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May 23, 2008

How to read a business book (according to Seth)

by Josh Bernoff

Seth Godin, in his post How to read a business book, recommends:

1. Decide, before you start, that you’re going to change three things about what you do all day at work. Then, as you’re reading, find the three things and do it. The goal of the reading, then, isn’t to persuade you to change, it’s to help you choose what to change.

2. If you’re going to invest a valuable asset (like time), go ahead and make it productive. Use a postit or two, or some index cards or a highlighter. Not to write down stuff so you can forget it later, but to create marching orders. It’s simple: if three weeks go by and you haven’t taken action on what you’ve written down, you wasted your time.

3. It’s not about you, it’s about the next person. The single best use of a business book is to help someone else. Sharing what you read, handing the book to a person who needs it... pushing those around you to get in sync and to take action--that’s the main reason it’s a book, not a video or a seminar. A book is a souvenir and a container and a motivator and an easily leveraged tool. Hoarding books makes them worth less, not more.

Effective managers hand books to their team. Not so they can be reminded of high school, but so that next week she can say to them, "are we there yet?"

I wish everyone would do this. Groundswell is designed to be used just like this -- as a call to action for business use of social applications, with specific details on how to do it.

Are you reading Groundswell this way?

What could we do to help you with this?

How could this help with spreading the word?



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Peter Dunkley

The vast majority of business books (though not yours, of course!) could usefully be reduced to a couple of post-it notes. The advantage of social media is that joining the debate can extend and challenge your thinking. This blog seems to be a good example of this.

Venkatesh Rao

Yup, I do this and plan to pass my copy of groundswell along to some marketing people.

I'll admit though that I hoard anything I think I'll need to refer back to or that I don't process to my satisfaction on first pass. Occasionally I'll buy people copies of the book rather than passing it on.


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