Book Review – The Book in a Box Method

A Review of The Book in a Box Method

Summarized in a few sentences…

You really want to write a book, you think you have something to share, but you’re not a writer and have no desire to actually write… (Well how the heck can you write a book then?) Using techniques that this team has tested and proven out – such as interviewing the “author”, creating audio recordings of the interviews, translating audio to text with software, and lastly using a very particular editing technique. This book gives you a new tactic for writing books by avoiding the hardest part of the traditional book creation process – starting to write a book from scratch.

A boring look at the numbers (if you’re into that kinda thing)…

How long did it take me to read this book?

I stopped and started this book three or four times. In the end it took me about 4 hours of an 8 hour flight to read and take notes on.

How many times have I read this book (at the time of writing this review)?

One time.

Possibly informative data about this book (pages, chapters, etc.)?

Pages = 128

Chapters = 7

That’s an average of 18 pages per chapter, short chapters overall.  Not surprising in such a short book.

If I gave this book a subjective rating, what would it be and why?

Rating = 3.0 / 5

Why? This book is easy to read, well designed and informative, but it is unlikely to change your thinking on any topic (that’s not the intention of the book either).

How this book impacted me…

Did I enjoy reading this book?

Overall I have to say no. This book bored me, it did not get me thinking in any new ways, there was nothing overall from the content of the book that I’m using. Having said that, I do believe this book does a great job at organizing how it presents its content. By that I mean, I’m going to steal the way it outlines and presents information in each chapter. If I was writing a “how to” article or some kind of informative reference material, the styling and breakdown of each chapter is beautifully done.

Did reading this book change my thinking? Introduce me to a new paradigm? Expand my mind in ways that excite me to learn more about a subject?

No, but that wasn’t the intention of the book. So take this with a grain of salt.

Would I take the time to read this book again?

No. I may flip through it again in the future to reference how they recommend creating book outlines and what kinds of questions they ask authors to get them thinking about the book they want to write. I will go back to steal small and specific thoughts. But these thoughts are not unique to just this book.

Has reading this book inspired any new questions, curiosities, or hypothesis about the world, people, or the subjects presented in the pages?

No. It did, in a fashion, confirm a few things I’ve been considering. For example, instead of editing a brain-dump of writing, open two documents next to one another. Write your edits from scratch and leave the original untouched. That way you can always reference what you originally wrote while bringing to the front of your mind what you’ve newly written.

What are your favorite quotes from this book?

In answer to the question “why do books even exist?” 

“A book, especially a non-fiction book, exists for this reason: to take a singular, contained set of wisdom or ideas out of the head of the author and share it with readers. Plainly put, a book is a medium of transfer for wisdom or ideas. That is the purpose it serves.”

Describing what wisdom is, plus an example from Richard Feynman…

“Wisdom is not the same thing as information. Wisdom is information + experience + context, and only a human can do that. Wisdom is information you can actually use.” … “The name of a thing is not the thing. Feynman’s dad taught him the name of a bird they saw (brown-throated thrush) in every language he knew. That’s just information. The wisdom came when he pointed out that you could know every name of that bird in every language but still know nothing about the bird itself. Information is knowing the name of the bird, but wisdom is knowing the bird.”

Describing why having someone else interview you is so helpful…

“Even the most long-winded among us are prone to mental shortcuts in our speech. We assume far too much knowledge on the part of the reader, and we oftentimes forget basics because we’ve been doing something for so long. Having someone else interview you forces you to elaborate and explicate, and makes you calm down and talk more casually, which leads to a better book.”

This is a point made about having people edit your book that carries over to almost every area of life…

“Very few people are good enough at writing or editing to actually know how to do it well. They may know that your book isn’t working for them in some way, and that critique should be listened to. But their ideas for solutions are probably bad, because they have no experience actually solving writing problems.”

Does this book make it on my “1 Year of Excellent Reading” list?

No. This book is a great reference for a very specific audience (people looking to write a book) and looking to solve a very specific problem (not wanting to write a book starting from scratch and hoping to avoid as much of the writing as possible).

What are my thoughts for you?

Do I think you should read this book?

If you fit the description above, yes. If you’re a writer who likes writing, no. If you’re any other kind of reader, I would still say no. Again, this book is for a very specific audience.

Do I recommend reading something else before reading this book?

No. If you are interested in reading this book you can pick it up and go to town immediately. Nothing else needs to be read to help prepare you for what will be covered.

Are there other books that cover similar topics better than this book?

I’m going to say no, but the real answer is “maybe, but I’m not sure”. This book is so specific, there are definitely no other books I’ve read that cover this exact topic. If you’re looking for books to learn writing from, there are a multitude of books available that focus on the topic of writing. I have a long list that I want to read myself, but until I finish or review those books I’m not going to include them here as a recommendation or replacement for this book.

Do you have any questions for me?

I’m always interested in improving the information I provide my readers. The goal of these book reviews is to, hopefully, help you decide if a book is worth your time by answering questions many people have when considering devoting time to a book. Your most precious asset is time. Feeling as if you’ve wasted your time is a thing we can all better learn to avoid. The more feedback you give me, the better I can answer the questions you wish you had answers to before picking up your next book.

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