On Reading as Snacking: The Nutritional Value of Your Bookshelf

Credit: Christop Brooks-Booth

Yeah, yeah; I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover. But we all do it to some extent; if we didn’t, publishers would save some money and all book covers would look the same.

And I’m going to confess something to you all: Whenever I see diminutive descriptors used in the title of a book, I tend to adopt a dismissive attitude. The “Little Books of __” and pocket guides to this or that seem to promise easy results without the “work” of actually committing to a full book. And authors: Don’t even come to me with 101 anythings.

So, when The Leader’s Pocket Guide: 101 Indispensable Tools, Tips, and Techniques for Any Situation crossed my desk, I was skeptical. Honestly, the phrase that crossed my mind was “junk food.”

However, while this collection is certainly not analogous to a five-course meal, it’s not a single-serving bag of Cheetos either. I’d venture to say author John Baldoni has taken the many ingredients from his long coaching career and assembled them in sandwich form.

And I swear I’ve just had lunch. Bear with me here.

Really, the book is separated into three mini-sandwiches (self, colleagues, and organization). On top of these three different types of “bread”, Baldoni piles layer after layer of smart, mini-chapters addressing the many ways to grow one’s leadership skills within these three contexts. The “meat” of the book is backed up by fresh, healthy research tidbits. He alternates these denser layers with perfectly pickled quotes from thinkers as varied as Dolly Parton and St. Francis of Assisi. As the perfect condiment, Baldoni adds these “Think About…” sections throughout, to help you absorb the nutrition nestled in the chapters into your daily routine. Finally, he tops each section with sturdy “Action Tips” and a helpful self-assessment.

And with a profile of six inches by four, even the hardcover version of this book is, like many great sandwiches, portable.  So, if you’re hungry for a guide that isn’t an owner’s manual, check out this book.

And hey, I’ll admit it: Perhaps my bias against pocket guides is unfounded. Have you found a “Little Book of Business Somethings” to be more useful than its size might suggest? Share your recommendations below, and bon appetit!

Meg White

Meg White is the managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine's Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]realtors.org.

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  1. mhansen

    Jeffrey Gittomer’s “Little” book series on selling is fantastically poignant. No fluff, no need for literary self-indulgence.. Just the good stuff. I recommend it to anyone in sales. And gues what, everyone is in sales…..even if you don’t know it.

  2. Thanks! I’ll check it out.