"For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you.
Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die. They are full of all the things that you don't get in real life -- wonderful, lyrical language, for instance, right off the bat. And quality of attention: we may notice amazing details during the course of a day but we rarely let ourselves really stop and pay attention. An author makes you notice, makes you pay attention, and this is a great gift.
My gratitude for good writing in unbounded; I'm grateful for it the way I'm grateful for the ocean. Aren't you? I ask."
—Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
I've often joked that I'd be in heaven if only I could find a job where someone would pay me to read books all day. Less editor or reviewer; more distiller and summarizer. Hey - uber-wealthy people have personal shoppers, why can't I be their personal reader? I'd get paid to curl up by the beach with a book, a blanket and a cup of coffee; I'd zip through each one, type up some book notes, then report on key findings.
All joking, dreaming and scheming aside, Cath Duncan, a wise coach and blogger at Mine Your Resources, has figured out a way to do almost exactly that. She started a program called the Bottom-line Book Club that I think is just brilliant. Even though I'll admit that I'm a little jealous I didn't think of it myself, I'm happy to see Cath benefitting the non-fiction aficionados among us with her fantastic program.
How it Works: The bottom-line (heh, I just had to say it) is that each month Cath reviews a personal-development book. But you're getting a lot more than a simple summary - Cath publishes a 15-20 page PDF summary, interviews the author and creates audio files with additional highlights and thoughts. The program is great if you are too busy to read the selected book (or not inclined to purchase it), and because it brings a depth to each featured book that you might not experience by reading it on your own. For example, even though I've read Pam Slim's Escape from Cubicle Nation, I really enjoyed listening to the interview with Pam and appreciated Cath's audio summary of the key takeaways.
Cath's September selection is "The Flipside: Finding the Hidden Opportunities in Life" by Adam Jackson. In addition to the book summary package, Bottom-line Bookclub members also get daily self-coaching tips by email, access to the social network and bonus vouchers from Mine Your Resources (currently 20% off coaching sessions). Head over to the Bottom-Line Bookclub website to learn more.