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ISBN 9780307951526 Published May 2012
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Posted Jan. 23, 2013 6:43 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
When I got in my car, the temperature gauge on the dashboard read negative four degrees. It was sunny out, but it was the kind of sunlight that seems reluctant—like a lone light in a walk-in freezer—struggling through the cold air to get to you.
So when I backed out of the driveway yesterday morning, I thought to myself, "there is no way we get a good crowd this morning, on the coldest day of winter. There's no way people leave the warmth of their beds an hour early and head out into sub-zero temperatures just to discuss ideas and business books for two hours before they head off to their actual jobs for the day." I underestimated the drive and gumption of the business book readers of Milwaukee, and the ability of the good folks at Translator to get them there. They showed up.
You can tell by the winter light, and the heavy winter coats and scarves in the pictures, that it was well below freezing. But Translator had good, hot coffee, and a really great group of people, and our [general] manager Jon Mueller curated an engaging conversation around the ideas and stories from each of this year's 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards category winners.
It was an excellent crowd. It was not a gathering of people looking for a way to escape their current circumstances, but of those that knew they have a lot more they can contribute to their current circumstances—whether their work, home, or hobby—and were searching for new ways to meet that challenge. All those that spoke seemed happy and effective in their life and work, but they also seemed to know that they can get even more out of life, and that they have more to offer their world. And instead of being bitter, they were all striving for ways to be just a little bit better. So they came, and they discussed, and they went back out into the cold morning fortified with new ideas and insight.
Thanks so much to those that showed up, to Translator for organizing and hosting the event, and of course to all the authors that wrote the books and provided the ideas and inspiration that continue to get us up, excited, and out the door early. We'll have some video of the event for all of you in the not-too-distant future.
The Sketchnote Handbook
Posted Dec. 31, 2012 5:36 a.m. by michael
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
There are many ways to learn. Let's pretend, for the sake of this review, that there are two kinds of learners: those who take note and those who don't. That was fun. Now let's think about the first group (sorry non-note-takers; this is your exit cue). Note-taking can be something we take for granted, something we don't think about, often because we tend to treat it much like we'd treat tying our shoes or brushing our teeth: it's simply an activity you do in order to facilitate some result. You take notes in order to help maintain attention during a lecture, or else to have some visual and/or conceptual reminders of what you heard. After a lecture or a conference, you page back through your notes and the little bits and pieces that you see on the page will hopefully help you to reconstruct the big ideas that were communicated during the event.
Fortunately for you note-takers, the presumption that note-taking is a banal, mechanical process that does not bear analysis is entirely wrong! And by now, you likely know that I will be directing your attention to Mike Rohde's new book The Sketchnote Handbook. You might in fact be familiar with Mike's work already: he illustrated two of my personal favorites from the past two years: ReWork and The $100 Startup. His style is notable, and The Sketchnote Handbook offers a peek behind the curtain, and more importantly, it offers a powerful application of that style that can be useful to almost anyone.
This 'illustrated guide to visual note taking' delivers on its promise: it not only demonstrates techniques for sketching quick and easy images that will enhance your notes, but Rohde also delves into some important peripheral topics. Chapter 3 is all about how to improve your listening technique, so that you can take (sketch) better notes. Chapter 2 establishes the argument for sketchnoting, wherein Mike cites Alan Paivio's dual coding theory. Long story short: sketching (or 'doodling') helps you remember better.
OK, non-note-takers are back on stage. The added beauty of The Sketchnote Handbook is that it might just be the kick-start that non-note-takers need. If you might have previously thought, "I have nothing to gain from taking notes", you might want to reconsider your position. Simply writing words in a notebook page can definitely provide a challenge with limited payoff. Rohde's sketchnote approach provides a genuinely fun activity to everyone in the audience, with the very likely benefit of actually improving retention of the key concepts.
If you're thinking you might be into sketchnoting, but you're worried because you 'don't know how to draw', you'll be relieved to find chapter 7, which details all kinds of techniques that you can practice to improve your skills. The demonstrations Mike provides are literally so simple that you'd have no excuse to shy away from the book on the basis of skill. And returning to one of the key concepts the book communicates (in the introduction), "ideas, not art!" You don't need to be an artist to sketchnote; you simply need to be good enough to sketch something today and recognize it tomorrow. This point is illustrated (literally) in the book when Mike shows two sketches of a dog: one is good and the other is bad. But as he says, "either way it's still a dog."
