I have had many people ask me why I don’t provide book reviews here, so I thought I would quickly answer the question in this post.
Like many well read bloggers, I was sent a review copy of the excellent, new Tony Hawk book a few weeks ago, along with the opportunity to interview Tony, which I certainly would have done, if I had decided to write a review. The book, How Did I get Here? the ascent of an unlikely CEO, is a great read and I have no hesitation in recommending it to you (look, no affiliate link!)
I am extremely happy to personally recommend the book and I will be sharing some ideas inspired by Tony’s book with you in future posts, but as a marketing guy, writing book reviews is a very low leverage use of my available blogging time.
Equally, it’s my experience that this is not the best way for YOU to discover the best new books either!
Here’s the simple 3 step process I use, to discover great new books:
- I look out for recommendations, especially if they come from people that are not being paid, directly or indirectly, to recommend the book. I have already bought 2 copies of Tony’s book for Christmas presents. That’s a powerful, unpaid recommendation. If I saw an endorsement like that, I would go to step 2.
- Because these are business books, I always look for 2 or more reviews from professional book reviewers / literary critics. I’m talking about the kind of highly skilled people, who have the ability to read, digest and communicate the REAL core of a book, without missing a thing. These guys have read everything and usually specialise in books within a certain business niche. Yes, some may be biased pro, or against, certain authors, but that’s the reason for checking out several professional reviews and for taking the next step.
- Finally, I check out independent reader reviews on sites like amazon.com. Time and time again, independent reviews are cited by people as one of the most influential motivators, when researching a purchase.
By running a book purchase via those 3 filters, I have discovered some amazing books and missed a lot of the crap, that paid reviewers often rave about.
I am a marketing professional and not a literary critic. As such, that 3 step process is just my way to discover the gold dust on the bookshelves. This is not the right way and it’s not the best way – It’s just the way I filter out a lot of the cleverly marketed dross.
As a result, it would be wrong for me to offer book reviews, knowing that I myself wouldn’t be swayed by the kind of reviews that I would be writing!
Yes, I could be a hypocrite and pump the blog full of reviews (and money-spinning affiliate links), but that’s not part of the business plan here. This blog’s business model is to offer you free access to marketing and business development ideas and thus position myself as a marketing resource, when you need professional marketing help.
By the way, if you have an affiliate business plan, then there is a solid business model behind joining the review circuit; so long as you have the targeted traffic required. Affiliate income can be very significant. Just because this does not fit into my business model, does not mean it isn’t a great idea for others. I know of people making thousands a month, working the affiliate income model (yes really!) It’s about deciding what you want to achieve and allowing that to guide your decisions.
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