Every year I invest in the publishing industry by buying in bulk. There are books that are great to read, even better to share. Many of the books I share are new or newer releases, some are just classics for me. The criteria I use to determine what I give away are:
- I read it and learned something unique that no other book taught me;
- It contains potentially a life changing methodology or way of thinking;
- It speaks to trends in a way that is researched and requires some leap in attitude;
- It provides a great synthesis of insights and stimulates action;
- It's a new window into the journey of life and mind expanding.
Reading is an activity that begets other activities -- mental exercise that prepares you for practical applications. It is also a gift to your spirit -- it can recharge after a long day as it provides mental fuel to think from a different point of view, that of the author.
I have been very fortunate to participate in many book clubs over time. In the early days there were in person meetings, then we switched to online and phone conversations with authors.
Of note for their format and success was Fast Company's where you can still find amazing resources, and the MarketingProfs Book Club spearheaded by CK. Fast Company also published a handy guide on why and how you can start a reading group.
By investing in the publishing industry, I also invest in supporting authors, in some cases directly if they self publish. This year I have bought and given the following books:
Mavericks at Work by Bill Taylor and Polly LaBarre.
After reading their columns in Fast Company for years, I was delighted to hear that they were working on a book project and thrilled to participate to their launch at JWT in NYC more than one year ago. Bill and Polly made many of the stories in the book come alive at the party -- many of the characters were at the party, including a surprise visit by Eliot Spitzer who was Bill's college roommate.
We had a follow up event in Philadelphia with a couple of local mavericks.
Citizen Marketers by Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba.
I met Ben and Jackie through Fast Company when they published their first book, Creating Customer Evangelists -- we had an online discussion about that and Ben came to Philadelphia to speak about the book at one of our events. It was right after a terrible hurricane and we appreciated Ben's flexibility with his schedule.
We had a spirited discussion at MarketingProfs Book Club and I did my only Amazon review of this book. Ben presented at an event of our local PRSA in the spring.
Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
I got my copy from the publisher, Random House (thank you Deborah), then proceeded to give many more away. We also had the opportunity to discuss what sticks at MarketingProfs Book Club after reading a wonderful summary prepared by Cam Beck.
The six qualities of an idea that is made to stick are: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotional, stories.
The Dip by Seth Godin.
This book introduced me to the concept of strategic quitting. In the back of my mind I have always suspected that giving up is as much a part of success as pursuing -- they both go to focus. Seth did a great job of driving that home and inspired me to write what I still consider one of my timeless posts -- how do you go from start to success?
As well, Seth was in Philadelphia at one of his few live appearances to mingle with local entrepreneurs and speak about ideas, examples, and stories that formed the foundation of his book. Mike Levin from HitTail, originally from this area, came all the way from New York to hear him.
Now is Gone by Geoff Livingston with Brian Solis.
This book is the perfect gift for someone who knows little about social media and wants to get started. That includes agencies that may be recommending social media as a tactic but do not do any of it themselves. When your agency approaches you about pitching to blogs, ask them about their track record of participation, blog URL, etc. I read it with interest, especially the case studies. As Geoff notes in his latest blog post, speed to market was his main deciding factor in going to print. Social media is something we are still very much testing and defining.
The Age of Conversation published by Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan and co-authored by 103 marketers.
As I announced this past week, the book will be available in regular bookstores soon. I have one whole page in the book where I talk about Conversation @ Work. Having just read the reason why Geoff felt that speed was more important than perfection with his book, I find myself thinking that the book needs a follow up. Many of us talked about what it means to be in the conversation and companies are now paying attention. The sequel should be how to do it.
How to Teach Your Baby to Read by Glenn Doman with Janet Doman.
This is not a business book, per se. Yet, I have always thought that giving your child the gift of learning how to read visually from an early age is a tremendous advantage that can open the doors to a world of opportunities. I wish I had learned that way, I would read faster now. Instead, we were taught to read our loud and from symbols, the letters.
I used this methodology to teach children Italian and I have seen it used successfully to teach brain-injured children how to read. It works even if you decide not to do it after you read the book, which is written for parents. It works because it changes forever the way you look at your child's potential.
The deciding factor for who gets which book depends on the person I am thinking about. Are they contemplating a foray into blogging? Are they looking for practical examples of how companies have wowed customers? Are they seeking to figure out what their business is about or how they can take it to the next level?
As for the reading cards in How To Teach Your Baby to Read -- give the list of words to a printing company that produces business cards, let them do the work. You just enjoy the time with your baby while she learns to read in easy steps. I have seen this and a companion on How To Teach Your Baby Math work for hundreds of children and their families. This is my standard gift to couples expecting a child.
While these are the books I gave away, I read many more this year, as you probably saw in the reviews I wrote.
Do you have a list of books you'd give away? If you're planning to give business books, you may want to check out The Ultimate Marketing Bookstore launched by Rohit Bhargava. As he describes in his announcement, all the proceeds from affiliate commissions that this site generates will be donated to DonorsChoose.org on a monthly basis.