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Three new books that … didn’t quite rock my world (but might rock yours)

Three new books that … didn’t quite rock my world (but might rock yours)

Ah – it’s a busy time in the publishing world. I’ve got piles of books by my bed, desk and on my bookshelves.

Here are three that are recently out, and that – while each is full of good stuff – didn’t quite make me exclaim, Brilliant! But I’m just a focus group of one – you may want to check them out yourself.

If you’d like to improve the world … End Sex Trafficking, Erin Giles (ed)


You’ll remember my book End Malaria: 60 authors writing around the topic of ‘Great Work’ and all the profit ($300k+ to date) going to Malaria No More.

Erin Giles has done something very similar with her collection End Sex Trafficking. 60 different, eclectic and interesting articles clustered under three broad topics: Love, Knowledge and Freedom. There’s a number of authors here I know and enjoy, such as Mark Silver and Danielle La Porte and there’s a number of new faces for me as well.

The essays typically combine personal stories with insight and exhortation and they are more like poetic glimpses into the topics, rather than some sort of clinical examination. Like a book of poetry, this is not something you want to sit down and read cover to cover, but dip into occasionally and find something that moves and provokes you.

And just as with End Malaria, a good chunk of cash goes to an important cause. In this case, $8 from every book goes to the Not for Sale campaign.

If you’d like to lift your marketing game … The Impact Equation, Julien Smith & Chris Brogan

I’m a big fan of Julien and Chris as two guys I know a little, and their collaboration is an interesting one as they’ve got different voices and attitudes. I have to confess I never quite got around to reading Trust Agents, their first book so I was excited to read The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?

It’s a practical but slightly erratic guide to how to engage and connect and provoke, something these two do very well and have done for years. They offer up the CREATE model – Contract, Reach, Exposure, Articulation, Trust and Echo – to show you the different elements you need to create a message that lands and makes a difference.

I could have done with a little more structure in the book, which I think would have made it easier to have found and focused on the nuggets that are definitely there.

As I read this, I thought it would be a great companion piece to Michael Hyatt’s Platform, which is almost the opposite, an slightly overly structured book. When you combine Chris and Julien’s book with Michael’s, you get a really interest mix of  passion, insight and tactics that will serve you well in getting noticed and making an impact.

If you’d like to focus … The Laws of Subtraction, Matthew May


I interviewed Matt a while back, inspired by his book In Pursuit of Elegance. It’s a theme he’s continued and deepened with The Laws of Subtraction: 6 Simple Rules for Winning in the Age of Excess Everything. The springboard was a quote from John Maeda -”Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful” – and from that seed he has posited six simple rules which he expands on with personal and business stories.

To each of his chapters he’s added short contributions from 50 interesting and eclectic thinkers – of which I’m one. I’m not sure these always work as they can feel a bit of a random assortment of insights after each chapter by May. In other words, I’m not sure what’s been added is always meaningful: yes, pause for irony.

Still, I think Matt’s onto something important here. Thinking how you can cut down on the overwhelm and focus on what really matters is an essential strategy to help you towards Great Work. You might also like to check out Leo Babauta’s The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life.

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