What’s in a book? In many cases, the right book can take you to another world, to help you momentarily escape this world. In the world of business, a good book can open up your mind to other possibilities and show you things that you might not have even considered before. This week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee examines a half dozen books from my personal library that I’ve found more than just useful.
I’m a reader and have been since an early age. I grew up on comic books, the National Lampoon and Mad Magazine, and then as a teenager moved into science fiction. Favorites included Robert Heinlein, Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Poul Anderson, Harlan Ellison and many others. Nowadays I tend towards Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series. Very little science fiction, although late last year I did read William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition. Not really science fiction, but good. Not his best, but enjoyable. I should have probably included it in this round-up photo below, but hey, it didn’t make it!
The books in the photo include:
Michael Connelly’s The Crossing, The Burning Room, and Chasing the Dime. I have about five or so left in the series, which now stands at more than two dozen, and then I’m caught up with Harry Bosch. The TV series on Amazon does a stellar job of portraying the stories and the characters. The books are straightforward murder mysteries and Harry Bosch is well-painted on the pages.
Lee Child has over two dozen Jack Reacher novels, and I have just a few left before I wrap up the series. He’s retiring from writing the Reacher novels, as he’s burnt out and his brother is taking over. Jack Reacher is one of the more interesting characters created of late, to my way of looking at things. Retired military investigator, a huge man who loves a good fight and has no qualms about killing a bad guy if he deserves it. Night School, Make Me, Personal and Midnight Line were all quick and enjoyable reads.
Ted Chiang’s Exhalation came to my attention from a review I’d read in the New York Times. It’s a collection of short stories. I’m new to reading Ted, and they were all fascinating, some more so than others. The stories border in science fiction and could in fact be called science fiction, but they’re so entertaining and at times otherworldly, that you hardly notice.
The latest in the Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series, The Bourne Evolution, is from Brian Freeman. It’s his first take on the character after several books by Eric Van Lustbader. I’m about 75% through, so I figure I can include in this wrap-up. Without going to deep into the plot, I found it interesting that Freeman created a mass shooting in Las Vegas (which really happened), but fictionalized the shooter and other events surrounding it. I’ve only read a couple of the Van Lustbader Bourne books, and it’s been several years, but I remember them as being quite entertaining. This new one falls short of the bar, I think. Too many of the scenes and the plot seems to be cookie-cutter, but with Jason Bourne, I suppose that’s what you get at this point.
James Clear’s Atomic Habits took me a while. I couldn’t get into the habit of reading it! But finally I finished it after a few false starts. Perhaps, that while it has some great ideas that can and have helped a lot of people, I found that I’m already doing a lot of things mentioned. It’s a ginormous seller, having sold more than a million copies along the way. And yes, it’s a very good book. You’ll probably get a lot out of it, if you’re willing to do what he suggests.
Finally, I’m leaving Isabel Allende’s Island Beneath the Sea for last, because it’s one of the best novels I’ve read in the last few years. It’s a 40-year span intense look at the founding of Haiti and takes place during the Haiti revolution during the late 18th century and early 19th century. It’s fascinating, bloody, brutal. The characters jump off the page. I’d highly recommend it. It moves pretty quickly, even though at times the prose gets a little thick as it dives into the context of the times and how the characters grow and change.
To me, that seems like a lot of books. But. My wife, who was laid off for nearly four months thanks to the COVID-19, did a lot of reading and told me a little while ago that she’s read 30 books so far this year. Thirty! Very little of it was fiction. Most are current historical releases that focus on black and women’s history and political impact. I wish I could find time to read all of them, they all look good!
I first crossed paths with David Meerman Scott over a dozen years ago. Since then he’s written several books and been a keynote speaker at countless conferences, discussing the changing world of marketing and public relations. On this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, David joins me to talk about his just-released book, Fanocracy, co-written with his daughter Reiko Scott.
This week’s ONE GOOD THING. Actually, four of them!
Yes, there are a lot of books about tradeshows. In fact, I wrote two of them. Many – actually, most – are good investments. A candid, experienced author can walk any exhibitor through the briar patch of tradeshows, which can often ensnare the inexperienced exhibitor. Actually, tradeshows can ensnare the experienced exhibitor, too. It happens all the time. Just check out the Plan B column in the monthly Exhibitor Magazine, which is full of real tales of exhibitors having to MacGuyver their way through the crazy, deadline-heavy world of tradeshow exhibiting.
Mel White, the VP Marketing/Business Development at Classic Exhibits, has always been a prolific and entertaining writer. His blog posts enliven the pages at Classic Exhibits.com, and his insight into tradeshow marketing comes from years of experience. (Full disclosure: Mel was instrumental in going through both of my books with a fine tooth comb to make them much better than where they started, and encouraging me at every step).
And now Mel has released a book available as both a Kindle download and as paperback, What’s So Funny About Trade Shows? A Humorous Guide to Effective Trade Show Marketing. Brilliantly illustrated by Meredith Lagerman, the book touches on a lot of the elements that make his blog posts entertaining and educational: zombies, Sasquatch, dumb stuff people do at tradeshows, why your booth staff kinda sucks and much more. And, of course it’s highly entertaining while making sure to impart great tips and tricks along the way.
As an introduction to tradeshow marketing, or as a refresher if you’ve been exhibiting for years, What’s So Funny About Trade Shows? is a great addition to any marketing library. Highly recommended!
I spent 25+ years in radio, switched careers in 2002 to the exhibit industry and used my writing and broadcasting skills to learn more about the industry, and created a blog in 2008 called TradeshowGuyBlog.
What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?
