Category Archives: Books and Publishing

Video Book Review – Brand Against The Machine by John Morgan

No joke – this is an amazing book! I took nearly 5,000 words’ worth of notes on it and could have easily just transcribed the entire thing. It’s that good! Reminds me a lot of The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk, but with apologies to Gary V I think this book is even better!

Why Literary Agents and Publishers Won’t Have A Job Soon


I found this story from CNET a helpful explainer on the whole e-book pricing saga going on right now in the publishing industry.

Here’s the bad news: In a few more years (or maybe even sooner), authors large and small, new and old, are going to wake up and realize they don’t need anyone in the publishing industry anymore.

Popular authors with huge followings no longer need outside marketing/PR clout or help with distribution channels – they’re audience is already built in, and (literally) anyone can now write, upload and sell a book on his or her own. Print books are nearly dead – e-reader sales of products like Kindle and iPad are soaring along with e-book purchases. And why wouldn’t they? Imagine literally carrying hundreds of books in the palm of your hand, having the ability to highlight, bookmark, take notes in the margins, increase or decrease the font size, read in the dark … the advantages of e-readers go on and on.

So if you’re a big author, why not just write the book, publish it yourself (it is literally as easy as cutting and pasting text into Apple’s iBooks Author or importing a PDF file), upload it to the iBookstore and set your own price, keeping 100 percent of the author royalties for yourself? Or use CreateSpace or another free site to create and upload a Kindle-friendly version of your new book?

For new authors, there’s literally no cost (other than time) for you to engage with people on social media, build a following, write a book, copy and paste it into iBooks Author on a Macintosh and then sell it for whatever price you want.

You build your audience. You write the book. You upload the book. You sell the book. You keep all the profits.

The entry barrier to becoming a published author has never been easier. In fact, it can’t get any easier.

That’s great news – unless your still working as a Literary Agent or Publisher.

Six “Sticky” Tips for PR/Marketing Success

Just started reading Made to Stick and have to say its 6 Principles make for a great PR/Marketing/Social Media strategy:

SIMPLICITY: Proverbs are ideal – a one-sentence statement so profound that an individual could spend a lifetime learning to follow it.

UNEXPECTEDNESS: Violate people’s expectations/be counterintuitive. Generate interest and curiosity.

CONCRETENESS: Explain in terms of human actions and/or sensory information. (NOT abstract concepts!) Example: Ice-filled bathtubs, apples with razors. Use concrete language.

CREDIBILITY: Idea has to carry its own credentials. “Ask yourself if you are better off today than you were four years ago.”

EMOTIONS: Make them feel something. We are wired to feel things for people, not abstractions.

STORIES: To get people to act on your idea, tell a story.

Video: Why Google+ Hangouts are going to revolutionize the way we work, live and do business

John Nemo

Take a minute to find out why Google+ Hangouts will change EVERYTHING!

Exclusive Video: Bestselling Author David Meerman Scott talks Newsjacking Book

USA Today and Wall St. Journal Bestselling Author David Meerman Scott was gracious enough to join one of our PR/JOUR Google+ Hangouts to talk about his new e-book, Newsjacking. It’s an often fascinating, sometimes controversial and always fun topic for journalists and PR pros alike to consider. Grab the book – which is a fast, breezy read – on your Kindle or iPad and then watch our interview below to hear more about what could be the big PR/Marketing trend of 2012.


Big news: Join myself and Bestselling Author David Meerman Scott for a special PR/JOUR Google+ Hangout on Jan 11!

Do NOT miss the chance to pick this PR/Marketing/Social Media expert and NYT Bestselling Author's brain!

Awesome news! Just confirmed USA Today and The Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and PR/Social Media Expert David Meerman Scott will join me for a special Google+ video hangout on January 11 at 3:30 pm Eastern/2:30 pm Central time.

Save the date and spread the word!

We’re going to talk about David’s new book Newsjacking – PR/JOUR folks this is NOT to be missed! David is the best of the best when it comes to cutting-edge PR/Marketing trends, and his concept of “Newsjacking” is both controversial and potentially the biggest new PR/Marketing trend we’ll see in 2012 and beyond.

Special thanks to David for being such a class act and so willing to share his time and expertise with myself and the rest of us! Pick up a copy of Newsjacking ahead of time (only $6.99 for the e-book) too!

Make sure you have David and myself in your G+ Circles so you can participate!

Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge – Chapter 15: Wow.

If you will simply read the gospels without bias, you cannot come to any other conclusion but that religion is the enemy.

(NOTE: This is part of an ongoing, “real-time” review I’m doing on the book. My thoughts on other chapters are here.)

The best way I can describe Chapter 15 of Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus is that it feels like a modern version of Jesus clearing the temple.

In short, this chapter is a beautiful beat down of all the religious silliness human beings have attached to simply knowing and loving Jesus Christ.

John Eldredge attacks what he calls this “religious fog” head on, and points out that it is actually “the source of most of the debris keeping people from Jesus.”

He starts with an important distinction: “There is Christianity, and then there is Christian culture. They are not the same.” Think about that for a few seconds.

And what really resonates with me is when Eldredge discusses the crazies out there who portend to speak on behalf of Jesus and all Christians (I’m thinking especially here of politicians or certain TV preachers): “A wing nut talking about Jesus does far more damage than fifty atheists.”

I also love this as a litmus test for any church you are currently attending: “If you can’t take your church culture and language and drop it in the middle of a bar or a bus, and have it make winsome sense to the people there, then it’s not from Jesus. Because that is exactly what he would do. That’s what made him the real deal.”

If you grew up in a religious system or school (as I did), what Eldredge speaks of in this chapter will ring very true.

He outlines in beautiful detail some of the ways the religious fog continues to operate inside our churches and schools today:

  • False reverence replaces loving Jesus
  • Knowing about God substitutes for knowing God
  • Power displays are confused for intimacy with Jesus
  • Religious activity is confused with commitment to Christ
  • Christian service substitutes for friendship with Jesus
  • The holiness of God is taught by making him “unknowable” or unapproachable
  • Holiness is substituted with rule-keeping
  • A trivial morality prevails
  • The system operates on the fear of man
  • There is safety in distance (from God)

This chapter is so rich, so full of truth, and so sure to make our modern-day Pharisees mad, that I cannot put into words how beautiful it is. And so long overdue. I’m grateful for the courage of men like John Eldredge to stand up, tell the truth and clear the temple!

Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge – Chapter 13: My name is Jesus, not Mr. Christ

Sadly, for too many people, the Christ they know is too religious to love, too distant to experience and too rigid to be a source of life.

(NOTE: This is part of an ongoing, “real-time” review I’m doing on the book. Read my thoughts on some of the previous chapters.)

Chapter 13 of Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus may be the most important passage about Jesus Christ I have ever read.

I feel like jumping up and shouting, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Finally, someone is sharing Jesus with me as he really is. Finally, it feels like I have permission to approach him just as I am (warts and all) and receive the life, love and intimacy he has to offer.

John Eldredge spends this chapter beautifully dismantling what he calls the “religious glaze” that we tend to paint over Jesus. Well-meaning and intended to give Jesus the proper respect and reverence he deserves, this glaze also tends to push him so far away that we never feel worthy or safe when it comes to being intimate with him.

“Addressing God with a coat-and-tie formality you would have never wanted between you and your dad will end up starching the relationship,” Eldredge writes. “[Calling God] ‘Papa’ is what Jesus gave us.”

I love this too:

“My name is Jesus. That’s pretty straightforward. Not Mr. Christ. We’re the ones who keep inserting respectable gold-leafed expressions such as ‘the Good Lord,’ ‘the Savior,’ ‘the all-glorious One,’ feeling better for offering the reverence but not realizing it is religious talk – not the sort of thing Jesus liked very much. Stained-glass language reflects a view of what Jesus is like; it shapes our perceptions of him and, therefore, our experience of him.”

Eldredge reminds us, “The original writers of the Bible did not use ‘Thee’ and ‘Thou,’ didn’t even use a capital H when referring to ‘him.’ We added these later, as an act of reverence. Along with red ink, to set apart the words of Jesus. But the effect is to create a very false impression, a best-to-keep-our-distance piety. These ways of speaking about Jesus perpetuate distorted views of his personality and keep Jesus at a distance, the polar opposite of the intimacy his entire life was committed to. It makes it hard to love him.”

The examples the author shares in this chapter are remarkable for the pure and unguarded intimacy they provide. The woman who washes Jesus’ feet with her tears and dries them with her hair. His good friend John resting his head on Jesus’ chest after dinner. Children sitting on his lap. Jesus invites this. He wants this. And last I checked, he doesn’t ask anyone to purify themselves or have it all together before approaching him. Come as you are. Let me love you.

When Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple that served as a symbol of the separation between man and God was famously torn in two.

“[Jesus] took that veil and ripped it in two,” Eldredge writes. “So why do we insist on stitching it back up? A whole lot of what passes for worship, sacrament and instruction in Christian circles is sewing lessons – hanging that veil again. Done in the same spirit that says, ‘God is too holy for us to approach.'”

Eldredge brings about another critical point later in the chapter: “Doing things for God is not the same thing as loving God. It is a fact that people most devoted to the work of the Lord actually spend the least amont of time with him. First things first. Love Jesus.”

This makes me think of all the duty and obligation we tend to feel with “serving the Lord” and how our hearts often really aren’t in it for the right reasons. Because our relationship with Jesus isn’t right to begin with. These acts should be springing out of our love for Jesus, not from duty/fear/obligation that “it’s the right thing to do” if you’re a good Christian.

The last (and perhaps best) line that resonated with me was this: “Do not let those religious crows with all their squawking shame you away from this [approaching Jesus just as you are, seeking real intimacy with him] by their false reverence, making you think this diminishes the all-suffiency of God.”

For me, this chapter was very personal. Having been sexually and emotionally abused as a young boy, it is almost impossible for me to let my guard down to the point where I can just come as I am, completely vulnerable and exposed. The shame and fear of rejection is just too massive. So to hear these words, to realize Jesus is approachable and in fact wants me, just as I am, brings tears to my eyes. It gives the little, wounded boy inside me hope. Jesus will not reject me. Jesus will not hurt me. Instead, Jesus will love me, hold me and heal me. He will love me the way I – and every other human being – has craved to be loved since we breathed our first.

Cartoon Characters and Christianity (Pat Robertson edition)

I couldn’t agree more with this statement from a recent Opinion piece in Christianity Today: “Sadly, many of our neighbors assume that when they hear the parade of cartoon characters we allow to speak for us, that they are hearing the gospel. They assume that when they see the giggling evangelist on the television screen, that they see Jesus. They assume that when they see the stadium political rallies to “take back America for Christ,” that they see Jesus. But Jesus isn’t there.”

That’s why reading Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus by John Eldredge comes at a perfect time for me. Here is a book I can point to when I want to show people around me who the real Jesus is. And I understand John when he says this book partly came out of a place in him that is so sick and tired of seeing religious leaders continuing to pervert and distort the reality of who Jesus really is and what he really stands for in order to advance their own personal agendas and campaigns.

UPDATE: Great news! I just found out from John’s publisher that I’ll be allowed to give away 5 copies of the book here on my Blog! Stay tuned for details.

Also, in case you missed it, I’ve been reviewing Beautiful Outlaw chapter-by-chapter here on my Blog the past few weeks.

Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldredge – Buy the book for Chapter 7 alone!

Jesus' three years of public ministry are one long intervention. That's why he acts the way he does.

(NOTE: This is part of an ongoing, “real-time” review I’m doing on the book. You can also read my thoughts on Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3, and Chapter 5.)

I just finished Chapter 7 (Disruptive Honesty) of Beautiful Outlaw: Experiencing the Playful, Disruptive, Extravagant Personality of Jesus and walked away convinced the price of the book is worth this chapter alone. It is a beautiful, remarkable exposition on the honesty of Jesus.

I love this line:

“Remember, Jesus is not strolling through the Israeli countryside offering poetry readings. He is on a mission to rescue a people who are so utterly deceived most of them don’t even want to be rescued.”

John Eldredge explores the courage it takes and the costs it extracts to love like Jesus. To be honest with ourselves and others. And why most (if not all) of us don’t live that way. It’s just too painful. It costs us too much. It’s easier to walk away.

But, thank God, “you can count on Jesus to tell you the truth in the best possible way for you to hear it.”

And this is the line that changes my entire view of Jesus Christ and Christianity:

“What would it be like to have someone in your life who knows you intimately, loves you regardless, and is willing to be completely honest with you?”

Yes, Jesus is honest with us. He points out the truths that nobody else in our lives will. But he doesn’t just walk away afterward. As Eldredge notes: “Truth and grace. Anytime, every time Jesus pulls the rug out from under us, he extends his hand to lift us to a place of refuge.”

I also love Eldredge pointing out the fact that so many Christians want to soften, explain away or even flat out deny Jesus’s claim of exclusivity when it comes to heaven.

Jesus says very clearly – and repeatedly – in the Bible that he is the only way to heaven.

“No other leader of the world’s religions makes such an audacious claim,” Eldredge writes. “It is a line in the sand that has caused many Christians embarrassment (particularly those trying to win acceptance in our ‘all roads lead to Rome’ postmodern world).”

I also like this truth from the author: “The spirit of our day is soft acceptance of everything – except deep conviction in anything.”

But remember what I just wrote earlier – Jesus doesn’t share these hard truths and then walk away, saying “Good luck” over his shoulder as he leaves us behind. Rather, he reaches out his hand, ready to lovingly guide us away from a future in hell and instead into the eternity of heaven.

I love this man! He sees me as I really am, warts and all, and loves me anyway. Jesus doesn’t wait until I have it all together to spend time with me and support me and be seen in public with me. He’s scandalous that way, isn’t he?

Jesus, thank you. Thank you for telling me the truth in exactly the way I need to hear it. Thank you even more for not walking away from me, rejecting me or shaming me once you’ve exposed my deepest wounds, hurts and habits. Thank you for instead reaching out, offering me your hand and your heart. For staying by my side no matter how long it takes.

Your love – what else is there on this earth or in this life that I could possible compare it to?


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