Jul 132011

I confess that when I receive review copy of books from publishers, I don’t have the time and energy to read every word in every book to give it a proper book review. Not having read them, I can’t review them.

What I can do is mention them and to skim them with my initial impressions of what questions the book answers, and questions I’ve got for the authors and/or about the book. Here’s 3 book previews:

Weird: Because Normal isn’t Working by Craig Groeschel

The premise of this book is that the world has its conventional lifestyle that’s normal. Being a Christ-follow aka Christian is not normal and should be a stark contrast to how the rest of the world lives. Craig is a popularly influential church leader, so the book will be popular and well-marketed. I’m not so sure the title fits Craig for me; Craig is notably innovative, and has a leadership style that appeals to the masses. When I think of someone being weird, I’m thinking really weird that’s unpredictably unconventional– more of a Joaquin Phoenix, Crispin Glover, or the sword-throwing Bible answer man.

Friending: Real Relationships in a Virtual World by Lynne Baab

This book pinpoints something about friendship I don’t recall hearing, that the central friendship skill is the ability to initiate. The author adds that listening is another important friendship skill. And these are 2 skills that can be practiced in contexts online and offline. The book goes on to unpack the various skills of relating: initiating, listening, remembering, praying, asking, giving, thanking, sharing, caring, being together, being apart, pacing, choosing, accepting, forgiving.

On the Verge: a journey into the apostolic future of the church by Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson

The 2 leading voices about the missional church team up to co-author this big volume. I know they’ve been hanging out quite a bit, even before Google+ Hangout came into existence. As for the book’s form factor, I sure don’t see many paperback books an inch thick these days, except in academia. This book covers a lot of ground.

Aside #1: What I am noticing in (some of the) newer books is discussion questions at the end of each chapter. Friending has them. Verge has them. Church Diversity has them.

Aside #2: In this day and age of shorter presentations that are 18-minutes or 6:40, or 5:00, it’s hard for me to sit for hours to read an entire book. There are a few ideas worth the extensive treatment of a book length, but not necessarily all of them — for me. And a big factor for me is interestingness – not every book idea provokes me to curiosity. That’s not to take away from the quality of the book and its relevance to (many) other people who may well benefit a bunch from one.

Feb 082009

While the publishing process still has its mystique, and each publishing house has its own style and approach, the writing process is usually a closed and mysterious too, with its content closely guarded until it’s published (and sold), since people are paying for the content. Things are changing.

naked-conv-bookA book published in 2006 opened it up — Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers. The authors, Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, posted their book’s content on a blog, and invited feedback on the draft version. Leaning into the power of the wisdom of the crowds, the book was polished in the open, and got published into a hardcover book. And the book still sold well. (How well I can’t say; I don’t have access to those numbers.)

The authors blogged milestones in their publishing process, Publisher’s Proposal 1.0 + Not Quite Fully Transparent + Publisher’s Update + We have our publisher! . And as they wrote, the book‘s (draft) content’s was posted online:
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