There are Best Sellers, and then there are Best Sellers

I’ve been feeling, and saying, that there is too much to know.  The more we discover, the more data we accumulate, the more we are supposed to master — the more we have to know.

This weekend, I discovered that Guy Kawasaki tweeted Bob’s blog post about his, Kawasaki’s, terrific book.  It was great to find out that Kawasaki tweeted about our blog on his Twitter account.  But now, I feel like I have to follow Twitter as well as what is on blogs, and in the magazines, and in the newspapers, and in….  It really is information-buffet overload.

And it is ever more sliced and diced, even in the best-seller lists.

Consider this:  in the current New York Times Hardcover Business Best Sellers list,  Gladwell’s Outliers is still number one.  (We presented Outliers at the January, 09 First Friday Book Synopsis, and here it is still number 1 eight months later.  Amazing!  But, it is that good.)  By the way, Gladwell’s The Tipping Point is number one on the NY Times Paperback Business Best Sellers list, and it came out originally in 2000.

So how does a new book, without a “superstar” like Malcolm Gladwell or a Thomas Friedman as author, ever break though?  One way is the way.  They have created all sorts of categories and sub-categories, so that we can find the best-selling books in ever-more narrow slices of interest.  Consider two upcoming selections for the First Friday Book Synopsis.    Here is their current ranking (as of this writing — it is updated every hour on Amazon):

For September:
Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay

#3 in

Books > Business & Investing > Women & Business

#10 in

Books > Nonfiction > Women’s Studies

#11 in

Books > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Gender Studies

And for August:
The Future Arrived Yesterday: The Rise of the Protean Corporation and What It Means for You by Michael Malone

#6 in


Neither of these are in the top 20 in the simple “Business” category.  (Yes, Outliers is #1 and 2; the Kindle version is #1, the Hardcover version is #2 – at the time of this writing).  Yet, these books are worth reading, have received good and encouraging reviews, and because of Amazon’s creative best-selling listing, they can legitimately be called best-sellers — in “narrower” lists of best sellers.

We try to select good, substantive books that have a chance of making it to best-seller status for the First Friday Book Synopsis.  These books fit – but partly because of the creativity found in the Amazon approach.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *