Posts Tagged ‘books’

Book Review: The Social Media Strategist

“Page turner.” Not words you usually expect to associate with a social media book.

For anyone who is looking for a solid primer on social media within corporations, though, those two words perfectly describe Christopher Barger’s book The Social Media Strategist: Build a Successful Program from the Inside Out.

In case you aren’t familiar with Barger, he’s headed-up social media at two of the world’s largest companies – IBM and GM. While at the latter, he led their social media communications around GM’s bankruptcy filing. Suffice to say, he has the chops to write a book about corporate social media. Nowadays he plies his trade at Voce Communications.

Despite the over-abundance of social media books nowadays, you can generally divide them into twocategories: the inspirational, philosophy-level books (Trust Agents, Six Pixels etc) and the practical, action-focused books (ok, there are probably many more, but work with me on this…). The Social Media Strategist falls firmly into the second category – one that I think is very thin on the ground right now – and immediately takes its place as my pick for one of the best in the category.

Barger writes in a pragmatic, realistic style – he doesn’t pull any punches, but more importantly he doesn’t focus on shiny objects and he doesn’t bullshit you with visions of a social media-driven utopia. He’s honest and to the point about challenges, and this book is all the better for it.

Barger gives a nod towards social media 101s, but this book is intended for people who have already bought-in to the potential of social media, and are looking for the “how”, not the “why”.

The vast majority of the book is taken up with chapters on critical pieces of the corporate social media puzzle – roles, responsibilities and key infrastructure. Barger leads with substance – early chapters on the executive champion, the social media lead, and the challenges they need to overcome are some of the best parts of the book. Later on he delves into aspects of social media training, policies, crisis management, blogger relations and more.

One key point to note is that this is not a tactical “how to” for social media programs, or a case study-focused book. You won’t learn from detailed walk-throughs, and case studies are limited to comments from a few key individuals in the space (all of whom are highly credible, however). This book is focused at more of a strategic and structural level.

Equally, if you’re already a long way down the road with your program then you may get relatively little from this (although there will certainly be nuggets and reminders throughout) – this is focused more on someone starting from close to scratch.

Neither of these things is a problem, though – Barger knows who he is writing for (he states it explicitly at the outset, in fact) and he caters to that audience with aplomb.

If there were one thing I could change, it would be the flow through the book. There’s no narrative through the book – partially because Barger doesn’t prescribe a set process to follow, but at times the leaps from topic to topic between chapters could use finessing (while chapter 9 focuses on social media training within the organization, chapter 10 focuses on blogger relations). Also, the crisis communications chapters have relatively little substance when it comes to how to prepare for those events (the GM-focused chapter, alone, could frankly be a book on its own).

Ultimately, if you’re working on social media within an organization and need a handbook as you get started, I can hardly recommend The Social Media Strategist more strongly. I’ve already suggested that several people I know read it, and suspect that several others may find it in their stockings next time Christmas rolls around.

Two thumbs way up.

My 2012 Reading Challenge: 36 Books

For the last two years I’ve set myself a challenge – one I adopted from Julien Smith – to read at least 26 books per year. That’s one every two weeks.

In 2010 I managed 26 books; last year I managed 32.

Stand-out books for me last year included:

This year, I’m shooting for 36.

I’m looking forward to getting stuck into a bunch of books that have been on my “to read” list for a while – books like Humanize, Predictably Irrational, Here Comes Everybody, Empowered, Social Media ROI and the The Hunger Games Trilogy.

What books have you enjoyed recently, and what are you looking forward to reading?

(Image: kwerfeldein on Flickr)

Book Review: The Social Customer

The Social Customer is one of the best books I’ve read on practical uses and implementations of social media marketing. Given that I’ve read a fair number of them over the last few years, that’s saying something.

The author, Adam Metz, takes the reader through a straightforward, easy-to-read summary of the concept and potential for social CRM, but that’s really only part of this book. While it covers social CRM at length, this is a solid 201-level tome on many aspects of social media, which means this is a useful read for anyone wanting to go beyond the intro level and commit to the social marketing arena.


