The Only Book on Social Media Marketing You’ll Ever Need

Several months ago I promised Tamar Weinberg I’d do a video review of her book The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web.  My apologies to her for taking so long to get around to it.  After all, how hard can a video book review be, right?

After being sidetracked with other projects shortly after reading the first two-thirds, I finally got around to finishing it recently.  If you buy one book on social media, do yourself a favor and make it this one.

For the ultimate review of Tamar’s new book, check out this video from Polar Unlimited.

Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham: A Review

fysl_cover_fullOkay, I’ll just come out and say it. It’s been really hard to Find My Strongest Anything lately.  There have been two deaths in my family in the last week,  yesterday my one and only laptop hard drive crashed (I’m on a borrowed one now) and, I realized just moments ago that this review is actually due today, October 5th, and not tomorrow, October 6th, as I’d thought.  Me, strongest life?  Hardly.

On the other hand, one could argue the timing of this book in my life couldn’t be better.  In a moment, I’ll tell you how you can get a free copy all your very own.  But first, my impressions of the book.

The complete title is actually Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from a book that was so obviously not geared to me.  Despite this though, I found it to be quite fascinating.  Here’s a quick 90-second video intro to the book from the author:

What the book ultimately tries to do is to teach you to identify your life’s “strong moments,” those moments that really get your juices flowing.  Sounds pretty remedial, right?  But, for me at least, it’s so easy to let these moments go by unnoticed.  Reading the book, I realized I’d been doing exactly that for a long time.  Even as I thought about the last couple of weeks, as Buckingham suggests doing, and tried to pick them out, I kept coming up empty. 

What Find Your Strongest Life helped me to do was pinpoint them so that I can now, going forward, focus my attention on them.  I discovered, for example, that my Lead Role is as an “Advisor” (You’ll learn where you fit after taking the simple test at StrongLifeTest.com.  The questions are geared to women, but I didn’t find it difficult to think of each one in terms of my male role in life).  I must say that, as I read the “strongest moments” associated with this trait, I became really excited.

One of them – someone calls you up out of the blue and relies on your opinion – reminded me of two real-life examples from just a few days ago.  When I thought back to these two moments, I was instantly reminded of how much I enjoyed these conversations.  Is it possible, I thought, to make a living advising people?  Duh!?!  Of course it is you dolt.  People do it every day. 

But other than a few brief flashes, I hadn’t much thought about my desires in this area.  Find Your Strongest Life helped me understand the importance of not treating these flashes so lightly.  In short, I came to realize there’s nothing I enjoy more than being relied upon for my opinion.  In other words, as Marcus writes, to clarify a complex issue for someone who acts upon what I’ve told them and to see them succeed upon doing so.   

Whether you find you’re an Advisor, a Motivator, a Weaver, a Care-Taker, I think you’ll find new motivation and the direction you’re looking for in this new book.

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Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers, I have four (4) copies of Find Your Strongest Life to give away.  For a chance at snagging one, you must take the following three actions:

  1. Leave a comment below. Tell me why you’d like this book.  I really want to know.  I might even get to know you better.
  2. Fill out this special form. I have set up a separate form to make it convenient for you to provide your mailing address.  Please do not include your address with your comment.  This will automatically disqualify you.
  3. Twitter a link to this post. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can use Facebook.  Please copy and paste the following into your tweet/update:

Reading: A book review of Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham. @THEjeffbrown is giving away copies! http://wp.me/poeTz-mR

Yes, I know if more people read this, it will hurt your chances of getting a copy yourself.  But the only incentive the publisher has to provide books to giveaway is the free publicity you and I collectively provide.

On Thursday, based solely on my arbitrary and subjective evaluation of the comments, I will select the winners. If you are selected, I will notify you via email. If you don’t hear from me, you can assume you didn’t make the cut.

Question: Why do want a copy of this book?  What do you hope to get out of it?

Whether you win a copy or purchase this book from one of the above links, I thought you might enjoy sampling a few pages first.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller: A Review

Don Miller Book CoverIf you watched a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn’t cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers.  You wouldn’t tell your friends you saw a beautiful movie or go home and put a record on to think about the story you’d seen.  The truth is, you wouldn’t remember that movie a week later, except you’d feel robbed and want your money back.  Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo.

But we spend years actually living those stories, and expect our lives to feel meaningful.  The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either.

And so begins the new book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life by Donald Miller, author of Blue Like JazzIn a moment, I’ll tell you how you can get a free copy. For a taste of what’s in store, as well as information on Miller’s 65-city speaking tour, interviews and more, see my previous post.

