Spread the Good Read

There are those who lament business books as quite empty shells of hardly anything new. For example, this by Dave Logan (himself a business book author — go figure), “3 Reasons Why Business Books Are Bad for You” was very disappointing. Even worse were that so many people agreed with him.

There are good books and bad books in every published genre which exists, and I still urge you to READ. Commit to discovering at least one gem you can weave into a conversation with someone else, or add to your day as something you’ll try doing (verb it). Be a continually-improving chooser: Unlike Mr. Logan I believe good books are plentiful and very easy to find. You’ll soon discover that you do get better at your selections because you’ve started to ‘follow the yellow book road’ and ace your jumps to shorter degrees of separation: Books leave trails.

Let’s help each other. Here are two trails you can take:
1. Online, right here on Talking Story
Leave a comment for us: What was the last good book you read, and why did you like it? What was the gem you took away from it?

2. Offline, in your ‘Imi ola life
Keep the good books in circulation: Who do you know who would love the last good book you read? Recommend it to them; lend or give them your copy to read, and then continue the conversation about it when you get it back.

Reading on the Beach

Somewhat related, from back in May: PÅ«‘olo Mea Maika‘i: Playlists ~ extend those thoughts to books!

UPDATE: This was a smile-inducing find this afternoon:

It’s a Book, by Lane Smith


  1. James Shewmaker says

    A book I am reading

    Beginning in 1948, Winston Churchill published a multi-volume postmortem of World War II. I am currently reading The Gathering Storm.

    Churchill argues rather persuasively that long before Germany became a military threat that the major European nations had torn down the very safeguards that had been put in place which could have prevented the Second World War and the few that remained were not activated when they were needed.

    The main point that one can take away from The Gathering Storm is that allowing idealism and fantasy based business plans to blind one to the reality of what is going on around you can lead to the very disaster which your idealism is supposed to render obsolete and archaic.

    Although many would only see within this book parallels in the political and foreign policy realm, I see parallels in families, businesses and in religion.

    Its not always the easiest book to read but “The Gathering Storm” is worth reading in my opinion.

  2. says

    Rosa & friends,
    One fascinating way to share the books we read or are reading, including our recommendations, is one i just recently discovered from a subscriber. It is the capacity on LinkedIn to share Your Reading List and to follow others. I learn so much about the disparate interests of people I think I know well by their varied choices and reactions. I confess it is one of my favorite reasons for going on LI.

    On my list a recent book I enjoyed was The Abundant Community and another was What’s Mine is Yours. I’d love to see other’s list.
    Mine is here
    Also you can create a shareable list at Listiki. I have one on collaboration-related books and sites here.

    • Rosa Say says

      Good recommendations Kare, mahalo – that’s quite a long reading list you have going there!

      I think of GoodReads as well… there are several web-based options now with tribal community efforts woven into them, and I think it’s just a matter of choosing which you will engage in and keep up with because you do find like-minded recommendations flow most reliably for you.

      Personally, I do like the added incentive with using LinkedIn more than I presently do, and want to investigate the connection to our MWA Group there!

  3. says

    Rosa, thank you for championing books and authors! I have the opposite view of Mr. Logan, there are very few bad books. Yes, the same topics may be covered but in a different voice. The joy of reading is finding those authors and books that speak to you in a new way. I have also had the experience of having a book not move me at the time but when read in a different season, I took it in quite differently. One of the last good business books I read was Collapse of Distinction. I have turned to it again and again for the solid advice and inspired thinking on branding your business.

    • Rosa Say says

      We are kindred spirits Karen :) I did know that, but it feels so good to share your enthusiasm yet again, so mahalo for sharing your comment.

      Collapse of Distinction intrigues me greatly in title alone (I instantly think of the value of Ho‘ohanohano), and your recommendation gives added oomph to my intrigue for sure: I must look for it. Time for a new Kindle selection for me and this ‘season’ might be just right :)

  4. says

    I’m also guilty of being a little hard on business themed books. So often they’re short and cute but leave me wanting more… they also tend to be hard covers or trade paperbacks and expensive. “The Purple Fred that moved my Cheese” or something like that… They are exciting when I read them but they’re like a Reeses cup to me. Smooth and delicious but not always that satisfying later.

