Michael Stelzner is generally regarded as the #1 authority on business white papers. The results of his annual poll identied the “Top 10 Blogs for Writers 2009.” Here are all the winners with Michael’s commentary. If you’re interested in writing online, you’ll get a lot out of adding each of these to your daily reading.
1. Copyblogger: This site is the heavyweight champion of the world four years running (and one of the top blogs on the planet)! The brain-child of Brian Clark, his blog keeps winning because of its insightful articles.
2. Men With Pens: James Chartrand and Harry McLeod maintain the number two slot with their inspiring content and rich community discussion.
3. Write to Done: This blog nearly always delivers a home run with its excellent articles for all writers and is the product of top blogger Leo Babauta.
4. Editor Unleashed: Inspired by the former Editor-in-Chief of Writer’s Digest, Maria Schneider explores writing, social media and community on her excellent blog.
5. Freelance Writing Jobs: This site is the first stop for freelance writers seeking new work and great articles (and it remains a top winner since this contest began). Congrats Deb Ng!
6. Confident Writing: Joanna Young delivers rich and useful articles that will help you take your writing to the next level.
7. Urban Muse: Susan Johnston covers a wide range of excellent topics that all writers will enjoy.
8. WordCount: Journalist Michelle Vranizan Rafter explores the challenges freelance writers face on her excellent blog.
9. Quips & Tips for Successful Writers: A true cornucopia of ideas for writers, Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen provides endless content and freelancing tips.
10. Fuel Your Writing: This site will certainly fuel you! Michelle Krasniak Oxman and her huge team of contributors provide great content for writers.
Visit http://www.stelzner.com and sign-up for free e-mail alerts. You can also download a free white paper appropriately entitled, “How to Write a White Paper.”
The things you can read on an airplane.
David Champion is a senior Editor at Harvard Business Review. U S Air ran his article How the Gambler Kings Brought Down the Financial House. (read it here). He looks back to the book, Barbarians at the Gate, and gives brief treatments of the newer books House of Cards (about Bear Stearns) and A Colossal Failure of Common Sense (about Lehman Brothers). As I read the article, it seemed to me that the real problem – not new, and not unique to the financial sector — is an almost intentional blindness to reality by far too many leaders and their companies. Here’s the gripping, concluding paragraph from his article:
Both books left me depressed. They are, at heart, celebrations of the hero gambler. It’s as if the concept of management and the reality of Wall Street were mutually exclusive. Advisory groups and executive committees are presented essentially as rubber stamps for the leadership; they assumed an important role only after the leaders’ mistakes became apparent. If these books offer a fair representation of how a Wall Street investment bank operates, not much has really changed over the past 100 years. Will it ever?
Why such colossal failure? Part of the blame has to go to our universities. What kind of education produced these kinds of people? (I’ve written earlier about the decline of the humanities, prompted by an article in Harper’s – which I think contributes to this).
But part of the answer has to be this: Unless there is genuine regulation and oversight, we simply cannot expect truly better days. If we expect companies, and leaders of these companies, to do the “right things” out of the goodness of their own hearts, then we are blind ourselves. History reveals that without genuine guardians, people will go around and abuse whatever system is in place.
We woke up this morning to the news that Iran has secretly built another nuclear facility, without proper and expected international inspection. They are not too keen on letting inspectors in. It is as though they said, “trust us and we will do the right things.”
Ronald Reagan was a huge opponent of regulation, but in one arena, he knew we needed it. Well, maybe it’s time for all of us to embrace and follow Ronald Reagan’s advice, in business as well as in international nuclear relations: “Trust, but verify.”
Before we post foreclosure signs outside of book retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Borders, Half-Price Books, and others, because everyone purchases books and downloads them on devices such as Kindle, let’s talk about what these retailers really are.
Yes, they sell books. But, any cursory glance at a visit to these stores will tell you that customers are there for many reasons. They are there for an experience. Last night, at a prominent store of this type, I walked in and found it packed. Patrons filled cafe tables, drinking, eating and chatting. People were on sofas chatting. As I kept walking, I found people listening to CD’s in the music section, conducting business near the magazine section, browsing through gift items near the cash registers, listening to stories in the children’s section, and of course, perusing book aisles.
Any trip to these stores will confirm the notion that these are places that offer experiences, not sell books. Predictions were wrong that Amazon.com would put these stores out of business. It didn’t happen. Predictions will be wrong that devices such as Kindle will do the same.
The reason is very simple. These stores have amply diversified beyond any one product type or line. There is much more to them than books. In fact, they are much less of “bookstores” than Starbucks is a “coffee shop.” As Joseph Pine and James Gilmore argued in The Experience Economy, they have evolved into places where people can go for a fulfilling experience.
While sales have slipped, a CNN Money report indicates that they have done so less than expected, and in fact, no more so than other types of retailers who have felt the brunt of a shaky economy.
Don’t think for a minute that people do not like to get out and relish in experiences. If that is the case, then we would have lost every retail mall once online shopping became available. There are plenty of people who will download books to devices such as Kindle, and among them, many who will curl up in their recliner and read their books that way. But, there are also many of them who will do that and also find their way into retail outlets that stock and sell books.
Perhaps if a retailer only sells books, it will be in trouble. But, not in any more trouble than any other kind of retailer who puts total emphasis upon one product type. That is not what these retailers are doing. They sell books, but offer experiences. And that is why an electronic device will not shut them down.
Do you disagree? Let’s talk about it.