Because I conduct the Cool Friend interviews at tompeters.com, a few publishers send me books in the mail occasionally. Books they think will appeal to us at tompeters.com. A while ago this book showed up, The Power of Full Engagement. I knew nothing about it or the author. (Apparently the book and its author had appeared on Oprah, thereby making it stratospherically popular. I somehow missed all that.) Not having been influenced by anyone to pay attention to the book (other than the marketer from the publishing house who had sent it my way), I tossed it out. (A lot of books come my way in the mail now. Too many to deal with all of them.)
Then, last week, Tom Peters did a talk for Targeted Learning Corporation that was broadcast from a studio in Watertown, MA. I went with Tom, and while I was sitting in the makeup/green room watching Tom on the TV monitor, in strolls a tall man in a pinstripe suit. Turns out it’s Tony Schwartz. He mentions his book mentions that he was on Oprah and I of course say, “We’ll have to make you a Cool Friend.” Of course.
Point? Well, had the book changed since I had last seen it on the pile of books in my office? No, obviously. But now I had met the guy. So now the book had merit. Just because I had met him? Yes. It at least had my attention. But if I had really trusted my own judgment, couldn’t I have made a decision about the book without having met the author? Meaning that if I didn’t think the book was worth being talked about, what difference would it make that I then met the author? But then this is how a lot of judgments are made: just based on meeting someone. Because that person is there and someone else isn’t. On the one hand it makes sense, on the other hand, it doesn’t say much for my power of judgment. Or is it that we just don’t have time to make a lot of these judgments? (I hadn’t in fact read any of the book the publisher had sent me.) Given all the options and possibilities and things to pay attention to, we count on the personal touch to help us figure out what to do. And maybe that’s not so bad.