The Social Customer is divided into three sections:

  1. Section One takes the reader through an overview of the topic of social CRM.
  2. Section Two walks through 23 use cases of social CRM (based on Altimeter’s 18 social CRM use cases, with a few extras thrown in), dividing them into six groups:
    1. Social Marketing
    2. Social Sales
    3. Social Support
    4. Social Innovation and Product Development
    5. Collaboration
    6. Seamless Customer Experience
  3. Section Three looks at the implementation of social CRM within the organization.


While unashamedly enthusiastic about the potential and desirability of social CRM implementations, Metz is honest throughout about his thoughts on the market-readiness of the various use cases that are put forward. You never get the feeling that he’s just preaching for the sake of it, but that there’s a considered opinion behind the assessments.
The book is extremely easy to read. A consistent energy and enthusiasm flow through it, and the personal anecdotes lend a human feel to the book throughout.
Lastly, he book draws frequently from other popular texts including the aforementioned Altimeter paper, Paul Greenberg’s CRM principles and the book Blue Ocean Strategy. In doing so, it creates a really solid overview of the topic that ultimately leaves you wanting more.


The book isn’t without its issues, however.
The vendor-focused nature of much of the book means that it will be out-of-date before long – especially as it provides a point-in-time assessment of the market readiness of tools and use-case implementations.
The book offers a fairly immature definition of a socially-enabled business which, while fitting the topic of the book, ignores many of the other potential considerations in play.
The middle section of the book – the 23 use case – does drag and becomes repetitive as it progresses. This part of the book, while valuable, is a bit of a slog – you’re best either taking a break before diving into it, or just picking and choosing the chapters based on your own business objectives.
Still, these weaknesses don’t ultimately spoil what, as I mentioned earlier, is one of the best social-focused books I’ve read in a long time – if not the best.
Who should read this: People with a good knowledge of social media who are looking to begin to go more in-depth; people who want to explore the potential of social CRM at a basic level.
People who should avoid this: Anyone looking for an introduction to social media (this will be too advanced); people looking for an in-depth “how-to” on social CRM.
What you’ll learn:
  • Introduction to the concept of social CRM and the social customer
  • High-level introduction to 23 use cases for social CRM and their market readiness
  • Introduction to operational factors, including analytics, work flows, legal and ethical considerations

Book Review: Social Marketing to the Business Customer

Despite all of the books out there about social media, most of them are pretty generic or focus on end-user 101s. So, when I heard about Social Marketing to the Business Customer (by Paul Gillin and Eric Schwartzman), I picked-up a copy straight away — because I think the marketplace is desperately in need of solid B2B books offering practical social marketing advice.

The bottom line: I’ve already recommended this book to several colleagues looking to learn more about social media from a B2B perspective. Even if you’ve worked in the social media space for a while, this book offers useful pointers and case studies that will help you to think differently about how you approach B2B social marketing.

For me, three key things stand out about this book:

1. It acknowledges that social media isn’t the second coming. While, per the title, the book is totally about social marketing, the authors frequently remind the reader that there are other promotional tactics available to business owners, and points out that social media isn’t always the best set of tools to use. A little dash of reality is essential to a book on this topic, when everyone else sometimes seem to have the blinkers on.

2. It brings new case studies to the table. We’ve all heard about the obvious case studies a hundred times. Dell, Starbucks, and so on (disclosure: Starbucks is an Edelman client). If you’ve read a social media book, you’ve heard their stories and you’ve learned all you will from them at this point. They’re in this book too, but so are organizations like InnoCentive, the Oil Spill Recovery Institute and the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts. In fact, along with the examples spread liberally throughout the book, there’s a whole chapter consisting purely of case studies of eight diverse organizations using social media in diverse ways.

Why does this matter?

Because you’re much more likely to be able to relate to one of these companies than you are to the giant first movers.

What’s more, this book doesn’t just talk inputs, it talks outcomes – it lets you know the results of those companies’ social media activities. In doing so it provides the substance that you need to take those case studies to your management to help convince them that your ideas are good ones.

