I am always consuming books, whether they’re physical, digital or audio. Every month, I like to share a breakdown of everything I read, including the books I abandoned. I do this because it gives me an opportunity to introduce you to books you might not have had an opportunity to read while practicing the art of writing concise book reviews.
In September, I read 10 books to completion and started a couple of others that have yet to complete. Here’s what I read:
- Wonder Woman Vol. 1: The Lies by Greg Rucka & Liam Sharpe
- Wonder Woman, Volume 2: Year One by Greg Rucka & Nicola Scott
- Launch: An Internet Millionaire’s Secret Formula to Sell Almost Anything Online, Build a Business You Love, and Live the Life of Your Dreams by Jeff Walker
- The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
- American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
- Aquaman, Volume 3: Crown of Atlantis by Dan Abnett
- Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy–and How to Make Them Work for You by Geoffrey G. Parker
- Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures by Matthew K. Manning
- The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice by Todd Henry
- 1984 by George Orwell
All the how-tos for business and creative types
This months’ business reading has been focused on what makes a successful product launch:
Launch is all about building a good plan for what to do and say during the pre-prelaunch, prelaunch, launch, post-launch phases of your product launch. Basically, it all comes down to communication: are you building a relationship with your customer or client, or are you just trying to go for the hard sell? One of the big takeaways I had from the book was not so much the content itself, but how I noticed Jeff Walker using his techniques throughout the book (if you read it, you’ll notice he talks about how he got rich a lot, which is an attempt to establish credibility—”I did this and it worked; if you do it, it’ll work, too”). As a result, the book itself is an intriguing case study in what content marketing can look like.
Platform Revolution is another book focused on the importance of network connections within a product market. That is, what connections are you drawing upon to grow a brand? Like The Content Trap, a book I read a couple of months back, the point of this one is that you might have a great product or service to start, but exponential growth is the result of the connections your audience has and makes, rather than strictly your own ingenuity.
The Accidental Creative is a super-practical look at setting up your life and work to be effective (as opposed to efficient) as a creative individual. I’m processing this book still, which means I’ll probably need to go back to it, but it’s created all kinds of questions for me about what it means to be a creative professional and how to do that well.
That time when Batman met the Ninja Turtles…
September was all about the graphic novels for one reason: I’ve been reading so much work stuff, I just need something fun! The first two volumes of Greg Rucka’s Wonder Woman series are exactly what I expected from the writer’s second go-around with the character: a well-written, semi-retcon of the New 52 series that’s all about an identity crisis for the main character. Aquaman continues to impress, bringing the first major storyline of the series to a close. Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese is a fascinating coming of age tale that is worth reading.
But of these books, Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures is far and away the best graphic novel I read this month. The writer clearly had a blast with the absolute absurdity of these two worlds colliding. I’m not afraid to admit, I laughed out loud often when reading this book. I would love for IDW and DC to team up on another series in this style (so get to it, would you?).
Two Different Kinds of Classics
Finally, I enjoyed reading two very different kinds of classic works in September with The Cost of Discipleship and 1984. The former is exactly the kind of book that every Christian should read: It is thoughtful, challenging, and drives you toward Christlikeness. What’s fascinating to me is the trajectory of Bonhoeffer: this book, which is rock solid in so many ways, represents part of his journey out of early 20th century theological liberalism. Had he lived beyond World War II, where would he have gone? Would he have wound up as something more closely resembling a modern evangelical, or would he have become something else entirely?
1984, on the other hand, is the book I fear many politicians and activists have read and thought, “man, that’s a great idea” about everything the Party does. It is a disturbing book with more parallels to our own day than I think most of us would admit. And that final line… heartbreaking.
That’s it for this month’s round-up. Do you find these posts helpful? Do you have a suggestion for a book for me or someone else to read or want to share what you’ve read? Connect with me on Twitter or Facebook and let me know!
Here’s a look at what I read in: