Category Archives: Books

62 Blog Posts To Overcome Blogger’s Block – Book Review

I was asked to review the book 62 Blog Posts to Overcome Blogger’s Block by Marcie Hill before it went out to the public and I was glad to do it for more than one reason. Marcie is a very good writer who’s got a lot of accomplishments, and I was honored to be given a preview copy. Also, I’m in the book; yeah, kind of a vanity thing but you folks know me; I’m going to tell it like it is. And I’m not getting paid for this; y’all know how I roll. 😉

First off, this isn’t a piece of fluff. It comes in around 166 pages and was well researched, as it took her a long time to compile everything and put it into a proper order. There are a lot of examples throughout the book, which helps to make it an easier read and I have to admit that sometimes I got caught up in wanting to look up the specific article examples she shared to comment on them; I did do that a few times anyway.

She separates the book into 11 main categories, then has multiple categories within. For instance, the section that includes me is listed under “multimedia posts”, and under that there are 10 more specific titles. I’m listed under “audio” because of the ReadSpeaker option I have on my blogs where people can listen instead of always having to read the entire thing. Of course my own vanity told me there were multiple places I would have fit in, but truthfully I’m not sure I’ve seen all that many blogs using the program I do so that makes a lot of sense and shows the type of research she did looking for things both common and uncommon.

The book is kind of a dichotomy; I love that. In one respect it’s laid out like a course, and Marcie indicated in the Google Hangout video interview I and my Hot Blog Tips buddy Brian Hawkins did with her, which is below, that she’s hoping to turn it into a training class of some sort. In the other respect it’s easy to read and get through relatively quickly because there’s not a lot of prose, instead opting for a list style of presentation which is easier to understand while having prose to explain the story behind what you’re about to see before she gives you the example.

I think you’d be impressed with some of the names that are in this book, all with approval. At least I am since I know a lot of these people. I highlight specifically Vernessa Taylor, who I highlighted in my Black Web Friday series and also thanked for creating some virtual book covers for two of my books, as she helped Marcie with some graphics as well as being highlighted in the book. A few other names, buddies of mine if you will, includes: Ileane Smith, Ching Ya, Ben Barden, Justin Germano, and Kristi Hines, and a couple of big names such as Darren Rowse and Chris Brogan; you really can’t have a major book about blogging without those two in my opinion.

The book can be purchased from Marcie’s site only at this time, and there’s also a companion guide that can be purchased as well. I’m going to tell you this up front; the book isn’t cheap. It is thorough though, so if you’re looking for blogging guidance or information you should at least check it out; after all, I’m on page 37. 🙂 If you’d like to see another review of the book check out this post by Sharon Hurley Hall, who was featured in my last Black Web Friday post.

And now, the interview:


 

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How To Focus Better – A Review

I get free stuff all the time, both through regular mail and email. I received this manual titled “How To Focus Better” by Hulbert Lee and debated where the best place might be to post a review on it. I also debated how to review it. In the end, I’m going to play it straight forward, which usually is what I do anyway.

Hulbert Lee Focus

It’s a very short manual, which is why I’m calling it that instead of a book. At 44 pages, which includes the cover page and table of contents, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting, but it looked good. And when I read the first part of it, which was talking about what focus was and talking about the brain, I started to believe I wasn’t going to like anything about it.

Then it started getting better. The overall truth about the manual is that if you’ve ever spent any time reading books on how to live a better life, then you’ll have seen a lot of this, with some variations on the theme. Within chapter titles like Energy, Clarity and Accuracy, Lee gives short and peppy advice on what you can do to move towards these things. Taking energy as an example, advice like get more sleep and exercise more is something you’ve heard before, and he gives you ideas on how to try to achieve these things.

The last part of the manual has more to do with changing your mind to try to achieve some of the things you want in life, things that might help you focus on your goals. Something that I found interesting is when he talked about identifying your values and the possibility of having to shift your values if you’re concentrating on the wrong thing. For instance, instead of dreaming about buying a new car change your value to something like wanting to achieve success, being more patient, or even focusing on what you need to do to move in a positive direction.

My overall impression is that some of you might have read this stuff before, but it’s a good manual to have because it’s short and punchy. Once you get past the very early part of the book everything else is kind of uplifting and will get you going if you need a boost.

It’s easy to refer back to if you ever need to do such a thing, which you probably will. I say this because I actually read this back in February after he sent it to me and I’m just getting around to writing the review, which might make it seem like my focus wasn’t that good. However, as I think about where I am right now, I can honestly say that I put a few of these things into practice and many things in my life have improved since then. So, maybe in its own way it got through to me without knowing it.

Check out the link above, which will take you to his site where you can get this manual. I think it’s worth your time to check it out.
 

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How To Get On The News Without Committing Murder – Book Review

My friend Beverly Mahone will not be showing up on any of my Black Web Friday posts. She doesn’t have to because I’ve written so many times about her and mentioned her so many times, including this interview with her that she’s like one of the family. If you don’t already know enough about her by reading this blog, then including her on one of the Friday posts won’t do any good.

How to Get on the News Without Committing Murder

How’s this instead then? Let’s talk about her latest book with the long title How to Get on the News Without Committing Murder, which I got to read an early copy of and which is, obviously, now released. This is a book that teaches you how to use your skills and age, if you happen to be of baby boomer age, in getting attention from the press, to the point at which they start calling you as the expert in whatever field you’re representing, and thus helping to increase your presence and your business. How cool would that be, having people calling you up to work with them because they saw you on TV, and it was free publicity to boot?

