On my last flight (seems like I start a lot of things that way, but that is when I have a lot of time to catch up on my reading) I read some excellent articles from some of my favorite bloggers. Here's the catch - I wasn't online, or even using a computer. I was reading a book called "More Space - Nine Antidotes to Complacency in Business," edited by Todd Satterstein (with a foreword by the inimitable Seth Godin).
The concept is simple - take nine bloggers, and give them lots of space to express their thoughts about business. The results are quite impressive.
The wide array of styles brought out a wide array of responses from me as I read. At various points I was intriqued, enraged, inspired, and (surprisingly) touched by the material. These folks shine in this book.
Just to give you a taste, here are some things I liked from the book:
Rob May on "Why Business Matters"
"Making it personal changes everything. If it is personal, it becomes more than a job. We come to feel as if our work says something about who we are.We come to feel as if our work says something about who we are. It isn't just something we do for a paycheck, it's and expression of our skills and abilities. As the old saying goes, "Every job is a self-portrait of those who did it. Autograph your work with quality." It's true -- and difficult to do without taking your job personally. If business matters, and we take our business personally, good things will happen."
Marc Orchant - "Work Is Broken -- Here's How We Fix It"
"Sorry to be the one that bursts your bubble. It turns out there's a magic number for how many employees a company can have and be confident of providing that utopian work environment. And it's not the analyst's cut-off for "small" business. It's not even fifty people. It's two."
Jory Des Jardins - "The Inevitability of Authenticity"
"How can you work for clients whose language you do not share? I'd thought I knew their language, but until this weekend I had been speaking in tongues. I wasn't speaking Human."
Lisa Haneberg on "Breakthrough Experiences"
"As with many things in life, follow-through is important. I am most attracted and intrigued by the human capacity to build on and produce additional [Breakthrough Experiences]... The people who can do this are regarded as lucky. Luck has little to do with it, however. So if you are ready, let's explore what facilitates breakthroughs and what gets in their way."
"Simple Ideas, Lightly Held" by Johnny Moore
"We are such creatures of habit, it's really good to remind ourselves that, moment by moment, we can if we wish make different choices and explore new possibilities. Think of any number of successful innovations, and you could trace them back to some entrepreneurial inventor who looked at the status quo and made a new choice."
"Jonas's Lessons: Five Honest Letters From An IT Manager" by Jeremy Wright
"Dear reader, I am, for the moment, assuming that you have somehow stumbled across these letters after my death. I am quite taken with the idea that I have passed on from the world. In fact, I hope so, since these letters present an embarrassing account of the kind of man I really am."
Evelyn Rodriguez - "Marketing: What's Love Got To Do With It?"
"We are not the beliefs we've inherited from our traditions, our culture, our society, our parents, or our religion. We're not even the beliefs and stories we make up about ourselves. The woman I know who over time has shifted from atheist to evangelical Christian is exactly the same person. She didn't dissolve, but her beliefs did."
"Passion and Entrepreneurship" by Curt Rosengren
"When you're truly on fire about what you're doing, it overpowers the voices of doubt, both the ones inside your head and the ones belonging to others. Your passion drowns all the voices out so they don't distract you."
"Going Home" with Robert Paterson
"IBM sells its PC division. HP buys Compaq. Nobody copies Michael Dell's customer-driven success. Why? The idea of allowing the customer to drive the process is heresy for them. They would rather die than accept this idea. They will martyr themselves for this culture of control."
This is good stuff, and I hope you pick up a copy and experience what happens when bloggers go beyond posting and start really writing.
You can also see them in action at the More Space Project. And, if you buy the book directly from the project, you can see that they make quite a bit more on each book than when you buy through other distributors.