As part of our monthly book club here at Flightpath, we recently read the book Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. The book lays out principles that an individual can follow to become a so-called “trust agent,” and then illustrates how to apply those learnings to interactions in new media and emerging technology. The concept of the book is important, but since it is not the main focus of this post, I will quickly outline the six key principles or tactics:
- Make Your Own Game
- One of Us
- The Archimedes Effect
- Agent Zero
- The Human Artist
- Building an Army
If you want to dive further into the book, I highly recommend picking up a copy for yourself. It is well written, easy to understand, and a quick read.
There is more to this book, however, than just the basic concept. The lesson or insight that really hit home for me was how every chapter, and the book as a whole, was designed to be an actionable asset, as opposed to basic theory. This becomes evident in how the book is completed. The book does not end with a summary, overview, or re-hashing of everything the authors wrote. Instead, it ends with action items and a plan with the foundation for actual execution.
This to me was the greatest asset the book offers. I believe the author wrote the book from this specific frame of reference, and this is one of the reasons why it is so easy to relate to on many levels. If they had a goal for what this book should accomplish, I believe it was exactly that, for the reader to internalize the content in their own way and then apply it and utilize it right away. When the authors first address the concept of currency and how it relates to digital content, they begin by mentioning a joke. I won’t repeat the joke here, but the point was that the joke becomes an asset in itself, something that an individual can use for their own benefit. This to me is how this book becomes a valuable asset that should be applied in each individual’s own way in their everyday lives. Just like the joke, however, the way one applies it can be completely different. One person could use the joke as an icebreaker for a one-on-one conversation, another person could use the same joke as an introduction to a room full of people, and yet another could use it to explain his point of view in a blog post (wonder which one I am?).
The point and lesson is that we should approach everything in this way. You have all heard the quote “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” This is perfectly applicable here and in everything you do. If you don’t have a plan to put those intentions to use, then they are just that—dead intentions. Instead, try to start looking at the world from an actionable perspective. Ask yourself the questions, “How can I apply this to my situation, my business, my life?” It is only with this deliberate practice that anything will ever get accomplished. So what is your plan? Don’t simply tell me, but as a famous shoe brand says, “Just Do It!”