Drive-by book reviews: Pro Blogger and Upgrade Your Life

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Drive-by book reviews: Pro Blogger and Upgrade Your Life

new drive by book review

I read. A lot!

Not just blogs. Books, magazines, cartoons, newsletters, I devour them. It’s the maven in me. And, I’ve shared a few reviews here, but I figure, it’s time to start doing it a bit more regularly. So, this is the first of my every other Wednesday drive-by book-review series (with a little effort, I might even be able to keep it going past today).

Why drive-by?

Because, I’m busy, you’re busy, so rather than listing out the table of contents and picking apart everything that was said, my purpose is more to highlight:

  1. What the book is about,
  2. What makes it different, and
  3. Who needs to read it.

One other thing–I am not going to review books I didn’t like for two reasons.

One, I have a short attention span and can generally find better things to do than finish books that don’t grab me. Can’t write a review on a book half-read. And, two, why would you want to spend your time reading about something I am eventually going to tell you is not worth reading about? Seems a bit counterproductive to me.

Short and sweet. Let’s roll…

On tap today are two books (FYI – the links below are NOT affiliate links):


Pro Blogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income

What’s the book about? Blogging for bucks, plain and simple

What makes it different? No doubt, there is a lot of great information about starting, setting up and growing a blog, but what makes this book different from all others is it’s unique focus on blogging for income.

So, for example, when it talks about choosing a topic, the focus is not just on what you love, but on how to find and choose a niche that will allow you to position yourself to not only blog, but make money doing it. When it talks about the types of posts you can write, the focus is not only on what you are passionate about covering, but what readers most want to read and what is most likely to get passed around or go viral.

And, because it’s nearly impossible to monetize a blog, directly or indirectly, without traffic, it talks about marketing, from working relationships to social-media to link-bait. It has one of the most detailed marketing and promotion sections I’ve found in book format.

Who needs to read it? Anyone who is looking to create or grow an existing blog with the intent of eventually deriving income from it.


Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker guide to working smarter, faster, better

What’s the book about? Tapping technology to make your life easier.

What makes it different? This is Gina’s second book and what makes it so different than anything else ot there are two things. The information and the format.

Gina is the head-honcho, super-deluxe editor over at Lifehacker.com, a blog that churns out an insane volume of daily tips on everything from controlling your e-mail to getting fit for summer or screen-shotting your Mac (loved that one).

This book condenses down 116 of the most useful tech and productivy-oriented “hacks” into a single, convenient volume. Each item is a quick read, delivers precise instructions and, most importantly, solves a problem that’ll give you back yet another sliver of your life. It’s like a best of Lifehacker desk-reference.

A quick final word on the content. Part of what you are buying here is convenience. Could you visit the website and search for articles on the topics in the book? Sure. But, you’d likely pull up dozens of posts to wade through for each topic. Upgrade Your Life delivers a discrete set of high bang-for-the-buck hacks in a portable, convenient book format. So, I can throw it in my backpack and read it in bursts or keep it on my desktop and use it when needed. To me, the convenience and portability is worth the time and money.

Who needs to read it? Anyone who is interested in getting things done faster, easier and making more time to play.

So, that’s the end of my first set of drive-by book reviews, hope you enjoyed. If you have a book you’d like me to consider for review, please e-mail at jonathan [at] jonathanfields [dot] com. Please do not send me any unsolicited stuff, before talking with me.

So, what do you guys think? Have you read either book? Share your voice…

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15 responses

15 Responses to “Drive-by book reviews: Pro Blogger and Upgrade Your Life”

  1. Natasha says:

    This may seem like an odd question, but you strike me as a very compassionate person. Are you a vegetarian?

  2. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Natasha – I try to lead with compassion, but, no, I am not a vegetarian, for a variety of reasons, both personal and health. Though, I have explored it a number of times, especially with my background in yoga.

