Category Archives: Books

Who’s Time Is It?

Here’s an excellent post by Abraham at the Desiring God blog.

My favorite quote (referring to when Jesus still took time to pray for his followers even though he was being hunted down to be crucified):

“It would be like if your pastor was willing to stay up front after a service and pray for you, knowing there was someone in the building waiting around to shoot him.”

A couple years ago, I read C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, and it quickly become my favorite book of all. If you aren’t familiar with the story, it basically focuses on a young “demon in training” who’s learning from his demon uncle how to be a good hell-raiser and get to humans. The thought-provoking perspective is simply refreshing and convicting.

One of the sections talks about how the demons must make it a priority for humans to think their time is their own. In other words, once you plan something, then it should not be interrupted. Convince us all that we must stay on schedule with our tasks and not allow any interruptions. The demons knew that doing so would help us miss out on many of God’s blessings and lessons.

Think about it – how often are the great things in life planned? Or better yet, how often do you plan for something great to happen, and it just doesn’t pan out? Finally, how selfish is it to think our time being completely under our control?

The problem with us when we think this way is that we often look at Jesus as interrupting our lives. In fact, that might sum up American Christianity pretty well.

A New Era of Book Publishing

Some interesting stuff is going on when it comes to publishing and publicizing a new book.

  • Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail, gives a head’s up on how he’ll be releasing his next book, and how much of it will be free.
  • The Citizen Marketers, Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell, have just finished a book tour that was completely enabled by their fans.
  • Seth Godin is seeing mega-success with The Dip, and he’s supported it with a separate blog and a similar fan-driven book tour.

I don’t know completely what to make of it all, but I like it. Mainly because you will succeed with this if you indeed write good stuff and have enough fans to prove it. It will help weed out the phonies and produce the real thing.

On the other hand, I worry that the hottest product to market these days is marketing. In the case of these writers, they all have their own “day jobs” to keep them on the edge, but many of us are tempted by marketing marketing that we never actually get around to marketing. We just talk and write about it, but never do it.

I guess this rambling post is a challenge to me and anyone else like me who can sense the temptation and knows it’s a dangerous area to dance too close to. I mean, if the proof is in the pudding, then the real measure of success is in the pudding (redundant, I know), not the ability to write the recipe or to comment about the recipe.

6 Must-Have Marketing Books

If I taught a marketing class for a college, these would be my text books. Roughly placed in order of how they should be read, but not mandatory.

Duncan’s Marketing 101:

  1. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, Seth Godin– Not my favorite Seth Godin book, but it drives home the point that marketing starts (and ends, really) with producing a remarkable product.
  2. The End of Marketing as We Know It, Sergio Zyman – This is the guy that launched New Coke in the mid-80’s and 84 days later brought back Classic Coke. This is the first book on marketing I ever read that really opened my eyes.
  3. The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, Al Ries – Ries is one of the forefathers of good writing on marketing. His writing style is possibly too simple, and his anecdotes and laws are certainly spawned of the more traditional marketing/advertising age of the mid-80s, but the points still apply. He’s better known for Positioning, but I think all those points and a few others are in this book, so I would just go with that.
  4. Your Marketing Sucks., Mark Stevens – There are lots of to-the-point nuggets in this one, especially when it comes to tactics. Overall, this book reminds me that you must be able to construct a single, consistent, easy-to-understand message for your marketing efforts to really work.
  5. Free Prize Inside!: The Next Big Marketing Idea, Seth Godin – This is my favorite Godin book. It takes Purple Cow and brings it to life with idea-starters and inspiration to really push it to the edge.
  6. The One Minute Manager Anniversary Ed: The World’s Most Popular Management Method, Ken Blanchard – OK, I know this is a management book, not a marketing book. But all marketers must know how to work with people, since most people in an office are reacting to what the marketing department is launching. Knowing how to communicate it with different people, set expectations and get it done is completely invaluable, and this is the best management book I’ve ever read (probably cuz it has only 3 very easy-to-remember points and that’s about all I can handle).

I’ll be working on Marketing 102 (or 201, or 1402, or whatever colleges call them these days).

‘The Dip,’ a new book by Seth Godin

Seth Godin has a new book out, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), and here’s his free manifesto. Seth has also launched a separate blog specifically dedicated to this new book, and he’s trying some new launch techniques that are definitely worth an examination.

A few groups of people that seem like a worthy audience off the top of my head:

  • Entrepreneurs and small business owners
  • Direct sales/network marketing reps
  • Dreamers
  • Sanjaya

Here are some other cool links dealing with it. Rest assured, I will own a copy within 7 days or less.