Little Books

You’re heard the saying, “Inside every thick book is a thin one vying to get out”. Well, there’s yet a further refinement of the ‘more is less’ ethos – the little book with a lesser-still reason for being; something that could ¬†usefully be reduced to a sentence or so of ‘wisdom’.

The foremost purveyor of the form is a chap named Seth Godin, whose output includes ‘The Dip’, ‘Linchpin’, ‘Tribes’ and his most recent effort, ‘Poke the Box’ (though I’m given to understand his total output is over a dozen ‘booklettes’).

To my regret, I bought, entirely on (undeserved) fanfare, the one called ‘Linchpin’. It was inspirational, but not in the usual sense. It prompted me to write my first [ever] review on Amazon.ca.

Here’s the formula: Take a simple idea (Some individuals ‘facilitate’ things); riff on it for a couple of hundred pages, being sure to include a smattering of economics, sociology, business philosophy and what not; (repeat). That’s it.

I made another ‘mistake’ purchase – Trust Agents ¬†(Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation and Earn Trust) by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. The title promises much more than it delivers. The reason is simple: These guys aren’t in the business of ‘how to'; they’re in the business of “look at [us]’. In the pages of this meandering mess is a [to me] ¬†startling admission: They only wrote this book to further they’re social media ‘profile’.

I suppose it’s refreshing to hear that an author’s motivation is so transparently shallow. Although authors have to promote to live, when you get right down to it, this particular pair is ‘famous’ in the social media space entirely for, well, being famous in the social media space. It goes without saying that they’re driven to maintain that status.

One useful thing I’ve learned from these social media mavens is to be on the alert for endorsements from the increasingly incestuous crowd that collectively self- promotes. If I recognize they’re names as ‘celebrity’ endorsers, I know to steer clear of the booklette in question.

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