The TV in my exercise room isn’t working. More accurately, either the TIVO or the cable connection is malfunctioning because I can watch DVDs but not broadcast. So, I’ve been reading while on the treadmill instead.
Which means I finally got around to two books that have been sitting on my shelf for ages, Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell and Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World by Bill Clinton.
One of the reasons I like Gladwell’s books is that he focuses on a single point, and illustrates it in a number of ways. As opposed to some business books that seem to introduce more themes than there were animals on the ark, but then skim over the all important proof.
Outliers argues that the rags-to-riches tale in which the supremely talented overcome impossible odds to succeed is built on a faulty assumption that the individual did not benefit from any special advantages. There’s a strong element of being in the right place at the right time in his success stories, but overall it provides a strong argument for those who favor nurture in the nature/nurture argument. It’s also a fast, satisfying read, which is not something we can say about every business book on our shelf.
While I am sure that President Clinton wrote Giving out of a desire to motivate the public to acts of philanthropy, it also serves as an excellent primer on philanthropy in the United States, both domestic and internationally focused. If you are interested in the non-profit world, start with Giving, and then move on to some of the other books Clinton references in the text.
You might also want to check out events like August’s Social Good Conference sponsored by Mashable, although I have profound differences of opinion with the Humane Society of the United States, one of the charities supported by the conference. (If you are interested, the bottom line is: HSUS is a lobbying organization devoted to the eradication of pet animals in the US. None of the funds it raises goes to support animals. Just about every cent goes to support lobbying. Want to support animals? Donate to your LOCAL humane society or breed rescue organization.)
Here’s a list of stuff I have pending to review, and Lord help me , this blog isn’t even that well known although its sister Marketing Roadmaps has a small following and is the reason for most books I get offered. Some of these things will end up there or on Roadtrip, my travel blog. Disclosure: all the stuff in this list was sent for free, for possible but not promised review. Most of the stuff I review on my blogs however (Like Outliers and Giving) I purchased myself.
- Rosetta Stone Mandarin Chinese
- A bunch of books including Online Public Relations by Phillips & Young; Public Relations and the Social Web by Rob Brown; Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel and The Truth about Trust in Business by Vanessa Hall. Note: all these publishers asked for interest before sending the book and I said I hoped to get to it. If that was good enough, send away!
- The screener for Drop Dead Diva. Yes I suck. Yes I intended to watch it right away. And did not.
- A pile of unsolicited, unrequested blues CDs, received as a result of my work a year ago on a blues movie that never was released (and by the way, the production company stiffed me on the last month’s fee which we are STILL trying to collect.)