I’ve created a new Book Summaries page on Sources of Insight to round up my book summaries and put them at your fingertips.
My book reviews are a little different.
I’m not a fan of just saying whether I like a book or not. After all, I only share books that I think you can use in some way, shape or form.
I especially like the books that make you think or make you feel, or better yet, do both.
That said, I also try not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I look for gems of insight, and sometimes that means digging for needles buried in the haystack.
That’s why my book reviews are more like movie trailers.
I share some of my favorite “scenes” from a book to help you get a taste for what the book is really like. I also provide a quick overview of the book, complete with chapters at a glance, key features, and a rundown of what the book helps you with.
After all, sometimes the title of a book is misleading and it can be hard to judge a book from the cover or the title in terms of what it actually helps you with.
Enough talk. Let’s try one:
Well .. What do you think?
I’m early in the process. I started doing book reviews last year. It was an experiment to see if I could write book reviews that would be more helpful than just an opinion of the book. I wanted to play a more active role as a tour guide or Sherpa of the book, both giving an overview, as well as pointing out some of the big ideas in the book, and sometimes, some hidden gems.
For a little history, I started off Sources of Insight, focused on what I call Book Nuggets. Book nuggets are like cracking open the world’s books and showcasing the needles among the haystacks. A book nugget is simply one big idea or a gem of insight from a book that you can use. I was reading a lot of books and I wanted a simple way to share the insights and actions that I thought would help people the most. So I used book nuggets as a more actionable way to introduce people to books.
Here’s an example book nugget:
Book Nuggets have been a great way for helping the people I mentor get started with a book and apply it in real life.
Guest Posts by Best-Selling Authors
Not long after doing Book Nuggets, I started featuring guest posts by best-selling authors. What better way to really learn the key insights and actions from a book, than from the actual author? My first guest post was from Jim Kouzes of The Leadership Challenge. He wrote a brilliant and deep post on his best lessons learned in the art and science of leadership:
While I continued to serve up guest posts by best-selling authors, including Guy Kawasaki, Gretchen Rubin, Marie Forleo, and more, I expanded to also include experts. Basically, I wanted to provide a channel for anybody with a gift to help lift others up. This is part of the theme behind the mantra, “Stand on the shoulders of giants.”
You can browse the experts on the Featured Guests page.
While I continue to serve up guest posts, they are a challenge and often time consuming. I have to constantly reject submissions, even from best-selling authors. The most common reason is that either their heart isn’t in it, or they lost site of who they are helping.
Passion shines through, and I look for that.
Here’s an example of a post written with passion to help lift people up, by Pat Flynn:
Another great example of passion is this guest post by Tony Robbins’ son, Jairek Robbins:
The big deal behind this post is that Jairek prefers to do videos over writing. In this case, I talked him into the idea that he would make more impact and people could savor it more if he could put his thoughts on paper. And, he did just that, and he knocked it out of the park. I received a massive amount of mails that week about how Jairek’s words inspired them and helped them turn their world around.
Overall, I find the guest posts are a great compliment to doing book summaries, and that great book summaries can help give a book a better chance at reaching the people that need its message most.
One of my favorite examples here is my book summary of the Undefeated Mind:
It’s one of the best books I ever read, that you can use to build your resilience and your self-reliance to serve you through life. It’s the art and science of mental toughness, and it’s back by incredible science and shared through Dr. Alex Lickerman’s eyes.
I couldn’t help but think how much I want everybody in the world a chance to know how powerful this book is and how it can change their life.
And, I also thought, what a shame, if people missed out, simply because they didn’t know it existed.
Such is the way of so many great books, and great wisdom of the ages, and modern sages.
Interviews with Experts Around the World
I haven’t done a lot of interviews. In fact, I’ve only done one so far:
I shied away from doing interviews because it seemed like everybody was doing interviews.
And, one of my favorite strategies for differentiation is, Do the Opposite.
More than that though, I didn’t have a model for doing interviews that I liked. I kept coming across interviews that seemed more like content factories, than deep insight or inspiring action.
That said, lately I have come across more and more interviews that I do like.
The key is this:
It’s ask the right questions and dig for better responses.
But the difference that makes the difference is the quality of questions, and the quality of the responses. While I originally got lost in the format and the different interview styles, I found the North Star. It’s Barbara Walters. Just ask the tough stuff and the right questions to find the answers that people really want to know.
With that in mind, I suspect that I’ll be adding more interviews in the not-too-distant future.
Meanwhile, please enjoy the newly added Book Summaries page and I hope you find just the right books that help you re-imagine your life, discover new opportunities, and create possibilities that you never knew existed.
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Image by will ockenden.