The Value of a Good Book: Insights From Will Hunting

“See, the sad thing about a guy like you is in 50 years you’re gonna staht doin some thinkin on your own and you’re gonna come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life. One, don’t do that. And two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a f—-n education you coulda got for a dollah fifty in late charges at the public library.” ~ Will Hunting in Good Will Hunting (1997)

I think that Will Hunting made some interesting points in this scene in Good Will Hunting.

The first: Don’t be a jerk.

The second: There’s a lot of knowledge that can be gained if people just take the time to read the right books. And, thanks to public libraries, most of that knowledge is free.

Note: I think that if the movie script was written today, he might have said that the same education could be gained by doing a Google search, as there’s a lot of great information online that is available for free. But then again, you can access the Web at most public libraries, so the line in the movie still works.

Keep in mind, I don’t think that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were arguing that people shouldn’t go to college.

Part of what you pay for when you go to college is the experience of college life. This includes getting the chance to interact with your professors and other students. In the process, you are able to get their perspectives on what you are studying.

Furthermore, I can honestly say that I am very proud to have earned a degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. That’s something that you can’t get by reading books at a library.

That said, your education doesn’t end when you receive your diploma. Therefore, a library card and a thirst for knowledge can go a long way in helping you gain additional insights and keep up with the latest trends in your industry.

Books That I Have Read Recently

I tend to get most of my information from blogs and articles online. However, I also try to supplement that knowledge with insights from thought leaders in the business world by reading books. (My goal is to read 12 books this year, in addition to everything that I read online.)

Here’s a list of some of the books that I have read in the last few years, along with the reviews that I wrote on my Reading List by Amazon on LinkedIn, if applicable.

“Twitter Power” (affiliate link) by Joel Comm.

“The Leap: A Memoir of Love and Madness in the Internet Gold Rush” (affiliate link) by Tom Ashbrook.

“Think Outside the Inbox: The B2B Marketing Automation Guide” (affiliate link) by David Cummings and Adam Blitzer. “I would recommend this book to marketers, sales professionals, and entrepreneurs who are looking for ways to improve their marketing and sales efforts. Furthermore, I would highly recommend this book to you if your business is thinking about investing in a marketing automation solution.”

“Enterprise Marketing Management: The New Science of Marketing” (affiliate link) by Dave Sutton and Tom Klein. “I would recommend this book to all marketers, including C-suite professionals. This book was published in 2003, but I think the concepts that are talked about in this book are still very relevant today.”

“Marketing in the Age of Google: Your Online Strategy IS Your Business Strategy” (affiliate link) by Vanessa Fox. “I would recommend this book to all marketers, including C-suite professionals. I would also recommend this book to entrepreneurs and just about anyone else who has a product or service for sale. This book not only explains how search engines can have an effect on online sales, it also gives examples of how search engine optimization (SEO), when done properly, can increase offline sales. It is filled with useful information that people can use in their professional lives and in their everyday lives as consumers. This is a great book.”

“The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)” (affiliate link) by Seth Godin. “This is the first book that I have read that was written by Seth Godin. I would classify it as a motivational or self-help book, rather than a book about marketing. Overall, though, I thought it was a very interesting book and I would recommend it to anyone.”

“Confessions of an Advertising Man” (affiliate link) by David Ogilvy and Sir Alan Parker. “This book is a classic.”

“The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference” (affiliate link) by Malcolm Gladwell. “‘The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference’ by Malcolm Gladwell is a very well written book. It definitely makes you think. I look forward to reading his other books.”

“Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” (affiliate link) by Malcolm Gladwell. “‘Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking’ is another thought-provoking book by Malcolm Gladwell. I would definitely recommend it to anyone.”

