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Monday, July 30, 2012

Book Review: For Immediate Release

This is a business book focused on the Public Relations industry; an industry that considers anything in a book as old news. Wait…this is old news in the new world order, driven by social media, by the time information is on the TV news it is old news; making anything in print positively ancient. Ronn Torossian is a veteran of the PR industry and the founder and CEO of 5WPR one of the more aggressive agencies in the PR marketplace.

What does all of this mean for a book review? Well you have to consider the environment Ronn is writing about prior to making a judgment about the book he has written. This book is not a “how to”, as in after reading this book you could perform the PR function and expect to be competitive. This is a book to understand what goes into PR and if you have a significant role in a major corporation, are “Public Figure” or “Brand” then this will help you to understand what a PR agency can do for you; from shaping your imaging to helping you through a crisis. Is this book for everybody? No.

I am a regular reader of Ronn’s blog so when he published this book, I looked forward to the opportunity to obtain a copy and read it. Ronn is good at what he does and that is Public Relations. My conclusion on this book, if you are in the market for a PR agency read the book. If you are not sure if you should be in the market for a PR agency read the book. If you are neither then don’t read the book.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Marc Goodman's View on the Technology Arms Race

There is a flip side to the awesome technology innovations that we use to make our lives easier. Criminals and terrorists can use these same technologies to execute their evil goals. Marc Goodman gave frightening TED talk about this very subject. In a little over 19 minutes he outlines how a small number of criminals can hold entire cities hostage (Mumbai) or steal the information of 77 million people (Sony PlayStation). But Marc does not stop there, he explains how criminals can now leverage:

Drones to fly C4 explosives into buildings
3D printers can print guns and ammunition cartridges
DNA and yeast can create synthetic drugs
A BIO virus can customized target individuals for assassination

It is Marc’s job to make us aware of the dangers lurking in the technology we use. He does a very good job of spreading fear. However, Marc does give us some hope in the methods we can use to combat these potential criminal through crowd sourcing.

I recommend the watching the video below:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Review: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Anytime you get a book with 1,000+ reviews and its average number of stars is 4.5 it must me good and must create a loyalty among the readers. I can say this book had that effect on me and everyone I had the pleasure of recommending it to. 

What this book really does well is what it doesn't do. This book does not fit the "popcorn", "beach" reads of summer, yet brings the pleasure of a beach read. Patrick Rothfuss does such a good job of description you can vanish into the world that Kvothe occupies. Many easy read books are predictable in how they turn out so much so that you know the end well before you get there, The Name of the Wind is not one of these books. This book gives you reason to continue reading. I look at it almost like a more adult form of Harry Potter or the Hunger Games (both of which I am a fan). 

The magic and the university have a real feeling to them, the magic appears to be almost "knowledge" in an era when the majority of the population was illiterate. I found it believable in the context of the story. I especially liked the reality of the mistakes Kvothe makes from his impulsive and often selfish behavior along with the results of these mistakes. Patrick Rothfuss gives us a hero with faults and I believe that is what drives the story. A main character who is heroic to the point of cockiness This cockiness is the root of his mistakes and his mistakes create considerable difficulties for him. Thus the story is able to unfold in multiple pages that hold your interest to the point you cannot put the book down until you reach the end; only to grab for the second book because you just cannot get enough of the story of Kvothe. 

Highly recommend this book, I really wish the third book would come out soon.