The Art of Non-Conformity: A Quick Review

Chris Guillebeau’s first book, The Art of Non-Conformity, is not a busi­ness book, at least not per se. It’s more of a man­i­festo for liv­ing dif­fer­ently, in which Guille­beau makes a pas­sion­ate appeal for peo­ple not to accept the role of liv­ing out a life of what’s expected, but to chart your own uncon­ven­tional course instead.

Power Friending: A Quick Review

Amber Mac, Power Friending Last week I fin­ished Amber Mac’s (that’s Amber MacArthur, or @ambermac; also on Wikipedia) book, Power Friend­ing: Demys­ti­fy­ing Social Media to Grow Your Busi­ness [Kin­dle Edi­tion]. I admit to being hes­i­tant because of the title, which I didn’t really like, but I do appre­ci­ate Amber’s take on all things social media, so I over­came my appre­hen­sion. And the title can’t be hurt­ing sales — at least not more than is made up for by Amber’s smil­ing face on the cover. And the book just hit one of the Globe & Mail’s Top Ten book lists, prob­a­bly because Amber knows her stuff and presents it well.

Gladwell Denies Social Media Any Tipping Point

Malcolm Gladwell Mal­colm Gladwell’s been wrong before, when he dis­agreed with Chris Anderson’s the­sis in his book Free: The Future of a Rad­i­cal Price. But this time, it’s a lit­tle stranger… this time I have to won­der what he’s think­ing in his lat­est piece, “Small Change: Why the rev­o­lu­tion will not be tweeted,” where he dis­counts social net­works, say­ing they can­not prod­uct the kind of pas­sion nec­es­sary to drive social change because they really only affect weak ties issues.

I guess I’m not the only one who’s baf­fled. In Guardian arti­cle respond­ing to Gladwell’s, Clay Shirky is quoted as call­ing it “a weird arti­cle,” say­ing that

Paying for Insight

I’m enjoy­ing Seth Godin’s lat­est book, Linch­pin: Are You Indis­pens­able?. In his chap­ter on “Becom­ing the Linch­pin”, he has a great dia­gram on page 52, which I’ve repro­duced here. His linch­pin dis­cus­sion is a good illus­tra­tion of the vari­ance between price and value. I always cringe when a client reacts neg­a­tively to my billing rate (which is low for the indus­try). If they say, “I wish I could bill my time at that rate,” I know they haven’t got it and may never “get it.” I want to ask them what rate they pay their mechanic or their accoun­tant. It’s a ques­tion of the value con­tributed, not the price paid. This is the prob­lem with peo­ple who try to do too much tweak­ing on the prod­uct of a good designer… they don’t under­stand that they’re pay­ing for exper­tise and then negat­ing its value. Per­haps they’d rather have an expert at min­i­mum wage?

The Antilibrary & The Value of What You Don’t Know

In his umberto-eco best­seller The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improb­a­ble, Nas­sim Nicholas Taleb writes about Umberto Eco’s library.

The writer Umberto Eco belongs to that small class of schol­ars who are ency­clo­pe­dic, insight­ful, and non­dull. He is the owner of a larger per­sonal library (con­tain­ing thirty thou­sand books), and sep­a­rates vis­i­tors into two cat­e­gories: those who react with “Wow! Sig­nore pro­fes­sore dot­tore Eco, what a library you have! How many of these books have you read?” and the others–a very small minority–who get the point that a pri­vate library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valu­able than unread ones. The library should con­tain as much of what you do not know as your finan­cial means, mort­gage rates, and the cur­rently tight real-estate mar­ket allow you to put there. You will accu­mu­late more knowl­edge and more books as you grow older, and the grow­ing num­ber of unread books on the shelves will look at you men­ac­ingly. Indeed, the more you know, the larger the rows of unread books. Let us call this col­lec­tion of unread books an antili­brary.[1]

Setting A Book Free

Some­times a book needs to be set free. tribes_cover When I received my sec­ond copy of Seth Godin’s Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, it was with the pro­viso that it be passed along. Any­one who pre-ordered the book and joined Tri­i­ibes (as I did, though I don’t hang there much) was sent a sec­ond copy of the book as a gift and told to pass it along to some­one who needed to start a tribe.

I did this, and it’s a good exam­ple on Seth’s part of giv­ing some­thing for free in the inter­est (at least par­tially) of increas­ing sales. More expo­sure to your mes­sage, even for free, in the short term will mean more ongo­ing sales in the long term. It’s Seth Godin putting his money where his mouth is (before the fact), and I agree with him on this one. Appar­ently, so did his publisher.

Tuned In: The Book

Tuned In: Uncover the Extraordinary Opportunities That Lead to Business Breakthroughs For almost the past four years now, I've been writing a pseudonymous blog that primarily follows the emerging/missional church, but even there I occasionally touch on topics relevant to marketing and (for lack of a better description) "Cluetrain" thinking. I have a post or two about Starbuck's that might be the culprit, or it might be the quip I sometimes use with reference to products or services that I tend to call "a perfect solution to a problem nobody has." Whatever the inspiration, I somehow made it onto the authors' list of people who helped inspire or inform their thinking as they describe what they call the "Tuned-In Process" through their book, Tuned In: Uncover the Extraordinary Opportunities That Lead to Business Breakthroughs (USA Link) by Phil Myers, Craig Stull, and David Meerman Scott. I discovered the link-back to my blog and read their offer to anyone on the list to provide them with a free copy of the book. I was curious about what they were saying and how I might fit in, so naturally I took them up on the offer.