'Book: Cognitive Surplus'

I've just finished Clay Shirkeys latest, Cognitive Surplus. Overall, it wasn't too bad - I've seen a couple of his video's on the topic (and him talk about it live - I'm just to the right, front row, just off camera), so I know the core ideas quite well, and to be honest, this killed the book for me.

So, one line review: Go get it if you've not seen him live or on video. If you get the idea of Cognitive Surplus, then maybe not....

But on a more relevant note: I'm going to stop reading this kind of book. I put this in the same category as the following, which I have read recently:

To various degrees, these have the same problem: They could have been a 100 page book, if it wasn't for the publishers wanting more "paper on the shelf".

The 37 Signals guys went as far as to say this (here I think?) (paraphrased):

We had about 50000 words, and we went back for a final edit, and it was 25000 - well under what the publisher wanted. So we added the pictures, so it looked thick enough on the shelves to look like a business book

(if I ever find the actual quote, I'll link to it, but that was the guts of it. Numbers may be a little off)

The two good ones in the list (Seth Godin's stuff, and How to make money trading) were good exactly because they are short and to the point. That is what's made me stop reading this kind of book (ok, with the exception of "being geek", which showed up today):

**All of those books could have been substantially shorter, without losing any important content. **That way it would take me less time to read them, less paper to print them (think of the treeeeeeees!), less shelf space, and I'd be happier about the whole process.

Maybe I need to buy the condensed versions or something. But I'm sick of getting a 250 page book, to find it grinding at about page 100-150, and the last 100-150 pages being a total waste of my time - just rehashing the first part, with new examples. Gladwell is especially bad at that. At least the 37signals chaps were honest about it!

Seth Godin is a good anti-example of this: his books are usually short (100-150 pages), small (physically smaller than normal), and don't have this problem. Might have to grab one for the flight back to NZ.

[yes, I am aware that this post repeats in rather a similar way to the books I'm talking about.....]

Nic Wise

Nic Wise

Auckland, NZ