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28 posts from December 2007

The Blind Side, by Michael Lewis

Blind_sideI'm a big Michael Lewis fan.  I read Moneyball and loved it, but I figured that's because baseball is my favorite sport.  So when colleague Willem K. got me a copy of Lewis latest book, The Blind Side, I figured I'd read it but not right away; after all football is #3 or #4 on my list of must-watch sports, so what's the rush?

I finally started reading it recently and finished it last night.  Now I wish I would have started sooner.  It's every bit as good as Moneyball but from a completely different perspective.  The Blind Side tells the story of Michael Oher, an extremely poor individual from Memphis who is an incredible physical specimen.  It's his physical abilities that get everyone's attention, including the NCAA.  In fact, if you're looking for a book to show you just how incompetent and silly the NCAA can be, well, you've found the winner with The Blind Side.

Besides the story of Oher, Lewis also uses this book to document the left tackle's meteoric rise in importance and pay scale in the NFL. The book is filled with interesting behind-the-scenes observations from coaches and players alike.  For example, I don't think I've ever read so much about Lawrence Taylor's career-ending hit on Joe Theismann.

All in all, this is an excellent summary of a position and a player who is currently still in college but should soon be making his mark in the NFL.  It's also an inspiring story of a family who took him in and gave him a chance.  In short, there's something in this for everyone regardless of whether you're a big time football fan.

Christian Publishing & Author Blogs


Courtesy of the ECPA's Michael Covington, here's a list of Christian publisher and author blogs:

Publisher Blogs
Kregel Publications
Kregel Fiction
Kregel Homeschooling
InterVarsity Press: Behind the Books
InterVarsity Press: Addenda & Errata
InterVarsity Press: Andy Unedited
InterVarsity Press: Strangely Dim
Randall House Publications
Off the Shelf (Wayne Hastings of Thomas Nelson)
The Suburban Christian (Al Hsu of InterVarsity Press)
From Where I Sit (Michael Hyatt of Thomas Nelson)
Oxford University Press

Author Blogs
Jim Seybert's Fools Box
Brandilyn Collins' Forensics & Faith
Kristy Dykes' Christian Love Stories
Robin Lee Hatcher's Write Thinking
Mary DeMuth's RelevantBlog

Christian Publishing News Blog
Cook Partners (from Cook International)

Free Content Really Sells

Wmpy_kidPlenty of authors and publishers are still concerned about potential cannibalization when book content is also available for free online.  This New York Times article, Crossover Dreams: Turning Free Web Work Into Free Book Sales provides even more evidence that free online content can indeed be sold in print.  This particular article talks about a book called Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the 147,000 copies it has sold since it was published in April.  This, despite that all the content remains freely available at a site called Funbrain.

This is just one successful example, of course, and there are many others.  One that I like to cite is our group's very own Naked Conversations, by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.  The book was built on a blog and the content is still there for anyone who wants to read it free online.  Despite the fact that the content remains freely available, Naked Conversations is still one of the all-time top-selling books about blogging.

Publishing Talk: Blog, Widget & Facebook

PubtalkPublishing Talk is the name of a blog I've subscribed to for quite awhile now.  Highly recommended.  My thanks to Krisan Matthews of The Publishing Curve blog for pointing out that Publishing Talk is much more than just a blog.  There's also a Facebook group as well as a discussion board.  And, I just added their feed widget to my own blog (look in the right panel).  If you've got a Facebook account you ought to join the group...and if you don't have a Facebook account you need to get one today!  When you get there, look me up and send me a friend invitation so we can build a strong publishing network.