As the first month of 2016 draws to a close, I’ve had the opportunity to read a lot of books. I’ve been away on business travel as well as being disciplined with my time. This has meant that I’ve read more in the last four weeks than in some whole years!
But what exactly have I been reading? And has it all been good, or was some of it utter garbage? I’ve written a highlights reel of all the books and other publications I’ve read or finished so far in 2016. Let me tell you all about it…
Books I’ve Been Reading
I wanted to start with books. I enjoy both electronic and traditional books.
Charlie May was an infantry Captain during the First World War. He was also a prolific writer and his diaries and letters have been collected into this excellent first person account of a most horrific conflict.
What strikes me about May’s approach to the war was his matter-of-fact way of approaching adversity. Although he suffered unimaginable and ultimately died tragically storming a trench during the battle of the Somme, his book is not one of complaints.
Actually, now that I think, I can barely remember one gripe in over 250 pages of writing. His was the ultimate sacrifice and he made it willingly and with pride.
May was a Dad and his fondness for his young daughter drips from the pages. It’s sad that she grew up without a father but must have known immense pride in the way that he gave his life.
Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting by David The Good
I recently reviewed David The Good’s latest gardening book Grow or Die. But Compost Everything focuses primarily on the subject of composting anything and everything.
When I worked abroad, composting was a big deal. Synthetic fertiliser was too expensive or unavailable so traditional methods were the only option. I was interested to recognise many of these techniques in Good’s often hilarious, laugh-out-loud style.
When Good says ‘Extreme Composting’, he means it. Some of his methods reminded me of an account of my grandmother putting the chickens on her strawberry patch (that is, the dead ones).
Even if you don’t like gardening, you will be fascinated by this book, written by a Dad who is unique and expert in his field.
This Book Will Teach you How to Write Better – Neville Medhora
Speaking of experts in their fields, Neville Medhora is a bit of a rock star when it comes to copywriting. His Kopywriting Kourse costs hundreds of dollars. However his book is only a few quid on Amazon.
I first heard about Medhora while reading 30 Days to X (more on this later). His style is easy to read an intentionally informal and visually stimulating. His AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) is a simple way to structure copy, reviews and even blog posts. I’d recommend it for anyone who does any kind of writing – even emails at your day job!
An example of the usefulness of AIDA – I used it to draft a proposal on the freelance site Upwork.com (the job was to write a sales letter).
I then used AIDA (again) to write the sales letter for the client.
This job alone paid for the book a couple of times over.
Now that’s a return on your investment!!
Triggers by Joseph Sugarman
Until recently, I’d never heard of Joseph Sugarman (or Medhora or David the Good – if that even is his real name). It also turns out ‘Sugarman’ is a real name and not one he made up when trying to be a childrens entertainer.
Sugarman is a very successful salesman who specialises in direct marketing (no, not those people who accost you on the high street). Direct marketing is when you try to sell people a specific product though mail order or online.
He’s got years and years of experience and his style is easy and compelling with a few giggles along the way.
If you’re thinking this is quite specialised, you’d be right. But think about it – how often do we have to sell things? Even when we stick that unwanted roadbike on Ebay (NEVER!!) we have to make a sale.
Or writing a C.V. (Resume if you live in the States), or a job interview. You need to sell, sell, sell.
So yes, this is a useful book, even if you’re not a salesman, or don’t think you are.
Presence by Amy Cuddy
Amy Cuddy. That’s a familiar name isn’t it? Now where have I heard that before… oh yeah, that TED talk when she cries at the end…
I’ve been listening to this on audiobook during my tedious commute to the office. Cuddy has a lot to teach Dads about body language, confidence and dominance. All of it from extensive research and observation.
One striking example is that which the cover refers to. An experiment in which young children were asked to interpret the body language of an artist’s mannequin. I won’t ruin it, but the findings were more than a little shocking.
So that’s books done with, what about blogs. There are a lot of terrible blogs out there. Poorly written, poorly thought out by complete phoneys. Thankfully these blogs don’t come under that heading at all.
I’ll only read if I’m going to learn something or my life will be enriched in some way. So, here’s a couple of blogs that I’ve been reading over the past few weeks
30 Days to X (Robert Koch)
I’ve been reading 30 Days to X (dot com) for a while now and every time I’m on there, I learn something. It was through this site I learned about Neville Medhora and Joseph Sugarman.
The most recent offering is a crib sheet on getting better at copywriting. There’s also plenty of information on topics such as self publishing and tips on internet marketing, including affiliate marketing.
Koch is just a young chap, but he’s already building an online empire. He’s one to watch for the future. Remember the name.
Instinctual Introvert (Ben Brewer)
There’s something about Ben Brewer of Instinctual Introvert that reminds me of….well…. me. That’s probably why I’ve been enjoying his writing so much. His most recent post on walking is thought provoking and well written.
If you’re a bit of an introvert, his blog has some great tips and advice for getting through life and succeeding. I especially enjoyed his post on audio books which inspired me to sign up for Amazon’s audio book service: Audible.
If the average person reads six books a year, I’m already on for hitting that number in six weeks. When you’re serious about being the best Dad you can be reading will always be part of that journey.
If you’ve read any of these books or blogs, post a comment below. Tell me if you agree with my comments or recommendations.