I really like TEDtalks where authors come to talk about the messages in their books. The 20-minute format forces these smart folks to get to the gist of it quickly. Invariably, they make their case more clearly and forcefully than in their respective books. I find the talks more memorable, too.
To make my point, I offer two of these talks as evidence:
- Clay Shirky on institutions vs. collaboration (20:49 minutes)
- David Logan on Tribal Leadership (16:40 minutes)
Compare these to their respective books,
Less than 40 minutes to watch both of these talks versus several days of reading.
Yeah, But Books Are Different
Granted, reading the books is a different experience than watching the videos and there is a lot more detail in the books. But that’s part of the problems with these books. They seem to be written for a broad (i.e., amorphous) category of readers and perhaps because of that they belabor even the most obvious points over and over. These particular books are better than most and don’t do that as much as other “business” books, but I still end up skimming a lot, looking for the core gems.
I don’t mean to imply that I am smarter than my fellow readers; I hear the same complaint from very people who do read these types of books (i.e., how often do you find yourself skimming through books?). I suspect that the rest of the “broad category” of readers that they are supposedly writing for do not bother to read these books in any significant numbers. Publishers do it just because other publishers are doing it.
And, besides, anything with 300 to 400 pages in it must be worth $20 to $30, right?
Having said all that, these books are excellent and I highly recommend that you read them. And right after you’re done with each, go and watch the respective TEDtalk. I found the combination of books and videos memorable and impactfull.
If you’ve read either of these books and watched the videos, I’d like to hear how you’d compare them. Do you prefer one over the other? Does the combination work better for you? (BTW, I am not interested in being lectured about the “tactile satisfaction of holding a book in your hands” or that books are more practical because “you can read a book in the bathroom.” Please. I love books, but their being printed on paper is an option, not a requirement. And I can watch these videos in the bathroom, too.
For a free audio version and other resources related to Tribal Leadership and its authors, go to this site.
For Clay Shirky’s blog, go to this site.