  3. Natasha says:

    Oh, okay. That’s odd, I’m usually very good at telling. I’m just curious: what do you mean when you say you eat meat for ‘personal’ reasons? I’ve never heard anyone say they ate meat for ‘personal’ reasons before.

  4. Well, I got the ProBlogger book at SOBCon (were you there? how did I not meet you?), so I’ll let you know what I know once I know it.

    I love the drive-by review! Do you read enough that you could start a blog about that? It would get a bazillion hits, I’ll bet.

  5. I would have to agree, Pro Blogger is an excellent book, especially for anyone starting out. I have not heard of the other, but sounds interesting. Nice way to do reviews – short and sweet.

  6. Patty says:

    I’m reading the ProBlogger book now and have already gotten a second copy for one of my clients. I think it will help them more easily understand blogging concepts, since they aren’t really familiar with them yet. We’re creating a blog for whfoods.org and they’re really excited about it, but I find myself trying to educate them at every step. So, I’m definitely recommending it!

  7. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Communicatrix – Hey, wasn’t as SOBCon, supposed to go, but I got sick and couldn’t fly. Actually thinking about a drive-by book review blog, I have the url and variations reserved, but not sure if I cold fill it with enough reviews, unless I assembled a team. Hmmmm, add to project list for tomorrow

    @ BBB – Gina’s book is very different, but insanely useful, which is why I love the blog and the book

    @ Patty – Yeah, I think the book is a great tool for client education, too, great point!

  8. Darren Rowse says:

    thanks for the review Jonathan!

  9. Sorry we missed you at SOBCON. Enjoy your blog and was hoping to meet you.
    I had the pleasure of meeting Chris, and have been reading his book since I returned home. I think it’s a really good guide to help plot your strategy, and to avoid all those wasted steps and efforts that people (like me) made in the beginning. I get TONS of books because of my syndicated column, and although I think many of them are helpful, this one has not only provided an education, but sparked new ideas.
    Anita Bruzzese

  10. Natasha says:

    When are you going to do “Ask Jonathan?”

    I’ve sent you at least five questions. =D

    Wasn’t this supposed to be a weekly thing?

  11. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Darren – No problemo, thanks for writing the book, it will help a lot of people.

    @ Anita – Yeah, was bummed to miss SOBCon, but it sounds like it was a ton of fun. Next year. Totally agree with your point about this book helping people avoid wasted energy, too, it’s very good at pointing out what works and keeping you focused on those things.

    @ Natasha – Don’t worry, it’s coming soon, though probably every other week or so. :)

  12. Uh…Jonathan? Anita gets “tons of books”? And you want to start a drive-by review site? And you need partners?

    Uh……..

  13. Pamela Slim says:

    Love the idea Jonathan!

    I have had “Upgrade Your Life”in my review pile for a long time. It is great, and I have already implemented many tips in my own life.

    I also have the “only blog about books I love” criteria. It makes it a tad bit touchy sometimes when pitched by authors and publicists. What I say is “I would be happy to read your book and learn from it. I can’t promise I will blog about it, but if you are ok with a little ambiguity, please send me a copy.”

    Despite this little disclaimer, some people do follow up 5 times with a “have you blogged about it yet?” message. Which makes me a bit uncomfortable. Goes with the territory I guess!

    What keeps me clear is that I see it as my job to share the *BEST* of what is out there with my readers which will help them move forward better, faster or cheaper.

    Look forward to your finds.

    Have a great week!

    -Pam

  14. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Pam – Yeah, I really thought about whether to do reviews of books I didn’t like, but, like I said, it was more about the fact that I don’t want to have to finish a book I’m not enjoying just so I can do a review. Life’s just too short!

  15. Mike DeWitt says:

    Jonathan,

    I love the format! Way to net things out. As for needing to finish every word of a book to review it; I disagree. I think if you can’t get the gist of a book in an hour or two, it wasn’t that good to start with, especially with business books. And I think it’s fair to share what you got out of that time – good, bad, or indifferent. Your readers’ will appreciate an idea of the time investment required to get the benefit.

    Mike