Review: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Growing Your Business With Google

Disclosure: Our new book is about networks, and the process of marketing a book has certainly emphasized for us how important networks are. Honestly, we have to admit that most of the reviewers of The Virtual Handshake book were people with whom either my coauthor Scott Allen or I had some sort of relationship. There’s such a deluge of new books every day that you have to have some connections to get covered by influencers. If you dont have the right media connections, then you artificially create them by hiring a public relations specialist.

Because relationships are made up of give-and-take, we have to admit that some of the people who have written reviews wouldn’t mind a positive review of their next book, some Google juice from a linkback, our acting as a source for a future news story, positive coverage, or some other form of compensation. There’s nothing wrong or improper about that; it’s just fundamental to human relationships…but of course, should be disclosed.

There are a few reviewers (e.g., Harvard Business School Working Knowledge; Kirkus) who reviewed the book simply because they think it’s worth reviewing. We haven’t done anything for them; we have no connections to the reviewers; and we’re not too likely to do any significant favors to HBS and Kirkus in the near future. (Although perhaps I should give a charitable donation to HBS…)

Learning about how books get reviewed has certainly raised my skepticism about all the reviews that I see! This also explains why you see very few negative book reviews any place outside of certain major media (e.g., the Wall Street Journal).

With all of that as introduction, Dave Taylor recently wrote a positive review of The Virtual Handshake, which we greatly appreciate. He also sent me a copy of his new book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Growing Your Business With Google .

Quite a few people have sent me books lately to read, but Dave’s is one of the few which I actually am writing about. So that should tell you that I actually believe in what I’m writing! However, Dave has very high search engine placement, so that also could bias my writing, insofar as I may be hoping for a linkback or other subsequent traffic enhancers from him. Although I strive to be neutral in my evaluation, I’m just as vulnerable as anyone else to the fact that Dave has done me the favor of some links to our site and a positive review.

Enough disclosures. I read Dave’s book and do strongly recommend it. In fact, I liked it so much that I promptly gave my copy away to some of my friends at, and I plan also get a copy to my mother, who runs Dancetime Publications.

First, I should mention the title is a misnomer. It’s really The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Growing Your Business With Search Engines. Of course, putting Google in the title spikes book sales, so I understand why Dave used that title, but 95% of the book is relevant to all issues around using search engine in your business.

This is an excellent, easy-to-understand overview of the basics of Internet presence, marketing, and advertising. He goes in depth into some issues that we skim only very briefly in our own book, e.g., maximizing search engine visibility and how to use Google adwords most effectively.

The book is well-organized and easy to follow, particularly because of Dave’s extensive use of callouts and other devices to make the content as bite size as possible. My strongest criticism is that the book is based primarily on Dave’s (extremely extensive) experience. I would have liked to have seen more analysis of other peoples’ revenues earned from following his counsel. Also, I think that the book is somewhat short on financial analysis: what is the ROI from following all of his advice?

With all that said: if you work with any sort of business that needs to be visible to the search engines, and are interested in monetizing your traffic, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Growing Your Business With Google is a very useful book.