One of the trickiest tightropes for an author publishing a business book to walk is: "how deftly do I tip my hand that this is all part of a greater lead generation and monetization engine?"

Some books do this well: The E-Myth Revisited is pretty explicitly a marketing campaign for consulting services, but is a useful narrative in its own right, as is Cadence & Slang or even The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Others do it poorly: Working Backwards is a series of poorly re-written press releases ending with a call to action, for instance, and The 4-Hour Workweek descends into outright metanonfiction.

This is Personal is a pretty interesting take on this difficult problem, and it's hard not to read it without thinking "ah, so I'm reading the artifact of having been successfully segmented and monetized by the author." [1] And the content is, all in all, fairly light — there's a sense that this book would have been better served in its ideal medium as a series of drip essays [2], and there's a lot of padding in the form of "here's seven emails pasted and padded to give us an additional ten pages where we need it."

But the content is legitimately good, and the models it describes are useful ones. The advice he offers is legitimate, actionable, and valuable — which puts it ahead of the vast majority of its competitors.

  1. Which, to Brennan's credit, is a feather in his cap: he teaches you how to do what he did to you! ↩︎

  2. I thought he could have gone a little bit deeper on content recycling, given that This is Personal is so clearly an effective example of its deployment. ↩︎


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