Who has time to read books? We all should, but it's tough to know what is worth reading. As an Author myself, I have a unique point of view on what I look for in great books. This monthly feature will spotlight and review several new books relevant for marketers or people in business with ideas worth learning and sharing. See my review philosophy by scrolling to the bottom of this post. To recommend a book to be featured, send an email pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Book Review: Hugh MacLeod is like the ultimate cross between the delightfully cranky uncle and all knowing grandfather that we all probabably have somewhere in our families. While his first book focused on the art of being more creative, Evil Plans takes a more poetic approach to looking at the mixture of life and work. Filled with his trademark unforgivingly brutal advice: "Whining is not an exit strategy" and deeply philosophical observations like "liberation from oneself is the hardest kind," this is a book of nuggets. If I could offer one suggestion, it would be to read this book as if it were a book of poetry where each idea needs a moment to really hit you before you move to the next chapter. Not that this is a slow read, of course, filled with Hugh's cartoon's and short observations about daily life – this is the sort of book where you won't read it from cover to cover or even remember many of the insights the author shares. You will, however, find at least one idea that will change the way you see the world – and that alone should be enough of a reason to buy this book.
Book Review: This book has the title I wish I thought of (not to mention a beautifully designed logo). In nature, the dragonfly is the only insect able to move in any direction when its four wings are working together, and taking this metaphor to heart the entire book is structured into "wings" instead of chapters. Focus, grab attention, engage and take action are the four elements of what the authors share is the "Dragonfly Effect" to create powerful social change.
Unlike many other books on how to leverage social media, this book is not filled with the same old social media war stories. Instead, the authors merge their experiences in teaching and consulting to offer a repeatable model that anyone who has a vision for changing the world but not necessarily all the resources can take and use. The examples in Dragonfly Effect with inspire you, but more importantly the methodology the authors share will actually give you what you need to create a social change of your own.
Author: Kevin Dutton | Book Website: http://www.flipnosis.co.uk/index.asp
Originally published with the decidedly more manipulative title of "Flipnosis" in the UK, the US version of this book was slightly adapted. The content, however, remains a brilliant mixture of focus on science and psychology to help anyone reading understand what makes persuasion happen. Citing five key factors – simplicity, perceived self interest, incongruity, confidence, and empathy – Dutton lays out a model that any of us can use to be more persuasive at anything we are trying to do. While he does delve a bit too deeply into the science and research at several points, making the book longer than it probably should be, his point is well made and compelling. In a world where we often assume true persuasion is a more logical process that takes far longer, it is nice to see that "split-second persuasion" is not only possible but that there is a model you can follow to learn how to do it.
The authors of Spousonomics may not have set out to write a marriage book for men, but this is exactly what they ended up with in this book. Taking the principles of economics and applying them to something as unexpected as marriage – they manage to add a layer of logic to something that is often seen as solely an emotional situ
ation. Using economic principles like loss aversion, division of labor and trade-offs, they manage to dig deeply into the situations that often drive couples apart and deliver a startling conclusion: that many marriages may not end because of some deep disconnection or growing out of love, but rather through a steady stream of poor decisions. The scenarios they map out throughout the book are so familiar and predictable that it is easy to forget they are describing relationships that fall apart over ten years in a matter of pages. Of course it looks obvious on paper. As they share the solutions to each of the marriage challenges, you feel a bit like a voyeur looking in on a really good marriage counseling session where everything has been laid out in front of you … including the solution to just about any marriage related problem. If you are in a great marriage, this book can help you keep it that way. And if you are not, Spousonomics might just help you get there.
Book Website: http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/
Book Review: If any of the hundreds of companies that have been launched with half baked business models could have have a guidebook to fix everything that is wrong with their business, this would be it. Aside from its unique story of actually being co-created and co-written by 470 strategists, the most valuable element of this book is easily the sections that dissect existing businesses and visually break down business models for the reader to learn from. It is like sitting next to a brilliant engineer as they take apart a gadget and show you exactly how it is made (and how you might be able to recreate it). Packed with examples of visual thinking, how to create a prototype, and focusing on customer needs – this is one of those books where getting a highlighter and trying to find just the important parts is going to be a waste of time because you'll end up highlighting almost all of the book. In fact, the only thing that could make this book better is if the pages were perforated so you could tear them out and post them on your wall. Yes, they are that useful.
Review Philosophy (Why These Reviews Matter):
All the books that are reviewed in this series are worth your time. That's why you won't find any negative book reviews on this blog. As a Author myself, I have hundreds of book on my shelf and have researched hundreds more. I get many invitations to preview books and choose between 5 and 7 every month to share here on this blog. Read my other book reviews at http://rohitbhargava.com/book-reviews/.
Disclaimer: I have personally purchased many of the books reviewed in this blog, however many others are provided by publishers or an author for review purposes. In each case, the reviews of every book represent my honest and unbiased opinion about the book and are not paid or compensated for in any way apart from recieving a review copy or advance galley copy of a book at no cost.