Brad Feld

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The New Polymath

Jul 09, 2010
Category Books

Tonight’s book is The New Polymath by Vinnie Mirchandani.  Actually, it’s the book I read the last two nights as it was too much to get down in one night.  I’ve been promising Vinnie that I’d read his book ever since he sent me the galleys a few months ago.  I tossed the PDF up on my Kindle which, when I got around to it, was unreadable because of the tiny font and the way the Kindle scaled the PDF to fit the page.  I promptly went on to another book and never read it.

Vinnie was patient with me and was willing to keep talking to me and provide some advice on a completely unrelated topic.  When the book came out I hopped on Amazon and plopped down whatever they charged me for the Kindle version.  And I’m glad I did, not just because I like Vinnie and his writing, but because it’s an excellent book.

For a feeling of the type of topics Vinnie covers, take a look at his blogs: Deal Architect and New Florence. New Renaissance.  Vinnie is all innovation, all the time.  Which I love.

The New Polymath was an excellent tour de force of innovation.  Vinnie served up example after example after example in an interesting and relevant framework that kept things moving, unlike a lot of business books where you hit page 79 and just stall.  In this case, whenever an example started to peak, it was time for the next one. Last night, I stopped and went to bed when I was about halfway through and considered letting the book sit for a few days but tonight when I finished dinner I sat down and finished it off.

The only chapter I found too long and uninteresting was the one on BP, but I couldn’t figure out if that was because of what’s currently going on with BP or if it was just too much by the time I got to it.  But, like a reference on someone where the inevitable “does the person have any weaknesses you are aware of” question arises, I get to point to the BP example and say “ok – that one wasn’t my favorite, but it was minor compared to all the great stuff in this book.”

It was kind of fun to see lots of friends and colleagues as examples.  This was an unexpected surprise as I hadn’t previewed the book in advance and had never talked to Vinnie about it.  Like any good polymath, Vinnie covered a lot of different ground.  While there was a tech / IT / Internet focus, there was plenty of cleantech, energy, bio, and broad business (non-tech) examples.  And there were a couple that were deliciously surprising and unexpected.

Vinnie gave me a copy of a book to give away to one of you, demonstrating his command of social media marketing.  I’ve decided to run a competition – the best haiku with the word “polymath” in gets the book.  Leave your haiku in the comments (make sure you use a valid email address so I can email you if you win.)  Show me what you’ve got.

Update: A few folks emailed me that they couldn’t find the Kindle Version of The New Polymath.  For some reason it’s not linked to the hardback edition.