Miller asserts that a big part of living a better and more rewarding and fulfilling life is about creating meaningful stories within which to live it.  He cautions though that, The reward you get from a story is always less than you thought it would be, and the work is harder than you imagined.  The point of a story is never about the ending, remember.  It’s about your character getting molded in the hard work of the middle.

If you’re like me, you find it difficult to be motivated by words written on a page.  I don’t know why I’m wired that way.  It may explain why only in the last several years have I become an avid reader.  But despite this personal quirk, I found A Million Miles to be filled with thought-provoking and motivational moments.  One of my favorites:

I’ve never walked out of a meaningless movie thinking all movies are meaningless.  I only thought the movie I walked out on was meaningless.  I wonder, then, if when people say life is meaningless, what they really mean is their lives are meaningless. I wonder if they’ve chosen to believe their whole existence is unremarkable, and are projecting their dreary life on the rest of us.

If you’re aware change is needed but are struggling with the motivation to make that change, you might appreciate this:

Here’s the truth about telling stories with your life.  It’s going to sound like a great idea, and you are going to get excited about it, and then when it comes time to do the work, you’re not going to want to do it.  It’s like that with writing books, and it’s like that with life.  People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen.  But joy costs pain.

He goes on to write that, because of this, we often have to force ourselves to create these stories:

We have to get up off the couch and turn the television off, we have to blow up the inner-tubes and head to the river.  We have to write the poem and deliver it in person.  We have to pull the car off the road and hike to the top of the hill.  We have to put on our suits, we have to dance at weddings.

As I read the book during a recent trip to visit my ailing grandfather, I couldn’t help but think about how little time we all have to create meaningful stories.  My grandfather, at 91, was facing the end and I, if fortunate enough to live as long, was nearly half-way there myself, I thought.  What was I going to do differently?  What changes would I make?

That was three weeks ago.  Since that time I’m glad to say that, while probably considered baby steps, I’ve begun a few new stories in my life.  Both my wife and I, if we’re not careful, can make a weekend of laying around and doing nothing (me much more so than her).  Already, we’ve discussed the need to change this habit along with specific goals toward which to shoot.  Just one example, but there are others.  Like I said, baby steps.

Meanwhile, my grandfather’s funeral is tomorrow.  And while he may be gone, I’m glad to have shared a few meaningful stories with him along the way.  The stories he fostered are what will live on beyond tomorrow.  Your meaningful stories and mine, if we choose, can begin today.

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Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers, I have a copy of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years to give away.  And if Chaffee Management comes through, I may even have several more (Update: 5 more copies for giveaway have just been made available).  For a chance at snagging one, you must take the following three actions:

  1. Leave a comment below. Tell me why you’d like this book.  I really want to know.  I might even get to know you better.
  2. Fill out this special form. I have set up a separate contact form to make it convenient for you to provide your mailing address.  Please do not include your address with your comment.  This will automatically disqualify you.
  3. Twitter a link to this post. If you don’t have a Twitter account, you can use Facebook.  Please copy and paste the following into your tweet/update:

Reading: A book review of A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. @THEjeffbrown is giving away copies! http://bit.ly/oju0P

Yes, I know if more people read this, it will hurt your chances of getting a copy yourself.  But the only incentive the publisher (or author’s manager) has to provide books to giveaway is the free publicity you and I collectively provide.

On Thursday, based solely on my arbitrary and subjective evaluation of the comments, I will select a winner(s). If you are selected, I will notify you via email. If you don’t hear from me, you can assume you didn’t make the cut.

Question: Why do want a copy of this book?  What do you hope to get out of it?

Chris Brogan, Trust Agents and Social Media: Old-Fashioned Common Sense

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation made my Chris Brogan.  Through Thursday you can purchase a DVD of the eventChristine Taylor and JTMar partnered with Stage Post Studios to not only make Chris available in person to several hundred Nashvillians, but they also streamed the event online, including incorporating questions via Twitter and by phone all in real time.  Everyone in attendance also receive an autographed copy of Chris’ new book Trust Agents, written with Julien Smith.

Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan, co-author of Trust Agents

Photo credit, affiliatesummit

The name Chris Brogan has become synonymous with all things social media.  Many consider him to be the authority on the subject and the single best example for individuals desiring to be viewed as thought leaders and influencers and for companies hoping to more intimately connect with customers.

Needless to say, none of us were disappointed.  However, I did find myself continually thinking, “This all sounds so familiar.”  Chris himself mentioned more than once that so much of what works in the online world is truly nothing more than good ol’ fashioned common sense.  Help other people first.

I think Zig Ziglar said it best years ago:  “You can get everything in life you want, if you can just help enough other people get what they want.”  You could even go back a little further.  Remember the Golden Rule?  To paraphrase, it says, in essence, treat other people the way you yourself desire to be treated.  Or, as Chris so succinctly puts it,  exercise some “common sense.”