Knowing that having a book is a great way to differentiate yourself from other exhibit sales and marketing people, I finally made myself do it in 2014/2015. I did it again in 2018 by compiling dozens of list posts from my blog. I sell some copies, but generally I use them as giveaways to potential clients.
The release date of May 1, 2018 has been set for my new book, Tradeshow Superheroes and Exhibiting Zombies: 66 Lists Making the Most of Your Tradeshow Marketing. The print proof copy just came in and it looks great, and heck, I can’t even find any major errors in it! Thanks to all who helped, from Jesse Stark who did the illustrations, to Mel White at Classic Exhibits (and his wife Mary) who went through the manuscript with a fine-tooth comb, to the great team at CreateSpace who are always on top of their game and to all else who lent support and good words (Ken, Andy and Anders, I’m thinking of you! And Roger too!).
So what’s in the book?
Lists. A lot of them. 66 lists, in fact. Corralled in chapters such as Budgeting, Buying an Exhibit, Preshow Marketing, Postshow Follow Up and more, it’s a compilation of a lot of the lists that have appeared on this very blog since 2008. Not all of them, though. Some were outdated. Most have been revised and updated. The people I’ve shared the manuscript with have told me that it’s a fun and quick read, with lots of different topics and lists that can be digested deeply, or skimmed to pick up a tip or two or three.
I grew up a reader. No TV, living in the mountains far away from friends. Which means that I soaked up rock and roll records, comic books, and science fiction.
In this day and age, it’s harder but not impossible to find time to read. I only wish it was more! I thought it might be fun to mention several books that I’ve made my way through (or most of the way) in the past eight to twelve months.
Carl Hiaason:The Downhill Lie. I’m a hack golfer. This is a hilarious book. What else would you expect from the longtime Miami Herald columnist and author of Striptease, Chomp, Sick Puppy and Bad Monkey?
Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series: Once I discovered these, I wanted to start at the beginning. With some twenty-two novels out featuring Reacher, it’ll take a while to make it through. But Reacher is a terrific character. A new version of the first book in the series explained how he came up with the name and the character, which set the tone for the whole series. I have yet to see any of the Jack Reacher movies. But here’s the thing: in the book, Reacher is 6’ 5” and about 220 lbs. In the movies, he’s played by Tom Cruise, who’s 5’7” and 170 lbs. Not sure how that works!
Ricardo Semler: Maverick. I found Ricardo’s story through a lengthy interview on Tim Ferriss’s podcast. Fascinating story about reinventing a company. As Wikipedia puts it: “The book relates the management succession and increasingly unorthodox ethos of Semco, which grew to become one of Brazil’s largest conglomerates.”
Robert Hilburn: Corn Flakes With John Lennon. Hilburn was a longtime music critic with the Los Angeles Times (1975 – 2005). The book is a memoir, packed with stories that old rockers like us really appreciate. A fun and fast read.
Katy Tur: Unbelievable: My Front Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History. Another memoir, in a sense, that starts with Katy being asked to cover some Trump rallies for NBC and ends up on one of the more bizarre presidential campaigns the US has ever seen. As a long-time radio guy, journalist and media employee, it’s fascinating to see a lot of her thoughts on what it takes to get read to be on camera frequently. Well-written and worth a read, no matter your political stripes. And yes, a lot of it is hard to believe.
Michael Connelly: The Black Ice. Harry Bosch, the LA homicide detective, makes his first appearance in The Black Echo (1992), quickly followed by The Black Ice (1993). The character, played to a T by Titus Welliver, is now an Amazon series. Over twenty books in this series and I’m planning to alternate between Jack Reacher and Harry Bosch for fiction for the foreseeable future!.
Timothy Ferris: Tribe of Mentors and Tools of Titans. These books are not the kind that you could or would even want to sit down and read straight through. Instead, thumb through them, make notes on the pages or tag ideas using sticky notes. Both are treasure-troves of ideas, thought-starters and concrete actionable methods and tools.
Antonio Gerrido: Asking Questions. This is a Sandler Sales System book that is helpful to, well, sales people. Frankly, I’m less than half way through this but mention it because it’s been very helpful up to this point. Asking the right questions for the right reasons at the right time gives any sales person a big edge.
Roger Steffens: So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley. Roger is a friend of mine, and I knew this book was coming several months before it hit the shelves. As a longtime Marley fan, this is the best book that tells the story from people who knew Bob. Terrific book through and through.
Steve Miller:Uncopyable: How to Create and Unfair Advantage Over Your Competition. Steve was a guest on my podcast recently and he was kind enough to send me a copy of his book. Easy and quick to read, but damn is it packed with a ton of good ideas. Get a copy.
Charles Pappas: Flying Cars, Zombie Dogs, and Robot Overlords. A very deep dive into the fascinating world of the history of large expositions, world fairs, and tradeshows. Virtually everything to eat, drink, drive or wear was introduced at a tradeshow or fair. Another podcast guest.
Dan Paulson:Apples to Apples: How to Stand Out from Your Competition. Dan was a guest of my podcast last year, and his book examines the reasons that make your company get to exponential growth. Another fun, useful and fairly quick read.
Nancy MacLean:Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America. Yes, it’s totally political. Yes, it’s a damn good read. Yes, it was hard to read because there was so much to absorb. Must have taken me several months to finally make it through. Regardless of your politics, I’d recommend taking a look. It’s also one of the most highly-researched books I’ve ever read.
Welcome to a new year – so glad you found us online! This week’s interview on the TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee features the author of a new book called “Flying Cars, Zombie Dogs and Robot Overlords.”Charles Pappas, a senior writer at Exhibitor Magazine, was kind enough to sit down with me and discuss this unique historical look at expos, exhibitions and tradeshows: