Okay, that's probably an overstatement. I have read some fabulous books that have helped craft my views about the gaming industry. Business books. Marketing books. Great books. Books that give me ideas about how I could be doing things better.
Go to the business section of any bookstore and buy The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. You can't miss it. When there's 1-2 copies of every other book on the shelf, there never less than six copies of TTP. I wish everyone I work with would read it. I would buy them copies if I thought they'd read it. Here's the cool part, it's not about business. It's about IDEAS, and how they spread. It's about how they stopped crime on NY subways and why non-smoking ads don't stop kids from smoking. It's about why small groups of people work better than large groups of people. It's about a lot more than that. Ultimately, it's entertaining as hell.
From the Tipping Point I moved on to Seth Godin, who I've mentioned before. His books most decidedly are about business. So far I've read Permission Marketing, Unleashing the Ideavirus, Free Prize Inside, and all the mini e-books he's published on his website. It's easy to take Godin's ideas and apply them to creating and selling games, and I do. I've set up lenses on Godin's Squidoo and I read his blog daily.
The last two books I've read I discovered through the various blogs I follow. Creating Customer Evangelists is pretty straightforward. Help your customers help you. Be worthy of their loyalty, and provide them tools to spread the word. This is not a new idea in gaming. Volunteer programs are old hat in our business, but I was looking for and found new ideas. The fact that I can't think of any just now makes me think I need to give the book another read!
Currently I'm reading a book called Naked Conversations. It's about how businesses can use blogs to connect to customers better. The basic theme of the book is to be human, honest, transparent, listen, and use blogs to do it. Good stuff. It mirrors and reinforces what I already believe to be the best way to conduct myself. I'm a fairly lousy writer, and a novice to blog tech, so books like this help in some basic nuts and bolts ways. I also wanted to make sure I wasn't making some terrible mistake with my blogs! I think I'm okay.
More on gaming next time, I promise!