SmarterComics: Your Favorite Business Books -- in Pictures!

Last Updated Apr 19, 2011 4:46 PM EDT


Admit it: You always meant to read Chris Anderson's seminal work, "The Long Tail." Maybe you even got it as far as your bookshelf. But, like most business books, it felt like work to slog through. If only you could get the Cliff's Notes or something, a distillation of the important points in a short, easy-to-read booklet.

Or even a comic book. That's exactly what you get from SmarterComics: business books adapted into concise, accessible graphic novels. It's an ingenious idea, but does it really fly?

Publisher Round Table Companies has 10 well-known titles available now or coming soon, including "How to Master the Art of Selling," "Overachievement," and "The 80/20 Principle." All of them are available in print and e-book formats (for Android, iPhone, iPad, and the Web).


I perused five print samples and came away impressed with all of them. They're beautifully, professionally illustrated, with text that's smartly adapted (and abbreviated, natch) to fit the confines of the comic-book form.

However, I think some titles lend themselves to comic conversion better than others. For example, I thought "The Long Tail" still felt a little dry, if only because it lacks any kind of cohesive narrative. But "Mi Barrio," which is based on the book, "From the Barrio to the Board Room," was impossible to put down; it's as compelling as any Superman comic.

I also found myself sucked into "Overachievement" and "Shut Up, Stop Whining, & Get a Life" (though the latter isn't technically a business book). The illustrated panels brought the words to life in a way that plain old print just can't.

Want to check out one of the books for yourself? "The Art of War" is available free of charge in five electronic formats (including Android and iPhone). And several of the books can be viewed online for free as well.

One thing I can definitely say: my sample books left me wanting more. I'd love to see something like "The 4-Hour Workweek" get the comic treatment; same goes for "I Hate People." What book(s) would you like to see turned into SmarterComics?

  • Rick Broida On Twitter»

    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.