Friday, April 01, 2005

Available this Weekend:
Management by Baseball - A Pocket Reader  

I took delivery yesterday of the first printing of my book, Management by Baseball - A Pocket Reader, published by Occam & Dihigo. Later today, it'll be Right now it's available for $12.95 through a link on the left side of this page.

ASIDE: There's no flavor of exhilaration that tastes quite the same as that of a complex 15-week project that comes in right on target (in this case, beats it by a weekend). That project-on-target sense is closely akin to the one we 7th graders had when we'd bottle close to pure oxygen in chemistry class and then breathe out of the bottles later. Of course, that was the San Fernando Valley, Smogopolis Central, where oxygen was in reduced supply and garnished with all methods of man-made petroleum extras. In the same way, when you've been working off other people's schedules for a long time and they're not good project stewards and they consistently miss targets or redefine the specs to accomodate the missed dates (Project Smogopolis Central), hitting a target so closely and with all key deliverables to spec (or better) is like a hit of almost-pure oxygen. You managers who both run projects yourself and comply with those managed by others know exactly what I'm talking about.

I want you to know what's in the book. Some of the 138 pages of content is original, written specifically for this book. A little of it comes from Management by Baseball, a sphagnum opus on which I've been toiling since the Arizona Frelling Diamondbacks were reigning World Champs. MOST of it comes from this weblog's essays from the inception though this January. Of the content from the weblog, some of it I tweaked, some I reconstituted, some I left virtually untouched.

So if you've read all the content on this weblog and you are as comfortable reading off the screen as you are out of a book, you may not get a lot of additional enjoyment out of the book. Someone else who doesn't marinate in the blogosphere will get more out of it.

Either way, in you'll find the Pocket Reader is an easy read with the same pungent language & applicable management lessons you've come to find here, packaged in a convenient form-factor to take to your front porch or bathroom for a quick five minute jolt of management and baseball. It's not the fully-featured management system and complete tool-kit; that's for next season.

If you want a copy, you can get it in one of three ways:

  • On-line through this site using credit card (see link at left),
  • Mail order w/check or money order (same link at left)
  • Through an independent bookseller. I'll try to maintain a list of stores that have it in stock. Right now, it's already in stock at both Second Story Books and Elliott Bay Books, both in Seattle. If you want to place an order through your local independent bookseller, Occam & Dihigo can fulfill their order. But tell them it's not available through their jobbers, only direct from the publisher.

For the forseeable future, the book won't be moving through some of the channels people have come to expect, such as Amazon, Wal*Mart or the big national or multi-national chains. I've based this decision on a few things.

  • First, I love experiments, and I believe this is a viable model (putting a book into independent booksellers' hands without them having to compete with elephantine, inefficient mega-stores) -- but I'll never know until I test it.
  • Second, I've managed a couple of independent booksellers. The privately-owned, locally-run bookstore is a threatened institution that is one of the foundations of democracy and entrepreneurship, two things I value highly. Occam & Dihigo attached a price low enough that the steep discounting model chains use is unneccesary for readers to get their value out of the book.
  • Third, the business models of the chains are all, to varying degrees parasitical, predatory on entrepreneurial publishers and authors. Basically, they're anti-capitalist. At this time, we're choosing not to make them more successful in that in however small a way we would if we drank their kool-aid.

If you get the book, you'll find I heavily footnoted it. The footnotes aren't in the book, they're here on-line, or will be in a few days.

┬┐Why online instead of in the book?

Many of the footnotes are links (better on-line than on paper). Plus publishers hate footnotes; they're hard to lay out, hard to manage and update, use up lots of pages. And as new references come out, I can update on-line footnotes in close to real time. The publisher gets a lower logistical burden (which they usually get by simply killing the footnotes), the reader gets dynamic footnotes, and I get to run an experiment in new media.

It's an experiment. It might work, it might fail, but we'll find out. Let me know how it worked or didn't for you (that is, don't tell me whether you liked or hated the idea in concept; I've already heard from the book-loving, computer-hating The Dixie Peach what a sucko concept it is....this flies or dies based on its applied torque, not conceptually).

Right now, the oxygen is running high around here. The season opens next week, I beat my aggressive schedule and the product is better than my spec for it.

Let's play ball.

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