I’m trying an experiment for the next few months, rather than feeling powerless as more and more books arrive on my doorstep, just to languish in my “to read” pile as I find more and more of my time consumed by clients and family. I’ve signed on for Soundview’s popular Executive Book Summaries program and I’ll be able to download 20 minute summaries of two or three top business books each month.
This month, the selections are The Enthusiastic Employee, The Growth Gamble and Management Wisdom from the New York Yankee’s Dynasty. This is a great selection for me because I wouldn’t ordinarily pick up any of these three choices, so the summaries are expanding my horizons in a quite painless manner. Next month, the selections are The Next Global Stage and Winning With People, both of which sound terrific.
Previous selections have included Winners Never Cheat, Bridging the Culture Gap, Brand Hijack, The Art of the Start and The Wisdom of Crowds.
As a writer, though, I’m wrestling with the whole idea of third party summaries of longer works. How would I feel, I ask myself, if someone had a 15-page summary of my latest book, Growing Your Business With Google?
Upon reflect, I think I’d be happy with a summarization or abridgment being available because I believe it would open up my work to an entirely new community of readers (or, in this case, listeners) who wouldn’t otherwise get beyond the cover at the bookstore, if they even got that far.
My hope is that I’ll hear summaries of business titles that will be so engaging and interesting that I’ll buy the full-length work, either as an audio book (and I’m a big fan of audio books, as anyone who knows me can attest) or as a physical book to read at my leisure.
Just as much, I expect I’ll listen to 20 minute summaries of books that I’ll feel were better left unwritten, and save myself the expense of having purchased the title just to be disappointed.
The service is also surprisingly inexpensive, at just over $9/mo, with a complete money-back guarantee, particularly when the average business book (hardback) seems to cost $20-$30 nowadays.
I am curious, though: how many other people in the business blogosphere, a community marked by its never-ending incoming flow of information, resort to abridgments of popular works or executive summary services like Executive Book Summaries to stay abreast of the more mainstream business marketplace?