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What Are You Reading Right Now?

April 20th, 2011 by Bob Bly

I’ve gotten in the bad habit lately of reading too many books at the same time.

Right now I am reading:

1. Snap Selling by Jill Konrath (highly recommended for anyone who sells anything).

2. The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon.

3. The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene.

… plus a few assorted paperback novels.

What are you reading now? Would you recommend it to the rest of us?


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30 responses about “What Are You Reading Right Now?”

  1. Ryan McGrath said:

    I’ve ALWAYS read more than one book at once. At least one fiction paired with one nonfiction…more common for me to read multiple nonfiction books at once.

    Is this really a BAD habit?

    Here are my current reads:

    – The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield
    – No: The Only Negotiating System You Need by Jim Camp
    – Storm Front by Jim Butcher
    – Watching Baseball Smarter by Zack Hample
    – The Copywriting Grab Bag by Ben Settle

  2. Joanne Wallace said:

    Me too – always reading many books at once. Right now:

    – Drive, Daniel Pink
    – The Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need, Ellen Karsh and Arlen Sue Fox
    – The Forgotten Garden, Kate Morton
    – A Study in Scarlet, Sir Arthur Connan Doyle

  3. Bob Bly said:

    Ryan, Joanne: Like you, when I add in the paperbacks, I’m also reading half a dozen fiction and nonfiction books or so on diverse subjects. I don’t think it’s really a bad habit, but it has some drawbacks. For instance, by the time you get back to book #1, you may have forgotten some of it and have to reread a bunch of pages to refresh your memory. Or at least I do at times.

  4. Spencer Fleury said:

    The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is a great book. Chabon is one of the best.

    Right now I’m reading “Who’s Your City?” by Richard Florida, “The Mapmakers” by John Noble Wilford, and “The Passionate State of Mind” by Eric Hoffer.

    I almost never read fiction anymore, but when I do I am usually pleasantly surprised by it.

  5. Darren said:

    At times, I had several books I was trying to read at once. But I never got around to finishing them. So I try to stick to one at a time.

    Now I’m reading Ready, Fire, Aim by Michael Masterson.

    Do you guys read fiction purely for entertainment? Or do you learn something useful that you can apply in your work/personal life?

  6. Bob Bly said:

    I read it for entertainment and escape but I also think reading fiction makes you a better writer, even if you write nonfiction or copy, because you learn to tell stories.

  7. William Reynolds said:

    I am reading:

    -The Conquering Family by Thomas B. Costain

    -The Great Planet Robbery by Craig DiLouie

    -Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller

  8. Ryan McGrath said:

    If you are looking for a fun novel – with entertainment value AND useful information for your business/personal life…

    I’d recommend Richard Armstrong’s novel, God Doesn’t Shoot Craps.

    Richard Armstrong is a great direct response copywriter, and a big part of the plot about God Doesn’t Shoot Craps is about direct mail. The protagonist is a copywriter.

    According to an interview I did with Richard, Hollywood has looked at the novel for a possible screenplay…

  9. Brian Croner said:

    I thought I was the only one with that bad habit. It’s good to know I’m among good company. Let’s see…. New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott. So far, I’m half way through it and haven’t learned a thing.

    No BS Direct Marketing by Dan Kennedy… very good book.

    And How to Create Irresistible Offers by some hack named Robert W. Bly…(Just got started on it).

    Other than reading a few magazines like Popular Science and Popular Mechanics, plus a few hobby magazines like QST (Ham Radio) and Fly Fisherman, I keep most of my reading centered around my profession.

  10. Melzetta '"Mele" Williams said:

    I’m reading a biography about author Dean Koontz. This man treated his fiction writing career like a real business. Great read!

  11. Ryan McGrath said:


    What are your thoughts on the Kindle? Do you own one, and if so, what do you think of it?

    Just curious, as I’m a huge bibliophile…yet I am completely converted to getting all future books on my Kindle.

  12. Bob Bly said:

    I don’t own a Kindle and have no plans to buy one, as I prefer traditional print books.

  13. Brian Croner said:

    I’m for keeping the paper mills open and keeping jobs for our economy! VIVA BOOKS AND DIRECT MAIL!

  14. Steven Keely said:

    Bob, I too suffer from Picard’s Syndrome.

  15. Kristy said:

    Today,I started reading your book “Getting Started as a Freelance Writer”….but that made me think way too much about how much I dislike my day job, and what I was “doing right or wrong” in my pursuit of becoming a freelancer.

    I put your book down and started reading Paulo Cohelo’s “Eleven Minutes”. However, now I’m thinking this is valuable time that could have been spent writing. (Your book is I should probably get offline now and go back to reading or writing. 😉

  16. John W. Furst said:

    Hi Bob,

    Good call. I am re-reading for the n-th time “The Ultimate Sales Machine” by Chet Holmes. And downloaded the free Kindle version of “Do The Work” by Steven Pressfield for future “use.”

    I don’t have a Kindle either and use the PC version of the reader. I agree that printed books are different — much better to handle and more personal.

    John 🙂

  17. Stella said:

    Am reading “Direct marketing: strategy, planning, execution” by Edward L. Nash

    Ed Nash knows his stuff! He has proven himself the undisputed king of direct marketing.

  18. Lou Wasser said:

    I’m reading The Eichmann Trial by Deborah E. Lipstadt. This is a marvelous account of the effect Israel’s kidnapping, 1961 trial and subsequent hanging of the infamous Nazi, Adolf Eichmann had on world opinion. Israel was ten years old at the time, and deemed an arrogant upstart of a country by the international community (including, by the way, many in the United States)for daring to seek vengeance and justice on behalf of Jews slaughtered in the Holocaust.

    I’m also reading Infinite Jest by the brilliant novelist David Foster Wallace who sadly took his own life three years ago.

  19. Michael Searles said:

    Reading more than one book at a time is for obsessive, compulsive fools!

    Um, the three I’m into right now are . . .

    1/ Winning Arguments by Jay Heinrichs — enjoyable read about rhetoric journalism

    2/ Scoop by Evelyn Waugh — satire of Fleet Street and its hectic pursuit of hot news

    3/ How to Write & Sell Simple Information For Fun And Profit — by some bloke who reckons he knows something about writing for a living

  20. Scott Martin said:

    Your blog…but seriously, I’m reading Inbound Marketing. I think it’s OK for the totally nascent and I’ve learned a couple of things but the book is otherwise mediocre and poorly written.

  21. Mel Bayo said:


    This is me to a T. 1)Management by Peter Drucker 2) Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes 3) Sales Integration by Dennis Galbraith.

    Waiting for Amazon to get The Copywriter’s Handbook to me…that’ll make it 4!

  22. Customized Fat Loss said:

    Try reading three different books with totally different topics:
    Le Petit Prince
    Prentice Hall Integral Calculus
    The Historian

  23. Dan Singleton said:

    The rise of Theodore Roosevelt.

  24. Bodybuilding Diets said:

    The Creativity Book by Eric Maisel. Read it, I’m sure you’ll find it helpful because you’re also a writer. 🙂

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