and share information without immediate presence
  • Reliability is a consistent thread among people that rock what they do
  • There’s a delicate balance between “leveraging” and “using like yesterday’s washrag” (my indelicate words, not theirs, but a concept that I’d love to introduce to some people personally)
  • Doing good things is as much about faith about the return than the expectation of same
  • Sucking up isn’t the smart game, but raising up those around you is
  • The absence of non-verbal cues on the web makes communicating (and interpreting) there far different
  • Build community by protecting them, not using them
  • Sharing your influence exponentially builds yours
  • The choice about whether or not to immerse yourself in this new era is yours alone.

Simple ideas, yes. But damn hard to do well. Here’s what I wish you’d do.

If you’re the person that would call yourself a Trust Agent, buy the book anyway as credentials of your membership in that tribe. Read it. Be affirmed. Learn a few new things along the way.

Then buy two, five, or a hundred more copies and give them to the people that AREN’T. Use your knowledge of the importance of these concepts to share them with the person who most needs to read this book (and might be the least likely to buy it, since they don’t think they need it). Tell them what you found valuable. Make sure they read the parts you need them to read.

I have several extra copies on their way to my house as we speak. What I’m going to do with them yet I’m not sure. I’ll definitely give them away. But I’m thinking of ways to put them in the hands of people that want to be Trust Agents but might need some guidance to get there. The new web is a tricksy place, and I think Chris and Julien have written an awfully good guide to the principles behind it.

It’s a human book about human principles. I know it’s a business book technically, and I think businesses seeking to understand the social web will do well to read it. But the real power is going to be in how the people behind those businesses absorb and put those lessons to use.

I learned a few things and scribbled down a dozen ideas. If you haven’t ordered yours already, what are you waiting for?

Kudos to my friends Chris and Julien on saying many things that needed to be said, and doing so with clarity and elegance. Congrats, you guys.

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  • http://www.ChristopherSPenn.com Christopher S. Penn

    Chris Brogan did, in fact, buy me a pony.

    Just kidding.

  • http://www.ChristopherSPenn.com Christopher S. Penn

    Chris Brogan did, in fact, buy me a pony.

    Just kidding.

  • http://www.sonnygill.com Sonny Gill

    Your point about ‘Sucking up isn’t the smart game, but raising up those around you is’ hits so hard as I see it happen too often and makes me lose a lot of respect for those people. Whereas the ones who look to build up people around them is great to see from a human aspect, but also in seeing the growth of friends around me.

    Nice review, Amber. Definitely can’t wait for my pre-order to come in this week.

    • http://seakisst.wordpress.com SaraKate

      Ditto Sonny’s response. That was the piece that hit me hardest, as well. It’s hard to find truly genuine people and, when we are able to find truly genuine people, who take joy in raising people up for hard work, dedication, and noble intentions, it is a great joy.

      Kudos, Amber, for a great review and thoughtful entry. I’m going to order this book asap.

  • http://www.sonnygill.com Sonny Gill

    Your point about ‘Sucking up isn’t the smart game, but raising up those around you is’ hits so hard as I see it happen too often and makes me lose a lot of respect for those people. Whereas the ones who look to build up people around them is great to see from a human aspect, but also in seeing the growth of friends around me.

    Nice review, Amber. Definitely can’t wait for my pre-order to come in this week.

    • http://seakisst.wordpress.com SaraKate

      Ditto Sonny’s response. That was the piece that hit me hardest, as well. It’s hard to find truly genuine people and, when we are able to find truly genuine people, who take joy in raising people up for hard work, dedication, and noble intentions, it is a great joy.

      Kudos, Amber, for a great review and thoughtful entry. I’m going to order this book asap.

  • http://www.davidspinks.com David Spinks

    What was that nonsense about others writing better book reviews than you do? You just sold me (=

    I did want to wait to hear from other who have read it before I purchased one for myself…sounds like there’s a good amount to take away here. I think these are topics that you can’t remind yourself about enough.

    Nicely done Amber. Grats to Chris and Julien on writing what seems to be a promising book. Going to order myself one.

    @DavidSpinks

  • http://www.davidspinks.com David Spinks

    What was that nonsense about others writing better book reviews than you do? You just sold me (=

    I did want to wait to hear from other who have read it before I purchased one for myself…sounds like there’s a good amount to take away here. I think these are topics that you can’t remind yourself about enough.

    Nicely done Amber. Grats to Chris and Julien on writing what seems to be a promising book. Going to order myself one.

    @DavidSpinks

    • Amber Naslund

      David – That’s just it. This book was *reinforcing* to me. It let me know that I had a lot of things right, at least according to these two peers (and definitely pointed out a few new things for me to try to do it even better).

      The biggest challenge for me is that the people who MOST need to read the book – the folks missing on these behaviors, mostly in businesses trying to take advantage of the social wave – aren’t going to pick it up. They’ll think they don’t need to be told. Or they’ll dismiss the ideas out of hand.

      So I’m chewing on how to bridge the book between the people that will applaud it as natives, and the people who really ought to be reading it but may never have heard of it. Still chewing….

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan…

    Book reviews are for suckers.

