Love is the Killer App

I picked this book up for the first time in the Stanford Bookstore because of its interesting cover design. Orange is the new black, you see…I read it that day in near-entirety, and returned to do so twice more before finally purchasing it. It was $22, after all, and I really don’t buy books until they come out in paperback

Imagine my surprise when one of Sanders’ major points turned out to be “you can afford a few hardcover books.” Because, he argues, properly used (as only hardcovers can stand up to), books ARE knowledge, and they can be “your ticket to success” (p.71).

The underlying idea here is to share that knowledge. Sanders defines “love” with a quote from Milton Mayeroff, “the selfless promotion of the growth of the other”. When viewed that way, love in the business world means sharing your information, knowledge, contacts, and opportunities with those who need them, whether or not you will profit from the transaction. This makes you a “lovecat”, one who offers his wisdom freely, gives away their address book to those who want it, and is always human (p.3).

The exciting part for me was that this philosophy does not get you fired; it does not run your company into the ground; it does not make people laugh at you. Instead, it leads to profitable relationships, new modes of doing business, and a flexible, adaptive work environment. In many ways this sounded like one of Bob Sutton‘s Weird Ideas That Work (especially information leakage b/tw companies, p.17; purpose of failing, p.191)

Finally, this workview is actually sustainable, and even necessary, in the modern economy. It is providing a service that no business offers (p.153);

Look at Southwest Airlines, its flamboyant CEO, Herb Kelleher, and its NYSE symbol “LUV”. Look at Google and Sergey Brin’s “don’t be evil” philosophy. Look at Michael Robertson, the founder of, who gave stock options to all his friends (including Sanders, p.204) and watched the price quadruple. This is not stupid–it’s the only thing that makes sense. Our economy is increasingly mechanized; our species is rapidly making itself redundant, and the number one form of entertainment for a month this summer was watching a movie that showed a possible outcome of this to us.

Loving is something a machine cannot do, and something humans are getting worse at. Work on that, Sanders says, and you will develop an outstanding reputation, give people great experiences, get their attention, and gain personal satisfaction.


12 “Love is the selfless promotion of the growth of the other”

14 Always accumulate knowledge; books are best, “the complete thought meal”

16 Consciously prune/edit/add to your network

23 Cisco is a leader in “being nice in business”

27 Net Gain by John Hagel; like Nonzero? Except for online societies…

36 Six benefits of being a lovecat:

a) 36 You build an outstanding brand as a person; a “human switch” does a job that will be automated in the future

b) 42 You create an “experience”; History of commerce: Commodities–>Goods–>Services–>EXPERIENCES (Web corollary? Electronics–>Computer–>Communicator–>Concierge)

c) 46 You have people’s attention; you are unique in a time when we subconsciously block advertising; 48 The difference between getting “attention” or just “time”

d) 48 You harness “positive presumption”; people assume you’re trustworthy so you get more business

e) 50 You get great feedback

f) 51 You gain personal satisfaction

55 It’s the giving that matters

57 Business and personal lives are different; and so is the type of love you use. Love in order to make $$ in business.

66 Build security with people by sharing knowledge with them; today’s plan for “sustainability”

69 Books carry more weight than magazines; spend 80% of your time on books, 20% on magazines/web/tv/etc.

73 Choose your books consciously by finding your weaknesses; not just exploiting your strengths

78 Find ways to anticipate going to work; you can finally use all that knowledge!

81 Connect books together; in writing if possible (ED: or a website, or a graph!)

86 Get others involved in the process; like the chiefs getting others to embrace nonzerosumness in Nonzero

89 Revisit books on the shelf; 1-2/wk! Link up a giant mind-map; Omnigraffle?

95 How to use a book

a) 95 Know the “Big Thought” inside and out; memorize it, DRAW it, practice telling it to others

b) 97 Visualize a discussion about it; imagine who would be interested in this idea

c) 99 Look for insert points in conversation; actively TRY to insert this knowledge; if you haven’t used it after a couple weeks, go through this process again and evaluate why.

d) 102 Play “doctor”–prescribe books for others

115 Collect contacts in order to give them away; not to keep them locked in your desk

116 Make your needs known to others so they can help you too

140 Connect people for free; no expectations for yourself

153 Being compassionate is a service; valuable in a world that is largely dispassionate

156 Being compassionate is also an experience; valuable in times of straightforward business

161 Cisco again; forgiven their mistakes because they were nice in the past

162 Practice compassion; not single actions, but a long-term plan

164 Learn to read people; sense what they need–body language and timing are good indicators

183 Do what a machine can’t do; form relationships, love, be unique, unpredictable, exciting; unlike a “human switch”

184 Photos/videos are bizlove currency; like books, but cheaper and easier with digital cameras

191 Rejection is never that bad; so give it a shot

196 You must fulfill these promises; just as doing so connotes love, not doing so is a personal insult.

207 Create more lovecats; it’s even more rewarding than being one (like p.86)


57 “Knowledge, however, is consequential. Knowledge currency is social currency on steroids.”

69 “Books are the complete thought-meal”

155 “I live to create value in people’s lives and I measure myself by their reactions.”

163 “If you wish to be a true compassionary, practice compassion as part of a well-planned process.”

191 “The purpose of being rejected may be to allow you to notice how small that rejection truly is.”


Big Statements: Passages that explain the kernel of the book with crystal clarity; page 80

Costanza Moment: When you walk around for a week thinking about what you “should have said”; George Costanza, Seinfeld. (Unlike him, do it beforehand); page 96

Experience: A private event that occurs in response to external stimulation; page 156

Human Switch: Someone who does a job that will be automated in the future (Instead, do things a machine can’t (p.183); page 37

NSPS: Nice, Smart People Succeed; page 195

Love: The selfless promotion of the growth of the other (Milton Mayeroff, On Caring); page 12

Lovecat: One who offers his wisdom freely; gives his address book to those who want it; and who is always human; page 3