Book Review: “To Sell Is Human”

bookcovertosellishumanI’m switching gears a bit with this post. As the title indicates, I’d like to share my thoughts about the new book by Daniel Pink “To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others.”

First off, put me in the group of people who claim to not be good at selling. This book changes my view of myself. Selling isn’t just about getting people to buy a product or service. What about selling ideas to others? I love developing a plan and sharing it with others to get them to ‘buy in.’ Pink does a great job illustrating we’re all sellers…of ideas, methods, and other priceless intangibles.

A critical component to helping achieve success with the ‘pitch’ is to better understand the other party. Sure, it seems obvious but this goes overlooked quite often both in the sale of goods and ideas. We’ve all been guilty of trying to get someone else to take us up on an offer without properly seeing their point of view. Technology also changes the buyer-seller dynamic. Buyers now typically have access to information previously only within reach of sellers. Auto sales are cited in the book as just one example. Selling strategies should be adjusted to accommodate this new reality.

The book also offers insight into who makes the best salesperson. You might assume extroverts have the advantage since an outgoing personality and the ability to talk to others is pretty important, right? Well, that’s not always a good thing. Pink coins the term ‘ambivert’ to describe one who is a mix of both an introvert and extrovert. He offers great research throughout the book, but especially when detailing why these individuals are most successful at selling. The book contains an easy to read style with well-supported arguments, much more so than other books that seem to be thick on decades-old clichés.


I highly recommend this book. I had read great things about Daniel Pink’s other works, but had reservations picking up another book dedicated to selling. I had recently read one written by an author of many sales help books. Pink’s was far more enjoyable and full of fact-backed arguments. Critics could say it’s more of a persuasion-themed book, but I believe successfully selling is about more than just a quick money grab. In fact, you can apply these themes to either making sales or managing people. Daniel Pink makes the art of selling seem appealing, natural, and not dependent on solely on getting into another’s wallet.

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