New e-books and audiobooks on social media, a theory of everything and the art of memoir

How to turn the big social networks to your advantage, a Kindle Single that reads like a bad trip, and the changing nature of autobiography

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 October, 2015, 10:42pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 October, 2015, 10:42pm

Social Media
by Emily Goldstein
We Can’t Be Beat (e-book)

Readers are spoilt for choice when it comes to books on how to harness the power of social media. The trick is to find what’s right for you. This volume, by Emily Goldstein, targets people a level up from the newbie, those who need to make the most of networks to help them market their brands. Thus chapters focus on only the biggies: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Importantly, she advises, it’s preferable for people to build their presence on three to four networks rather than countless platforms, so post your content only where your audience hangs out. Readers will pick up tips  such as the best time to post photos on Instagram and that it’s counterproductive to use too many hashtags per photo (five to seven being optimum). Twitter users might be interested to find out how they can boost their influence (by being featured on Twitter Counter  and Twitaholic, for example). They can also schedule their tweets (use Hootsuite or similar) to ensure consistency. The advice may attract a passive income. At the least it will bring you into the 21st century.


A Grand Theory of Everything
by James McGirk
Amazon Digital Services (e-book)

Perhaps "strange chemicals", and large quantities of alcohol, have affected the way James McGirk thinks. For A Grand Theory of Everything is odd - deep but also shallow, and meaningless, unless you too have careened through life trying to make sense of stuff. That will include many, although few will have had his upbringing, living as a "princeling". As an Anglo-American teenager growing up in New Delhi with journalist parents, his was a third-culture existence, heightened by hard drugs, which he took to expand his mind and become a psychedelic astronaut. Then, everything was like an onion, wrapped around a core of nothingness. His theory of everything shifts when he encounters Colonel John Boyd, developer of the OODA loop, which stands for Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. The premise is that by acting faster than an opponent you will appear unpredictable to them and have the upper hand. Readers will wonder whether this Kindle Single was the result of a bad trip.


The Art of Memoir
by Mary Karr
Harper Audio (audiobook)

Memoirs may be a popular genre now, but this wasn't always so. For centuries, says Mary Karr, it was an outsider's art and the province of weirdos, film stars and politicians. Having studied the form for more than half a century, she came to love it because of its democratic aspect that opens it to anyone who's lived. But Karr, who narrates her own book, had qualms about writing an entire book about "the art of memoir". She needn't have. The book is entertaining, insightful and required reading for fans of the genre, writers and readers included. Notwithstanding authors who've lived dull lives, autobiographies, generally episodic, can grab the reader in different ways. Carnality, she says, counts for much because it allows readers to apprehend the situation through the five senses. A sense of place is also vital. Karr also addresses the slippery area of memory. Those considering baring it all should heed the advice about when not to: going back in one's mind should not be used as therapy, she says. Neither should the memoir be used for revenge.