Check out the video below for more info, and visit Mike's own book page for even more (including a free sample chapter PDF).
The Elite Eight: Our Picks for the Top Business Books of 2012
Posted Dec. 18, 2012 6:40 a.m. by sally-haldorson
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
In anticipation of announcing the winner of the 2012 800-CEO-READ Business Book of the Year tomorrow, here's a recap of the category winners. Click on the links below to read more about these top books of 2012.
Which book is *your* pick for the top book of the year?
~General Business: PRIVATE EMPIRE | Steve Coll
~Leadership: THE COMMITMENT ENGINE | John Jansch
~Management: THE ADVANTAGE | Pat Lencioni
~Innovation & Creativity: THE ICARUS DECEPTION | Seth Godin
~Small Business & Entrepreneurship: THE $100 STARTUP | Chris Guillibeau
~Sales & Marketing: TO SELL IS HUMAN | Dan Pink
~Personal Development: SO GOOD THEY CAN'T IGNORE YOU | Cal Newport
~Finance & Economics: FINANCE & THE GOOD SOCIETY | Robert Shiller
The 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards, Entrepreneurship & Small Business
Posted Dec. 17, 2012 5:52 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
Of all the categories in the 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards, the books in Entrepreneurship & Small Business usually contain the most immediately actionable ideas and instruction. This year is no exception. Chris Guillebeau's The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future, released by Crown Business, is a perfect primer for those looking to break out and build a business of their own—right. now.
“If you have a group of interested people but nothing to sell,
you don’t have a business. If you have something to sell but no one willing to buy it, you don’t have a business. In both cases,
without a clear and easy way for customers to pay for what
you offer, you don’t have a business. Put the three together, and congratulations—you’re an entrepreneur.”
The $100 Startup, page 18
The $100 Startup does offer cases in which people have made quite a bit of money, but the goal of the book is always to teach readers how to be self-supporting. This is the everyman’s guide to entrepreneurship.
To see more, check out our Entrepreneurship & Small Business shortlist.
2012 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards Shortlist: Small Biz/Entrepreneurship
Posted Dec. 12, 2012 5:59 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
Over the course of this week, we will be posting the shortlist selections for our 8 business book categories: General Business, Leadership, Management, Innovation/Creativity, Small Business/Entrepreneurship, Marketing/Sales, Personal Development, Finance. Then on Monday, December 17th, we'll announce the category winners, and, on Wednesday, December 19th, we'll celebrate the overall winner of the 2012 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards! Stay tuned.
The selections for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship category are:
- The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau, Crown Business
- The 20% Doctrine: How Tinkering, Goofing Off, and Breaking the Rules at Work Drive Success in Business by Ryan Tate, HarperBusiness
- The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities by Will Allen with Charles Wilson, Gotham Books
- Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future by Leonard A. Schlesinger & Charles F. Kiefer with Paul B. Brown, Harvard Business Review Press
- The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley's Most Exclusive School for Startups by Randall Stross, Portfolio
So you want to start a startup. The first hurdle is often the biggest: starting. Leonard Schlesinger, Charles Kiefer, and Paul Brown provide a guide to surmounting that obstacle via their book, Just Start. It’s not quite as simple as the title makes it sound, but the book provides very practical guidance rooted in concrete research, and it will motivate you to action. There’s sometimes no better motivator than the promise of independence, and Chris Guillebeau knows this well. The $100 Startup is a simple guide for self-starters, and a reminder that breaking away from the typical workforce and gaining career independence is more possible than you think. For those with ideas but also with a need for some nurturing, there is The Launch Pad, Randall Stross' glimpse into the world of Y Combinator, a startup incubator, with enlightening case studies culled from the 2011 summer batch. Where some books are guides to would-be success, Stross’ is a fully-engaging testament to the power of creating an environment for innovation. Sometimes that environment needs to invite a little bit of goofing off, and Ryan Tate would like you to know that there is value in going ‘off task’. Tate’s The 20% Doctrine looks at Google’s now renowned ‘20% time’ and how other individuals and companies have embraced a similar approach to management and productivity. The results are compelling, and Tate makes evident the value of tinkering—both for employees and the companies for which they work. Such success stories are a motivating fuel for entrepreneurs, and Will Allen's story of launching Growing Power, a non-profit community food system, is indeed inspiring as detailed in The Good Food Revolution. Allen tells the story of his startup journey and how it’s impacted him, his community, and the nation's need for making good affordable food accessible for all people while also stimulating urban revitalization.