Archive for the 'Writing' Category

The Kindle Pubnlishing Bible. How to sell more kindle ebooks on Amazon. Tom Corson-Knowles.


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he Kindle Publishing Bible. How to sell more kindle eBooks on Amazon. Tom Corson-Knowles.  2012. ISBN 9780988433632. This book may be a quick read but it is packed with all the inside scoop on being a successful Amazon eBook writer.   The author has done this successfully many times and its proven.  I always look at whom the writer credits with having influenced his ideas and styles and Tom talks about authors whom I also see as tops in their field.  If you aspire to publish on Amazon – this is the book for you. If you also want good ideas for improving your content marketing results, I found lots here.  ( Even Tim Ferris could learn from this!)

Rocket Surgery Made Easy. The do-it-yourself guide to finding and fixing usability problems. Steve Krug.

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Rocket Surgery Made Easy. The do-it-yourself guide to finding and fixing usability problems. Steve Krug. 2010. ISBN 97803216572999. Another Lean Management recommendation. Krug wrote Don’t make Me think – which I totally enjoyed and agree with.  True to the author’s intent, this is a very usable book.  He has six maxims (which you will find in the book). His writing style is delightful – tongue in cheek, self deprecating and above all clear and simple.  Check out his sample usability test at and watch the Demo Test file.  It is very revealing as to why you will want to read this book.  Is he onto something – well yes. In our practice we are daily being sent to complex, hard to understand what the company does,  completely lacking on customer value company webpages.  Most of the problems would be solve if they followed Krug’s easy to use suggestions.  All I can think is usability is just not done. Everyone who has a webpage should read this book.

Cover of the book "Don't Make Me Think&qu...

Common NonSense. Andy Rooney.

Andy Rooney, photographed by Stephenson Brown.

Common Non/Sense. Andy Rooney.2002. ISBN 1586482009. When Andy Rooney passed away the world lost a very good writer.  This “collection” is a series of loosely affiliated comments on a very wide range of topics.  It is a sheer delight of straight talking prose. (The fastest thing a computer does it become obsolete) . Do not look for political correctness ( although he does apologize after the fact) but do enjoy his endearing style and endless wit.

Do the Work! Overcome resistance and get out of your own way. Steven Pressfield.

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Do the Work! Overcome resistance and get out of your own way. Steven Pressfield. 2011. ISBN 9781936719013.  A very useful little book, written to help get writers (and other sorts)  over the various blocks to their goal (blocks are all internal)  It was recommended by several folks including Guy Kawasaki.  Well written in a short punchy style, the book delivers on its promises.  If you want to write well, this will help.

eat pray love. One woman’s search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia. Elizabeth Gilbert.

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eat pray love. One woman’s search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia. Elizabeth Gilbert.2006. ISBN 9780143038412.   My wife suggested I read this book and I am glad she did.  The author has a clear strong voice that makes this book much more than the movie (which became a Julia Roberts vehicle) .  The writing style is excellent.  I especially enjoyed Gilbert’s analysis/discussion of God from an Indian and Indonesian context.  The story of the the cat tied to a tree is hilarious yet tragically true! I have struggled in past to understand the various forms of God worship across so many cultures, yet at the core I sensed much similarity.  Gilbert clears this up but very gently. More than a “chick book” this is actually a very useful point of view.

Write the Perfect Book Proposal. 10 that sold and why. Jeff Herman & Deborah Levine Hermine

Write the Perfect Book Proposal. 10 that sold and why. Jeff Herman & Deborah Levine Hermine. 2001. ISBN 0471353124 .  This was suggested to me as the best book on the subject in the market today. I can only agree.  Combining an easy informative style, the book presents 10 proposals that were funded with margin comments showing weaknesses and strengths.  The authors are also comprehensive in their bibliography.  This is an insightful and  targeted marketing book directed at book publishers.  Useful read in its own right, even if you are not wanting to write a book.

1001 Ways to Market Your Books. 6th edition. John Kremer.

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1001 Ways to Market Your Books.  For Authors and Publishers. John Kremer. 2008. ISBN 139780912411491.  More than book this is the bible on book marketing. John has been writing the definitive newsletter and now blog on the subject since 1980s. Thanks for the review copy John!

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Pop! Stand out in any crowd. Sam Horn

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Pop! Stand out in any crowd. Sam Horn. 2006. ISBN 0399532765.  I vote this my marketing book choice for Q1-Q2! This is a terrific read , but its way more than that. By showing you how to find and build on catchy ideas, Horn helps make you a more engaging writer.   To paraphrase her , if you are asking people to spend their time on your content, it is your responsibility to make it worth their while. If you follow her easy step by step chapters on the many ways to do this, you should dramatically improve your communication impact.   A short and easy read, it is still just stuffed with great ideas worth  a lifetimes worth of work stuck inside. Buy , read and re read this one, its a library keeper.

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Isaac Newton. James Gleick.

Isaac Newton in old age in 1712. Portrait by S...
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Isaac Newton. James Gleick. 2003. ISBN 1400032954. At various times of his life Newton was a reclusive, paranoid, antisocial cleric/scholar at Cambridge who as he rose in esteem,  grew increasingly ambitious, autocratic and demagogic.  It seems he travelled very little, probably never saw the sea , yet set down the answers to tides and the creation of tide tables.

The trials of an author,  trying to recapture the life of persons who lived at that time in what was a very rural England with only had one large city London,  can only be imagined.  Records were scant to nonexistent, most of the population was illiterate, books were published rarely and read by few.  The language was Old English yet most of what Newton discovered required new words to describe it.

Lesson learned for me was the extent that Newton explored alchemy (which became very useful when he was put in charge of the Royal Mint) .  He struggled to reconcile his theological research with the preachings of the day, having decided that the “Holy Trinity”  was just not based on the ancient writings he had translated and that the Church had manufactured stories over the years. This was a real problem because at one time in order to remain at Cambridge he was supposed to be ordained as a priest.  Newton also hid the bulk of his findings away for many decades, refusing to publish them, yet railing against those who “rediscovered” the materials on their own and published them. Letters flew across the country, positions were taken, hatreds grew.  When Newton grew in esteem and power, he became a real tyrant in his positions against all others. It was pretty heady stuff in its day.

If you are a scientist or just  curious, this is a a useful book. Not an easy read, through no fault of the author. But it is short.

Cover of "Isaac Newton"
Cover of Isaac Newton
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Style. Toward clarity and grace. Joseph M. Williams

Style. Toward clarity and grace. Joseph M. Williams. 1995.  ISBN 0226899152.  A very good handbook to better writing. A very useful addition to Zissner’s On Writing Well.  I expecially enjoyed the references to good writing that tended to break the rules, while still showing that they author knew all the “rules”.   If you feel that your concise albeit clear  writng is tends to being boring,  this book will  to help you  add interest and style to your work.  Not a light read, it is more useful to you if you have some work that you wish to edit at hand.

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