“Gen BuY: How Tweens, Teens and Twenty-Somethings Are Revolutionizing Retail” (affiliate link) by Kit Yarrow and Jayne O’Donnell. “‘Gen BuY: How Tweens, Teens and Twenty-Somethings Are Revolutionizing Retail’ is a very informative book. I would definitely recommend it to any businessperson who has a product or service that is being sold to Gen-Y customers. I also recommend it to any person who wants to learn how companies are using technology to market to potential customers. Furthermore, the authors of the book list many cool websites and apps, making it a useful book for consumers of all ages (especially parents with Gen-Y children.)”

“Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online” (affiliate link) by Chris Brogan. “‘Social Media 101: Tactics and Tips to Develop Your Business Online’ by Chris Brogan is the perfect book for new bloggers. It is also a great book for businesses that are looking to add social media into their marketing mix.”

“Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion” (affiliate link) by Gary Vaynerchuk. “‘CRUSH IT! Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion’ by Gary Vaynerchuk is a great book. I would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t understand why they need to include social media in their marketing mix (or anyone else, for that matter.)”

“The Thank You Economy” (affiliate link) by Gary Vaynerchuk. “‘The Thank You Economy’ is another great book by Gary Vaynerchuk. I would recommend it to any businessperson. I particularly like the ping-pong analogy that he uses to explain the importance of combining social media with your traditional marketing efforts. This book is packed with great case studies that showcase successful and not-so-successful uses of social media in the business world.”

“The Big Red Fez: How To Make Any Web Site Better” (affiliate link) by Seth Godin “‘The Big Red Fez: How To Make Any Web Site Better’ by Seth Godin is a book that can be read very quickly, yet it has a lot of useful information in it.”

“Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping–Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond” (affiliate link) by Paco Underhill. “‘Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping–Updated and Revised for the Internet, the Global Consumer, and Beyond’ by Paco Underhill is one of the most informative and entertaining business books that I have read recently. Almost every other page has some insight that makes you think: “that’s interesting” or “that’s good to know.” I’d recommend this book to anyone.”

“The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics: A Math-Free Exploration of the Science that Made Our World” (affiliate link) by James Kakalios. “‘The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics: A Math-Free Exploration of the Science that Made Our World’ by James Kakalios is a very interesting read if you want to learn about the science behind some of products that we use in our everyday lives. I’m not a science guy, but I still thought it was a very good book.”

“Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust” (affiliate link) by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. “There’s not much that I can say that hasn’t already been said about this book. If you haven’t read it, I suggest that you add it to your reading list.”

“Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?” (affiliate link) by Seth Godin. “‘Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?’ by Seth Godin is a book that everyone should read. If you have ever doubted yourself or chose the easy road instead of following your dream, this book explains why. And, it challenges you to change that. Do yourself a favor and read this book.”

“Go Mobile: Location-Based Marketing, Apps, Mobile Optimized Ad Campaigns, 2D Codes and Other Mobile Strategies to Grow Your Business” (affiliate link) by Jeanne Hopkins and Jamie Turner. “I would recommend this book to marketers and entrepreneurs, particularly those who work for businesses that advertise online. (And, that should be almost every business.) As the authors of the book point out, “Your web-based marketing channel could very quickly transform into just mobile marketing.” This book explains some of the differences between PC-based online marketing and mobile marketing. In the process, it provides insights that can help give a business the edge over its competition.”

Final Thoughts

In “Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust,” Chris Brogan and Julien Smith write about how they read as much as they can online. As they point out, “It’s easier to read too much and forget the stuff that doesn’t matter than to wonder what you’re missing.” This quote can apply to books, as well.

Furthermore, even with all the knowledge that can be found online, there’s a lot of information that authors choose to share only in the books that they publish. Therefore, it pays to pick up a book and read.

So what are you waiting for?

Photo credit: kit.macallister on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Marketing analyst and strategist, content curator, applied sociologist, proud UW-Madison alumnus, and an Auburn-trained mobile marketer. My goal is to help businesses identify trends that will help them achieve their marketing objectives and business goals. I'm currently looking for my next career challenge. Please feel free to contact me anytime at: chadjthiele@gmail.com.

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