Bought on Audible as one of their latest business titles and because the topic interests me - what a complete shambles of a book. I'm convinced theBought on Audible as one of their latest business titles and because the topic interests me - what a complete shambles of a book. I'm convinced the narrator is a robot, and I'm not sure the book isn't computer-generated either: listening to it give you that disconcerting sense you get when you realise you're conversing with a bot rather than a human being. Random phrases are repeated, there's a surreal diversion into setting up a property sideline (HOW is this content marketing?), it's riddled with nonsensical sentences and poor grammar, there's little or nothing by way of original ideas, and the whole thing is utterly devoid of personality. Which is ironic, because Porter quite rightly points out that excellent content, attention to grammar and the personality of your voice are vital to success in content marketing. I finished it only because I happened to be on a long drive and it was too much off a faff to switch it off, and also because by the end I was quite enjoying shouting at the narrator. Don't waste your Audible credit on this one....more
Refreshing, readable and practical - there are lots of 'creative thinking' books out there, and in some ways this doesn't really say anything wildlyRefreshing, readable and practical - there are lots of 'creative thinking' books out there, and in some ways this doesn't really say anything wildly different. But it brings together the key elements of creativity simply, helpfully, and beautifully, marrying Duggan and Murphy's clear conversational prose with the draughtsmanship of illustrator Laura Dabalsa.
Three stand-outs for me, that are pure gold for anyone engaged in the creative task of writing a business book, as most of my clients are:
1. don't be fooled into thinking that to qualify as creative an idea must be entirely original. Creative solutions come from new combinations - of existing ideas, practices, technologies etc. So creativity isn't about removing yourself from the world and thinking new thoughts, it's about walking through the world with curiosity and presence of mind (a key phrase in the book).
2. replace both negative and positive thinking with creative thinking - there's a hugely helpful table that contrasts negative thinking ('If at first you don't succeed, it proves you're not worthy. Give up and try something easier instead.') with positive thinking ('If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again.') and creative thinking ('If at first you don't succeed, study why and consider changing your goal.') Positive thinking might make for good memes, but creative thinking is likely to make for better outcomes.
3. replace networking with idea networking. This is particularly dear to my heart - it's the philosophy behind my podcast, The Extraordinary Business Book Club, though I hadn't articulated it in this way. Start with a question, and identify the best person in your current network to discuss it with. Listen carefully to their answer, thank them, and then ask them who else you should take your question to. Keep going, and you will not only learn a huge amount about the topic you've chosen, you'll build much richer and more rewarding relationships with people along the way.
It's a short book - I read it in a day or so - but very much worth the read....more
Taleb is without question a brilliant thinker. His central thesis in this book - that we need to demand that players have skin in the game beforeTaleb is without question a brilliant thinker. His central thesis in this book - that we need to demand that players have skin in the game before they're allowed to play the game - is compelling, and the way he brings in historical and present-day examples to build his argument is occasionally dazzling.
But the experience of reading it is a thoroughly unpleasant one.
It's akin to listening to a slightly drunk elderly professor with a massive chip on his shoulder on a rambling, axe-grinding, 300-page rant. I'm willing to bet an editor tried to intervene to make the experience more pleasant for the reader, and that they were summarily slapped down.
There's a very revealing comment from Taleb right at the end, as he comes to write the traditional summary of ideas, the one that's so helpful to readers and demonstrates real clarity of thought on the part of the author, and then decides against it: 'When the beard is black, heed the reasoning, but ignore the conclusion. When the beard is grey, consider both the reasoning and the conclusion. When the beard is white, skip the reasoning, but mind the conclusion.' Let's set aside the casual misogyny (no beard, no need to consider anything at all). What he's basically saying is: it is what it is. Take it or leave it. I don't have to explain myself any more.
Some will find this arrogance inspiring and stirring: I just found it irritating and, ultimately, dull.
Having read most of her later work, it was fascinating for me to listen to Brené Brown 'join the dots' in this 2010 book to show how she came to doHaving read most of her later work, it was fascinating for me to listen to Brené Brown 'join the dots' in this 2010 book to show how she came to do the research she's famous for, and how it's shaped her personal life as well as her professional life. Brown writes like an angel: she's warm, engaging, funny and wise. Her metaphors are refreshingly memorable: she talks about the temptation to ignore part of her research findings in the same way that her husband disregards left-over screws after he's assembled flat-pack furniture with a breezy 'These must be spares...' And of course the topics of her research - how humans connect, why it matters, and what gets in the way - is just about as fundamental as it gets when it comes to living a better life and building better relationships at home and in the office. It's perhaps not as substantial as the later Daring Greatly or Dare to Lead, but it's very much worth a read, or ideally a listen, as it's such a treat to hear Brown speak her own words with such animation and authenticity. ...more