Books Read in October 2009

Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

I can't really say I learned much new from this book, but that wasn't really the point. It pulled together all these different bits of philosophy floating around the blogosphere, put them together in a coherent way and included both stories and action steps for taking the idea of being an influencer and a trusted advisor to the next level. It was more slanted to the individual than the corporation and worth a read if you've just been bumming around online and not trying to build a brand or a reputation there.

Secrets of Question Based Selling by Thomas Freese

One of the things that caught me about this book was how similar the process framed by the questions was to the process that a good long sales letter is supposed to bring the reader through. The entire framework of this sales approach appealed to me and the book made it very easy to understand. I'll be returning to this one.

The Treasure of Khan by Clive and Dirk Cussler

I've always enjoyed the way the Dirk Pitt books combine adventure and a mystery that is in part based on science. I hadn't picked this one up yet and it fulfilled all my expectations for an entertaining read.

The Canon by Natalie Angier - Abandoned

I tried to read this book, I really did. It's subtitled "A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science" and I thought it would be a great review. But the lyricism in her writing would only hold me for a couple pages before I'd come up gasping for air from the density of the thing and I just didn't feel like inching my way through the book.

Naked Conversations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel

This 2006 book was definitely a precursor to Trust Agents, but with a more corporate focus. I don't have a good enough feel for what companies and marketing departments are doing regularly to be able to tell if it's still relevant or is considered accepted knowledge. I enjoyed it well enough.

Seven Lessons for Leading in Crisis by Bill George

It just didn't impress me. It was a nice collection of things this CEO had learned and could be useful to other executives needing a fresh perspective, but isn't something I'd really recommend in general.

This was one of the first offerings from The Big Brain Business Book Club sponsored by 800-CEORead, so I read it when it arrived and then got into the supplemental material. I was also unimpressed with that. Most of it was available elsewhere and the exclusive part was basically a rehash of the book in audio form.

The Hardcore Diaries by Mick Foley

I'd been entertained by Foley's previous memoirs and was by this one as well, even though my husband and I stopped watching wrestling a few years ago. I especially like the time based format and seeing an idea evolve and change in a way that probably wouldn't have been revealed so clearly the book had been written after the conclusion.

Making Things Happen by Scott Berkun

There was SO much to absorb in this book on project managment that I'm not even sure where to begin commenting on it, even though I was carefully reading it one chapter at the time. It was clearly written and deserving of its place on the Personal MBA. I need to put it aside for a bit and go back to it with a pen and paper for a second reading.

Borrowing Brilliance by David Kord Murray

A major wow. I wasn't very far into this book on innovation when I realized how much it clicked and intersected with some of my ideas in Inventing Elephants. I deliberately rushed through it, swallowing it in a gulp, since I knew I'd be going over the concepts more carefully as I blogged about them. The series starts with the first step and will end with a fuller book review.

This was the other of the first two books sent from The Big Brain Business Book Club and I'm thrilled that it motivated me to read it sooner. I'd seen a review or two and would have come across Borrowing Brilliance eventually, but not for awhile. The supplemental material was again mostly available elsewhere, but this time the exclusive interview included a question about what have you learned since writing the book. That was very worthwhile.

I still like the concept of the Book Club but am not sure I want to continue to pay for the curating feature that they provide when there's so much else I want to read and I have reasonably clear priorities about what should go first.

The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson

I've been meaning to read this for awhile and recognixing some of the concepts in Borrowing Brilliance kicked me over the edge. I took this one in at a gulp as well, wanting to get through it before I started discussing the other book. It was more traditionally academic, but still fast moving. You'll see more of it over on Inventing Elephants in a while.

The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany

This book revealed a culture I'd never much thought of before, that of modern-day Egypt. It was an ensemble cast and a number of the plot variations dangled out, a bit messy, like life. It was tied together by the location of the apartment building and an overarching concept of two people with dreams moving away from each other into two different aspects of the culture and all that went on around them. I pick novels like these up more to see the world differently than for entertainment and this one fulfilled my expectations.

On the nightstand:

Lean Thinking, Sin and Syntax, The Mermaid's Madness