    You’re so awesome! Thank you for this. I’m glad it worked for you. Julien and I are both going crazy with anticipation. This is like letting your kid go to high school alone or something. (I mean, I realize you let your kid go to school alone every day, but… )

    Oy!

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan…

    Book reviews are for suckers.

    You’re so awesome! Thank you for this. I’m glad it worked for you. Julien and I are both going crazy with anticipation. This is like letting your kid go to high school alone or something. (I mean, I realize you let your kid go to school alone every day, but… )

    Oy!

  • Bill Free

    Since my reading list is already quite long, I consider a recommendation from someone I trust a prerequisite to hauling out my credit card. Especially for a book on trust.

    So when Chris Brogan says “book reviews are for suckers,” what’s a trust-craving fellow to do?

    After painful soul-searching, I have grudgingly ascribed Brogan’s comment to his penchant for satire and sarcasm, and will make my way over to Amazon. Thanks for helping.

  • Bill Free

    Since my reading list is already quite long, I consider a recommendation from someone I trust a prerequisite to hauling out my credit card. Especially for a book on trust.

    So when Chris Brogan says “book reviews are for suckers,” what’s a trust-craving fellow to do?

    After painful soul-searching, I have grudgingly ascribed Brogan’s comment to his penchant for satire and sarcasm, and will make my way over to Amazon. Thanks for helping.

  • http://jamiefavreau.wordpress.com Jamie Favreau

    I loved this quote. “There’s a delicate balance between “leveraging” and “using like yesterday’s washrag” (my indelicate words, not theirs, but a concept that I’d love to introduce to some people personally)”

    I would like to hear more of this conversation some day. I find it interesting probably because I deal with the public on a daily basis in the “real world” and hoping to land a position full time using the digital space. I think this is a very interesting dynamic.

  • http://jamiefavreau.wordpress.com Jamie Favreau

    I loved this quote. “There’s a delicate balance between “leveraging” and “using like yesterday’s washrag” (my indelicate words, not theirs, but a concept that I’d love to introduce to some people personally)”

    I would like to hear more of this conversation some day. I find it interesting probably because I deal with the public on a daily basis in the “real world” and hoping to land a position full time using the digital space. I think this is a very interesting dynamic.

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  • Bruce Walker

    I’m in real estate and if there were EVER a time our REALTORS(R) needed to be reminded of the necessity of being Trust(ed) Agents, it would be now.

    So often, our industry has lagged behind because we were unwilling to accept that communications and marketing were rapidly evolving. We sought to preserve what we had and not embrace the tools becoming available to help our clients buy and sell real estate. The pattern is repeating itself in social media.

    I look forward to reading Trust Agents. Having tools isn’t enough. Understanding those tools and then using them with others is how communities are built. Trust Agents may help lay out the plans in a way I will be able to demonstrate long term value to our own agents. In that way, maybe a conversation can start!

  • Bruce Walker

    I’m in real estate and if there were EVER a time our REALTORS(R) needed to be reminded of the necessity of being Trust(ed) Agents, it would be now.

    So often, our industry has lagged behind because we were unwilling to accept that communications and marketing were rapidly evolving. We sought to preserve what we had and not embrace the tools becoming available to help our clients buy and sell real estate. The pattern is repeating itself in social media.

    I look forward to reading Trust Agents. Having tools isn’t enough. Understanding those tools and then using them with others is how communities are built. Trust Agents may help lay out the plans in a way I will be able to demonstrate long term value to our own agents. In that way, maybe a conversation can start!

  • http://socialbutterflyguy.com/ DJ Waldow

    Purchasing now. The review pushed me over the edge (the good edge).

    dj


    DJ Waldow
    Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory
    @djwaldow

  • http://socialbutterflyguy.com/ DJ Waldow

    Purchasing now. The review pushed me over the edge (the good edge).

    dj


    DJ Waldow
    Director of Community, Blue Sky Factory
    @djwaldow

  • Scott

    Buying access is not new. The traditional print media and analysts have played gatekeeper to markets for years. Today’s Internet-stoked world affords slightly better access but is still largely controlled by the incumbent channels.

    Trust agents? Christ, can we distort the language any more? This is symptomatic of today’s mish-mash of social media garbage. Yes, there are certain people who have credibility and who can help grease one’s skids. It’s the same pimp/ho formula that has always been in place. At a certain point everyone begins to exude the same smell, look and feel and after a while everyone has the disease. Everybody will have slept with the pimp and bear their children and, I guess, everyone will be richer for it. Or at least, in the latter case, everyone would hope it ends up that way.

    Believe what you will but I just don’t have time for the BS.

  • Scott

    Buying access is not new. The traditional print media and analysts have played gatekeeper to markets for years. Today’s Internet-stoked world affords slightly better access but is still largely controlled by the incumbent channels.

    Trust agents? Christ, can we distort the language any more? This is symptomatic of today’s mish-mash of social media garbage. Yes, there are certain people who have credibility and who can help grease one’s skids. It’s the same pimp/ho formula that has always been in place. At a certain point everyone begins to exude the same smell, look and feel and after a while everyone has the disease. Everybody will have slept with the pimp and bear their children and, I guess, everyone will be richer for it. Or at least, in the latter case, everyone would hope it ends up that way.

    Believe what you will but I just don’t have time for the BS.

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