News Flash: You can get a free copy of The Myth of the Garage by Chip Heath and Dan Heath from the Kindle Store at Amazon.
This is really interesting.
And I like it. And not just because it is free.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I like reading on the Kindle App on my iPad. The features – a search button, a click which takes you to the Table of Contents, the highlighting feature, the fact that you can view all of your highlights (and with a little work, can copy and paste them into a Word document) — are all just wonderful, and genuinely useful to a serious book reader. The Kindle app is a great tool.
And reading on the iPad, in a “book format,” is so much easier that clicking through to essay after essay on the web. For example, wouldn’t it be great to have all of Malcolm Gladwell’s essays (most of which are archived at his web site, Gladwell.com), in one ebook? Yes, it would.
Now the future has just arrived in the first such volume (that I know about — there could be others).
Chip and Dan Heath are terrific authors. The brothers Heath wrote Made to Stick, and Switch, both of which I have presented at the First Friday Book Synopsis. They also have written a number of essays for the magazine Fast Company. I have not read most of these.
But I’ve read a bunch of them now. Because they are compiled, all together, in a free ebook available through the Kindle store.
And, yes, some of these essays are terrific.
The Heath brothers, with terrific essays, all on one place, in an easy-to-read-and-highlight ebook. Is this heaven?
(By the way, this one was free, but there is a real market for these. I would gladly pay a Kindle price for all of the Gladwell essays, or the Gawande essays, or so many others, to have them in one volume).
Order it now for your Kindle, or your Kindle app. “Buy” it (for free) here.
Here’s a quick take on The Myth of the Garage, that I found here.
From Chip and Dan Heath, the bestselling authors of Switch and Made to Stick, comes The Myth of the Garage: And Other Minor Surprises, a collection of the authors’ best columns for Fast Company magazine – 16 pieces in all, plus a previously unpublished piece entitled “The Future Fails Again.”
In Myth, the Heath brothers tackle some of the most (and least) important issues in the modern business world:
- Why you should never buy another mutual fund (“The Horror of Mutual Funds”)
- Why your gut may be more ethical than your brain (“In Defense of Feelings”)
- How to communicate with numbers in a way that changes decisions (“The Gripping Statistic”)
- Why the “Next Big Thing” often isn’t (“The Future Fails Again”)
- Why you may someday pay $300 for a pair of socks (“The Inevitability of $300 Socks”)
- And 12 others . . .
Punchy, entertaining, and full of unexpected insights, the collection is the perfect companion for a short flight.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg did a lightning round with Oprah, which was basically the greatest thing ever.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg: Books on paper or books on a Kindle?
(read the article here)
I have written before about how much I like – really like! – my iPad. In the “reading books” part of my life, my favorite feature is the immediate “sample download” of books. I prefer the format/look of iBooks, but Kindle has a wider selection of titles.
And, when I actually purchase a book on Kindle, which I am doing with increasing frequency, it has an amazing feature – you can highlight sections on your iPad (which you can also do on iBooks), and then!, you can print the highlights out from your Amazon page on your computer. And!, you can copy and paste from your own highlights. And!!, you can view the “most popular highlights “ of the book – obviously a compilation from all of those who bought the book on Kindle. I can’t find this same feature on iBooks — I hope they add it. (or, if it is available, and I haven’t found it, please let me know. Comments are always open).
Wow! Just wow!
Bob Morris sent me this link: 20 Coolest iPad Ideas for Your Library, which lists 20 cool ways that the iPad is being used by libraries. The first, and most obvious, is that you can now “check out” books for your iPad, and instantly download them into your iPad from anywhere. After a set period (three weeks, or so), the books just disappear. I have read one book this way from my Richardson library. It works fine — but the format does not match the cool format of iBooks, or even Kindle. Some libraries are even checking out iPads for their library card holders.
Here’s an excerpt from this article:
Since its 2010 release, attitudes about the iPad have undergone a radical change. Once mocked by techies for being both frivolous and having a silly name, the device has since become nearly ubiquitous in coffee shops, schools, airports and businesses across the nation. Why? Because in many ways, the iPad actually did live up to the hype. It’s easy to use (even for little kids), intuitive, lightweight and generally a highly versatile tool adaptable everywhere, from the board room to home room.
Check out all 20 of the ways that libraries are using iPads. It’s a cool list of cool ideas.
