Weekend Mashup Book Reviews
I've had a little extra time for reading this summer, and being a blogger helps feed my reading addiction, as I usually have a small cadre of publishers and publicists pushing their wares. I think I've mentioned before that I will never even mention a book or product if I don't like it and don't believe it warrants mention to my readers.
Simon Mainwaring's book, We First - How Brands & Consumers Use Social Media to Build a Better World, is a good reminder for all of us about why we got into this thing called social media. He takes a page from Hillary Clinton's "It Takes a Village" playbook and applies it to the ever-evolving world drama that plays out in real time every minute on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and other media. I liked this book for a couple of reasons:
- Mainwaring provides applicable anecdotes thoughout to drive home his points, making it crystal clear why mutual sharing is the best way to do business
- He balances current universal political themes - capitalism and sustainability - to show that if we play our social media cards right, we can have our cake and eat it, too... and continue to have that cake around for a long, long time.
It's a meaty read that you won't tackle in one sitting, but it's worth the perusal all the same. I know of some "social media superstars" who could stand a refresher course in humility, starting with this book.
A while back, I received an advance copy of Ryan Blair's Nothing to Lose, Everything to gain - How I went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur (with Don Yaeger). The first part of this book is autobiographical, followed by an expounded list of business lessons. I'm going to be blunt and tell you not to buy this book for the lessons (they're all sound and good reminders of how business should be run). The true value of this book is, again, twofold:
- Blair is an outstanding story-teller, and his personal journey is one that needs to be shared. Many people lead very sheltered lives, and reminders of personal perseverence are helpful
- Blair understands systems thinking, and his bridge between life events and lessons are embedded in the relationship between inputs and outputs.
I think we too often get lost in the fallacy of a book that has to provide all the answers or it has no value. Blair's book provides answers, but he's going to motivate you to think for yourself to find them. I can respect that.
And finally, on the occasional project, you are thrown into the task of performing "due diligence" to determine whether a decision (usually to purchase or do business with another company) is a solid decision.
AMA's Handbook of Due Diligence takes away a lot of that angst, providing forms and templates and processes to help everyone from the due diligence novice to the expert make it through the process with less pain than if they'd try to go it alone. It's a good investment if you're in that mode, and the proven track record of AMA assures you it will be a good product.
So that's all from this side of the world... happy reading!