Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Era of the Short Book - Talk Ain't Cheap...It's Priceless

I recently dropped a book on one of my friend's desk to which he said, "Oh, No". This was surprising because I know this person is a reader and the topic was of interest to him.

That got me thinking that if even he thinks big books are too long, should we look at writing books that are shorter. There is something in us that makes us think that we should write something longer rather than shorter. Goes back to my succinct is best.

I know there has been a trend for the New York Times best seller to decrease in length. Or just go in any bookstore and you can see this trend.

Speaking of short books, I read, "Talk Ain't Cheap... It's Priceless! Connecting in a Disconnect World" by Eileen McDargh.

This is one of those short books (51 pages) that is meant to be bought in quantity for a company or for a seminar.

The gist of the book is so simple and obvious that it is worth saying. Sometimes we get caught up in electronic communications like email that we don't actually talk to people.

Communication is key and often things are communicated more fully in person. It is tough to read body language in an email.

One line in the book hit me and that was, "How will they feel?" How the person feels when they are talked to is critical. And the only way to get closer to reading that is to be in person.


At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, Jim, "succinct is best," but that doesn't always mean that short is better. I'd apply the rule that Einstein applied to simplicity. "Everything should be made as simple as possible and no simpler."

As for short books, we all owe Ken Blanchard a thank-you. As far as I know, Ken was the first person to figure out that, if people only read a single chapter of the books they bought, it made good sense to write a one chapter book. The One Minute Manager was the first of those, in the early eighties and still selling.

And as long as I'm rolling here, let me offer a shameless endorsement of Eileen McDargh, a great speaker and super-fine person I've known for years.


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