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4 Books I’ve Read So Far in 2013

One of the intents of this site was also to chronicle my adventures in “learning how to read” again. The beauty of having an open concept for a blog like this is that I can write about pretty much whatever I want – and I have. But I also want to make sure I return to certain themes, and reading is one of them.

As per my goal this year of reading 25 books, I am currently working on my sixth, seventh, and eighth books. Since I’ve already written about the first one, here are a few thoughts and reflections on the other four that I’ve read so far this year.

(Note: all Amazon links are affiliate links. They don’t affect your price if you use it to buy one, but you don’t have to use them if you don’t want to.)

The Architecture of Persuasion by Michael Masterson

Why I read it: My biggest client wanted me to read it and discuss it with them, so I did.

Reaction: It’s a pretty short book, but it is certainly packed with relevant information for my job as a freelance copywriter. I was also pretty stunned at just how much goes into a successful promotion. If you are in marketing (and even if you are not), it’s important to understand that every single word of a great sales letter matters, and each word needs to serve a purpose. That’s something that gets away from me from time to time. You can also read this – even if you are not a copywriter – to learn more about how a successful persuasive argument/exchange really works. The author illustrates the art of persuasion by

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using the example of wooing a woman into the bedroom throughout the book. Crude? Sure. But it’s effective as it really helps drive home the different points he’s making.

Early to Rise by Andy Traub

Why I read it: I wanted to get up earlier (and succeeded in doing so, in part thanks to this book).

Reaction: It’s a simple, to-the-point book, and in some ways, I really appreciate and prefer it. If your topic isn’t all that complicated, there’s no need to make your book that much complicated either. Instead, take the time to make your simple points as effective and efficient as possible. Traub does a great job in doing that, as well as finding ways to keep you motivated while you work on getting up early in the morning. He breaks it down into a 30-day program that you are free to read in its entirety right away, or read one short chapter each morning. I read it as a combination of both of those methods and really enjoyed it. I am also happy to support an author that goes the self-publishing route, as I plan on doing the same in my own authorship.

We Who Are Alive and Remain: Untold Stories of the Band of Brothers by Marcus Brotherton

Why I read it: I had just finished watching The Pacific, which reminded me of just how good Band of Brothers was. I love me some history, especially World War II history.

Reaction: As men, we have no idea what honor means anymore. Here’s an idea to wrap around your head: often in this book, there’s a recurring theme of getting back to your unit. For example, a guy would get blown to hell and be sent to a hospital to be taken care of. He would not be medically cleared to fight. After a few weeks, he would go AWOL (“absent without official leave” – desertion from the military). But instead of running off to go relax in some town or to sneak back home, these guys were sneaking back to the front lines to be with their fighting units. In later years, you’d see guys going to Canada to avoid the draft and wounding themselves to stay out of the war, and many of the guys in World War II that were fighting for our country were literally sneaking out of hospitals to get back to the war, because that’s what they were there to do. Holy cow. It also stuns me that, even though I’ve watched Band of Brothers and heard countless stories of WWII vets, there are so many other stories to be told. This was a fairly long book, but boy, was it ever interesting. I have nothing but the utmost respect for all of the brave men that fought for our country during that war. As we live today, we have a skewed vision of what war really means, but WWII was different: it was real and full of sacrifice, both for those on the lines and those at home. The sheer numbers of those who died during WWII are astronomical, and it makes other wars seem paltry by comparison (not that any death should be reduced to just a statistic). Highly recommended.

ReWork by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Why I read it: I had always heard good things about this book, but I never got around to reading it. I had it in PDF form and was sitting in an airport in Chicago, on my way home from Austin. With nothing to do, I opened my netbook and read this book, cover-to-cover, in about an hour.

Reaction: Just like Early to Rise, this book showed that your message can be very simple and still have great impact. There’s no fluff in ReWork, and it comes from a really smart writer and businessman. Running a business is hard, but it’s not all that complicated. Often, complication results from overthinking it or just going with the flow. If you question how business is being done and simplify your efforts, you’d be surprised at how much success you can have. This was a well-written and no-nonsense book that calls you out for making dumb business decisions, and I really appreciated it.

So there you go. There are four books that I read in the past month and a half. Currently, I’m reading Grapes of Wrath, The 7 Triggers to Yes, and 45 Master Characters. So stay tuned – there’s plenty more reading and discussion to be had!

Have you read any of these books? What are you reading right now?

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