Can an Audiobook Teach Me the Art of Enchantment?
Posted on March 13, 2013
Before daylight savings time hit, I was struggling to read during many of my carpool rides due to lack of daylight on the commute (it’s now smooth sailing all the way home). I decided to give an audiobook a try. My husband has subscribed to Audible using an introductory deal, so we have a subscription that allows us to download one book per month (any price) for $8/month. Not a bad deal. My choice was Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki.
The book was good, although not earth shattering for someone that’s been paying attention to influence, branding, marketing, and social media for the last few years. I’ll share some useful notes in a bit, but what I’d really like to talk about was how I experienced the audiobook—this is the first time I’ve ever listened to one.
My Thoughts on the Audiobook Format
First, the positives. I appreciated knowing exactly how long it would take me to listen to each chapter. I was able to listen during my lunch hour or commute without ever having to stop in the middle of a chapter. You just never know how long a chapter is going to take in a paper-bound book, and e-reader estimates aren’t always accurate. I also enjoyed the note taking/bookmarking feature. Check it out:
Whenever you hear a passage you might want to refer to later (or would highlight in an old-school book), simply click the bookmark button in the Audible app. It pauses the audio, adds a bookmark, and gives you the chance to add a note. I used this to write down my reactions to a passage or jot down a specific quote I wanted to remember. Here’s an example:
When I return to my bookmark, I can play the book from that point, share it via email, Facebook, or Twitter, or get rid of it. This makes me feel like I can keep the book on my shelf and page through it to refresh my memory, even if it only exists in digital form.
So, what didn’t I like? For one, I find the audiobook format challenging. If I have my smart phone out, I have a tendency to browse Facebook or Twitter and respond to any notifications that come in. As soon as I start to do this, I stop focusing on the audiobook and miss entire sections. The same thing would happen while staring out the window thinking about how beautiful the snow and ice looked on the trees. Although I often get distracted reading paper-bound books, I can easily look down and find my place—I rarely actually progress through the book without paying attention. With an audiobook, I rewind in 30 second increments hoping to find a spot that makes sense but isn’t too repetitive.
Additionally, I find it a little odd to hear multiple voices in a book. In the Enchantment audiobook, Guy Kawaski introduces each chapter, and then the rest is read by a professional male audiobook voice. At the end of each chapter there are anecdotes, and if they’re from a female they’re read in yet another voice. Although I’d prefer to hear the author reading me the book (I’ve heard Guy speak before and know he has excellent delivery), if that’s not possible I’d like to hear a consistent voice all throughout the book.
Will I use the audio book format again? Yes, but only for liesure reading. If I need to read a book for school or pull concrete concepts out for a professional project, I’ll probably stick with the paper (or Kindle) copy.
Takeaways From Enchantment
- Guy’s definition of enchantment: “the process of delighting people with a product, service, organization or idea. The outcome of enchantment is voluntary and long-lasting support that is mutually beneficial.”
- Guy talks a lot about a “cause” when what he really means is a product. If you’re looking to make people fall in love with a cause, I think you’ll still get something out of this book, but I believe he’s speaking mainly to the creators of products and services.
- At the end of the Why Enchantment chapter, Guy does an excellent job critiquing scientific research. He discusses statistically significant differences (which are enough for scientific publication) and effect sizes (which matter much more in the real world). He’s trying to teach the reader not to trust the “proof” that some people offer based on scientific research. He also encourages the reader to consider how much the sample in any given study represents the population to which the study is being generalized. This was a little nugget I did not expect to find in this book, and the doctoral student in my appreciated it.
- How To Achieve Likeability has a lot of easy-to use tips to make yourself likeable, because “jerks are seldome enchanting.”
- Smile, dress appropriately, learn the right handshake, and monitor your vocabulary (it’s ok to swear a little).
- Use the active voice and keep the message short.
- Don’t dismiss people you don’t immediately like. You probably have a lot in common with them.
- Proximity determines whether or not you connect with someone. Get up (or travel) and be near the people you want to meet.
- Projecting your values on others may result in the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Tell the world about your passions. Pursuing your passions makes you more interesting.
- You never know what may come out of a relationship with someone you don’t like. Default to yes whenever possible…or at least not yet.
- How to Prepare included Guy’s guidelines for brevity in all types of communication:
- Email: 5 paragraphs
- Video: 60 seconds
- Powerpoint & Keynote: 10 slides
- Business Plans: 20 pages
At this point I think I fell victim to spacing out….or I just didn’t get much out of chapters 5-7 (which are actually chapter 6-8 in the audio book). The next chapter that resonated with me was called How To Use Push Technology. No surprise, since I’m a communicator.
- Limit the amount of promotion you do on social media. You should be engaging with your community/followers, but you should not do that at the expense of promoting your cause. Guy says that if no more than 5% of your messages are promotional, you’re doing OK. If no one complains, you’re probably not promoting enough. He says, “the more value you provide, the more you can promote your cause.”
- How to give a great slide presentation: 10/20/30. Deliver a 10-slide presentation in 20 minutes with no less than 30 point font. Guy says that the longer you need to pitch your cause, the less important it is.
- Speak a lot. Repetition improves rhetorician. Guy advocates giving the same presentation multiple times (to different audiences, perhaps with customized pieces) to continually improve your delivery.
- If you want someone to blog about your product, help you, or do anything for you, and you don’t know them, Guy recommends the following email structure: 1) Why you’re contacting this person, 2) Who you are, 3) What your cause/product is, 4) What you want, 5) Why the person should help you, and 6) What the next step is. Guy says this should only take six sentences.
This book was inspiring to me, but not in an earth-shattering way. More than anything, I think it affirmed that I’m on the right path with the work I’m doing, and challenged me to think differently and more intentionally about my side hustle (pretty much every book makes me think that, but more on that some other day).
Have you read Enchantment? What did you think? Are you an audiobook consumer? What do you feel are the pros/cons of the format? Please share your thoughts in the comments.