Fuzzy topics annoy me, and hurt my brain as I struggle to quantitify them. People who talk on these topics grate on my nerves; it's a kind of geek gag reflex.
So I really didn't like Jono Bacon's The Art of Community. It was like a counseling session where all the faults you half-suspected you had get laid out in a massive TODO list with cogent reasoning which makes you squirm. By the second chapter, I really wanted to knee Jono in the nuts. My mind kept returning to CCAN, my half forgotten could-be-great-oneday project. It got so distracting that by halfway through the fourth chapter I put it down and haven't picked it up again.
But I will return. And I will re-read it from the start, for one reason: it reshaped my thinking about building community projects, and that has lead directly to the increase in activity in the past months around CCAN. Jono has thought really hard and long about this topic, and provides a framework which the rest of us can map our projects onto. That alone is a serious intellectual feat, the clear friendly prose is just a bonus.
Next time, I just hope I can tick enough of TAoC boxes that I don't feel like I've doomed my pet project like a puppy chained to a submarine.
[Footnote: Jono's one of those annoying "doers". I find his http://openrespect.org/ self-evident: I want to be respected while corrected, but I only recently figured that out and I suspect others might have missed it too.]