The Year Without Pants

I’m a huge fan of Scott Berkun’s Confessions of a Public Speaker. It’s the primary book I recommend for people doing presentations for the first time.

In Scott’s latest book, The Year Without Pants, Berkun trades his speaking, writing and consulting life for some time working at Automattic, the creators of blogging platform WordPress. I’ve done the consulting, industry, consulting dance and it’s both fun and scary to be responsible for what you recommend. Its even more fun in The Year Without Pants because WordPress is not a normal working environment. It a highly distributed, independently motivated environment.

Berkun does a fabulous job of relating what worked and where he made mistakes. The stories are relatable and funny. I felt like I was the silent extra member of Team Social. There is a great human/everyman quality to his writing. Berkun doesn’t try to force what worked at Microsoft on WordPress or what worked at WordPress on another company. He fits bits and pieces of what has worked other places into the unique WordPress culture.

I came away with a new appreciation for the effects of corporate culture and the  trade offs that culture decisions create. These were thing I knew, but Berkun manages to articulate them in a clear and approachable way.

The Year Without Pants is easily the best nonfiction book I’ve read all year and it’s better than most of the fiction. Just buy this book. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll take your pants off.

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