’s James A. Martin reviews GetAbstract, an app that provides brief summaries of business books. GetAbstract’s website “provides downloadable summaries of more than 10,000 business books, TED Talks and other content, organized in 12 categories and with 50 new summaries added each month….You can download the apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, andBlackBerry devices. They are free, and you can use them to download up to six free summaries as part of a trial. After that, you need a subscription, which range from $89 a year to $999 a year.”

Mr. Martin’s only complaint is that many current best sellers are not offered.

Founded by longtime research analysts Laura Young and Michael Hill, Bizologie is an independent research consultancy serving venture capital firms, private equity firms, start-ups and established companies. On their website, they provide listings of free business research resources. They state, “One of our goals at Bizologie is to help you keep up with free resources for business research. Here are a few of our favorite sites, tools and tactics for doing business research on a shoestring budget.” The resource categories are: Favorite Tactics; Favorite Tools, such as Prezi, Aviary, and Bliss Control; Finance; General Business; International Statistics; Marketing, Advertisers, and Shoppers; Oil & Gas; Private Companies-Domestic; Private Companies-International; and Statistics & Government Data. There are also great blog posts including “How To Find a SWOT Analysis,” and “Using Investor Presentations for Energy and Gas.”

Open Culture posted this infographic on what causes the smell of old and new books from a chemistry perspective. The infographic is created by Andy Brunning, a chemistry teacher in the UK and posted, with a written explanation, on his excellent website, Compound Interest. Click on the image for a larger view.

Infographic courtesy of Open Culture and Compound Interest

Infographic courtesy of Open Culture and Compound Interest

Sam McNerney (250 Words) provides the list of nonfiction nominees for the National Book Award, which is given by The National Book Foundation. He notes that “there are only a few books on the list that would qualify as ‘business books’ but published the list for readers who ‘are intelligent business thinkers who are interested in smart non-fiction books in general.'” Here is the list:

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? A Memoir, by Roz Chast

The Heathen School: A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic, by John Demos

No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes, by Anand Gopal

The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, 1941-1942, by Nigel Hamilton

The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, by Walter Isaacson

Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, by John Lahr

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, by Evan Osnos

When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944, by Ronald C. Rosbottom

Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic, by Matthew Stewart

The Meaning of Human Existence, by Edward O. Wilson

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

It’s that time of year again to celebrate the freedom to read. According to the The American Library Association (ALA), Banned Books Week “highlights the value of free and open access to information.” ALA provides lists of books that have been challenged over the years.

Today is International Literacy Day! Kristin Shaw, Editor of Block Talk, presents an interesting infographic created by H&R Block. “In anticipation of International Literacy Day, we took a look at the important role libraries still play in our communities.” An interesting fact for business professionals: the top five nonfiction books checked out most often in 2013 from the New York Public Library included three business titles – Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg and Nell Scovell; Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson; and The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg.

“CheckingChecking Out America’s Libraries via H&R Block

Ryan Tate (Wired) writes about Caterina Fake, founder of the app Findery (and Flickr), who thinks short-lived content that is created quickly, like Snapchat, will be replaced with carefully written content. Findery allows “people to post substantive reflections about where they are—think: a few paragraphs or more—and it encourages them to read reflections posted by others. The idea is that you will show up in a particular place and read the ‘notes’ left by others.” There are other startups buying into the enduring content movement such as Medium, Atavist, and’s Automattic, all which allow content for more lengthy stories and articles. Findery users have ranged from Quito, Ecuador; Riga, Latvia; Paris, France; and various U.S. cities including San Francisco, Cincinnati, Seattle, Chicago, and New York.


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