Category Archives: book

On this page:

A No Excuses Guide to Blogging (PDF, EPUB, MOBI – free!); also, notes on publishing

This entry is part 1 of 19 in the series A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging

First, a quick announcement: A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging is now available as a free/pay-what-you-want e-book so that you can work your way through your excuses without having to click through lots of blog posts. =)

Mock-up by Ramon Williamson


Mock-up by Ramon Williamson

The cover I made for Amazon

The cover I made for Amazon

The PDF looks prettiest if you’re reading it on your computer or tablet, and the EPUB/MOBI version is handy for other e-readers. You get all three (and any future updates) if you grab it from http://sachachua.com/no-excuses-blogging, or you can get the MOBI version from the Kindle store (currently $0.99, but eventually they’ll price-match it to $0). The book is under Creative Commons Attribution, so feel free to share it with other people. =)

UPDATE 2014-02-13: Here’s a one-page summary!

2014-02-13 A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging - Summary of 10 blogging excuses and how to work around them

2014-02-13 A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging – Summary of 10 blogging excuses and how to work around them

 

- Behind the scenes stuff! – 

So this was about 8 hours of packaging after I’d identified the topics and asked an assistant to compile all the blog posts in a Word document. I edited the text to make it fit better in a collection, fiddled with the graphics, added more sketches, tweaked the layout some more, fought with section headers, and eventually created a PDF that I was reasonably happy with. I contacted a bunch of people on Fiverr about converting the DOCX into EPUB and MOBI. While waiting for a response, I decided to try doing it myself. It took me some time to clean up the messy HTML, but I’m reasonably happy with how the EPUB worked out. I had to tweak the EPUB table of contents in order to get it to pass the validator used by Lulu, but eventually I got it worked out with Calibre and Sigil. The MOBI was a straight conversion from the EPUB, although I wonder if I can get the background colour to be white…

2014-02-05 Notes on publishing

2014-02-05 Notes on publishing

So that was interesting and useful, and it would be good to do more. Here are some ideas for other “No Excuses”-type guides I might put together. Maybe self-directed learning and delegation, actually, since other people are covering the sketchnoting bit quite well.

2014-02-06 What other excuses can I collect and work around

2014-02-06 What other excuses can I collect and work around

There’s also this list of other book ideas, Thinking with Emacs, Tracking Your Time, Accelerating Your Learning with Sketchnotes, and this big outline. Lots to do. Looking forward to figuring out how I can get more of these out the door. =)

In the meantime… tada! http://sach.ac/no-excuses-blogging

Series NavigationWrite about what you don’t know: 5 tips to help you do research for your blog »

Visual book review: Help Your Kids Get Better Grades

I received a review copy of Gary E. Howard’s Help Your Kids Get Better Grades at just the right time. Yesterday was J’s first day of high school. Exciting times! We’ve been talking to her about the need for taking notes, and we’re looking forward to helping her make the most of homework and study for tests. We hope we’ll be able to help her learn those super-useful study skills. Here are my notes. Enjoy!

Book - Help Your Kids Get Better Grades

Click on the image for a larger version.

The book has many more tips for people helping high-school students improve their study skills.

Help Your Kids Get Better Grades (Gary E. Howard; Cambridge Learning Skills, 2010) – affiliate link

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book, but would probably have written the same review if I’d checked this out from a library. =) The Amazon links above are also affiliate links.

Sketchnotes: The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future

Chris Guillebeau’s new book The $100 Startup was released just yesterday. Here are my notes! Click on the image to view a larger version.

20120509-sketchnotes-100-dollar-startup

The book is packed with clear, practical advice and backed by concrete, diverse stories from successful microbusinesses around the world. It’s not a very deep book (don’t look here for step-by-step instructions, thorough analyses of case studies, or hand-holding through the business startup process), but it’s an enjoyable read. I’ll probably find myself referring to it a lot for inspiration and ideas. If you like this book, you’ll probably also like The Lean Startup (see my notes). Enjoy!

Check out more sketchnotes or read about my ongoing experiments in business. I’d love to hear from you!

