Based upon my blog post on Friday, I have received quite a few questions and comments about how we select our books, and why I would select a book that I dislike so much. These questions provide me the opportunity to share the context with you and explain “how we do what we do” concerning books we present at the First Friday Book Synopsis and on our site, 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com.
First, every book we select must either have appeared, or we believe has the great potential to appear, on a best-seller list that we find credible. There have been occasions where a book we have presented has not yet made it on a list, but we believe that it will do so in the very near future. A good example of that is the recent best-seller by John Kotter, which Randy presented as soon as it appeared in print. We do not present self-published books, nor books from our friends who write a book and ask us to do that. In most cases, we ask them if they are interested in presenting a “bonus program,” where they can sell and present their own book, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Very few of these have been successful, and we do not have very many of them any longer.
Second, we owe allegiance to no author or publishing company. With rare exceptions when Bob Morris, who reviewed books for Amazon.com, gave us a copy he was finished with, we purchase every book ourselves that we present at retail prices. As you are aware, we also give those away at the end of the First Friday Book Synopsis. We have never presented a book based upon a phone call from an author or publishing company. Never.
Third, we do not select books based upon whether we agree with them or not. Our policy is that the presentations are not book reviews or editorials. Our purpose is to transfer the information from the book to the audience, and we urge participants that if they disagree, devalue, or feel offended about what the hear, not to “kill the messenger,” as we did not write these books. Through the First Friday Book Synopsis, we do not want to endorse books or book content. I will admit that occasionally our enthusiasm has suggested that a book was “terrific” and “worth a careful read.” On Friday, July 11, I turned off the recorder is off, and chose to tell the world what I thought about my book, and later, repeated that in a blog. It was awful, and I thought you ought to know.
Fourth, we have made a policy not to present or publish personal finance books. However, we have included higher-level financial books that have to do with content such as the general economy or dealings with foreign countries that goes beyond building individual wealth, investing in stocks, and so forth.
Fifth, over the last year, we have moved toward handouts that go beyond “presentation outlines.” They contain much more than we can present in 15 minutes, and include content that participants need to study on their own time. This is actually based upon input from our audience members. Our pledge is to always tell you where to look on the handout (e.g., “top of page 5”) even though we cannot cover all of it.
Finally, the First Friday Book Synopsis is a “labor for love.” We do not make any money on this event. Every month that makes a small profit is followed by a month that takes a small loss. Our money comes from participants who bring us in to their organizations to present programs based upon our expertise. We are appreciative of those of you who have made room for us, either in your own company, or under your umbrella as a consultant.
I hope this explanation has been satisfying to you.
I hope these comments are helpful, and above all, thank you for all your support in 17 years for the First Friday Book Synopsis, the 10 years of 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com, and the 7 years of our blog.