Julien Smith, co-author of Trust Agents

Julien Smith, co-author of Trust Agents

Photo credit, affiliatesummit

It shouldn’t be hard, right?  Yet every day, each of us finds ourselves interacting with someone who has either failed to understand it, or understands it and is simply choosing to ignore it (maybe, heaven forbid, it’s that person in the mirror).  The best illustration I’ve ever heard that really helped to put this into perspective came from Chris yesterday.

Imagine someone you’re being introduced to for the first time has just reached out to shake your hand.  You oblige and then waste no time as you stick your tongue in their mouth.

As extreme as that sounds, it’s essentially what so many who don’t “get it” are doing every day.  How many times do you receive a friend request on Facebook (or a “follow” on Twitter or, name your platform) from someone you don’t know – and who hasn’t taken the time to even include a personal message of introduction – that is soon followed by a note about what services or product they offer that you might be interested in?

If you’ve ever chatted with someone with experience waiting tables, you’re likely to find they view the Sunday “after church” crowd as one of the worst group of tippers around (at least that’s what my anecdotal research reveals).  In some cases, the waiter or waitress is more likely to find a tract (a plan of salvation) than a tip once the table empties (just what the world needs: Christians who go around sticking their tongues in people’s mouths).

I’m embarrassed to admit that 25 years ago, as a young believer, I actually did this.  Mind you, I left a tip too, but apparently had no problem with leaving a stranger’s eternal destination up to a piece of paper.  As far as I was concerned, I’d fulfilled my obligation.  If the message didn’t sink in, that was their problem.  Investing in people’s lives was hard.  This was so much easier.  “Hurray, I planted another seed,” I told myself.

Did any of them take root?  The evidence is weak at best.  Let’s just say that if and when I get to heaven, I doubt there will be anyone eager to shake my hand.

This post is dedicated to my grandfather, William Otis Holladay, who, at 91, passed away earlier today.  A veteran of World War II, he was the epitome of common sense.  I have no doubt that in heaven, there is a long line ready to greet him.

Don Miller: Tour and New Book

I’m as excited as I’ve been in a long time.  88.7 WAY-FM is partnering with Chaffee Management Group to bring author Donald Miller to Nashville to speak in November.  He’s probably best known for his New York Times best-selling book Blue Like Jazz.

As a book review blogger for Thomas Nelson Publishers, I also confirmed today I’ll be receiving one of just 250 review copies of his new book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – a review of which you’ll find here on September 29th, the same day the book hits store shelves.

iStock_000008901096XSmall

In the meantime, I thought I’d pass along to you a bit of a sneak peak into what’s in store from Don’s new book.  Feel free to share these materials with your network and, if you’re in the Nashville area, stay tuned to 88.7 WAY-FM for more on where and when you’ll find Don Miller speaking.

Let’s Get Viral

First, Thomas Nelson has taken the liberty of uploading the first 20 pages or so of the book to ScribdScribd is a website that brings the concept of “social” to publishing and describes itself as “the website where more than 60 million people each month discover and share original writings and documents.”

I’ve embedded the Scribd preview below, but you can also visit the site itself (just click the link at the bottom of the Scribd frame or the one in this sentence).  You can also share this with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and more than 30 other social networking sites.

Next comes a three-part YouTube video interview Donald did with Michael Hyatt, CEO at Thomas Nelson.  Don, not to mention Michael, comes across as just a regular, very down-to-earth guy.  If you have dreams of being a writer some day, let Don inspire you to not let go of that dream.



Additionally, there’s this really cool video widget you may have seen me share a few weeks back if you’re a friend of mine on Facebook.  In addition to Facebook, it can be added to your blog’s sidebar, shared via Twitter and as many as a few dozen other places you might frequent online.

[clearspring_widget title=”Donald Miller: Million Miles Tour” wid=”4a71a0d82e788bc1″ pid=”4a9c7e6847e4d1f8″ width=”358″ height=”315″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

The widget also allows you to download and preview an audio chapter from the book.  If  you prefer, you can even listen right now by linking to my Chirbit profile.

Officially, tickets for Don’s Nashville appearance are set to go on sale from the 88.7 WAY-FM website beginning September 20th.  However, I’m toying with the idea of sneaking the ticket link out a little early either through our Facebook Page, our Twitter account, this blog or all three simultaneously.  Stay Tuned!

What are your thoughts on sneaking the ticket link out early via our social networking sites versus a more public “heads-up” on the air?

