Backable: The Surprising Truth Behind What Makes People Take a Chance on You” by Suneel Gupta

Rating: 4/5

I immediately bought Backable: The Surprising Truth Behind What Makes People Take a Chance on You after listening to an interview with Suneel Gupta on the podcast, Disrupt Yourself. I also shared the interview with several people (always a sign of a good interview). This book reframed my thoughts about what it takes to persuade others to take a chance on your potential. Before reading this book, I think that I had unconsciously internalized the idea that to be persuasive, you had to be charismatic or have an “it” factor. That method of persuasion seemed icky and not really me. In this book, Gupta argues that persuading others to take a chance on you is not about those things. Throughout the book, he shares stories and concepts that support two things: 1) persuasion is about conviction, especially conviction in yourself; and 2) persuasion is skill that requires intention and practice (i.e., we can all learn to do it!). Many of the concepts in this book are not hard to grasp but I think that they are hard to put into practice. I appreciate that Gupta took the time to examine the concepts behind persuasion and put them all into one place. There were so many good takeaways from this book. The ones that resonated with me the most were:

  • Allow time for your ideas to incubate – working through a new idea is an active process, not just batting an idea around in your head
  • It’s important to check in on your “emotional runway” — the energy to keep pushing a new idea forward
  • You need a well-told story AND facts and figures
  • Make the time to practice in front of someone other than yourself
  • It can take 21 practice rounds to get there! People who have reached a level of fluidity have built up a “recovery muscle”; they are so comfortable with their material that they welcome curveball moments
  • Build a circle of trusted advisors with specific roles – collaborator, coach, cheerleader, and cheddar

Overall, this book was digestible, practical, and a very fast read. I came away with a new way of thinking about persuasion and tools to feel more confident about getting others to take a chance on me. I’d say that it is a must read if you are looking for a new job, wanting to sell yourself at work, have an investment idea, are putting out a creative endeavour or idea for the first time, or are self-employed.