The Rational Guide to Building Technical User Communities (Rational Guides) (Paperback)
by Greg Low
Short Review : A Great, one-of-its-kind book for everybody who is interested in building technical user community. There is no other book written on this subject but after this comprehensive book no further reading will be required.
Detailed Review :
This is for the first time in my book review, instead of talking about the book or author, I will introduce myself in a couple of lines to explain why and how this book is helpful to those interested in building community. I am a Microsoft MVP and the founder of SQLAuthority.com. I am actively involved with Technical User Group Community all over the world and have been helping many user groups to start, grow and continuously expand successfully. I am helping user groups in capacity of their mentor to overcome any obstacles they face while running the user group.
Author Greg Low is the most experienced person when it comes to community and people. He is a Microsoft Regional Director as well as mentor for Solid Quality Australia. For over a decade, he organized several Queensland User Groups. Greg is looked upon for guidance when User Groups are in need of the most appropriate advice. He is a very renowned person in technical community and does not need any further introduction.
This book focuses on the most important lessons learned by Greg over decades of involvement in technical communities. It provides practical advice on establishing, sustaining and growing these communities. This books is focused on helping user group leaders to deal with any potential pitfalls and contains workaround as well. The book is not limited to only user group leaders. In fact, this book is for everybody who is interested in community. If you are already a member of a community, this book is a perfect guide to help you get the most out of your membership.
The first chapter, which is appropriately named as – “People, Not Technology,” sets the pace and keeps up the concept live till the end of the book. In community, staying in focus is very important for people as everything revolves around it. No matter how knowledgeable or renowned a person is in the domain of technology, if he is not a people’s person, he cannot become an integral part of community and can never grow. For any technology to survive, support from people is required. Community provides combined power of people to lend strong support to community.Throughout the book, this key concept is cherished and explored.
Greg talks about two very important challenges for any technical community. 1) Finding Speaker and 2) Finding Operational Funds. If these two things are done appropriately the heart of any community, which is “Finding People,” comes to shape on its own. I run few User Groups and they are growing tremendously. Recently, we have been discussing about lots of legal issues. That was the prime reason why I chose to read this book. After reading this book through and through, I presented the valuable ideas from this book to my fellow leaders , and we all agreed on them right away. The rich experience that Greg shares with his readers can effectively solve their problems. Because of this book, we were no longer required to spend money on lawyer and instead we will now divert that fund toward our scholarship program.
Each chapter of this book is build to stand alone and it covers the subject with sufficient breadth. I really liked the real-life examples from Greg, where he talks about his friends, fellow MVPs, SQL Server Groups Leaders and other important people of community. As each chapter is written to have independent read, same topics have been covered twice. But what I liked about it is that same subject conveys different meaning when it is presented in a different consent. This particular aspect of the book, makes it a genuine must-read book.
One negative aspect of this book is that a very important checklist of the book is only given to those who will register online. If you have a friend who owns this book and has already registered online, you can ask that friend to pass this important stuff to you. One more thing, I would like to request Greg to include his latest learning from his experience as a Global Community Development of PASS, in the next version of his book. I am sure that more information about international technical user groups can be now included.
Rating : 5 Stars
Summary : A must-have book for everybody who is involved with technical community in any capacity. This is a unique book on this subject.
PS : I read this book while I was traveling from Kerala to Gujarat after attending a TechEd Event.
Reference : Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)