There has been no bigger champion of reading books than Oprah. So for her to announce her love and preference for the iPad, it seems like ebooks on an iPad has now gone fully mainstream. I know that many regret the threat to physical books – including me – but as I wrote a while back, I’m A Convert – I’m Now Reading Books On My iPad, And Loving It, I am an enthusiastic convert. The iPad is, simply, a marvel.
The Parable of the Japanese Steel Executives – Don’t Even Try To Do Everything; Do! One! Thing! Very, Very Well
Let’s call this the parable of the Japanese Steel Executives.
I remember an interview years ago with Walter Mondale, then the Ambassador of Japan. He was touring the largest steel plant in Japan, and he asked his hosts, the leaders of the company, what they thought of Bethlehem Steel. After 30 minutes of Japanese deference and politeness, they paused and asked Mr. Mondale why Bethlehem Steel was branching off so far afield from steel with their investments/holdings. Mr. Mondale said that it dawned on him at that moment that the Japanese steel men loved steel – while the American steel men chased after profits. Mondale’s conclusion: the men that loved steel would end up winning the steel wars against the men who chased profits.
Or, in other words – don’t try to do everything, just do! one! thing!, and do it very, very well.
I thought of this as I read the always helpful/educational/useful Farhad Manjoo this morning. He writes about the demise of the HP Tablet, and the absolute dominance of the iPad. (Yes, I have one – – yes, I love it!).
He states that there is actually an opening for a “competitor” to the iPad. No, not quite a competitor. Anyone who can afford a Tablet will opt for the iPad. It is simply that much better than all the pretenders. Instead, there is an opening for those who wish they could afford an iPad, and can’t. The idea is a less expensive, “partial” tablet (my phrase). He describes such a lower priced gizmo, and suggests that Amazon just might be able to make it work. But it won’t be a competitor to the iPad, it will instead open up that next market “down” from the iPad users.
Here’s the line that grabbed me:
In the tablet market, doing more stuff with a worse user experience isn’t as good as doing less but doing it better.
(Read the full article, Do Less, Do It Better: A recipe for Amazon’s rumored iPad competitor).
Doing less, but doing it better. Now this is a formula for success, regardless of your endeavor. Do your one thing; keep to that one thing; and do it better than anyone else.
So, what is your one thing? And, how good are you at it? Define it carefully. Get better at it. Become the best. There’s your agenda for the next few months/years.
I have never been on board with electronic books. I am not excited about any of the devices such as Kindle, Nook, or iPads. I like a book. I like to hold it, carry it, display it, and engage in conversations about it when others see what I am reading.
I thought it was interesting in the Wall Street Journal on May 9, 2011, when Penguin Books CEO John Makinson claimed there is still a future for physical books. The article is entitled “Penguin CEO Adjusts to E-Books but Sees Room for the Old” (p. B9). The link to the full article appears below, authored by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg.
Notice that he says that physical books will always be published. “As we add value to the physical product, particularly the trade paperback and hardcover, the consumer will pay a little more for the better experience. I looked the other day into the sales of public-domain classics in 2009, when all those books were available for free. What I found was that our sales had risen by 30% that year. The reason is that we were starting to sell hardcover editions—more expensive editions—that people were prepared to pay for. There will always be a market for physical books, just as I think there will always be bookstores.”
And, even with the closing of Borders’ bookstores, he finds a strong future for such retail outlets. “There is a future in book retailing. A lot of the issue is not just that there are too many bookstores, but that they are too big. How do you diversify the offerings to consumers in order to make productive use of space without losing the experience of being in a bookstore?”
Finally, as I have stressed in other posts on this blog, there is a strong emotional link that book owners experience that goes beyond mere content. Makinson notes that “When you look at the structural competitive advantages Amazon.com has over any physical bookstore, it is overwhelming. But people will willingly pay a higher price in an independent bookshop knowing they can buy [the same book] for less down the road. That’s because consumers feel an emotional engagement with the bookstore and feel that bookstores are providing a public service as well as a commercial service. I see no evidence that independent bookstores will become obsolete.”
I am excited and energized by the fact that a leading, credible authority in the business remains in the physical book arena. While he reads manuscripts in digital devices, he reads physical books as well.
What do you think? Let’s discuss this really soon!
I found Danny Heitman’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal about e-reading very interesting. His title was “What an E-Reader Can’t Download,” published on July 23-24 (p. A-11).
In the article, he talks about the memories that are anchored as he scans the spines of the books on his living room shelf. For instance, as he sees the spine of Fishing in the Tiber by Lance Morrow, he thinks of a visit he made to Cleveland in 1991, the dinners he had there, the bookstores he visited there, and so forth. “To see the book these many years later is to think of red wine and pasta, wind and winter, good friends and good writing.”
