I am so sick of this book! My twin boys have been fascinated with this story for two years now. We are swimming in books here at home, but month afterI am so sick of this book! My twin boys have been fascinated with this story for two years now. We are swimming in books here at home, but month after month this one continues to find its way to the evening "cuddle up with a book" time. The lack of words has encouraged a lot of sound effects, and there is just enough animosity between the knight and dragon to make it a little bit scary. Despite the failure at destroying each other, the two ultimately become business partners. The example is sufficiently classic to fill a whole chapter of the well-known marketing book, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy. Make sure to look at some other DePaola titles, too -- my kids love them all....more
Although there are hundreds of blogging books in print, from my surveying this one appears to be the most relevant practical guide -- so I gave it anAlthough there are hundreds of blogging books in print, from my surveying this one appears to be the most relevant practical guide -- so I gave it an extra star. I liked it for the following reasons:
(+) good tips on building readership (plus some SEO) (+) explanations of importance of garnering and giving referent links (+) practical tips on monetization (+) coverage of some useful tools I might not have otherwise discovered (+) highlighting some popular blogging platforms (+) engaging writing style (+) accessible as a book you could give to a co-worker, or even less-technical family member (+) gets reader excited about blogging
However, it has the following problems:
(-) some material highly subject to aging (e.g., blogger how-to steps could have been omitted) (-) promotion of some obnoxious tools (e.g., White Smoke grammar helper, user-unfriendly Microsoft Live Spaces) (-) very little mention of WordPress (you wouldn't realize its popularity by reading this book) (-) not enough emphasis on blog *reading* (Google Reader got one sentence, but its features and best practices could been expanded to a whole chapter). Optimizing your reading habits/patterns is a critical skill for surviving blog-bombardment (-) no mention of the role of pinging (and necessity by some services) (-) too many interviews (police wives and military perspectives didn't add anything for me) (-) a number of grammar and spelling mistakes (-) audience target may have been too broad (I would expect Apress to have had a better techie focus)
Overall, I thought the book could have been half the length and still had the same impact. But as a new blogger I got quite a bit out of the book, and I still recommend it to anyone who is not already a pro. Just be prepared to do a lot of skimming, and try to get a library/used copy that has important points highlighted....more
The Big Moo feels like a collection of blog posts from several thinkers that have gained Godin's attention, a merit which speaks for itself. I love thThe Big Moo feels like a collection of blog posts from several thinkers that have gained Godin's attention, a merit which speaks for itself. I love the idea of forming books around small, cohesive articles based on a theme; I wish there were more of these. This one's theme basically is "think differently and be inspired." It's worthy of going back to whenever you get into a rut. Things that stand out about this book:
* unique and varied writing styles * short and sweet * concision -- not enough space to drag out a point * anecdotal stories * entertaining * thought-provoking * inspiring
My favorite posts:
* Chopping Onions (differentiation) * When Everything Is Free (open source model everywhere) * They Say I'm Extreme (be very different) * Be Like Reggie (exceptional service) * Isaac Newton's Head (importance of naming) * What Do You Stand For (perseverance)
I have to stop here with just that sampling; it's hard to exclude many from a "favorites" list. So many gems!
I really wish the articles were individually online since they make great links, and warrant further discussion. Wouldn't that be the purple way? Maybe someone will devote a blog to expanding their topics....more
I've dabbled with what I consider to be all the major web frameworks: TurboGears, Pylons, Rails, and Django. Religion and other biases aside, what reaI've dabbled with what I consider to be all the major web frameworks: TurboGears, Pylons, Rails, and Django. Religion and other biases aside, what really made me finally settle on Django was the documentation (though community/all-in-one-ness/robustness aspects are also nice factors). What's notable out about Django documentation? Precision, attention to detail, comprehensiveness, and general emphasis on polish.
To many people, a book is what makes a new technology both accessible and credible. A couple years ago when I thought TurboGears was the framework I wanted, I got the book, and it was crap. Subsequently, other things about the framework started to feel lacking. Then with Pylons, there is no book, which reflects the constant state of flux of the component mix. Cool framework, admirable ideals, but no book. Now with Django, there is *the* book, and it's beautifully done, and you discover that the framework is, too.
I see this book as a true community resource. Its examples directly extend *the* tutorial. Being available in its up-to-date entirety as a living document, anyone can simply answer a question by consulting a link to a book section. I applaud the authors opening this book up to be accessible to everyone, both in ease of reading, and in being free for download. It is always reassuring to find a book about a tool being written by the authors of a tool, and that should contribute to making it the canonical Django resource....more
Although this book is delightful for the kids, Frederick really inspires YOU!
I'm adding this review for the impact it has had on me as an entrepreneurAlthough this book is delightful for the kids, Frederick really inspires YOU!
I'm adding this review for the impact it has had on me as an entrepreneur, idea generator, and casual writer. I think Lionni wrote this book autobiographically as someone who was often focused on less tangible work (absorbing and imagining). While so many laborers around us do the "real work", we spend our time not conforming to the traditions: we generate free content, feedback, software, bug reports, etc., and to many, those are intangibles. We leave traditional jobs to do things that many consider unimportant or even irresponsible wasting of time.
