Oh My Country!

One of the reasons I have a blog is that it allows me to write what often bogs or bugs me. All my life writing has been a therapy. I find that I am happiest when I get to write, and it can be in a journal or in a blog.

Getting home after a few days in Singapore can be a study of extreme contrasts. I have many friends in the island republic – most of them are Malaysians with a sprinkling of Singaporeans.

I don’t indulge in much retail therapy over there. Mostly I am there to meet friends and try to uncover hidden gems which could be food, people or places. In most cases, it is the company that matters, not so much the gastronomy.

Each time I land in Changi, I feel even more morose. Neil Humphreys, a Brit who wrote a series of books about Singapore, says that upon landing in Changi International Airport, if you fail to be impressed, you are either a liar or Helen Keller.

I am apt to agree.

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This Book Disturbed Me

I was reading this book just this week by a Singaporean writer.

It was just a random pick because I was getting bored by the other 2 books which I’ve yet to finish. And this book called out to me.

It has a green cover. Dark green.

Reading a book is like having a relationship. First impressions count. That’s called judging a book by its cover. If a cover looks good, it will be picked up. Then I browse. Next, I look at the table of contents. If it appeals, I jump right in.

It’s not shallow. It’s just how people in a ‘noisy’ information world process this overload of information. How we take short cuts to minimize time wastage.

I am not a discriminating reader – I read everything from fiction (except sci-fi) to non-fiction (business and management).

This book which I picked up was full of great information. It spoke about building a world-class business. The writer took examples from his own business and quoted other world greats like McDonalds, Apple, Microsoft.

Nic who had read the book earlier said while it was informative, it was skimming the surface. The information was just enough to get a would-be entrepreneur excited but then did not really give how-to or indepth techniques.

As Nic had critiqued the book, I wanted to find out if it were true. If you wanted to start a business and wanted someone to condense the most popular business books of the world into one single book, this book saves you time.

Of course, the writer tried to pack too much into one book. I appreciated that he tried to cover all manner of business in one go and make the book something of value to every reader.

What spoiled the book for me was his inattention to details. While I cannot fault him for grammar and typos (he is a business person, not an English major), I find it disturbing that his editor did not catch half the mistakes/typos in his book!

Before I read his book, I had a good impression of this person. He’s young and successful with a business spanning a few Asian countries. I like his no-nonsense writing style, direct and no waffling about. He has enough resources to hire a good editor to edit through and catch the silly mistakes.

But he apparently didn’t.

He overlooked the small details and that annoyed me. Imagine reading a paragraph and then seeing a capital letter in between for no reason whatsoever. Or reading till the end only to realize there’s a missing URL because the sentence is hanging. Let me not talk about kerning or spacing of the subheads – that will be going into the layout of the book.

Now I start to wonder if he really wrote it or used a ghost writer!

While I may be an extreme case of nitpicking, I think a good book is about both content and delivery. A shoddily edited book reflects (badly) on the writer. A shoddily written book meant the writer is not very careful with details.

In case you are wondering what the book is (now that I’ve piqued your interest), it’s one of Adam Khoo’s books.

I’ve a right mind to email him and tell him about these niggling mistakes! (But with Google, maybe he will be alerted that someone wrote a review of his book sooner or later.)

At least this will spare the next edition from aggravating other readers. Plus considering most of the people who gave positive reviews about the book are academics (and this is SINGAPORE!).

Do you think book authors have a responsibility to go through their books well with their editors and get their books properly proofread before they go to print? One or two errata is fine. But this is not one or two typos.

Oh well. That’s why this book disturbed me.

(Oh ya, I blogged about pizza at T-Jays and the chef sms-ed Nic to tell him he read that post. Never underestimate the world of technology! News spread fast.)