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Monday, August 18, 2014

Lerning from the Right Book, Blog or Course

A quote from Mark 1 9-11: (even the "good book" may not be the "right" book for HTML or AdWords or even Buddha :-) "And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." In Hebrew and Greek. Taken at the Christian baptism site, Jordan river, Israel.
Have you heard about the "best book to learn...."? Or the course the will change your life (make you rich, happy and sexy in three months)? There are countless offers for "the best, fastest, for-sure-way, easiest, completely proven"... you get the point. Yet in reality, each book, method or technique works only for very few people. Even if it is proven by experience and the guru (master, expert) has been teaching it and using it with hundreds of people. What makes a book "good" for you? How will a blog move you along, day by day, so you can benefit? Even if you are skeptical, there are videos and courses which have changed people's lives. Otherwise, there wouldn't be so many good resources, comprehensive useful sites and successful new product marketers (supporters, advisors, trainers). Most of new internet's new professions are populated by self taught workers. There are many factors which will make a training book useful to each person. Some factors are easy to determine: technical level, amount of involvement required, writing style, end goal or result (does it fit the reader's need?), difficult or even impossible demands, prerequisites, physical or mental requirements... the list goes on and on. The simple fact is, most techniques do not work for simple reasons. Sometimes if you buy the book and try to make it work, you realize why you are not successful. Sometimes you can't achieve what is promised and you give up. Usually not knowing what went wrong. 

Learning From Other Evaluation and Advice Sources

The problem of attempting something and not succeeding is not unique to learning internet skills. On a daily basis we get advice from friends, restaurant critics, movie reviewers, auto and gadget writers... physicians and even mechanics. So what makes other source of advice useful or reliable and training books a failure? How do you pick a book about dieting or programming and have it work? There are plenty of clues in the other sources. Friends and critics we know well and usually follow and "translate" or "map" to our own needs. A friend who goes to expensive restaurants may suggest what she calls "a nice, quiet and down to earth" brasserie. You translate it to mean "a place I can eat well and not blow my monthly budget". That comes from experience. That is you "mapping" to something you understand and works for you. Reading a review on Amazon or leafing through a volume in a book store and sampling pages here and there is not going to be as helpful (or as accurate). Taking advice from a restaurant reviewer and a movie critic you also have the same advantage. Once you try some of their reviews you can calibrate to your own tastes and needs. A mechanic or a physician usually will give you advice in their area of expertise. A university professor in engineering or a dietitian while expert at their specialty are not necessarily reviewing books and training (life changing) techniques on a regular basis. Also, unlike reviewers and critics, most domain experts do not review books and new unknown techniques. They have to test them first. I am always amazed at all the great "what people are saying" quotes for new books. Essentially "experts" read the unpublished book and give it a high five. If you send a book to 100 reviewers, you will probably have ten good reviews. But in a diet book and certainly in a programming book, how can you tell the book is going to help people without trying? Well, you guessed it, there is no magic bullets, nobody knows how good a technique is going to be until many people try it. So you need a way to do it yourself and make it work the first time. You can try and find someone who reviews diets or programming books. If you hunt enough on Amazon, you will find people who recommend and review in their area of expertise. In certain fields, especially in new areas like blogging, advertising, SEO and affiliate marketing there are reviews of courses and training programs. New hot trends bring out a flurry of activity in paid courses. Some gain good reputation and you can find reviews in blogs and portal sites. Obviously training and reference material is just one component of the learning process. Dedication, energy, drive and most of all ability to practice and do the work is crucial as well. More on starting and perseverance next, and a few book reviews as well.