I am on a business trip and on the plane here, I saw 2 people reading these summaries. I don't think you'd be able to get the full impact from these summaries. I wanted to know what other people thought about the summaries and whether or not anyone has ever used them.

mauzenne's picture


I used them once and didn't like them ... other than being able to [i]sound[/i] smart on the topic, I didn't have enough of the details to put the material into practice. Most of what excites me is a discovery of the subtle nuances that can't come from a high-level summary.

For sounding smart at a cocktail party, go for it! Otherwise, I'm not a big fan.


DavidB's picture


I use them to screen out which books to buy and read. Most of the books are just noise, and I don't have enough time to read them all. This, plus reviews from boards like this, and recommendations from others are all part of filtering process. Not perfect, but hopefully a more effective use of my time.


Mark's picture


I didn't care for them either. They don't give enough detail to use the stuff, and they deny me the joy of reading... because it didn't feel like reading to me.

As a screening tool, they would work well... but that's a lot of cost for what you can do in other ways.

Frankly, they scare me... or more precisely, people reading them scares me. As little as people read, the idea that something might get tried at work because of a summary... wow.

If someone wants to use them to scan, okay. But to really learn... no.


MikeK's picture

Dave I use them as well. But like DavidB said, they are good for screening out what NOT to read and what you really DO want to read, the content itself is just too reduced to be of value like Mike and Mark said.

I personally am not a super fast reader and don't read THAT many books in a year, so I definitely will not just grab a book and hope for the best. I need a strong recommendation or summary before I'll invest the time to read it through.

dave.leach's picture


Thanks for the many responses. I'm not a very fast reader so I end up not reading as much as I'd like. I generally only read recommendations or books from a very small group of writers. MT has provided some great reviews and I recently picked up "The Effective Executive" and am almost done with it. I've been looking for "Influence" but haven't found it in any of the local book stores but that's my next read.

This is a great resource for information.

Mark & Mike, Thank you for starting this and continuing to enhance our knowledge of and capability to manage.


DavidB's picture

Two more points on summaries.

I am very selective on which summaries I read. I look for ones that cover books that I am on the fence on, or have no knowledge of. I have also begun to listen to them as audiobooks. They make great commuting fodder.


Mark's picture


Good comments - thanks!

Reading is the single most efficient self development technique a manager can engage in. PLEASE do not believe those who say we all have a "learning style", and if yours isn't "best served" by reading (because you're kinesthetic, or something), read less.

Executives, Senior Government officials - whenever they're interviewed, they have a quick and long answer to what they're reading right now, or what's on their nightstand.

They just don't ask this question of Hollywood stars. They don't read.

Read more no matter what. That's the ticket.