3. It’s written for the average B2B marketer. You don’t need to be a social media expert; you don’t even need to be a digital marketer. You just need to have a good marketing head on your shoulders to understand and get value from this book, as it starts you at the beginning of the planning process and takes you through to tool selection and measurement. That’s why I’ve recommended it to colleagues who are looking to learn more about this topic — because it will help them go from 0 to 30 in B2B social media marketing. Our digital team can help them along the rest of the way.

Of course, there are things I would change. The chapter on ROI makes a LOT of assumptions, and I noticed more grammar errors in the book than in most others that I’ve read recently. They didn’t detract from the value in the book, though — and the fact that there IS a chapter on ROI made me happy.

Who should read this: People looking to gain a basic understanding of B2B social media. If you’re in this boat, Social Marketing to the Business Customer is a worthwhile read.

Who should avoid this: Purely B2C marketers (although you may still learn some useful pointers) and people at an advanced level of knowledge in the B2B social media space.

What you’ll learn:

  • Use cases for social media in B2B marketing
  • How other companies have successfully used social media in the B2B space
  • How you can go about planning and optimizing your own activities
  • Ways of measuring the return on your investment

The Non-Review Review: The Now Revolution

A quick confession for you: about six months ago I snagged a pre-release copy of the book “The Now Revolution,” by my friends Amber Naslund and Jay Baer. I quickly read it, absorbed it and loved it.

The Now RevolutionThen I got busy… really busy… and failed to find time to write a review of the book. Over time, my memory of the specific highlights faded and it became more and more futile to try to write the review without re-reading the book.

I still intend to re-read the book, and will eventually write the review, but for now know this:

  • I loved The Now Revolution
  • It covers social strategy at a high level, from philosophy to business culture to listening and more
  • I constantly recommend it to people, and I don’t do that lightly
  • I recommend you pick up a copy if you haven’t already

I’ll write more when life is calmer.

Book Review: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

I read a lot of business books – you know, the kind focused on how to market, or plan, or manage better. So, when I started to read Robin Sharma’s “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari,” I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The Monk Who Sold His FerrariA couple of things to know about “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”: firstly, it’s essentially a self-help book; secondly, it’s written as a narrative, from the perspective of someone receiving advice from the aforementioned monk.

The whole book is written as the tale of a successful but burnt-out lawyer who packs it all in and adopts a new lifestyle, resulting in increased health and happiness. If you’re the kind of person looking to read this kind of book, chances are you’re going to relate to at least some aspects of the lawyer’s life, or to the narrator – a similarly over-dressed lawyer. This makes Sharma’s book immediately resonate, and — I found — manages to hook you in more than most other books of this type.

When you get down to it, Sharma’s book comes down to a fairly formulaic format – a list of seven principles to apply to life, which he explains in turn:

  • Master Your Mind: Learn to focus, and consciously eliminate negative thoughts from your mind
  • Follow Your Purpose: Focus on your priorities – and stay on track by focusing on the desired end goal
  • Practice Kaizen: Focusing on continuous self improvement
  • Live With Discipline: Recognize the importance of willpower while forming new habits
  • Respect Your Time: Adopting a “death-bed mentality” – living each day like it’s your last
  • Selflessly Serve Others: Daily acts of kindness and cultivating richer relationships
  • Embrace The Present: Live for today – stop looking ahead and waiting for things to be better down the road; enjoy things as they happen

These points aren’t massively original, but the book is written in an interesting, easy-to-absorb way that makes it easy to blast through the book quickly and easy to overlook the sometimes cheesy dialogue.

In the same way that I recommended Workarounds That Work, I think different people will find different elements of this book interesting depending on their own situations. So, for example, while I found the kaizen section resonated with me but didn’t add much to what I already do, I found the first section on mental tools and tricks to be helpful from both a mindset and a practical tips perspective.

Is The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari worth a read? I certainly enjoyed it. If you’re looking for a way to shake-up your work/life situation but aren’t a fan of the usual self-help book formula, I suggest you give it a try.

Improve Your Effectiveness With Workarounds That Work

You know those books that you want to buy for everyone you know, because you know everyone will get something from it?

Workarounds That Work (WTW) is one of those books.

