BEHIND YOUR BACK: The Sales and Purchasing Bookshelf

By / 9 months ago

Seven don’t-miss business books for buyers and purchasing managers (and you).

Exactly one year ago this column first appeared in these pages along with the release of my book, Behind Your Back: What Purchasing Managers Say Once You Leave the Room and How to Get Them to Say Yes. Along with other insights, I candidly confirmed many of your suspicions about purchasing managers and the things we say—and do—after you leave our office.

As the calendar flips to 2016, you can be sure that in many a home-builder office, well-heeled execs have promised to continue to drive profitable growth. And why not?

They’re all looking at the same data—pent-up demand, low new home inventory, absurdly low interest rates and rental rates rising rapidly.

From an organizational level, the focus will be on selling more homes. This is good news. Your clients and prospects should be primed for new ideas and insights.

The bad news is many a purchasing manager only thinks about price—and how to lower it. Staring at spreadsheets for 40 hours a week will do that to you. Having been there and done that—I’ll confirm it’s true. Your challenge is to help purchasing managers focus on the rights things.

Let’s continue to embrace the spirit of candor as I confirm something else:

Purchasing Managers aren’t as smart as we think we are. As 2016 kicks off, do something about it. Give the gift of thinking about ideas and insight, instead of price alone. Consider sharing with your purchasing manager one of these books:7-books-for-purchasing-managers

1. The Big Short by Michael Lewis
One of my favorite quotes hangs on the wall of New South Construction Supply’s CEO, Jim Sobeck: “You don’t get credit for predicting rain. You get credit for building an ark.” Lewis, the author behind The Blind Side and Moneyball, shares the stories of the few men who foresaw the housing bubble and bet on it—big. This book is now in theaters with a dreamy cast, so get ahead of the pop culture curve now.

2. Humans Are Underrated by Geoff Colvin
Instead of guessing which human activities computers won’t be able to do better than us in the future (driving cars, writing business articles, winning Jeopardy!), this fantastic new release by Fortune Magazine’s senior editor outlines the traits high achievers possess that brilliant machines never will.

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Bradley Hartmann

Bradley Hartmann is El Presidente at Red Angle, Inc. and the author of Behind Your Back. To learn more, contact him at, or visit