David Sparks is an attorney in Orange County, CA. He is well known for his MacSparky website and the Mac Power Users podcast that he does with Florida attorney Katie Floyd. He has also published many books, including two that I have reviewed on iPhone J.D.: Paperless and iPad at Work. And he is also one of the most talented folks out there when it comes to self-publishing books for the iPad in the iBookstore — titles that stretch the definition of what it means to be a "book" becuase they are full of graphics, videos and audio. Yesterday, Sparks released his latest book called Email, which Sparks says is all about "the best methods, technologies, services, apps, and workflows to make email work for you." Sparks sent me a free review copy of the book yesterday, and I made my way through just about all of it last night. It is a great book that offers wonderful information and tips for anyone who uses email on the Mac, iPhone or iPad.
The book includes general tips for working with emails, great strategies for reading, replying to and storing emails, an informative chapter on how email works and tips on fighting spam and email security. No matter what device you use for your email, all of that content is useful.
Sparks then goes deep into the Apple Mail app for the Mac, and this book will be most useful for folks who use a Mac and the built-in mail app. He also reviews many of the best programs for the Mac and apps for the iPhone/iPad that you can use to work with email, and devotes a chapter to Gmail.
The last part of the book is the part that I have only just started to get through. It is called Email workflows, and starts with a long description of how Sparks handles his own email. The book then has audio interviews with a number of folks (a writer, a doctor, an actor, an IT specialist, an educator, etc.) who use email in many different ways in which they share their strategies and tips. The interviews that I have listened to so far were great, and I look forward to hearing them all over the next week.
As good as the content is, Sparks is famous for making his books full of rich audio and video. Email is no exception. The book is full of colorful graphics, video screencasts, sidebars with additional pop-up information, etc. Although I've now been through the book once, I look forward to going back through it again take advantage of all of the media and extra information that is sprinkled throughout the book.
Although the book will be useful to anyone who uses email because so much of the book is devoted to general principles, you'll get the most out of the book if you use a Mac. The book also has a lot of information on using email on the iPhone and iPad, which I really liked, but the book does not offer any specific advice for using email on a PC. If you are looking for specific tips on using Outlook on your PC at work, you won't find it in this book. (When I searched the book for the word "Windows" the only reference I saw was on page 69 where Sparks notes that a PC running Windows 7 is "sitting sadly in the corner of my office.")
Perhaps best of all, Sparks has a great writing style. He covers complicated topics but explains things in a way that my grandmother would understand. Hopefully I'll never find myself on the opposite side of Sparks in front of a jury; I suspect he gives one heck of a closing argument.
We all use email every day, throughout the day. If you want to become even more productive with your email, you'll enjoy this book.