June book report

We know what you’re thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if Boldist took some time to tell us about some of the books that have helped, are helping, and will continue to help make them awesome? Hey, that’s a fancy idea.

Three Books We’ve Read

Clout: the Art and Science of Writing Influential Web Copy
by Colleen Jones

“Clout” is a quick, illustrative, and introductory read that urges copywriters to write influentially, to learn the craft so well, their work can’t be ignored. The book is clear and direct when making its points and lets great examples do most of the explaining.

We especially enjoyed the chapter dedicated to the lost art of rhetoric. Take this text under the subheading of “Amplification,” for instance: “[Amplification] is all the ways to amplify, or enhance, your point instead of repeating it like a robot. For example, on the television show northern Exposure, the poetic DJ Chris Stevens used amplification to explain the meaning of light:

“‘Goethe’s final words: ‘More light.’ Ever since we crawled out of that primordial slime, that’s been our unifying cry: ‘More light.’ Sunlight. Torchlight. Candlelight. Neon. Incandescent. Lights that banish the darkness from our caves, to illuminate our roads, the insides of our refrigerators. Big floods for the night games at Soldier Field. Little tiny flashlights for those books we read under the covers when we’re supposed to be asleep. Light is more than watts and foot-candles. Light is metaphor.’

“Classic rhetoricians used words to intensify a point. Today, we can augment an idea through web content in several ways.”

Check out “Clout.”

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
by Simon Sinek

“Start with Why” takes a look at some of the most influential people throughout human history and analyzes what they all have in common. In short, they all “start with WHY.” They have specific reasons for what they’re doing, for how they think, act, and communicate it to others.
A section called “This Is Not Opinion, This Is Biology“ holds this helpful paragraph: “Absent a WHY, a decision is harder to make. And when in doubt we look to science, to data, to guide decisions. Companies will tell you that the reason they start with WHAT they do or HOW they do it is because that’s what their customers asked for. Quality. Service. Price. Features. That’s what the data reported. But for the the fact that the part of the brain that controls decision-making is different from the part of the brain that is able to report back that decision, it would be a perfectly valid conclusion to give people what they ask for. Unfortunately, there is more evidence that sales don’t significantly increase and bonds of loyalty are not formed simply when companies say or do everything their customers want. Henry Ford summed it up best. “If I had asked people what they wanted,” he said, “they would have said a faster horse.”

Check out “Start with Why.”

POP!: Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything
by Sam Horn

“POP!” understands exactly how important it is for writing to catch interest quickly, how necessary it is to stand out from the slush pile of everything else. It knows a good pitch is more important than a good idea. And for about 200 pages, it tells us ways to improve our ability to effectively present the work we’ve done.

The book provides a slew of specific ways to Pitch stuff, all based on this list of questions you should first ask yourself about the work you’ve done:
“W1. What am I offering?
W2. What problem does my idea or offering solve?”
W3. Why is it worth trying and buying?”
W4. Who is my target audience?
W5. Who am I and what are my credentials?”
W6. Who are my competitors and how am I different from them?
W7. What resistance or objection will people have to this?
W8. What is the purpose of my pitch?
W9. When, where, and how do I want people to take action?”

Check out “POP!”

One Book We’re Reading Now

Cult-ure: Ideas Can Be Dangerous
by Rian Hughes

“Cult-ure” is a one half cultural commentary, one half design book where images and words work together to expound its messages. This book, in short, redefines our notions of what a printed book is and opens us to the possibilities of what a printed book could be. And by the way, it’s really awesome to browse through if you don’t have time for a reading session, but have a minute for some brain candy.

Here’s a reproduction of some text from “Culture,” but unfortunately we can not produce the images and design layout that accompany it and enhance its meaning:

“Because novelty is sometimes hard to assimilate, we tend to view a new idea initially as a variation or development of an old familiar idea. Clothing the new in the guise of the old give us clues as to its function and meaning. The true shape of an idea only becomes apparent later on, when it has found its own natural form. Until then, we operate by analogy. There will be a lot of the past in the future, acting as our guide. Change the shape too fast, and the perceived symbolic connection to the intended function can become lost.”

Check out “Cult-ure.”

One Book We Want to Read

You Are Not a Gadget
by Jaron Lanier

Check out this snippet we pulled off Amazon:

“A programmer, musician, and father of virtual reality technology, Jaron Lanier was a pioneer in digital media, and among the first to predict the revolutionary changes it would bring to our commerce and culture. Now, with the Web influencing virtually every aspect of our lives, he offers this provocative critique of how digital design is shaping society, for better and for worse.”

We have a hunch it’ll blow our minds.

You read the whole thing!

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