While he acknowledges that electronic books are associated with great convenience, he also notes that the “books on my shelf help me remember that reading isn’t merely an inhalation of data. My library, and the years and places it evokes, speak of something deeper: the interplay of literature and the landscape of a life, the vivid record of a slow and winding search for wisdom, truth, the spark of pleasure or insight.”
Of course, he is right. Books are symbolic. They stand for things. They evoke passion, interest, and curiousity. When you carry them around or when you have them on your shelf, people will ask “what is that about?” or “how did you like that?” That doesn’t happen with an e-reader.
Kindles, Nooks, iPads, and other e-readers take all this out of the equation.
And that is very sad to me.
What do you think? Let’s talk about it!
Last night, I curled up in bed, and read three sample downloads of books on my iPad. Two of them were business books: Little Things and The Corner Office. The music was playing, I learned a lot, and I loved the experience.
I’m ready to weigh in… The iPad is the way to go for book lovers.
First, this caveat… I do very little reading outdoors. (make that none…) Yes, I’ve read that the iPad does not work as well as the Kindle for outdoor reading, but to me, that is a non-issue.
So, let me tell you how I am using the iPad to read books. To start, let me remind you of what I have written before. If you want to know what is in a book, read the book. That is the first, preferable approach. (I have never jumped on the audio books train, but to some, that may be as good an approach). But, to read the book, carefully, thoroughly, is the best way to glean the wisdom in a book. Everything else is “lesser.”
If you don’t have time to read the book, then download one of our 15minutebusinessbooks synopses for books we have presented (recorded at our live presentations at the First Friday Book Synopsis). You receive the audio of our synopses, plus the multi-page handout.
If you don’t have time to do that, then read the reviews of the book, and the best reviewer I know is Bob Morris, who shares his excellent reviews on our blog, among other places. Has he reviewed the book you are interested in? A good/quick way to find out is to simply google the title of the book, like this: Enchantment Bob Morris First Friday. It will take you right to his review (click here) of the new Guy Kawasaki book, Enchantment.
It is after this step that the iPad has become a wonder. When I read a review by Bob, and think “I really want to know more about that book,” I now immediately go to iBooks in my iPad and download the sample. It is a long enough excerpt that it really does give me a major taste of the book itself. I then can decide whether or not to read the entire book.
Here are a few observations from my experience, so far:
#1 – Of the two apps, iBooks is better than Kindle. Yes, you can use both the Amazon Kindle app, or the native to the iPad iBooks app, on the iPad. I have read books, and downloaded samples of books, on both. To me, the more readable/usable format is the iBooks. (Of course – that is what Apple is so good at).
In both formats, I like to hold the iPad in the landscape position, with two columns of text – practically like holding a book open. I make the print plenty large, so there are more “pages” in the book, but it facilitates a really fast reading pace. And I prefer the sepia background – just easier on the eyes, to me.
The highlight/note feature is easy to use on iBooks. Kindle has the highlight feature, but I do not find it as easy to use. (Maybe I am just a klutz).
#2 – With apology to Karl Krayer, my colleague who has weighed in heavily on this blog against e-books, and with apology to myself (I have written before about my love of actual, physical books), I hate to say this, but… reading a book on the iPad is actually every bit as fulfilling an experience as reading a physical book is. And, it is easier. The book is never too heavy, too big, the pages never flop closed. I hate to say it, but it may simply be a better experience.
Now, I know the worries – I share them. What will happen to the book business, to bookstores? And, yes, browsing in a bookstore, picking up volume after volume to flip through, is still superior to the iBooks and Kindle experience. But, once you’ve decided to read the book, I am really liking the iPad.
#3 – And, of course, the iPad beats the Kindle because of eveything else you can do. With a tap on the screen, I can turn my music on. I can, in a flash, check my e-mail or check a web site – and then, go right back to reading the book.
I don’t remember who first said it (it might have been Farhad Manjoo of Slate.com), but the iPad is the perfect device for “input.” It is not as good as a desktop or laptop for “output” work, but for input, like reading a book, it is a marvel.
Now, don’t take me wrong. I will still buy, and read and use, physical books. (For the First Friday Book Synopsis, I will have to – we give the books away at the end of each session). And I will still be adding to my physical books library.
But it is not an either-or proposition — it is a both-and proposition. And the iPad has become the “and” that I am really enjoying.