    They can also tend to be repetitive. Oh look. This book says be nice to customers and prioritize important things first. WOW! For years I’ve not done ANY of that!!!

    Here’s the thing… The same can be said of novels. What are there 10 ideas for stories out there? Man vs Man/Nature/Himself/God/The World/Technology but the way those stories are told are hugely different. Nobody says we shouldn’t write new books because all the stories have already been told! (They say it about movies when they’re too derivative, Avatar was very much Smurfs dancing with wolves and fern gully etc…) But we constantly look for more/better ways to tell stories to see what resonates with us better. We can read the same story at different times in our lives and find different things in the same story told the same way every time we read it. Things that are relevant to us RIGHT now that weren’t the last couple times we read the story, be it a novel or a business book.

    So are business books sometimes fluff or repetitive? Sure they are. But that’s not a bad thing. Heck, Italian food is repetitive. It’s a kind of pasta and then something either red, white, or olive oil based dumped on it. Sometimes it’s in a pile, sometimes it’s in a soup but at the end of the day it’s a noodle and sauce, but I sure love it… endless variety there! Mexican food, same thing, mashed beans, mashed meat, mashed vegetables in some kind of shell. But I love that too.

    My only complaint about business books is they tend to cost more, per word, than novels, or most other books really. But that’s what libraries are for. Only buy the ones you remember a week later and you’re golden!

    • says

      In case I wasn’t clear enough I’ve thought the same thing at times, but that’s more often a criticism of a bad book than a bad genre. I guess I should have been more clear but I’m hungry and I got all caught up in my foodie comparisons lol.

    • Rosa Say says

      Thanks for the comment Rich. I do get that there’s a valid complaint in what Logan says, though his cynicism took it too far I thought, pulling this posting out of me. As a biz book author adding to the fray with my own writing I take it as an instructive challenge too, not wanting to write ‘yet another leadership blah, blah, blah’ book – or posting for that matter! So that challenge is a good one, and I do appreciate the prompting.

      You also bring up good observations about repetition. Yes, it’s the learning of ‘brain hammering’ but there’s also that consumption joy that is so worth repeating again and again. (And yeah, definitely with pasta and Mexican food too!)

      One of the reasons I’m most pleased with how Managing with Aloha turned out, a hard-cover designed to be written in, is because it’s now used in the collegiate textbook market and is a steal compared to most textbooks. I do agree that hard-covers are costly though, and besides the library, that’s where the Kindle now comes in for me.

      By the way Rich, you are sooo good at writing book reviews on your blog for us, surely one of those supreme acts of ‘spreading the good read.’

  5. says

    Funny you should mention Managing With Aloha as a hardcover. I’m glad it is. My copy, I’m moving next month so I’ve started boxing some stuff up, my copy I noticed is looking a lot worse for wear. If I had it in a pile of other management books it’d be obvious which one has been with me on the most trips. I wound up not packing it, because so often book boxes aren’t un packed so whenever I move I have a “Stuff I need right away so keep it on top” box and that’s where MwA is going. :) Thanks for a book that can’t be accused of being fluff because I use it so often! (And it’s really marked up too.)

    • Rosa Say says

      Hearing that MWA is “looking a lot worse for wear” and that “it’s really marked up too” are about the best things you can say to me Rich!

      Was wondering if you would have to move… will be watching your Flickr sharing for your new haunts.

  6. says

    I learned long ago that the key is to stop looking at books as a whole, or judge them good or bad, and instead, decide to find the nuggets and insights within them.

    Once I adopted that approach, I can always get at least 3 take aways from any book. Some of course are better than others ;)

    • Rosa Say says

      Aloha J.D. thanks for stopping by. You’ve said this well in that it’s an approach which is about the reader as much as the writer.

  7. says

    So many books, so little time. I often don’t read cover to cover but like J.D. I can usually find 3 nuggets or at least 3 things that make me think. And then there are books I can read again and again from anything Peter Block wrote to Henry Mintzberg on Management to William Bridges of Change.

    • Rosa Say says

      Great suggestions David. I think of those authors as three of my go-to guys too ~ in a great club of many!