Here’s the text from the image to make it easier to search for: THE $100 STARTUP Chris Guillebeau What you love to do What people will pay for passion + skill + usefulness = success benefits features Ex: happiness widgets Expand your opportunities by reusing your skills in different ares. Most people want simplicity. Don’t give them unneeded details. Some businesses are easier to start. consulting information products You don’t have to be an expert yet! Action Planning Don’t wait for perfection. Start and learn along the way. Invest time into growing your business. Learn how to offer, hustle, launch… “Franchise yourself” -partner -outsource -spin off a different biz scale up You don’t have to build a huge business. Make one that’s the right size for you. Where to find opportunities -marketplace inefficiency -new tech or opportunity -changing space -spin-off or side projects Decision-making matrix Impact Effort Profit Vision Idea Idea Market before manufacturing Test your idea Failsafe: offer refunds FAQ: objection-squasher 25 cents Make your first sale ASAP. Great confidence builder. Other useful parts: 1-page business plan 39-step launch checklist 1-page promotion plan + web resources Like this? Check out my other notes @ LivingAnAwesomeLife.com! – Sacha Chua Twitter: @sachac

Visual book review: Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion

20120321-book-thank-you-for-arguing

Jay Heinrichs’ Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion is one of my favourite books. You know how we walk around thinking that rhetoric is evil and arguments are to be avoided? He shows how knowing about persuasive techniques – and using them well – can make life better, and how kids who know how to argue correctly are adorable. Well, he doesn’t explicitly make that last point, but it’s entertaining seeing him get bested by his 5-year-old daughter.

Read this book so that you can get better at detecting and dealing with invisible arguments that surround you. Learn how to combine the elements of ethos, logos, and pathos to argue persuasively. Don’t get stuck in blame games or stereotyping fights; stay focused on the future and help people move forward. Use wordplay to be wittier.

The book is packed with tips, and well worth keeping on your reference shelf. I liked it so much that I bought a paperback copy and a Kindle e-book (which was more expensive than the paperback, pff!)

Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion
Jay Heinrichs
2007: Three Rivers Press
ISBN: 978-0307341440

For more detailed notes, see my 2010 review of Thank You for Arguing.

See other visual book notes!

Here’s the text from the image to improve people’s ability to search for it:

Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us about the Art of Persuasion
Jay Heinrichs 2007

We are surrounded by
INVISIBLE ARGUMENTS
FIGHTS (Goal: Win)
Learn the difference between
ARGUMENT (Goal: change mind)

Types of argument (can combine!)
Ethos (character, who you are)
Show that you are similar & have shared values
Use strategic reluctance (“I normally hate speaking, but…”)
sense/medium

a b c
Logos (logic, reasoning)
“is”
Make your option the reasonable middle
Control the definitions of terms

Pathos (Emotions)
You can guide people’s emotions by overreacting on their behalf.
“That must have been awful!”

Use the right tense:
PAST
Blaming
“You did it!”
“Did not”
“Did too!”
PRESENT
Stereotyping
“You always…”
“You never…”
FUTURE
Moving forward
“Next time, can we…”

DEFENCE
The book has many tips on how to detect and deal with persuasion.

…and tips for being witty, too!

Notes: SachaChua.com
@sachac 2012

 

Visual book review: Enough, by Patrick Rhone

20120321-book-enough-0

enough is a collection of essays by Patrick Rhone on the idea of having enough. He compares it to the dynamic process of balancing on a tightrope, where you have to find your own centre of balance and you’ll always need some kind of help – stretching your arms, using a bar or an umbrella, and so on. In addition to reflections on minimalism and limiting life to make it comprehensible, he includes thoughts on technology, tools, behavioural change, and other life tips.

There are many books in this field, from John C. Bogle’s book with the same main title (Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life, affiliate link), to Leo Babauta’s The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential…in Business and in Life, affiliate link). Patrick Rhone’s book isn’t particularly packed with mind-boggling or life-changing insights, but it might still be an enjoyable read for a quiet, reflective afternoon, particularly if you also have a technology-related background or find yourself occasionally tempted down the path of more apps! more tools! more gadgets! (Not that I know anyone like that, no….)

enough
Patrick Rhone, 2012
Kindle e-book

See other visual book notes!

Visual book review: Critical Inquiry: The Process of Argument

book-critical-inquiry

I first read this book in October 2010 while scrambling to learn as much as I could about communication and rhetoric in preparation for marriage. Since then, there have been zero household arguments, which is not a bad thing. Fortunately, the Internet, newspapers, and books provide a steady stream of logical fallacies that let me exercise the skills I picked up from this book.

The insight that stuck with me from this book was that you should repair holes in your opponents’ arguments—argue their case more strongly than they did—before demolishing the strengthened arguments. People rarely do this, but I’ve seen a couple of good examples on the political/feminist blogs I read.

It reminds me of what we need to do in order to help people deal with their concerns to new ideas or technologies. It’s not enough to fight against straw-man arguments. You may need to be more concerned about people’s concerns than they are, before you can help them find a way forward.

Critical Inquiry: The Process of Argument
Michael Boylan (Westview Press: 2009) – ISBN 978-0813344522

See other visual book notes!