Saturday, August 1, 2009

book review

Today finds me in San Diego. It's warm but hazy out. Everything has the look of a poor photograph or maybe my glasses are dirty. Probably both.

I've been bad about writing but I'm back on the wagon today. The writing wagon. Writing on a wagon would be difficult. I'm sure there's no electric outlet.


I've set aside the series of essays for a few days to get a better perspective when I come back. I'm thinking my rythm is to look at a piece then take a break and come back. I don't think that break has to be a year or two but a day probably works. I'm also thinking it's a good idea to not just sit around on these breaks so I'm still writing every day but not on the same thing. It sounds like working on a project only every other day would slow progress but in truth it means I keep working and chipping away at it.

I've finished the book The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and I'm dissecting his style a little. At a base level he appears to be trying to convey data and research results to his audience. If his ultimate goal was to sell books I think he has a good formula. The topics he's chosen are unique to what's normally found on the shelves today. Self help and business books about weight loss and sales all say versions of the same basic message and the same basic research but Gladwell is different. His topics are unique enough that people may not know to look for them for improvement. I wonder if this has worked for or against him. It seems in the beginning it would work against him.

His data is bolstered by stories of individuals that he takes the time to paint and personalize. So this isn't a matter of data and research being handed over for consumption. The stories about the information is truly engaging.

I didn't really read his book btw. I have it on audio. I feel if I have time to read I have time to write. Of course it's easier to get exercise with an audiobook than it is a novel on a treadmill. Mr. Gladwell is the reader of his book and his voice is very hypnotic and also engaging. I find it well suited for his writing style. I almost wrote "he's lucky to have such a voice" but maybe it's not luck at all. If this was his plan all along then it's possible he's put in a lot of hours on making sure his speaking voice is part of his craft. I would suppose that speaking engagements are easier to come by when audiobooks in your own voice are so easily available.

I've been kicking around the idea of brushing off some articles and speeches I used to do for businesses. A lot of people are losing jobs and deciding to try careers they've been thinking about for a while but have never done. Maybe free advice on perspective on a small business will net me returns later. Regardless of returns it will keep me writing and honing my skills. My craft.

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