Friday, July 27, 2012

Sell More Software with Quotations

Book review of The Forbes Book of Business Quotations - 14,173 Thoughts on the Business of Life by Ted Goodman (published 1999 by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers)

Ever since John Bartlett first published his "Familiar Quotations" in 1855, we've seen volume after volume of books designed to help writers keep track of clever sayings. Bartlett kept notes during his years of running Harvard University's bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts. When he later went to work for the publisher Little, Brown, he turned his lifetime hobby into many published editions of his Quotations.

The Forbes Book of Business Quotations grew out of the "Thoughts on the Business of Life" column, which has been a fixture in Forbes Magazine since B.C. Forbes founded the magazine in 1917. This 992-page book contains nearly 15,000 business-related quotations including, to nobody's surprise, a fair number of gems attributed to Malcolm S. Forbes and to his father, B. C. Forbes.

The book is organized by topic, and the topics covered include ability, absurdity, accomplishments, achievements, acting, action, adversity, advertising, advice, aging, and 350 more. There's an author index at the back of the book. By contrast, most of the classical quotations books are organized by author, and each has a huge keyword index.

There's a lot of material here that you can use on your website, in your blog, in your newsletters, and in your help files. With 15,000 practical quotations on a wide variety of subjects, you can find on-topic wit and wisdom to supplement your documentation, and add a new dimension to your writing.

Too many writers overuse quotations, and this can become very annoying very quickly. But used in moderation, this material can spice up your writing. J. F. Carter said, "I believe in moderation in all things, including moderation."

In the last few years I've bought more than a dozen books of quotations. This is my favorite. It's huge. Because it's organized by topic, it's easy to browse. It doesn't contain the thousands of obscure, classical references that you find in many books of quotations. Its focus is business. And it's fun to read. I recommend it highly.

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