Trust Agents by Brogan & Smith

Trust Agents

By Chris Brogan & Julien Smith

I recently heard the term trust agent for the first time.  It was said with high regard to persons who are considered trust agents.  I had to find out more.  My search led me to this wonderful

Not only do the authors explain the importance of building up your, or your company’s, reputation through social media, but they also give important advice for everyday kindness and humility – just common, good personal and business practices.  In short, trust agents are people you can trust to tell the truth, both good and bad.  Collaboration and networking are explained and stressed.  Being creative and original is detailed as well as sharing information with others.  The importance of being just a regular guy, “one of us”, is explained.

Real-life examples of small and large companies that rely on the opinions and feedback of social media are interspersed throughout the book.  Examples of businesses that made mistakes yet grew more respected from them are also given.

As Brogan and Smith (2010) explain of trust agents, “They connect with more people than anyone else, and they know how to leave a good impression.  As they do so, they build healthy, honest relationships” (p. 15).

This book is an incredible resource for small companies wanting to grow, large companies wanting to improve their reputations, and nonprofits operating on tight budgets.  You will learn easy and quick ways to build your online and offline reputation.  You will learn how to build and maintain good, strong networks and relationships.  Lastly, you will learn “how to be genuine, real, and open with people” (Brogan and Smith, 2010).


~Emily Aragon

Brogan & Smith. (2010).  Trust Agents. Using the web to build influence, improve reputation, and earn trust.  Hoboken, NJ:  John Wiley & Sons.



Conversations With My Dog by Zig Ziglar

Conversations With My Dog

By Zig Ziglar

This short book is a quick read that will make a lasting impact on how you relate to people – and dogs.  Full of wisdom, ethics, and good morals, this book discusses serious topics, with a dog, on a level that everyone can understand.  Marriage, discrimination, discipline, Conversations With My Dog.jpgand jealousy are only a few of the deep topics discussed.  Also explained are the importance of relationships and how to find happiness, as well as the deep bond between dog owners and their dogs.

I always thought I treated my dogs well and understood them.  I don’t know how Zig Ziglar got so deeply into his dog’s mind, but I am now looking at my dogs differently!

You’ll enjoy this one!

~Emily Aragon

Ziglar, Z. (2005).  Conversations with my dog.  Nashville, TN:  Broadman & Holman Publishers.


Greater Than Yourself by Steve Farber

Greater Than Yourself


More than a leadership style, I would consider the Greater Than Yourself approach a personal philosophy or a way of life.  Farber’s Greater Than Yourself (GTY) approach to leadership stresses ethical behavior, instilling a strong sense of trust, and caring for your own soul and others (Farber, 2009).  This is an inspiring book about leadership based upon humility.  But Farber’s leadership approach is more than mentoring, it is more like volunteering yourself to support and better others.  It is about using your skills to guide others to be better than you ever were.

Making and sharing personal and professional connections is a resource that Farber (2009) suggested be shared.  He also offered advice about sharing your skills and knowledge.  He stated that “the real payoff comes in the giving of knowledge, not the keeping of it.  If I’m going to make you greater, I have to give freely of not only my knowledge, but all my resources:  my connections and network, my experience, my insights, my advice and counsel-even my time” (Farber, 2009, p. 21).  What remarkable words to live by!

Benefiting from giving is also explained by Farber (2009) who stated that “the giving of knowledge and wisdom and experience and resources is far more powerful because it enriches both of us” (p. 21).  This is not a reason to share personal resources, but instead, should be given freely.  This leadership book is written like a story and is a very easy and enjoyable read.  I couldn’t put it down.


Farber, S. (2009).  Greater than yourself.  The ultimate lesson of true leadership.  New York, NY:  Doubleday.

A Hidden Wholeness by Parker Palmer

My Favorite BookA Hidden Wholeness:  The Journey Toward an Undivided Life

By Parker Palmer

                This book has been one of the biggest influences in my academic life.  I quote it and refer to it constantly.  Anyone who knows me has heard me mention Parker Palmer and the concept of creating a safe place for the soul (Palmer, 2004).  You will see it quoted often in my blogs.  I try to apply this concept with whomever I come in contact with.

In this book Palmer describes the concept of creating “circles of trust” (Palmer, 2004).  These circles are based upon the Quaker concept of clearness committees in which individuals talk out their queries, problems, or issues, and others just listen.  Palmer (2004) states that “the focus person’s goal is to communicate with true self, not with other people” (p. 140).  This is the ultimate use of problem solving skills.  How many times have you approached another person with a problem yet solved it yourself as you told them about it?  Same concept here.  Palmer describes this listening and facilitating process as a challenging kind of leadership.

This books discusses the ethics of trust and truth, being mindful, and the skills of listening nonjudgmentally.  Steps for creating safe, welcoming circles of trust are detailed and a study guide is included in the book.  This book is excellent not only for leaders, but anyone wanting to fully understand how to listen to and reflect with others.  Use this book to understand your own need for finding your “true self” (Palmer, 2004, p. 81).


Palmer, P. (2004).  A hidden wholeness:  The journey toward an undivided life.  San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass.