I joked on Twitter the other day (follow me here), asking if anybody remembered books, you know, those things we used to read that were made of paper.
Actually, I don’t read many paper books these days, but I still read books. They’re mostly just on the Kindle (in my case the iPhone version).
A funny thing happens when I read books. I usually learn something, or gain some perspective or change my point of view. Books often lead me to a breakthrough in business or life. Good books are an endless source of knowledge.
The same thing definitely can’t be said as often for blogs.
That might sound funny coming from a guy who runs two blogs, but it’s true. The bar is just so much lower with blogs that there’s a ton of “me too” blogs out there that aren’t worth your time. Just about anyone can write a blog these days, and just about everyone does.
When you read a lot of blogs, you start to notice something. The best blogs tend to get their information very close to an original / in-depth source. Great blogs either do research themselves, interact with real experts or study books written by experts. Great blogs take what they learn from the source, apply it themselves and report on the results.
Mediocre blogs mostly copy what the great blogs are doing. They repackage and echo the same thoughts the great blogs publish. Sometimes a mediocre blogger will add some personal perspective or experience, which can be useful, but the primary information is still recycled content.
The bottom-of-the-barrel blogs either just write personal content (usually the kind which isn’t very helpful or entertaining), or they spend a lot of time responding to what the mediocre or great blogs published. Usually they don’t even try to share a unique point or perspective.
If you’re reading blogs to learn something, you might want to read more books instead. Get close to the source. Only read the best blogs, and spend the rest of your time doing your own research.
If you’re reading blogs for entertainment, this obviously doesn’t apply.
When you read more books on your chosen topic, you’ll start to realize where most of the information in the blogosphere came from in the first place.
Here’s an example. I hate to admit it, but I’ve written about topics on my blogs (especially when I was starting out), that I learned mostly second-hand from other bloggers. More than once I’ve been reading a book (usually that was published before blogging even existed) and discovered I was reading the original source of the info I tried to convey decades later in a blog post. And yeah, my take on the subject wasn’t nearly as complete as the original ;)
The value of blogs is often perspective, personal experience, inspiration or entertainment. Blogs are also great for information that is so new it hasn’t appeared in books, or so obscure information that it doesn’t have a wide enough audience to warrant a book.
If you’re looking for real, in-depth, original information that could transform your life or your business, a book might be a better choice.
Let’s face it, the barrier to entry to write a blog post is about a day’s worth of learning WordPress, writing a post and hitting publish. The barrier to entry to writing a book is hundreds of times higher.
Each of these books has recently led to breakthroughs for me. Read them and they will change your life or your business:
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials) — Ever wonder where the concept of “social proof” came from? This classic on influence by Robert Cialdini is an original source for that and other groundbreaking marketing concepts.
- Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling — When I decided to start offering consulting services through Think Traffic last year, I picked this book by Michael Port up after Sarah Bray recommended it. A couple of months later I was literally booked solid, overflowing with client projects. If you’re thinking about freelancing, this is probably the best $11 you could ever spend.
- Are You Ready to Succeed? Unconventional Strategies to Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life — I bought this book after watching Srikumar Rao deliver this fascinating TED talk about happiness. I literally learned how to make myself happier and have been more successful as a result of reading this book.
- Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got: 21 Ways You Can Out-Think, Out-Perform, and Out-Earn the Competition — If you’ve wanted to know how an expert marketing strategist really applies concepts like the Unique Selling Proposition, don’t miss this book by Jay Abraham.
- Think and Grow Rich — This is one of those books I was aware of for years but never read. I guess the title seemed a little cheesy for me. I’m bummed I didn’t read it earlier. The coolest human superpower is undoubtedly the ability to turn ideas into reality. This classic book by Napoleon Hill (from 1937!) will teach you how. Oh, and the Kindle edition is less than a buck.
What have you read recently that actually changed your life or your business? Book, blog or otherwise, please share in the comments!