Books Read in April 2009

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout

This book on advertising and business strategy held up to the test of time as well as all the recommenders promised. I still struggle with the idea that it’s better to narrow your appeal, but I’m closer to understanding it then I was last year and the year before.

The Afghan Amulet: Travels from the Hindu Kush by Sheila Paine

This book was a bit more disjointed and less of a coherent story than I expected, but I guess that captures the nature of the journey itself. It was fascinating to see how Sheila twisted and turned her way through a time and place that was shocked to see her. Unlike one of the Amazon reviewers, I wished there had been more embroidery rather than less, but then, that’s how I found the book in the first place.

Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds

This book was something more of a manifesto and something less than a manual. It encapsulated an idea and a visually oriented mindset to take on as you plan a presentation, even if you don’t go so far towards the ideal as Garr would like you to.

One thing that I really took away for practical use is the idea of creating a separate leave-behind document that is NOT your slide deck. This frees you up to make a slide deck that supports your spoken words instead of competing with them.

Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward

I love this fantasy novel about what might happen if the world tipped too far towards good. The characters are engaging. The sneaky little build-offs and references to its ancestors in the Dragonlance and Lord of the Rings sagas are a special bit of fun.

I actually read this book back in college and kept the paperback around. Then I made the mistake of actually recommending it to my husband, who promptly commandeered and HID it. He found a hardback copy for a good price (relatively speaking) just this month and squirreled it away instead. With my original copy released into my custody, I just HAD to re-read it.

The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual by Christopher Locke, Rick Levine, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger

I’d had this in my to read stack for a while, because I’d heard great things about how important it was when the manifesto came out in 1999 and the book in 2001, but hadn’t gotten around to it until I heard on Twitter about the 10th anniversary blog celebration. So I read it, liked it, and blogged about it.

Slay and Rescue by John Moore

Sweet fantasy novel with a sex-obsessed virgin Prince Charming and some unusual ways of bringing Sleeping Beauty and Snow White into the mix. Unfortunately only currently in print as a Science Ficition Book Club exclusive.