New Year’s Resolutions: Beyond the Book Cover

New Year's Resolution Photo

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto/alexsl

Yesterday’s post was a celebration of the best book covers of the year.  The graphic designers who create such works of art deserve recognition for their work.

As the year winds down, I’m struck by these cover images and the metaphor that they offer.  With a quick glance at a book cover, we judge the content and the author.  What the world sees of us is like that jacket, covering the real person inside.  And just like a book cover, we are judged.  Many times, it is before anyone ever took time to read our story.

We work hard to improve our external image.  Whether through fashion, diet, exercise or even plastic surgery, we spend billions on physical improvements.  It’s not just physical appearance either.  We want our presence to be positive online.  There are now various “reputation defender” services to combat unwanted reviews on the Internet.  How we look to the outside world is important to most of us.

The Best Book Covers of 2011

Best Book Covers of 2011 Main Photo

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto/mattjeacock

All year long I’m around books.  At home, in the office, in warehouses, in bookstores, in libraries and book tradeshows, I see them everywhere.  It’s difficult for me to walk by them without stopping and picking one up.  Why?  The cover.

A cleverly designed book cover can propel a book’s sales.  Each of us has a different visual perspective, but you know a great visual design when you see it.  Some covers simply stop you in your tracks and almost make you pick up the book.  Other covers just fall flat, dooming the book before it even has a chance.  And a little known fact:  authors generally have little to no say in the cover design.

The Future of Books

The Future of Books Photo

Photo courtesy @drewbordas

As the CEO of a large book company, I am often asked about my opinions on the future of the book and the industry.  Just last week, CM Rubin interviewed me for a piece on How We Will Read published in the Huffington Post.  In that piece, I talk about everything from self-publishing to my recommendations for brick & mortar bookstores in an increasingly digital world.

The interview prompted me to review a piece I wrote almost two years ago for the Daily Beast.  Because I believe it is still valid, I am reposting it here:

Discussing Escape Velocity with Geoffrey Moore

Geoffrey Moore Photo

Photo courtesy Geoffrey Moore

One of the most thoughtful voices on transformative challenges and disruptive change is Geoffrey Moore.  His books are must-reading in business schools, but are applicable to anyone seeking significant growth or change.  I’ve spoken on the topic of personal and industry change at various conferences.  After one of my speeches, someone connected me to Geoff.  I enjoyed meeting him since all of his books are in my private library at home:  Crossing the Chasm, Inside the Tornado, The Gorilla Game, Living on the Fault Line, and Dealing with Darwin.

Learning From the Legacy of Johnny Cash

You don’t have to be from Nashville to appreciate country music or its rich history—and you certainly don’t have to be from here to understand the impact of the Man in Black on music.  I’ve only lived in the area for a little over four years, but I’ve been listening to Johnny Cash for as long as I can remember.

Of the many things that I learned in studying Johnny Cash, I want to share three that had an impact on me: