Monday, March 24, 2008


Hello and welcome to another episode of Richard’s book blog! This month we will be covering the books from February and March, along with the benefits and drawbacks of audio books.

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman
Great book about the Patagonia outdoor clothing company and the work it does for the environment. Talks about the founder finding his passion in his work. Shows that business doesn’t have to be shareholder profit lead, but can still make a profit, while helping the environment as well. Company (and the owner) worth over $500million today. An inspirational blueprint for sustainable international business and entrepreneurial hopefuls.

Maximum Achievement: Strategies and Skills That Will Unlock Your Hidden Powers to Succeed
Start to finish complete book on the application of living a successful life. From positive mental attitude to goal setting to parenting and love. This guy loves making lists. List your strengths, list things that are important to you, list your goals. Worth reading (and making lists) again.

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide
Great book with lots of strategy tips, examples and anecdotes from people who’ve made millions of dollars in the direct marketing industry. People like the inventor of Barney the purple dinosaur to informational direct marketers like Tony Robbins (who is also worth about $500million today).

The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living
A book about finding fulfillment and passion in your work every day, not just in the phantom “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow that may or may not come. The writer is a venture capitalist based in Silicon Valley, and the story follows his experiences with the typical twenty something year old entrepreneurs who every day come to Silicon Valley seeking their fortunes, but don't think about why.

"This business has legs": How I Used Infomercial Marketing to Create the$100,000,000 ThighMaster Craze
Half way through this interesting story of the man behind the Thighmaster craze. Once the product was launched it took him only two years to make $100,000,000. He didn’t invent it. He just knew he wanted to sell something and spend six months looking for things.

I Am America (And So Can You!)
Comedy book from American satirist Stephen Colbert.

Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Popular and recommended economics book. Just started. Very interesting.

Atlas Shrugged
Here we have the big one. It’s over a thousand pages (about equal to 5 of the books here put together), and in audio format 2.2days – over 50 hours! I’m less than a quarter way through, about 10 hours, but it’s fascinating and comes highly recommended.

In April I’ll be continuing with that mammoth, as well as possibly going back over my favourites from the last year. 7 Habits, The 4Hour Work Week and Think and Grow Rich all need another going over, but I might start Blink, Winning or The Game instead.

Audio Books.

The drawbacks
Currently no way to speed read. You can read comfortably about 500 or 600 words per minute(wpm) on paper by pacing, developing your peripheral vision and eliminating sub-vocalisation (when you say the words in your head as you read them), but you can’t do any of that with an audio book. In fact you are forced to listen at the speaking speed of about 150wpm, and that’s the rate at which you must go through the book.
I think it's almost impossible to sit on a chair doing nothing but listening. Not so with actual reading.

The benefits
The voice actor can add to the experience of the book – This is the case for I Am America, read by the author, and Atlas Shrugged.
You can simultaneously share the listening experience.
You can listen to it driving, cooking, cleaning etc adding about 5 hours of reading each week that you wouldn’t have other wise done.
You can “share” them for free online. I like to think of it like an online library card.

With software developments in the pipeline for speeding up audio without raising the pitch or losing any understanding to 300-500wpm, audio books are a great addition to normal reading. Audio books are available from iTunes, and for free from your choice of bit torrent file sharing networks!

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