The Noticer by Andy Andrews: A Review

The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective.

by Andy Andrews

Thomas Nelson Publishers

_200_350_book50cover1 In a matter of minutes, Jones, as he prefers to be called (no “Mr.” just Jones), can completely disarm the most stubborn stranger he encounters with little more than a few probing questions and several common sense, but often profound, answers.  Upon first meeting Jones, most find themselves asking things like, “Who is this man?  What brought him here at this place and at this time?  And why would he be the least bit interested in talking to me?”  Afterward, they’re left asking, “Where did he go?  How did I survive before he showed up? And will I ever see him again?”

Each of them is at a crossroads.  A choice must be made to either continue down the path they’re currently on or forge a brand new one.  At just the right time, whether at the end of his rope, at the point of despair, or in her greatest time of need, they each meet Jones.

A single man looking for meaning having gone through two failed marriages; a couple trying to remember what it was exactly that first drew them to one another; a seventy-something woman who’s come to the conclusion her usefulness has passed; a young businessman striving so hard for success that he fails to realize what true success really means; all these poignant stories and more make up The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective.

How many times have I wished I had just the right answer, as Jones always seems to, when talking with someone in a seemingly impossible situation.  I’m no Jones, but it’s not unusual in Christian radio (my vocation) or in the world of Christian music in general to encounter, fairly regularly, teenagers, young couples, mothers and fathers, you name it, all looking for that spark, that piece of perfect advice that will be just the dose of confidence they need, not just to function, but to start anew and to make a difference in the lives of others.

Personally, I wish I had this book years ago.  But I believe there is value to be gained from reading it regardless of where you find yourself in life.   I’m at a place now where I have the opportunity to speak into the lives of several just starting their life’s journey.  In fact, while on Facebook just last night, I was able to encourage a former intern using the principals in this very book.  Thank you Andy Andrews.  Here are some of my favorite take-aways from the book The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective:

  • Whatever you focus on increases – “If you set your mind on loss, you are more likely to lose…But a grateful perspective brings happiness and abundance into a person’s life.”
  • Every day, ask yourself this question: “What is it about me that other people would change if they could?” – “Another person’s perspective about you can sometimes be as important as your perspective is about yourself.”
  • A friend who accepts you as you are is dangerous – “A true friend holds you to a higher standard.  A true friend brings out the best in you.”
  • We judge ourselves by our intentions, but we judge others by their actions – “There is no difference in the person who intends to do things differently and the one who never thinks about it in the first place.”
  • And my personal favorite?  Your proof of hope – “If you’re breathing, you are still alive.  If you are alive, then you are still here, physically, on this planet.  If you are still here, then you have not completed what you were put on earth to do.  If you have not completed what you were put on earth to do…that means your very purpose has not yet been fulfilled.  If your purpose has not yet been fulfilled, then the most important part of your life has not yet been lived.  And if the most important part of your life has not yet been lived…”

You’re reading this review so I assume  you’re still breathing.  It’s time to get to work.

The Noticer Project: 5 People That Have Impacted You Most

_140_245_book50coverIf  you’re anything like me, you pretty much suck at noticing your surroundings.  Any time my wife makes a change to something within our home (a new wall hanging, rearranged furniture, a different brand of toothpaste even), it usually requires her pointing it out to me.  Let’s just say I’ve missed my share of “Your new do looks great, honey!” opportunities.

This curse especially makes itself known when I’m trying to locate a specific item around the house – by the way, why does it seem we husbands have a disproportionate amount of trouble with this?  I could be looking for cream or sugar for my coffee.  Maybe it’s a certain pair of socks.  Maybe it’s the milk (probably in the refrigerator).  Whatever it is I’m trying to find, more often than not, it’s right in front of me.  My brain, for some reason, just doesn’t see it.

I have to admit that, as I’ve grown older, I can sometimes allow this blinders-on mentality to creep into my relationships.  If I’m not making a concerted effort to pay attention, needs I should be meeting, or at least helping to meet, can go completely ignored.  And that’s certainly not a habit I want to see get a strong-hold in my life.

I couldn’t help but laugh just a little then, albeit nervously, when I realized the subject matter of the new book The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective; a book I’ve agreed to review in time for it’s release on Tuesday.

I’m especially intrigued though by a campaign the publishers are referring to as The Noticer Project. The site describes the project, in conjunction with the book, as “a worldwide movement to ‘notice’ the 5 most influential people in your life.” The description goes on to say, “Noticing those five people is meant to encourage us to step outside our busy schedules and avoid waiting until a wedding, graduation or even a funeral to take notice of the special, influential people in our lives.” How wonderful is that?

I’ll post my review of The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective tomorrow.  In the meantime, you can enjoy this special video.  It includes several in-character excerpts from the book itself.