The Book of Business Awesome - Scott Stratten

It's fair to say with a title like "The Book of Business Awesome" (and its reverse-side book, "The Book of Business UnAwesome") that author Scott Stratten is fairly irreverent. If you're the type who prefers serious, down to earth tomes that read like a college lecture, this probably isn't the book for you. And that's OK. We are all different people who connect with a different style. If you don't mind jokes, wild comments, and a staggering amount of enthusiasm, then you'll probably do well here.

Mr. Stratten literally has two books in one. You read one from the left. Then when you reach the middle you flip the book over and read in from that side. One side covers things to do. The other covers things not to do. I like the idea of covering both pros and cons. I'm not sure they had to actually do the book-flipping thing; they could have just had the second half of the book cover the other point of view. I imagine this was a marketing gimmick. In terms of practicality, though, I'd rather have the pros and cons of something, for example Twitter promotions, nicely in one spot. I don't want to have to flip and rotate to get to both pieces.

I started with the "UnAwesome" side. I figured that way I'd start with the depressing warnings, and be able to end up an upbeat note. He's a bit harsh here. "[people are] morons about 85 percent of the time". Surely there's a more encouraging way to phrase this. We have challenges. We have issues. And that's normal.

He believes that soon most users will access sites via mobile devices - and 61% give up if the site is too slow. Optimization is key! He talks about being sure to optimize your message for Twitter vs Facebook - i.e. don't just blast the exact same message to all networks and expect them to work well. Every network has its own flavor. He warns you to reply to posts no matter how they come in. Don't tell Twitter people "you should have used the customer service contact instead, go away". Do as much as you can in whatever system they have chosen. Customer service is key!

He warns that commercialism quickly kills sites like Pinterest. The people who flocked there when it was about friends sharing ideas will abandon ship just as quickly if it becomes all about storefront promotions. So one has to tread lightly.

He warns not to add people to your mailing list just because they gave you a business card. It makes people grumpy. Make your newsletters full of information the reader looks forward to - not a promotion that they cringe at getting.

He warns how the online review mentality now has people feeling they can extort a company in exchange for a good review, which is against the whole point of honest reviews. What's funny is that he then boasts about buying a seat at an event, complaining because the seat HE CHOSE was not a great seat, and then he got upgraded for complaining! That seems silly to me. Why should he get a more expensive seat comped for him because he chose to complain about what he chose to buy? It feels wrong on so many levels.

He warns to be cautious about what gets out into the public eye. He mentions Bon Jovi's "fake death" that got picked up and passed around in social media. It's happened numerous times with numerous situations. A simple tweet can quickly go out of control.

There's a lot of good information here, that can be practically applied. But there's also some parts that drag it down for me a bit.

The repeated pushes to go to websites bugs me in a book. I'm reading the book for a reason. Just tell me the details - don't make me go elsewhere. In the same way, the repeated self-promotion about his amazing websites and his oodles of followers was a bit much. The sections on how to speak in front of groups and how to be on a panel seemed quite off topic to me. I have plenty of books on how to speak or be in a panel. That's not what I needed out of this.

Still, a lot of useful information, and well worth reading to pick those nuggets out and use them.

I was sent a free copy of this book to review from the publisher.

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