Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Solomon Summaries

I'm excited to introduce you to Solomon Summaries, a new book summary service for Christian books provided by Heather and Chris Goodman. I met the Goodmans last September when I was in Dallas at the ACFW conference.

Solomon Summaries is like CliffsNotes for Christian books. They provide 8-10 page summaries to help you gain wisdom from some of the brightest Christian thinkers. And isn't that a clever idea!

Here's some exciting news--right now, everyone is eligible to receive a free subscription through Dec 1st by signing up for it on the Solomon Summaries website. You are eligible to receive a year’s subscription for $100 (regular price: $120, ~15% discount). Please reference my website and the blog tour in the "how did you hear about us" section. You will also be entered into a drawing for a stack of books with your paid subscription.

Want to know more? The Goodmans have responded to a few questions:

What inspired you to begin a business like this? Why did you want to start it?
I (Chris) found a growing chasm between the amount of books I want to absorb and the amount of time available to read them (not so much due to time shrinking, but because there are so many amazing books). In the business world, I had access to executive book summary services for years to glean the latest business wisdom and I dreamed of something similar for Christian books.

I (Heather) am passionate about all things books. I love the idea of raising awareness of what’s out there.

In a culture that has adopted “I’m busy” as a standard response to the question “how are you?”, there seems to be an interesting opportunity to engage people in bite size chunks with the key points from a book on Christian living. Hopefully, this will help readers triage which books they want to look at further. Also, we want to help lay leaders choose good materials and resources for Sunday school classes, small groups, mentoring relationships, and leadership training and help pastors stay in touch with what’s out there and what their congregations are reading.

As you have explained the idea to people, what has been the general reaction?
Reactions have been very positive thus far. For some, the concept is a bit new. But when they finally get it, they get very excited. For others, especially business men and women, they’ve seen the concept before and quickly value the opportunity to glean wisdom from many of the christian nonfiction books they’ve been wanting to read for years like Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Many people have heard of the book. Some have even bought it. But few have actually read it and can share the insight of Lewis with their friends or coworkers.

And pastors seem to appreciate the frustration of not being able to keep up with all the great books out there. Whether it’s for their own understanding or being able to answer questions people ask them about various books, they seem to value the ability to stay current with their limited time budget. Solomon Summaries can also help them decide which books to spend their valuable reading time on.

How do you choose the books that are reviewed?
We primarily choose books that are of interest to our audience–books they would like to know more about, books they are considering buying or books they’ve heard in a conversation and want to have an opinion about. We look at new releases, bestsellers, general Christian living books, and we have a poll on our website to find out what books our readers would like us to summarize.

How has it been working together as a husband-wife team?

It’s been a really great way of integrating our various skills and passions. Heather’s passion for reading and working with our team of summary writers to discuss truth balance Chris’ business, technical and missions interests. There are times of frustration to be sure, especially in the fast-paced, high cost start-up phase of a new ministry venture, but overwhelmingly we’ve found the experience to be very positive and something we can do together. It’s been a good lesson in learning to communicate better.

What is your vision for Solomon Summaries?
Well that is an interesting question. As future-thinking people, we have great interest in seeing Solomon Summaries become a platform for engagement and growth. Based on the initial reaction and how passionately people share the idea with their friends (and we’re hoping people will be very excited and share it with lots of friends), we are in discussion on a number of additional pieces of the puzzle (what Chris calls the blueprint) to offer value to book readers and small group book discussions. We’d also like to get the authors of the books more involved in the discussion. We’ll be paying close attention to subscribers and their interests and ultimately it will grow into what people want and need to help them in their lives.

I'm not the only blogger spreading the word about Solomon Summaries. If you're interested in what others are saying, here's where you can visit:
AKA Lewis Theodore
A Peek at My Bookshelf
Aspire 2 Blog
Bible Dude
Blame it on the Loud Mouth Gene
Gatorskunkz and Mudcats
Geaux 2 Girl
High Calling Blogs
In the Dailies
Leap of Faith
Michelle Pendergrass
Morning Cup of Coffee
One Glory
Portrait of a Writer . . . Interrupted

1 comment:

heather said...

Thanks for letting others know! Have fun with your blog break the rest of October.