Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Bloggers wax rhapsodic over book retreads

OK, first off: I read Rules for Revolutionaries by Guy Kawasaki and really enjoyed it. The guy has something to say and says it cleanly and well. Second: I imagine it was a way kick-ass job being Apple's evangelist, no doubt. And from all accounts he was good at his job. Third, you can bet I'm subscribing to Guy's blog and hoping he'll eventually manage to bring the same quality of his books to the more regular grind of a blog.

So, where's the "but..." you ask?

But...you'd think that bloggers could hold off waxing rhapsodic and starry-eyed over Guy Kawasaki's new blog until he blogged something substantial that wasn't basically an excerpt from one of his books!

The DICEE stuff? From Rules for Revolutionaries. I remember it well. I liked the acronym then. I like it now.

The Mantras vs. Missions? Art of the Start.

I don't know if they're 100% word for word excerpts, but the concepts are certainly from those books, and I didn't need just my memory to tell me that, a quick Google search did it. I don't know whether to praise Guy for not using each post as a mini-opportunity to shill his books (although they are conveniently placed in the side bar) or to damn him for posting as though these are his original bloggy thoughts, not concepts for which he is already known.

Maybe I'm just cranky because I've been sick, but really, fawning bloggers and commenters are not that attractive. Stop anointing him the new blog king before he's done anything blog-note-worthy. Bring back the usual piss and vinegar please.

It may be old news if you've read all of his books - and new if you haven't. Even if you *have* - sometimes a pithy reminder in a couple of paragraphs is a good thing. Especially if you have a memory that doesn't work as it used to, or as you might wish.

Being reminded about mantras (in his context) was quite inspirational for me - so I did something with it, *and* blogged it, and don't feel I was *fawning* by doing so. Has everybody who reads my blog read "Art of the Start"? I very much doubt it.

In my opinion, blogging an idea from a book you've already published is no different from posting on one blog about a post you've made on another blog - using a channel to spread the word about something that's (hopefully) worth reading. Why is one form of self-publicity to be denigrated while the other is deemed fair game?
Thinking about this more: I would like him to acknowledge the source of his posts, just like we acknowledge other sources in our posts. Transparency is one good blog value.

Imagine if any company created a blog, and all the content was was excerpts from white papers and press releases and company presentations (which can be useful, but don't make a great blog.) That is exactly what bloggers say *companies* shouldn't do. It is essentially what has thus far been done in this blog.

If this is all his blog ever is, excerpts from his books, don't you think people will begin to feel a bit disillusioned? Originality and timeliness are also good blog values.
Agreed, good point about the transparent acknowledgement of his sources - which is surely in his own interest, because if a particular post really makes someone go "wow", then telling them *which* of eight books contains the longer story might encourage them to buy it! :-)

And sure, if that's all his blog ends up being, then isn't going to set the world on fire. But, it's only been up six days - give him a chance to prove himself, or hang himself, eh?
I like Koan's point, but I have to agree--excerpting books is such a PEEVE of mine. Some bloggers do it--word for word--and it infuriates me. My view is: if you are worth your salt you can generate material you feel strongly about any time. Sure, you borrow from yourself, but full excerpts passed off as original copy is, in my book, a no-no. Seems like Guy uses a lot of material, but infuses original content too. If that's the case, I can live with it.
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