Written by Russell Bishop, a colleague of David Allen (of Getting Things Done fame), WTW leads the reader through a series of both theoretical and practical examples of workplace roadblocks, and offers simple questions you can ask you help navigate around those roadblocks.

It’s all about you

WTW starts with a simple premise popularized by Stephen Covey – that you can divide everything into three categories:

  1. Things you can control
  2. Things you can influence through other people
  3. Things you can respond to (and respond to more effectively if you have done the first two things)

Bishop comes back to this principle throughout the book, and repeatedly re-centres problems around the first two points – things you can control and things you can influence. While it’s obvious when you think about it, the fact that Bishop repeatedly calls this out is a useful reminder not to fall into the “it’s all their fault” school of pitiful thought.

Everyone faces roadblocks

WTW is the kind of book that, while it’s a great read from cover-to-cover, is also a useful resource when facing specific issues. So, for me, while I enjoyed the whole book, my ears perked up when I hit a few specific sections, which are now dog-eared and marked for future reference.

The book covers a broad series of challenges:

  1. Getting the right things done
  2. Misaligned leadership and unclear direction
  3. Framing the problem properly
  4. Moving from passive communication to action
  5. Accountability and response-ability
  6. Organizational silos
  7. Culture clashes
  8. Analysis paralysis
  9. Moving beyond concensus
  10. Avoiding becoming a corporate firefighter
  11. When others are wrong
  12. Making the most of meetings
  13. Dealing with the email avalanche (I gave 5 tips on managing the email deluge recently – not a coincidence)
  14. When processes get in the way
  15. Overcoming criticism, complaints, and resistance
  16. Multitasking (or not)

As I moved through the book, I found myself getting more or less engaged in certain chapters. Workarounds That Work is never a slog to read – the real-life examples and wry insights ensure that – but I could tell when points were hitting home, as at some points I just didn’t want to put the book down. When I hit my own pain points it became a real page-turner. I suspect that most people would experience the same thing, as most of us face at least some of the challenges above in our working lives.

Yay or nay?

Should you buy this book? In case you couldn’t tell, my answer is an unequivocal “yes.” If Bishop’s advice means you’re able to move the needle on at least one of your roadblocks at work, it’ll be worth it. If you work in an office or a big company, I suspect you’ll be able to improve on two or three.

That makes reading Workarounds That Work a very good use of your time.

Book Review And Interview: Common Sense Leadership

Common Sense Leadership. by Garth Johns, is unlike many of the books I’ve read recently.

For one thing, Garth is a local author – working for the Regional Municipality of Durham.

For another, the book clocks in at just over 130 pages, making it one of the quicker reads I’ve had recently.

What’s more, the practical focus of Common Sense Leadership makes it more useful in terms of quick reminders than many books I’ve read over the last couple of years.

Common Sense Leadership focuses on 10 principles:

  1. Enjoy what you do.
  2. Be nice – it’s really not that difficult.
  3. Be on time.
  4. Remember – it’s a team.
  5. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
  6. Be customer focused – they are the reason we are here.
  7. Always act with integrity – it will help you sleep at night.
  8. Scan the horizon.
  9. Make decisions – you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
  10. Exude energy and enthusiasm.

Really simple, useful pointers.

While many of the examples in the book focus around the author’s personal (and local) experiences, I found Common Sense Leadership interesting and enjoyable, and the local perspective combined with the government context provided something I could relate to personally. So, I took the opportunity to get in touch with Garth Johns and ask him a few questions…

1. With all of the leadership-focused books out there, what made you decide to write Common Sense Leadership?

One of my concerns, having read many of the leadership books was that they often tell of the deeds of Mandela, Ghandi, Churchill, Jack Welch etc.  For the most part these outstanding examples of leaders are in a world far removed from most folks in our day to day world.  I believe leadership is not restricted to the high profile members of society but anyone who “inspires others to greater personal or professional heights”. The book was intended for those everyday leaders of our world.  The front line supervisors, union leaders, parents, teachers, coaches, Rotary Club President’s and so on.

2. The book is a quick read – only 120 pages – but covers a lot of areas. What made you decide to go for the broad, rather than deep, approach?

