It’s been quite a challenge writing a review for Neal Schaffer’s book “Understanding, Leveraging & Maximizing LinkedIn”. If you read my earlier blog – you will know that I think Neal’s site is one of the best resources for people starting to use LinkedIn. I’d also been enthused by the preface and early chapters of the book. In my fledgling attempts at blogging, I’ve also been fortunate to exchange a few emails (and Neal’s been nice enough to take time to comment on my blog and give advice).

Anyway, the good news is that after reading the book I like Neal even more! He’s a real enthusiast for life and LinkedIn – and the book has consistent themes that I agree with such as “Pay it Forward”, “Trusted Networks of Advisors” and “Dig Your Well before You’re Thirsty”. Some books I end up skimming through – but this one I lingered on and enjoyed Neal’s personal presentation of each topic. It was fun learning about LinkedIn with him as the tutor. I certainly picked up ideas around Groups and Answers that I was not aware of – and got a real feel for LinkedIn’s corporate culture.

My one criticism (sorry Neal) – was the assumption that I was/wanted to be a “Windmill Networker”. I knew from Neal’s website that his company was Windmill Networking – but didn’t realise that he has such a strong desire for readers to be part of this “club”. Neal rightly impresses on the reader from the start of the book that you should consider carefully, clearly define (and stick to) your LinkedIn Objectives and Brand. I felt that the “Windmill Networker” emphasis detracted from my Objectives and Brand.

I feel bad about writing the above – as the few personal dealings, Neal’s blog and the enthusiasm that comes over in this self published book is infectious. So, I thought I would go out and buy another LinkedIn book/manual to compare. Enter “Sams Teach Yourself LinkedIn in 10 Minutes by Patrice-Anne Rutledge”….

This is a handy little book, clearly written and well illustrated. It’s a book you can easily flick through – and get a good set of instructions on anything you would practically want to do in LinkedIn. The author is obviously a skilled technical writer – as can be seen from her credits (e.g. The Truth about Profiting from Social Networking from Pearson/FT Press).

However, and I am VERY happy to say this, it wasn’t a patch on Neal’s book! The secret is that Neal writes as an enthusiast who discovered LinkedIn at a tricky time in his career (moving back to the US from Japan) – and learnt the system, worked the system … and selflessly shared/shares his knowledge with others. It is a “How to…” manual – but it’s also much more that that. It’s an impassioned, self-published work that helps “anyone” exploring the idea of developing their Personal Network through LinkedIn by showing IT CAN BE DONE – and helps them to do it! Go out and get yourself a copy….. (read more here)

Thank you, Neal – but do remember, some of us are of the Groucho Marx disposition … “I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member”!