Bev does this and more in a relatively short book, less than 55 pages, and it’s a very easy and quick read, no fluff. My wife actually read the book, and she’s not a big reader, and she obviously likes Bev’s style because she read Bev’s last book Don’t Ask, which I wrote about here.

In this book she gives you 8 tips for how to get the media to notice you, then goes into detail with each tip. I’m not about to give up the entire book, but I’m going to mention 3 tips and hope that encourages you to at least take a look at what else there is. Here they are:

* Use Your Age And Experience As Advantages

* Build Media Relationships

* Learn How To Write A Dynamic Press Release

I have to tell you that while reading an advanced copy of this book, I decided that the second point I listed was one I needed to take advantage of. I happen to know a lot of local media people, but always thought it wouldn’t be right to try to leverage it into anything else because I didn’t meet them in other than social situations. After reading that section of her book I decided to contact a couple of them to tell them what I did and offer to be a differing point of view from an older perspective if they ever needed it.

Both of the people I contacted thanked me, said they’re always looking for new perspectives and said they really didn’t know that’s what I did, even though one of them had seen me at a live event where I gave a presentation, but unfortunately we were up against each other (I drew more people lol).

This is a great book to read and let me add this; guess who wrote the foreword for the book! 🙂 If that doesn’t get you juiced up enough to at least take a look at the book I don’t know what will. And if you want to see more testimonials and reviews about the book How to Get on the News Without Committing Murder, click on that link to her site.

Go buy this! 😉
 

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An End Of My Own Era – Discover Magazine

I used to subscribe to Omni Magazine, and loved it a lot. I was into alien stories and space stories and some of those scientific conspiracy theories one always heard about back then. It was the days of X-Files and I loved it all, even if I didn’t quite believe it all.

Then one month I got a notice saying they were discontinuing publication of the magazine and I was sad. I had just re-upped my subscription a couple of months earlier and thought that maybe I’d be getting some money back. But these folks never give you back your money. Instead, the letter said they were going to start sending me a replacement magazine, Discovericon. This was December 1995.

I love Discover magazine. I think some of the smartest people in the world must read it because the comments I see every month cover some topics that just leave my mouth wide open. And the commenters aren’t all PH.D’s either, just “regular” people that happen to know a lot about certain things.

I always felt smarter for reading Discover. It’s amazing the things you can learn. I was always drawn to the astronomy stuff, galaxies, string theory, warp speed, that sort of thing. I always read all the medical stuff and have been fascinated with the progress that’s been made over the years in the study of the brain.

Yes, I’m talking about the magazine in the past tense because after almost 16 years I’m letting my subscription lapse. This is a hard decision for me because I still love the magazine a lot. But you see that picture above? Those are magazines that I’ve yet to get to and I have a few more than I discovered after taking that photo. And the funny thing is that I’ve just finished reading two other Discover magazines and still have tons left.

As I’ve mentioned in the past I tend to speed read. Some articles in this magazine I still can do that, but others take time to get through. I also have other magazines that tend to be more pertinent to things I do, such as PC World, HealthLeaders, and a couple others. All of that and the time I spend on my computer and consulting in general doesn’t leave much time for such an indepth magazine any longer.

Why am I writing about this? Two reasons actually. The first is because I love the magazine and I would recommend it to anyone that has a love for science in general.

The second is because there’s a lesson here. Sometimes we have to let go of things we love when they’re counter productive to the rest of our lives. A magazine subscription might seem like a minor thing to some, but 16 years is still 16 years. In the past I’ve talked about the need to declutter one’s life sometimes to push forward. It’s hard to declutter when you’re still bringing new clutter into the house, even if it’s pretty or somewhat functional. It can be harder to give that up for something better, which, in my case, will be time devoted to other things. And if I really need a fix I’ll just see what they’re offering online.

What have you tried to give up lately to push forward? Go ahead, share.
 

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How To Deal With Stupid Clowns – The Review

Wow! I just got through reading and enjoying the latest ebook from our friend John Garrett of Hypertransitory.com called How To Deal With Stupid Clowns. He didn’t ask me to review it, but shared a copy with me, and man, after reading it how could I not review it? Great follow up to yesterday’s more serious post by me, that’s for sure.

Let’s get this stuff out of the way first. The link above is to his post/advertisement for it, and if you enjoy that then you’ll love the ebook because it’s all that and more. Half the book is, well, comics, and very funny stuff. The other half is his take on the stupid clowns most of us meet in life, and he hits them on the head. I laughed, then I shook my head because I knew some of these people; still do. It’s a short book, about 80 pages, but reads much faster because of the comics. Some might balk at the $10 price (only $7 if you sign up for his newsletter), but after looking at it I can say that it’s worth it for the artwork alone.

It’s basically a mixture of comic book and life lessons, and the lesson you need to take away from this book is to pick well the people you listen to, let affect your life, and basically let into your life. Don’t let anyone mess with your dream, your job, your life, or anything else if you know they don’t have your best interest at heart. Many people have their own agenda, and if it’s a bad one they’ll take you down with them; that’s what I took from this ebook.

There’s plenty of satire, and one would imagine there would have to be. After all, calling out bad managers, hanger’s on, and generally anyone that’s a drag on your life as a ‘stupid clown’ takes guts. Drawing all sorts of clowns, and I usually hate clowns, is even funnier. And the way he inserts himself into the book, in a green sweater with the Charlie Brown zigzag, is classic. The funniest books are when people can laugh at themselves as well as make a point, and John’s done that here.

What are you waiting for? Click on the link, go take a look at his sales page, read the book and let’s talk about it. Don’t be a stupid clown! lol
 

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