I wanted the book to be easy but also to be helpful.  If, by reading it, the reader is better able to help others and to inspire others then I consider it to have been a success.  I didn’t care if they knew how to lead countries or buy and sell corporations or to achieve all that MBA graduates are expected to achieve.  I just wanted to help them become better people and better leaders.

3. Given the criteria laid out in the book, who would you say are some of the best leaders out there?

Sadly, we all know some of the best leaders but they are not always those that the media immortalizes (or occasionally crucifies).  They may be our parents, coaches, managers and even some politicians.  I know of one individual who was a Rotary Club President, a business person of the year award winner and the Chair of the local hospital foundation.  He also spends huge amounts of time, energy and money on his favourite charities.  He inspires many folks.  My own father was an outstanding leader.  Where do we start?

4. While lots of your points focus on inherent competencies like attitude, many are still activities that require leaders to spend time formulating their approach. What tips would you offer for people who find themselves getting sucked into day-to-day work and away from bigger picture leadership activities?

Management involves planning, organizing, implementing, delegating and controlling.  This is what we do.  Doing it more effectively is what leadership is all about.  It is more of an approach and an attitude but it is also hard work.  It really isn’t something that you read about and start doing effectively.  That’s the purpose of the memos at the end of each chapter. They are intended to be helpful hints and reminders.  Once in a while we need to get off the treadmill for a bit and reflect upon what is truly important.  That’s where the work/life balance comes in.  That’s the value of retreating, vacationing, enjoying your time off and reflecting via meditation, yoga etc.

5. If people could come away with one nugget from reading Common Sense Leadership, what would it be?

The one nugget would be that leadership is not a birth rite nor does it come with one’s title.  We all need to lead in our lives at one point or another.  We all need to inspire others and to do our best to make the world a better place.  Each and every day we need to do our best to help somebody else.  We can’t cruise through life riding on the coattails of others and expecting them to be “the leader”.  We all have a role to play.

Common Sense Leadership is available through Garth’s website. Garth is donating $5 to the United Way for each book purchased; that makes it a win-win situation in my books.

47 Books For Your 2011 Reading List

Looking for books to populate your reading list for 2011? Here are a few to think about.

Last year I set myself a challenge: reading a book every two weeks throughout the year (I actually managed one more than that). I also reached out to you – the readers of this site – for suggestions on what to read, and they obliged.

I was so pleased with the results that I’m doing the same in 2011. Once again, I reached out for suggestions – this time to people on Twitter. Here’s the list of books they suggested, along with a few books I plan on reading myself (links are Amazon affiliate links):


  1. Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap…and Others Don’t – Jim Collins (via @OT_Group)
  2. Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships – Daniel Goleman (via @ZoeDisco)
  3. First, Break All The Rules: What The Worlds Greatest Managers Do Differently – Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman (via @ZoeDisco)
  4. Rules for Renegades – Christine Cornaford (via @Chris_Eh_Young)
  5. Making Ideas Happen – Scott Belsky (via @Chris_Eh_Young)
  6. In Defense Of Food – Michael Pollan (via @slowfoodist)
  7. The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution – Dawkins (via @jamesfowlerart)
  8. The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate Our Culture (via @DoctorJones)
  9. Superfreakonomics – Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner (via @DoctorJones)
  10. Common Sense Leadership – Garth Johns (via @MMPerspectives – thanks for the copy)
  11. The Art of War – Sun Tzu (via @dbrodbeck)
  12. On the Origin of Species – Charles Darwin (via @dbrodbeck)
  13. The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins (via @dbrodbeck)
  14. Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less@CameronHerold (via @cadijordan)
  15. The New Rules of Marketing and PR – David Meerman Scott (via @ruthings)
  16. The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion – John Hagel III, John Brown & Lang Davison (via @melissa_ful)
  17. Flip the Funnel: How to Use Existing Customers to Gain New Ones – Joseph Jaffe (via @melissa_ful)
  18. The New How: Creating Business Solutions Through Collaborative Strategy – Nilofer Merchant (via @melissa_ful)
  19. Change By Design (via @melissa_ful)
  20. Social Media Roi: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your OrganizationOlivier Blanchard
  21. Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World – Chris Lowney (via @CloudSpark)
  22. Rework – Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson(via @CloudSpark)
  23. Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy – Martin Lindstrom (via @Michaelynch)
  24. Purple Cow – Seth Godin (via @rightsleeve)
  25. Crossing The Chasm – Geoffrey Moore (via @rightsleeve)
  26. Big Switch- Nicholas Carr (via @rightsleeve)
  27. Workarounds That Work: How to Conquer Anything That Stands in Your Way at Work – Russell Bishop (thanks to McGraw Hill for sending me a copy)
  28. Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely
  29. What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures – Malcolm Gladwell
  30. Here Comes Everybody – Clay Shirky
  31. Beyond Bullet Points – Cliff Atkinson
  32. Winning- Jack Welch
  33. In Search Of Excellence – Peters & Waterman
  34. Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man – John Perkins
  35. Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies – Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff
  36. They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children: The Global Quest to Eradicate the Use of Child Soldiers – Romeo Dallaire (finished this – well worth reading)


