So far this year I have purchased, and am currently reading, three “How To” non-fiction books. I purchased all three in paper, or hardcover as two of them are only available in physical form in hard cover editions. Generally I prefer e-books, but, this time I wanted to go through the physical motion of pulling out my ruler, underlining the passages that particularly resonate with me and then set them on the shelf directly across from my bed so I see – and think – about them every day.
What could be so important you may ask?
My answer is the mindful daily application of their contents. Dreyer is probably cringing right now over what is no doubt a plethora of correctable word usage. Mr. Dreyer, I am as of this writing, not finished with your book. Even so, dear reader, you should buy it. The first thirty-two pages alone are worth the price of the book.
This is from Chapter 3:
“If words are the flesh, muscle, and bone of prose, punctuation is the breath.”
That makes punctuation the living, breathing heart of the author’s intent. I never thought of punctuation as a means to convey intent. I thought of it more as visual cadence. Now, I see it as both.
I also thought (past tense intended)of the “Oxford” comma as a plate filled with beans – fine if you like beans and completely passable if you don’t. Here’s what Mr. Dryer has to say about the series or Oxford comma (pg. 24):
“Whatever you want to call it: Use it. I don’t want to belabor the point; neither am I willing to negotiate it. Only godless savages eschew the series comma.”
Although I am not insulted by the moniker “godless savage”, I do not want to be guilty of eschewing the basic points of punctuation.
Buy the book. It’s funny, charming, mildly insulting, AND informative. Grin.
The next book I recommend anyone interested in business, including the business of writing, pick up is Seth Godin’s “This is Marketing – You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn To See.”
I was skeptical about the utility of owning this book. So much so, I spent three separate days sitting in my local Barnes & Noble with it, reading as I enjoyed my coffee. After day three, I’d read and taken notes on, the first seventy-five pages. That day I owed Mr. Godin for more than the $24 I paid for the book.
I purchased “This is Marketing”, for insight on how to promote a new division of our family business, not for my writing. To my surprise, and delight, it has helped with both.
Here’s what Mr. Godin has to say (pg. 92):
“For the independent creator of intellectual property (a singer, perhaps, or a writer), it turns out that a thousand true fans might be sufficient to live a better-than-decent life.”
Translation, we don’t all have to be J.K. Rowling or Lee Child to have a good income if we market to our true fans. I love this book. If you don’t want to plunk down the $24, then order it from your library. It’s worth reading.
I purchased the third book on my non-fiction business list at Half Priced Books for $8.99. What a steal.
“The Personal MBA” by Josh Kaufman, is much dryer reading than Dreyer’s English (how do you like that alliteration?), or Godin’s This is Marketing, but it is no less helpful.
I don’t need an MBA. I would love to have the knowledge required to obtain one. The insight and knowledge required to run and grow any successful business is invaluable. Business models change. Fundamental practices and foundational concepts don’t.
The 2012 edition, which is the one I’m reading, is 417 pages long without the ‘Acknowledgements’ section. Mostly the book focuses on the need for every business to create VALUE, that others NEED or WANT, at a price they are happy to pay, and a price that earns enough profit for the business to continue. Yep. Easy. Just do that.
This book is helpful for anyone determined to learn and do everything possible to see their business succeed. If you’re interested, peruse it at the library. Even if you open it randomly to any given page, you’re likely to come away with something wonderful to help make your business more successful.
If you’ve read or are reading any of these books, please let me know what you think.
Are you a fan of the series, Oxford, or as I like to call it, the beans comma?
Do you have any “How To” or “Guide” books you’d like to share?
What books have been the most helpful in your career?
I look forward to your thoughts.
Peace, and Happy Reading,