Helen DeWitt links to an interview with Seth Godin, who makes some commonplace but useful observations on jobs and careers. It’s fine, but whenever I read this sort of thing, I get annoyed by the super-aggressive writing style. These internet guys–Seth Godin, Clay Shirky, Philip Greenspun, Jeff Jarvis, and so on–are always getting in your face, telling you how everything you thought was true was wrong. Some of the things these guys say are just silly (for example, Godin’s implication that Bob Dylan is more of a success than the Monkees because Dylan sells more tickets), other times they have interesting insights, but reading any of them for awhile just sets me on edge. I can’t take being shouted at, and I get a little tired of hearing over and over again that various people, industries, etc., are dinosaurs.
Where does this aggressive style come from? My guess is that it’s coming from the vast supply of “business books” out there. These are books that are supposed to grab you by the lapel and never let go.
I’m certainly not trying to tell Seth Godin and the others to change–a lot of people (for example, Helen DeWitt!) seem to like their style, and it seems to work for them. I just wanted to comment on this because I suddenly realized I was seeing this in-your-face, change-or-die style all over the place and it was getting annoying.
Perhaps I’ll write a blog entry in this style at some point, just to see how it comes out.
P.S. I went to the library the other day and saw their shelves and shelves of business books. Scary stuff.