#FollowFriday: Authors Who Rock

Adobe Firefly-created image of Friday and social connections.

This is a weekly series that I’m hoping to help add some more relevance to the #FollowFriday (what’s this?) Twitter activity originally started through Lijit’s own Micah Baldwin to help connect Twitterers. 

This week will focus on the authors who have written some of the best books that I’ve read recently and are on Twitter. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many, if not all, of these authors in person face-to-face and have gotten something from their writings.

Shel Israel & Robert Scoble


When I was at the local Borders store one day, I wasn’t sure what book to get — just knew that I needed to get a book. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of options from me to choose from, but up until that point, I didn’t know how to choose. And that’s when I came across it: “Naked Conversations.”

It was probably my first real book that I bought from someone who I followed on Twitter but that I didn’t know much about the authors — just that they wrote this book and it was really well-received. So obviously when you get a lot of press and good reviews about a book, you just got to buy it, right?

I don’t regret it. If anything, it jumpstarted my drive to learn more about the social media and web space. You can read my review of the book here, but suffice it to say that I’ve finally met the great Shel Israel and Robert Scoble in real life and they are smart guys. I’ve kept my copy of “Naked Conversations” with me as a reference and you should too. It’s one that you want to reference close by.

Rohit Bhargava

I first heard about Rohit Bhargava while I was in Washington, DC and saw a livestream of an event hosted by Network Solution’s Shashi Bellamkonda at Bus Boys & Poets where they were talking about Rohit’s new book “Personality Not Included.” I didn’t have a chance to meet him then, but I did eventually buy his book and not soon after I moved to San Francisco, I was fortunate enough to find out that he would be traveling here on business as part of his book promotion and I went to his event. It was a bit more intimate than I imagined but still an awesome time nonetheless.

I have since met Rohit on numerous occasions including at South by Southwest and he always impresses me. His book “Personality Not Included” is a great book that talks about how you shouldn’t be so conservative or emotionless when dealing with your customers. Rather, you need to engage with them and show them that your brand has some passion and personality in it. YOU need to be the one who adds that into the brand…it doesn’t come as part and parcel. You can read my review of his book here.

Rohit Bhargava is a really smart guy who demonstrates what he preaches. I’m sure that the clients that he deals with while at Ogilvy are pretty impressed by the fact he can show them the right things to do from a digital marketing standpoint and generate results. His book is one that I have kept with me on my shelf and luckily I have also an autographed copy which I’m especially proud of.

If you’re planning on setting up a brand, it would be advisable to read this book first.

Tara Hunt

WordCamp SF - Tara Hunt

Isn’t Tara Hunt the queen of karaoke? Well, I give you that and much more. She’s also the author of one of the best social media books recently published “The Whuffie Factor.” I’ve heard Tara speak on Whuffie, which is social capital (or probably can be translated to social media street credibility) that you can use to leverage yourself or your brand, and I’m an instant fan all over again.

Her book is filled with examples and interesting insights and on top of that, it’s an easy read and makes absolute sense! Why would you engage in a social media campaign or strategy without even having people trust who you are? Tara’s book is a great resource for those who feel they want to strike at social media sites and become influencers.

Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff

One of the most complicated books that I’ve ever read and I’ve loved it! Charlene Li & Josh Bernoff are the authors of one of the most reference books that I know: “Groundswell.” It’s amazing how this book has become a cornerstone in how social media or any digital marketing efforts are started and how they will evolve. Why is it so good? Because it’s not all about thoughts and insights anymore.

While at Forrester, Charlene worked with Josh to create a book filled with market research data and introduced the POST method, which is also one of the best ideas that I’ve heard in a while. What is the POST method? Charlene explains it here, but basically, it’s a great idea on how to set up a social media strategy. Much more than an advice book, it offers a methodology and statistical resources that will help shape your marketing efforts. You can read my review of “Groundswell” here.

Guy Kawasaki

AllTop / Kirtsy Party - Guy Kawasaki

Everyone online probably knows Guy Kawasaki. He’s the guy who worked for Apple all those years but now is the creator of AllTop & author of one of “Reality Check.” I’ve had the fortune of actually meeting Guy Kawasaki but unfortunately have not been able to get his autograph for his book.

“Reality Check” is an interesting perspective on how business is from a startup, venture capitalist, lawyer, marketer, salesperson and user standpoint. It’s not one to harp over how to do better but rather a slap-in-the-face type mentality that will let you know what you need to be doing, not what you should be doing. You can read my review of “Reality Check” here.

Brian Solis & Deidre Breakenridge

I have probably never recommended a book as much as I have with “Putting The Public Back In Public Relations,” but there’s probably a reason why. It’s an outstanding book and the authors Brian Solis and Deidre Breakenridge have done a phenomenal job reaching out to non-public relations professionals. I’ve admitted that I’m not in PR and I don’t claim to have any insights.

At first, I thought that reading “Putting the Public Back In Public Relations” might be a big turn-off because it wasn’t about marketing, but having known one of the authors, I felt at ease knowing that I wasn’t going to be disappointed. I haven’t yet. I’ve enjoyed their writing about how to look at the promotion of your brand and product through new methods of PR.

Social media has become all about promotion and communication and to gain an effective grip on it, you need to understand how the system and culture work. Think about social media as another country with its unique culture. There’s so much more to it than simply jumping feet first. If you do that, you’re going to fail.

Brian Solis and Deidre Breakenridge offer you a blueprint and give you also some insight into how to reach out to bloggers, what metrics to look for to assess the ROI or success, and much more.

You can read my review of their book here.

Sarah Lacy


A slight confession is probably in order here. Several years ago I was at Borders and I was debating whether to get a book written by Sarah Lacy or buy “Groundswell.” I ultimately decided that I would like to read Sarah Lacy’s book first simply because it was a brand new book and was intrigued about what she had to say after her “debacle” during the 2009 South by Southwest interview with Mark Zuckerberg, which has now become ancient history.

Once I started reading her book Once Your Lucky, Twice Your Good, I found that I couldn’t put the book down. Sarah Lacy has given an interesting view on how the world of startups has become such a big thing and how hard it is for companies to achieve success twice, let alone once.

Like I said in my review of her book, Sarah Lacy doesn’t evangelize or Hollywoodize the Silicon Valley scene, she just tells it like it is. It’s not all glamour and glitz, but rather Sarah has given us a view that there are some serious people here who want to help solve a problem. I thought it was a great book and luckily had the chance to meet with Sarah Lacy at an event during her user-generated book tour in Washington, DC coinciding with the first annual Twin Tech event hosted by iStrategyLabs and Peter Corbett. Fortunately, I was able to chat with her and get her to autograph my copy and for that, I’m most appreciative.

Do you want to know more about #FollowFriday and who other people are recommending? Then check out this great site created by Micah Baldwin.

4 responses to “#FollowFriday: Authors Who Rock”

  1. Josh Bernoff Avatar

    Thanks for the plug. I like people who use the words “love” and “Groundwell” in the same sentence. Even if you did buy Sarah's book first.

  2. Ken Yeung Avatar

    @Josh – Appreciate your comments. Believe me, it was really a tough choice. I even went through Twitter to try and crowdsource my selection. However, I really did enjoy reading Groundswell…

  3. Josh Bernoff Avatar

    Thanks for the plug. I like people who use the words “love” and “Groundwell” in the same sentence. Even if you did buy Sarah's book first.

  4. Ken Yeung Avatar

    @Josh – Appreciate your comments. Believe me, it was really a tough choice. I even went through Twitter to try and crowdsource my selection. However, I really did enjoy reading Groundswell…

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