Read Books Not Blogs…

IMG_0949…he says on his blog. Obviously I’m tongue-in-cheek here, but my new book was just released yesterday and I want you to read it. I’ll tell you about it at the end of the post, so that, if you object to self-promotion, you can skip it. In between here and there, I’d like to talk about reading and learning in general.

People don’t seem to be reading much anymore. Books have been hit hard. Polls suggest that as much as 25% of American adults don’t read a single book a year, and it’s about 40% for nonfiction books. Reading newspapers is on its way down too. As a people, we seem to prefer our information to be delivered fast and in short snippets, “sound bites” as it were.

What reading we do has largely moved to the internet. Blogs like this one are common ways people get information. I like wide variety of blogs myself, but long blog posts are rare. A length of 600 – 800 words is often suggested as optimal by blogging “experts” and many posts are much shorter. You simply can’t put a large amount of information into that space. Just a few thoughts will have to do.

“Social media” is even worse in that regard. Although some posts are meant for more than just entertainment, they still may be limited to a single paragraph. Sometimes the posts are just a quote or saying, or perhaps even a picture of a quote.  Now, blogs, paragraphs and quotes can be helpful, but they’re no substitute for a well-crafted nonfiction book. The main issue is that these “sound bites” come detached from any larger context. Maybe the idea itself is good, but sooner or later we must develop or integrate isolated ideas into a larger coherent philosophy

Health is a good example. I subscribe to many services summarizing headlines in health and healthcare from across the media channels. So I see many “findings” and opinions on this or that type of exercise, or this or that particular food. First I may read that consuming dairy products is associated with less diabetes. Great! Then I see a study that suggests dairy may be associated with more breast and prostate cancers. Uh-oh. But at least dairy is good for my bones, right? Well, maybe not.

This “one-issue-at-a-time” advice confuses many people. Frankly, it confuses me, and I’m supposed to be a wellness expert. My larger questions are, what general approach should I take to healthy eating?  And then, where does dairy fit in that scheme? More isolated facts aren’t helping.  I need an integrated solution. So do you.

That’s where books come in. A good nonfiction book represents a prolonged exploration of an idea, or multiple ideas, and should be written to produce a coherent and integrated whole. The author is tasked with making the ideas flow and fit together into a unified message; the material in Chapter 8 shouldn’t be contradicting that in Chapter 2. By design, books cover a wider territory; they’re intended to to provide you with solutions rather than just more data points.

For example, at the end of a book on health, you should understand the author’s general philosophy of health. After you’ve agreed with the author, or developed your own philosophy, you will then be prepared to deal with the “sound bites” of information coming at you – either rejecting them as not consistent with your system, or accepting them and fitting them in to your global approach. (BTW, if you do develop your own philosophy on anything, you should think about writing a book. Why not?)

That’s why you should read books.

So you may ask, why am I writing a blog? Several reasons. One is simply that people like blogs, and I like to write. It’s a good outlet for my creative urges and I find it to be a stress reliever. Another is that producing a book takes a long time, and you don’t get much feedback along the way. Right now, I’m not willing to do that again.

Actually, though, I do want to write at least one more book, a book outlining an integrated philosophy of spiritual, emotional and physical health based on following Jesus. This blog is a start in that direction.  A blog works for now because I haven’t yet figured out all of the concepts, and because I don’t want to commit to the bigger project. Here I can write a little at a time, refine my ideas, and test them on willing readers. (That would be you!) If you want to help me write the next book, please share a comment (positive or negative – all feedback is welcome), suggest topics, and also share the blog with others who may find it interesting.




Now about the new book…Unknown

The new book is, The Love Fight: How Achievers & Connectors Can Build a Marriage that Lasts.

I’ve been interested in spiritual and emotional health since writing my first book, More Health, Less Care, which is mainly oriented towards physical health, and I was fortunate enough to meet Dr. Tony Ferretti, a prominent Melbourne psychologist, in early 2009. Tony’s reflections on his experience in counseling physicians and other high-achieving professionals with relationship difficulties resonated deeply with my own personal experiences and conclusions. After six months of conversation, we decided to collaborate on a book based on his insights.

Peter and Tony_7202 2In The Love Fight, Tony and I explain how worldly successful individuals can fail at home in their intimate relationships, often from a mismatch of priorities and styles between the success-oriented “Achievers” and their relationship-oriented “Connector” spouses.  We think this Achiever orientation is pretty common among physicians, attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs and can explain a lot of the relationship problems these individuals may experience. Basically our premise is that the same personality factors that drive success in business can drive a wedge between spouses.

Naturally, we’ve tried to craft the best book possible, a book that can help couples, but getting noticed can be very hard.  If you are willing, please help us spread the word.  Here are two simple ways to help us promote The Love Fight:

  1. Write a review for

Or for your blog or, or, or another web site.  Writing a review is easy; you can do it! If you’re at a loss to know exactly what to do, see this excellent article on how to write a review.

  1. Tell your friends about The Love Fight

Word-of-mouth is still the best advertising. Nothing beats the recommendation of a friend. But in today’s digital world we “talk” to our friends and family in many different ways. Please tell your friends about The Love Fight in whatever way suits you best: face-to-face, on the phone, by email or text message, or on social media – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.

Thank you for your help. I appreciate you.