Managing my time with Executive Book Summaries

I’m trying an experiment for the next few months, rather than feeling powerless as more and more books arrive on my doorstep, just to languish in my “to read” pile as I find more and more of my time consumed by clients and family. I’ve signed on for Soundview’s popular Executive Book Summaries program and I’ll be able to download 20 minute summaries of two or three top business books each month.
Summary pageproofThis month, the selections are The Enthusiastic Employee, The Growth Gamble and Management Wisdom from the New York Yankee’s Dynasty. This is a great selection for me because I wouldn’t ordinarily pick up any of these three choices, so the summaries are expanding my horizons in a quite painless manner. Next month, the selections are The Next Global Stage and Winning With People, both of which sound terrific.
Previous selections have included Winners Never Cheat, Bridging the Culture Gap, Brand Hijack, The Art of the Start and The Wisdom of Crowds.
As a writer, though, I’m wrestling with the whole idea of third party summaries of longer works. How would I feel, I ask myself, if someone had a 15-page summary of my latest book, Growing Your Business With Google?

Upon reflect, I think I’d be happy with a summarization or abridgment being available because I believe it would open up my work to an entirely new community of readers (or, in this case, listeners) who wouldn’t otherwise get beyond the cover at the bookstore, if they even got that far.
My hope is that I’ll hear summaries of business titles that will be so engaging and interesting that I’ll buy the full-length work, either as an audio book (and I’m a big fan of audio books, as anyone who knows me can attest) or as a physical book to read at my leisure.
Just as much, I expect I’ll listen to 20 minute summaries of books that I’ll feel were better left unwritten, and save myself the expense of having purchased the title just to be disappointed.
The service is also surprisingly inexpensive, at just over $9/mo, with a complete money-back guarantee, particularly when the average business book (hardback) seems to cost $20-$30 nowadays.
I am curious, though: how many other people in the business blogosphere, a community marked by its never-ending incoming flow of information, resort to abridgments of popular works or executive summary services like Executive Book Summaries to stay abreast of the more mainstream business marketplace?

Also, in the interest of transparency, please note that I’m utilizing Soundview and Amazon affiliate links in this article. Any revenue that these links produce help offset the cost of running this weblog, and occasionally cover the cost of a cup of coffee or two too.

5 comments on “Managing my time with Executive Book Summaries

  1. Sounds pretty cool. When I used to work at Borders, it was awesome. We got credit, discounts and could borrow books. With so books at my fingertips, I developed my 50 page rule. If it didn’t cut it, it was history.
    I really like O’Reilly’s Safari online library. Great way to keep up to date and skim so many different titles.
    and ps, I’ve long enjoyed your blog. How about opening a Paypal coffee fund? I owe you a few.

  2. When I commuted by train in Chicagoland, I subscribed to the hard copy edition of Executive Summaries. My hope was that I could get a sense of the content, be able to discuss a title if it came up in conversation, and make a better buying decision.
    I found that the books I really wanted to purchase were in my hands before the summaries came out – often through the recommendation of someone. The summaries were thourough, but it was rare that one compelled a purchase.
    Thanks for the suggestion of the downloadable summaries. Since they are less expensive and allow for multi-tasking, I may give it a shot.

  3. I’ve been using these summary services for years now, but it usually just helps me to decide which books to order. You can’t get the ‘total immersion’ experience from a brief synopsis. But it sure prevents judging a book by its title. I try to post morsels of wisdom from books on my blog, but often the best nuggets are found in book itself.

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