Friday, March 07, 2008

Trying to invent a word: Amafaking? Vampazon?

I'm trying to think of a word for what you're doing when you browse reader reviews of a nonfiction book on Amazon so you can acquire familiarity with the book. I don't often need to do this, but I occasionally work with speakers, motivational, keynote, and other, who have written books. I like to familiarize myself with their work; it'll let me know what to expect from their talk, and it's handy if their book comes up in conversation. But I'm not inclined to actually read the whole book on corporate leadership strategy or Nascar drivers or selling event branding. I've got a stack of books piled up waiting for me, books that have come with serious recommendations from friends, books that continue series I'm already reading, books that finally appeared at the library after weeks or months in the hold queue. I can't justify spending my valuable reading hours on books that don't appeal much. The Amazon review trick lets me talk about a speaker's work without sounding like an idiot. And it's not technically dishonest, as long as I don't claim to have read the book. This might be splitting hairs ethically, but I can rationalize it pretty well. And I'd never dream of doing this with a work of fiction.

I've been doing this for years when I worked with speakers, since before Amazon existed. Pre-Amazon, I'd check the book out of the library and skim it, get everything I can from the book in half an hour of contents-flipping and speed-reading. Amazon reader reviews save me a trip to the library, and are a lot better at giving me the key (and sometimes controversial) points.

It occurs to me that I'm probably better able to intelligently discuss an unread book whose Amazon reviews I've perused, than a book I actually read more than seven or eight years ago. This is scary.


Teri Dougherty said...

I kinda like Vampazon.

Aunt Teri

Erin Monahan said...


Of the two, I like Vampazon. Or what about Nonficliff? (Think Non-fiction Cliff Notes...).

By the way, I didn't realize you were moonlighting as a speech writer, blogger, etc. Very cool.

Erin Monahan

Jeff Mountjoy said...

Oooh, "nonficliff". I like that!

I don't write speeches, I just work with a lot of speakers. I've done this with our Start With Art speakers since my first one, for instance. And every time we have an event with a speaker, I nonficliff them too. I also do this with musicians; if we've got an event with a band or singer, I hit their Myspace to familiarize myself with them and give myself an idea of what to expect from their show.

Erin Monahan said...

Oh, now I understand. You are always so well informed... I'll look forward to reading more of your blogs. I'm working on being more savvy in social networking, but am not yet a blogger.

Hope all is well!


Jeff Mountjoy said...

Erin, you should SO write a blog! I, for one, would be interested to read it!