Saturday, April 01, 2006

Are books passe?

I read an article in the last couple of days quoting David Maister (guru to professional services firms) as saying that he's never going to write another book, and he rarely reads them any more, either. Instead, he's become a blogger, and says that he gets his best information from other blogs, or maybe magazine articles. The original article, which probably set this off, is actually much more insightful than this, and an interesting comment (from a new convert) on the whole blogging experience from a business perspective.

I had a quick look at his blog, and I think he's basically using it as a forum for shorter magazine articles (when he was just an apprentice guru, he published magazine articles in the American Lawyer, before people were willing to give him a book deal). What he's writing is very polished, and thought through - certainly more than this blog, and more than most of the blogs I read.

To me, blogging is a new medium, not just a replacement for other, older ones. The interaction, between commenter and blogger, on the best blogs, makes it completely different from a magazine or newspaper, and the rough draft nature of many blogs create an immediacy that other media simply can't match. David Maister is the kind of writer that thrives from that interaction, but it's a big stretch from that to say that the book is passe.

I love having a new text-based medium, but, just as television didn't kill film, but added possibilities, blogging adds variety to the many ways we humans communicate with each other.

I'm still going to add David Maister to my bloglines feed. While I was in professional services, I found him the most insightful business writer I've read by a considerable margin. In a 30-second trawl through his blog, I found a post on leadership vs management for professionals that I'm going to go back to for inspiration later.

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