This post was first published in 2012. It has been updated to our new format and reviewed to help authors today in 2016
This Book Made Me Think.
My highest praise for a book is “it causes me to think in a new way about things.”
I read books to get a background on what is going on in the world rather than the sound bites on TV, which don’t tell the story with enough depth. But I refrain from writing reviews and getting into political discussion online. There’s just so much misunderstanding and emotion and the rhetoric rarely has anything to do with my illusion of reality.
Why I’m Writing Today
I love reading books because there’s a period of a few hours where I get to focus on a topic that someone spent real time on. It’s also the reason I write books and encourage others to write.
The events and interviews Trita Parsi shares in A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran are the best I’ve see on the subject of the US relationship with Iran. I’m sure I’ll be sharing the ideas with friends and quoting Parsi frequently.
Today, I’d like to share a different story about my new friend @TParsi.
My Story on How I Find Great Books
This story starts with me catching up on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I watch all the episodes online and find that Stewart and Stephen Colbert introduce 3-4 good authors each week.
If Stewart didn’t read the book, it’s the best job of faking it I’ve ever seen. I don’t agree with Jon often on many things, but respect the intelligence behind the comedy. (and it’s more fun than any other news source). It’s a great interview. Parsi is smart, and Stewart shows it.
In the short clip below, I learned a few things I didn’t know. That’s the first tip for authors,
[bctt tweet="Don’t hold back. Share as much as you can in interviews. People are attracted to your authenticity"]
After finishing the show, I jumped on my laptop and watched the second half of the interview. While watching, I used my iPad to download the book from Amazon
I read the book and got several insights that made me reconsider how I think about the situation. The book was very readable but went into depth on all the points in the Stewart interview. The whole process didn’t take a trip to the store, a delay to get the book or any sort of planning. Connections happen in real time now.
How We Read Book’s Today
I consider myself informed, but there were some players in the stories told who I’d forgotten. I looked up a couple online and made a few notes about things I might tweet.. especially the quotations. (I’m hoping Kindle opens up cut/paste in the future. The issues there will be the subject of another blog post)
Here’s where the reading experience diverges from just reading the book.
I posted a tweet when I finished the book review above:
@tparsi thank you. You’ve made a friend, inspired me and encouraged my non-interventionist attitude
— Warren Whitlock (@WarrenWhitlock) March 12, 2012
I have a viewpoint, but I didn’t express it strongly nor expected to get into a discussion about geopolitics on Twitter (or here for that matter).
Not long ago, this would have been the end of the story.
What was different was this response from Parsi
@WarrenWhitlock I loved it! You are indeed a master of communications and an innovative writer! Thank you!
— Trita Parsi (@tparsi) March 12, 2012
Trita Parsi Made My Day
Trita Parsi is a busy guy. He’s leading a large organization, speaks and is on TV often. Still, he found time to answer my tweet.
At times I’ve gone out of my way to connect and follow a Twitter account of an author when I read their book. I’ve met some famous people and contributed to their blogs or online chats.
I didn’t have to this time. Parsi or someone on his staff is monitoring conversations online.
Look at that response… Just a simple ‘thank you’ made my day. I just had to write this review and share the experience. In that, Parsi gets another connection and who knows what will come from you reading this?
I’d like to think that I’m a big shot blogger and have so much clout that people treat me special. But on the subject of this book, I was just one happy reader out of the thousands reading this. While I counsel clients to be on the lookout for radio show hosts, bloggers, and thought leaders. Everyone reading your book can be a contact that gets you to more readers and new connections.
More important that the press you get, the engaged readers you connect with are the kind of people who help spread a message. Despite my anti-political position, I’m now likely to talk to a dozen people about Iran in the next week. I may point a few back to this post (regular readers will know I will share this post)
All it took to stand out what an abbreviated thank you.
Are You Talking To Your Readers?
The first thing we do with all new clients today is review online and social media. You’d think that everyone is online, but we find that most authors haven’t been able to get to this level of engagement.
The best authors have systems that make this happen. If you want to become a recognized thought leader and expert, make sure you are doing the same.