Monday, February 13, 2012

The Dip

Another Seth Godin book. I've been finding myself referring to it a lot on my art blog, so thought I better add it to my list here.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Storm Front

I recently started watching The Dresden Files on Netflix. Let me say how disappointment I was when I discovered it only had one season! Outrage!

Fortunately for me though, Jim Butcher has written several books so I can continue my habit. What's best is that the voice from the show was taken directly from the voice of the books. I feel like I'm watching the show when I read.

So for all my writers out there, here's one for you. I have to admit that I don't usually like first person stories because people fall back on telling. Butcher's voice is strong, the first person perspective is strong, and I love his description. It reminds me of just how far I still have to go with my own writing too (sigh!).

As Glen Cook's promo blurb on the front cover says, "Wish I'd thought of this myself."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Techniques of the Selling Writer

Last year I packed away all my writing books. I didn't think I was going to be using them for awhile (if ever again) -- of course that action alone probably spurred me to finish The Three Books. Seeing I've been writing again, I decided to unpack them and put them back on my shelves. That's when I ran across the yellow cover of a book I probably ought to start reading again -- Techniques of the Selling Writer.

This is one of those books where I actually remember where I was when this was recommended to me. Stella Cameron recommended this book to me at a writer's conference in Salem, Oregon many years ago. It was just shortly after my first son was born.

Reading it opened my eyes to many things. Dwight Swain is a master and knows his craft. Okay, I have to admit that some of his details went over my head, but I got the big picture. Seeing how this book has been reprinted since I hunted long and hard for my yellow copy, I wonder how much has been updated -- that I can't say, but I'm sure it only makes it better.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Here's one that's really going to shock you.

I picked this up and saw the quote from Seth Godin on the front that reads, "Ignore this book at your own peril."

So I'm thinking, "Yeah, right! Whatever, Seth." I'm also wondering what's in this book that he thinks is so important. Yes, I'm hooked.

After a quick read through, I'm thinking that Seth Godin is right. This is a book you need to read. At least the first few sections (for the artist) and the last section on Evolution (for current businesses). If you've been reading the books I've recommended here, then you'll see how this book counters many of them. They have a lot of the same arguments I've had with several of the books here on my list. I like their encouragement and advice. I loved the part about how you will always have "waste" if you create a product and this "waste" can be used for something else. Yes! And there are people that I'd love to give the Evolution section of this book to read if I thought they'd take a hint.

For the artist, the Hiring section can pretty much be skipped, but the rest of it is worth a read, even if you end up skimming through the parts you don't agree with. The other gems you pick up are well worth it.

I have to second Godin's opinion here: Ignore this book at your own peril.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead

I believe in syncronicity and I try to pay attention to it. So, last week when I heard something about the Grateful Dead being great marketers and I felt my "syncronicity sense tingle," I made a note to stay on the lookout for more information. When I was in the bookstore yesterday I happened upon this book. I knew it was part of the flow, so I pulled it off the shelf and started skimming through it.

It also had how different companies used some of these ideas to their own benefit and it's really quite insightful.

If you'd like to see what I think the most important ideas for artists are, check out my other blog.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Painting Basics

If you're following along with me on my other blog, you'll know that I just finished the first painting out of this book. I'm working hard to get better at my craft. Come join the journey with me!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Poke the Box

I've read several of Seth Godin's books and have to say that I always feel like I want more. Something always seems to be lacking -- maybe it's organization (as I find he leaps around a lot trying to make a point, not quite getting there, then coming back to it later to still not follow through with a point). Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?was a good example of him trying to prove a point but never telling the reader HOW to do it.

Poke the Box is a much stronger work -- probably one of the strongest I've seen from Seth. While he still needs to work on organizing his thoughts and not just writing out of stream of consciousness, at least this one had a definition of what it means to poke the box, why you should poke the box, and how to poke the box.

Towards the end, he goes back to his usual rant of "get started on a project then ship it," but for most of this book I actually felt like he was talking about me. He talks about people who want to initiate and have a lot of ideas, the difference being that true initiators "start." I often feel unfocused jumping from project to project, starting lots of them usually in a steady stream. Okay, this is where his "ship it" comes in -- you've got to finish what you start -- and I do have to work to overcome my tendency to let projects fall off the face of the earth. I really liked his dandelion analogy -- it spoke to me and I'll have to remember it when I once again feel like I'm doing too much and spreading myself too thin.

I also understand his frustration of watching people walk in repetitive circles waiting to be told what to do -- wanting a map. We both want people to do more, be more. Not everyone wants to though. Must be a personality thing - we're probably both architect types who see the structure of things and want to make it better.

Businesses who are stuck in routine would benefit from reading this book too. Especially if they've had failures within their business, like a merger that fell through or high turnovers. Businesses need to remember what motivates people.

There are a couple nuggets in this that I want to institute in my own art business.

Okay, Seth, you finally got your point across in a good way. This product is complete. What's your next idea?