Category Archives: books

Book Review: The funniest and most honest book ever was written by Rob Delaney

I was given Rob Delaney’s book by good friends of mine for my last birthday. I was putting it off as I tried to finish the book I was then reading. don’t ask me what it was.

Delaney has been described as the funniest man on Twitter. He just might be that if you are to believe what “they” say. However, he is undoubtedly one of the funniest writers as well. Delaney has written a book that is honest, funny, sad, reflective, challenging and thought provoking. Most of the time, I felt multiple emotions in one chapter.

This is one of those books that leaves you begging for more when you’re done. It is a quick read. not because of the length but because it’s a book you will never want to put down.

It is also a book that will make you reflect on what you’re doing in life. You may not change careers or start to believe in a God. But you may start to live a little out on the edge.

Pick this up as a gift. for yourself. you deserve it.

rob delaney
rob delaney

Book Review: David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

I will admit right now that Malcolm Gladwell is my favourite contemporary author.  So this book review may be a little bit biased. Although, I have grown  in not taking everything that Gladwell preaches at face value and being a little more critical when I read his work (or listen to his talks).

David and Goliath - Malcolm Gladwell
David and Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell’s latest battle is now of biblical proportions. Many people believe that David’s win over Goliath was one where the underdog beat the favourite. However, citing numerous studies, Gladwell, puts this “urban myth” to sleep. Thus starts the latest book by Gladwell.

The rest of the book sees Gladwell attack our notions of:

  • how to choose the best college,
  • the history of civil unrest in Northern Ireland,
  • how the success of the civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King was influenced,
  • how traumatic childhoods can actually be a good thing, and much more.

Later this week, I’m heading over to the University of Toronto to listen to Malcolm Gladwell talk about his latest book. And hopefully so much more!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziGD7vQOwl8&w=420&h=315]

Google and a little Apple – sms episode #7

Apple and Google

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/9533542

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of speaking one on one with Saul Colt.   Saul! (say it like it reads!) is a great guy in the marketing and social media community here in Toronto.  He is a highly regarded speaker and somehow the ladies love him.  Which is why I appreciate any time he spends with me.

On the show we spoke about Apple, Google and even one of his favourite books.

After you listen to the show I would love your thoughts on Ping – Apple’s new “social networking” experiment with iTunes.

So you use it?  Have you found it useful?  It is a pure marketing ploy by Apple or are they sincere in wanting to give back to their iTunes community?

Your comments are always welcomed and appreciated.

six pixels of separation: book review

I could not have picked a better book to read on my travels to East Africa than Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation

Although it was published in 2009 (which probably means it was written much earlier) there is still a ton of great points and nuggets that are applicable even today.  Here is who I would recommend this book to: EVERYONE.

That’s right everyone.  Why?  Because the web is now social and as the subtitle of the book says, Everyone is connected, connect your business to everyone.  Business owners, marketing professionals, students, employees and even self-employed individuals can benefit from reading Mitch Joel’s bestseller.

Here are some points that I jotted down in my notebook as I read this book in Dar Es Salaam, Zanzibar, Nairobi, Arusha, and Kampala:

  • consumers will market our product if we let them review our product (even if it’s a negative review)
  • you can’t have a strong business without a strong community
  • being connected is not the same as being engaged
  • consumers are always willing to pay a premium online if what they are getting has added value
  • the point of mobile marketing is…Sorry, you have to read the book like I did to finish this sentence

As you read this book you will understand that being involved, engaged and relevant online can and will enable you (your company, your business, business partners) to be not only a trusted online source but also a profitable one.

Here’s one reason why I’m so excited to have read this book at this moment in time:  At no other time in history have people been able to more easily start their own business.  The internet and the social tools that seem to be dominating the conversation have helped many people make the leap to business ownership.

And this is a leap I’m looking forward to making as well as helping other’s make.

Have you read Mitch Joel’s book?  Do you read his blog or listen to his podcast?  If not, I highly recommend you do.  If you do, I’d love to hear your opinion on his work and content.

what the dog saw [book report]

I love Malcolm Gladwell.

Really.  I heard his voice in an interview before I ever read his book.  And I was hooked.  It wasn’t just his voice. (If you’ve ever listened to any of his audiobooks you know what I’m speaking is true.)

It’s his arguments.  They just seem to make sense to me.  And they are also very entertaining.

His latest book, What The Dog Saw, is actually a collection of his essays from The New Yorker.  The topics he covers a range from spaghetti sauce to dog whisperers to the Enron fiasco to football quarterbacks.  No topic is too popular or too off beat for Gladwell to cover.

I enjoyed this collection of essays.  However, I do hope that his next book is another original work rather than a collection.

So, if you’re a fan of Gladwell and you have yet to read What The Dog Saw, shame on you.  If you are sceptical of this popular author, I understand.  However, if you are the type of person who likes to get under the surface and truly find the answer to the question, “why?”, then you owe it to yourself to give at least a few of the stories in this collection a chance.

Have you read any of Malcolm Gladwell’s books?  What do you think?

not available

Last weekend I was offline.  I didn’t tweet.  I didn’t even check my twitter stream.  I did not even go on Facebook or check any email.  The closest thing I came to using the computer was seeing how the weather was going to be.