  1. Y The Last Man – Brian Vaughan (via @ZoeDisco)
  2. Water For Elephants – Sara Gruen (via @misskatiemo)
  3. This Is Where I Leave You – Jonathan Tropper (via @SaraSantiago)
  4. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (via @dbrodbeck)
  5. The Help – Kathryn Stockett (via @LauraRWalton)
  6. The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas (via @DustinPlett)
  7. Aftermath: An Inspector Banks Novel – Peter Robinson (via @GraemeMenzies)
  8. Await Your Reply – Dan Chaon (via @SaraSantiago)
  9. History Of Love – Nicole Krauss (via @SaraSantiago)
  10. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption – Laura Hillenbrand (via @belllindsay)
  11. Relentless – Robin Parrish (just finished this)
  12. Freedom Incorporated – Peter Tylee (reading this now)

What would you add to the list?

(Image:kwerfeldein on Flickr)

Book Review: Accidental Genius, by Mark Levy

When I first received an email from Beth Harte, asking if I’d be interested in checking out a book on writing, I have to say I hesitated. However, having now finished Mark Levy‘s Accidental Genius, I have to say it’s proven to be one of the most compelling reads so far this year.

Accidental Genius focuses on the art of free-writing – freeing your writing by letting your mind run rampant while you’re writing whatever it is you’re working on. Free-writing is effectively focused around removing the roadblocks you have to your writing by forcing you to write continuously, wherever your mind takes you.
I’m actually using a lot of the lessons from reading Levy’s book while writing this review – as I write, I’m letting my mind wander over the book, what I learned from it and the reasons you might want to check it out (of course, I’m also going back over it later – now – and editing). So, as I write this my fingers can barely keep up with my thoughts and I’m going all over the place, while Toronto’s municipal election results blare on in the background.

Levy’s book walks the reader through a series of incremental steps as it introduces you to the concept of freewriting. Each chapter is relatively short – just a few pages, and the book itself is only just over 160 pages, so it’s a relatively quick read.

The book is divided roughly into thirds in terms of content focus – the first third introduces you to the basic concept of freewriting – how to go about it, why it’s useful and what you may be able to get out of it. The middle portion of the book focuses on additional tools to help you make use of the skill – things like prompts, games to play to free your mind from barriers and so on. The final section looks more at putting the skills into practice, and helping others to benefit from them.

To my surprise, Levy’s focus isn’t just on improving your writing, although that’s certainly a large part of it. Accidental Genius also shows how you can apply this skill to reveal more creative solutions to problems, and how businesses may take advantage of freewriting exercises to reveal creative ideas.

I mentioned that this is one of the more compelling reads I’ve had recently, and it’s frankly the only one I already find myself putting into practice. Instead of censoring myself as I write, I now allow my thoughts to wander a bit and then go back and edit later. It’s made writing much less stressful for me, and has resulted in blog posts and presentations taking far less time to prepare.

I find myself consciously turning to the lessons I’ve learned from the book, and that’s something that I can’t say about many other books I’ve read this year.

(Thanks to Beth Harte for the connection, and to Mark for providing the review copy)