To the chagrin of his hard-working peers, Frederick gathered sunrays, colors, and words. Only much later did he make his profound contribution by translating those into uplifting stories. We should be confident that our creative and generous efforts today are worthwhile, and will collectively be what get us through the long, cold Winters ahead.
Whenever I need inspiration to persist at creative work, and justify my pursuits, I think of Frederick and know that my work is meaningful....more
Paul Graham (Hackers and Painters) has mentioned that an important read for preparing to start your own business is How To Win Friends and Influence PPaul Graham (Hackers and Painters) has mentioned that an important read for preparing to start your own business is How To Win Friends and Influence People. I'm happy to report that this gem from 1936 is timeless and truly life-changing. I believe Paul's reasons for the recommendation include: the importance of charisma, general rounding out one's personality, and finding ways to get responsiveness from people by making them feel good.
My real intent in making this review is to get you to pick up a copy of this book and absorb every nugget, so your relationships will increase and improve.
One complaint I have is that the table of contents does not very well summarize the maxims. They are, however, listed in a table at the end of each of the sections. I'll combine them here by their major sections.
Fundamentals for handling people: Don't be critical. Be sincerely appreciative, not flattering. Arouse in the other person an eager want, by focusing on their needs instead of yours.
Making people like you: Get others to do most of the talking. Listen well, and make them feel important. Then they'll feel so good about being listened to that they'll do anything for you.
Win people to your way of thinking: Always start in a friendly way, and be dramatic! See things from the other person's point of view, and be sympathetic with that view.
Leadership: Give lots of genuine praise, and be encouraging. Talk about your own mistakes first, and make his faults seem easy to correct. Ask questions instead of giving orders. Give the other person person a fine reputation to live up to, and let him save face.
Some of the lessons in the book are especially challenging to apply; e.g., making other people feel like your ideas are their own. A fundamental part of an entrepreneur's livelihood is idea generation. But ideas supposedly are not terribly valuable on their own (it's the execution that counts), so maybe this maxim is still valid. This seems to underscore the importance of having a lot of trust in your business partner(s).
I've noticed that a lot of people don't call me by my name; maybe just because it's slightly uncommon. I do make an effort to remember someone's name and use it with some frequency. It was encouraging to hear Carnegie underscore this. He's right -- it does feel good when someone addresses me properly.
I'm going to change my approach to making requests of people. I have a habit of getting right to the point and immediately stating what I want and why. That's probably why so many of my requests go unanswered! A general theme in the book is that getting what you want involves some indirection. I.e., think of things from the other person's perspective and present things from an angle of how they are the beneficiary.
Overall, lots of Carnegie's ideas are common sense, but it still was useful to hear him voice them. Some of the principles are not so obvious and I probably wouldn't have ever discovered them on my own. I toted this book around with me for a couple weeks and found that having the ideas fresh in my head greatly improved my interactions with people. For this reason, I think this book (or its summary) would be highly valuable to skim over before every important meeting....more
At the heart of this book is the notion of "Moore's idea diffusion curve". It's just a bell-curve that shows innovators (sneezers), early adopters, eaAt the heart of this book is the notion of "Moore's idea diffusion curve". It's just a bell-curve that shows innovators (sneezers), early adopters, early/late majority, and laggards. The central theme of the book is that you need to target the front of that curve by appealing your "remarkable" product to them as a niche, and treat them very specially.
Contrary to the most popular review here (quite negative) calling this book an unnecessarily expanded essay, I would argue that Godin covers a lot of ground in a concise 137 pages. And you don't need an MBA to understand the principles. This book is required reading for anyone looking to start a business.
The most resonating take-away is that marketing has worked its way to the front phases of product development. If the product can't *be* the marketing, then it will fail. This means that developers/engineers need to understand a bit about marketing, and need to be able to include and work with marketers from conception.
In the few hours it took to read through "Purple Cow", I've been able to take away quite a few valuable insights:
- The days of the "Hurricane Effect" (traditional massive blitz marketing, e.g., TV commercials, banner ads) are over
- Understand the importance of the idea curve (a simple concept) and its ripple effect.
- Employ market-centric design (marketers need to be a part of early design phase).
- At the front of the curve are sneezers -- a very loud group of users who will do your marketing for you.
- Treat the sneezers individually and personally, as your most valuable asset. Overwhelm that small target, and please them in every way possible.
- You can only attract sneezers by being remarkable (a purple cow, stand out, break the rules, do the unsafe thing, etc).
- The marketing *is* the product (the Leaning Tower of Pisa markets itself just in its name), and a good slogan is essential.
- If your product is not innovative, start over.
- Find an edge of the market, go to it and beyond.
- Resist the temptation to "milk the cow" (be ever seeking the next purple cow).
If you must pay $[...] for this book, it is well worth it. But given its popularity, you'll likely find many copies at your local library. In reading this you'll probably become a Godin fan. His blog continues to discuss material similar to that found in this book....more