In today’s age of  “always being available” I found this past weekend to be refreshing.  And busy.

Now I was anxious.  But only a little.  I have an event that happens in less that one month and there are people who are counting on me.  But they all have my phone number.

So what did I do that kept me busy?

  1. I watched almost every Thomas The Tank Engine and Bob The Builder dvd and vhs we have with my son.  And we do have alot of videos/dvds.
  2. I read a few stories from Malcolm Gladwell’s “What The Dog Saw”.
  3. I took afternoon naps.
  4. We fed ducks at Harbourfront.
  5. We celebrated my sister’s birthday at her cool downtown condo.  (She cooks a great green curry something or the other. Really.)

So, I know it’s only Tuesday afternoon.  But why not “schedule” to be offline this weekend.  It doesn’t have to be this weekend.  I’m just suggesting to keep the smartphone in your desk (or at least data free) and your laptop powered down.

You’ll be amazed to see how much you can accomplish and how free you can be when you’re “not available.”

I would love to hear your thoughts on unplugging yourself.  Has anyone ever tried it recently?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DTFwYZ6YJU]

The Audacity To Win

 Three books so far this year.  Here’s my book report video style.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woPIOSxizCI&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0&color1=0x006699&color2=0x54abd6&border=1]

I always appreciate your comments!  Please keep them coming.

Accidental Billionaires

We’ve (the boys) have all done something to impress the ladies.  Let’s see: I’ve gotten a tattoo, grew my hair long and also had it shaved, wore black rock concert t-shirts to mosque (church), and one night I even told every girl in a nightclub that I loved her.  Yes, I’ve done some stupid things in my life.  Who hasn’t?

I have yet to create an online social network.  That’s what The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal is all about. 



Authour Ben Mezrich tells the true tale of how 2 best friends from Harvard created Facebook.  The story is told in a very fast moving pace.


Lessons.

There were a number of lessons I learned from this book.  The first was work.  Work hard. Work so hard that the work that you do becomes all consuming because it’s what drives you.


Loyalty.  There is something to be said about being loyal to your friends and the people who care about you.


Keep your (mine) eyes open.  And I don’t mean literally.  To read about how numerous people, at the same time, were pursuing something new, innovative, cool and potentially popular was not only inspiring.  It was motivational.  It showed me that there are opportunities anywhere and everywhere. As long as we are keeping our eyes and minds open, opportunities will come.


Is this book worth reading.  Sure it is.  I’ll tell you what:  If you’re on Facebook and use it, you should read this book.  Find out how it was created.  Learn about the people who created it.  Read about how one of the most popular brands and largest companies in the world was birthed.




NOTE:

Keep your eyes on this blog and on my twitter feed.  I will be giving away a couple of copies of a very popular current business book.  Once I hit 1000 followers on Twitter I will write a post here.  In order to win you must participate.  And I promise you the prize is well worth it.  Okay.  That’s all for today.  As you were.
 

Superfreakonomics – The journey continues

After leaving university I made a vow never to read books again.  Well, Robert Ludlum screwed it up for me with his amazing thrillers and sense of humour.  I have also been on a sort of personal journey of self-improvement so titles like Master Key to Riches and How to win Friends and Influence People also find a place on my bookshelf.

Then a year ago I spied a book on my sister’s bookshelf: Freakonomics.  I thought that if my sister, a non-intellectual yet a very passionate person has this on her bookshelf, then I must take a look at it.  (Mind you I loved economics in school but didn’t have the mathematical chops to finish studying it in school.  And the cover looked cool!)  Now it’s on my bookshelf along with the follow-up: Superfreakonomics.

I follow and read up on the Freakonomics blog, so I am now used to the whimsical and humourous takes they have on life and the many decisions people make on everything from what cities people live in and why people cheat.  Therefore, I was prepared to read up on their explanations on topics such as the historical analysis on why women become prostitutes.

It would be unfair of me to pretend to do a proper report on the book.  It will be both too short and not scholastic enough.  So I won’t even try.

However, I was really impressed with the thought and effort they put into discussing two specific topics:  How to easily, and in an affordable manner, curb the ravage effects of hurricanes and how to simply slow down and reverse global warming.

So, who should read this book?  Everyone.  Why?  Because it answers the basic question that we all scratch our heads over – Why do people do what they do?

If you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts?  What book are you reading right now?

Twitterville.

Twitterville.

It’s a place. And a book.

Shel Israel has written the answer to when your friends ask you: What the heck is Twitter?

Twitterville is a great synopsis of what Twitter was, is, has been, could be.

Shel gives a plethora of examples of individuals, companies, charities and other organizations who use Twitter to further their cause.

Early on he gives an example of an American who used Twitter to get freed from prison.  He also describes how hospitals and other medical institutions use Twitter to engage with the public.  From small companies fighting large corporations to established brands using Twitter as a PR tool, Shel gives a thorough analysis of this simple tool with a limit of 140 characters.

If you’re a student, you can use Twitter to crowdsource information and gather research.  If you’re a professional you may use Twitter to market your product or as a customer service tool.  If you’re a business owner, being on Twitter may allow you to keep up with market demands.

In the end, Twitter may also save the world. Curious? Read the book.  It’s a wonder what we may accomplish in just 140 characters.

Tell me about the book you have just read.