Since launching Merge a few months back, I have felt compelled to investigate the business publishing genre, which I had mostly avoided until then except for the occasional Malcolm Gladwell offering. With the rare exception, I find these books to be mind-numbingly boring, often having only a few salient points to make, but dragging the reader through hundreds of pages of redundancy. Can’t they just distribute a one-page summary via PDF and save us all a lot of time?
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Dan Pink’s new book, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, which breaks out of this category with vigor by using the format of a graphic novel to convey the otherwise stale message of how to how to revive your career (I just found the video below for a Hollywood-style “trailer” for the book, kinda cool). By blending the fresh and sassy attitude of the graphic novel with the practical nuts and bolts of the business book, Pink has hit on a winning formula.
Another resource that applies a creative storytelling approach is the website Lateral Action which discusses the creative economy and veers into some interesting entrepreneurial topics geared toward creative professionals. Developed by a collaborative team of Mark McGuinness, Tony Clark, and Brian Clark, three veteran creative pros, they haven’t quite pulled the whole online experience together from the visual perspective, but the site is rich with content and the writing is very engaging, often using fictional characters and narrative storytelling to convey their message. One of my favorite posts, entitled The Kurt Cobain Guide to Startup Success, analyzes the late indie rock icon as an entrepreneurial visionary. An animated video series follows the fictional character of Lou through a career makeover.
Thanks to Dan Wallace of Ideafood for the tip on Lateral Action.