Books Read in January 2010

Ill Met in the Arena by Dave Duncan

I'd really describe this one as a twisting political thriller, although the title makes you think action, that is set in an unusual fantasy world where the details really matter to the plot.

The Accidental Sorcerer by K. E. Mills

When this novel started I felt a bit like I was in Harry Potter's world, except looking at what a wizard who wasn't so good at it did when he grew up. The story, though, was about a man who was changing and the messes he got himself into and out of. I liked it enough that I intend to read the next two in the trilogy.

Women for Hire's Get-Ahead Guide to Career Success by Tory Johnson and Robyn Freedman Spizman

I suppose it was a good manual for someone who hasn't read anything in the genre before, but I was hoping for something with a little more punch. On the other hand, I did like the little real-life story boxes scattered throughout the text.

Lean Thinking by James Womack and Daniel Jones

This book took me a ridiculously long time to push through, especially considering that it didn't even all sink in. But it's important enough that I'm going to buy the updated edition and read it again, passing on the first version that I picked up at the used bookstore for 50 cents.

Cake Wrecks by Jen Yates

My husband found the blog some time ago and has fun showing me the worst ones, so I don't subscribe, just so he can point them out. The book was a great collection and I enjoyed reading the story behind the story.

Small Giants by Bo Burlingham

This was a very appealing book to me because of the basic concept - that there are ways to be a successful company other than just growing larger. I felt it left me with a good grasp of how it could work, and has worked for others, and what the tradeoffs might be. A lot of it had to do with community, both inside and outside the company. If there are manufacturing companies like this out there, then they are the ones that I'd ideally like to do content marketing projects for.

Connected Wisdom by Linda Booth Sweeney

I was truly enthralled by the idea behind this book but kept getting distracted by the format once it actually arrived. It's very large, though not very thick, with some large colored illustrations. I think it's supposed to give the feel of a children's picture book but the colors and feel are kind of off somehow for that. I would have preferred a more traditional size or simply black and white.

Aside from that distraction, it was interesting to see some of the international fairy tales connected to the ideas of systems thinking, but it didn't live up to my expectations. Perhaps they were unrealistic to begin with.

Mastering the Complex Sale by Jeff Thull

This book really impressed me. I could see how many of the concepts interacted with complex sales I'd personally experienced. I need to go over it again with a fine-tooth comb - see comment below.

Secrets of Consulting by Gerald Weinberg

What wonderfully delightful laws to remember and so many of them applied simply to doing work with other departments. I especially like the idea of not swooping in to save the day, because then the current people in the position have to admit that they were wrong. Instead approach it as how you can make things better. Nearly everyone can get behind better.

Peter and Max by Bill Willingham

It's set in the same world as a comic book series I read called Fables, one which ties the world of fairy tales to our own in odd ways. Max Piper is the Pied Piper of legend, Peter Piper of the pumpkin shell and pickled peppers is his brother, the hero of our story, who marries Bo Peep.

The story moves back and forth in time and you don't need to have read the comics to understand it. The characters deepen as you go and I truly wasn't expecting the ending, as fitting as it was.

eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale by Ardath Albee

It was illuminating to read this different approach to the idea of online content marketing, which was essentially what it boils down to, although the term is rarely used. I especially appreciated the discussions of hand-offs and interactions in the selling company. Mostly, I need to go over it again.

I've got Lead Generation for the Complex sale on order and when I've read that one I hope to go over all three "complex sale" books, process the info, relate it to content marketing, and otherwise make sure I actually understand and can apply or give advice on what I've been reading.

No B.S. Sales Success by Dan Kennedy

I'd never read Dan Kennedy before, although I'd heard the name. It's hard to escape it in the world of copywriting. Somehow I'd gotten the impression that he'd be smarmy but effective. Yet this book didn't feel that way at all. It was very practical and will be a reference to apply when I'm actually in or planning a sales situation.

On the Nightstand:

Switch, Ottoman Embroidery