The Anatomy Of A Book Party

I was thinking of throwing a blog party – but then I decided not to.

Who would come to celebrate the launch of a blog post? Would there be wine and cheese? Would people dress up in their finest evening wear to meet the blogger and ask him to sign his blog post.

The simple answer is no.

Books are a different animal. 

A magical metamorphosis of intellectual engineering, a journey through ideas, and an increasingly complex marketing puzzle in this world of 140 characters and just-in-time delivery.

Last Friday night 250 people came to the wonderful and quirky National Arts Club on Gramercy Park to partake in a time-honored tradition known as the book party.

Looking around the room, I couldn’t help but be humbled by the shear brainpower of the people who had chosen to spend a Friday night with us.  There were bold face names from the worlds of Finance, Law,  Media, and Entrepreneurship.

Arianna Huffington raised a glass, and shared a story. “I told Tim (referring to AOL CEO Tim Armstrong ) that while I have a budget to hire Journalists, and am hiring many, there are not enough billion dollars to make all the content we need at AOL. Curation is the only answer.”

Steve Rosenbaum

[credit provider=”Steve Rosenbaum”]

Indeed, as she was there to celebrate a book titled Curation Nation, this was music to the authors’ ears.  She wasn’t alone of course. Scott Kurnit, the early innovator of what became was there too.  Having just raised a reported 42 million dollars for his new company AdKeeper, one presumes he needn’t dine out on wine and cheese, but he too is a curation fan. 

The list goes on and on. MIller from Newscorp reminded us that MySpace was increasingly seeing itself as a curation platform. My two favourite content entrepreneurs, collectively known as “chapter 12”  where there.  Rob Barnett from My Damn Channel and Dina Kaplan from Blip.TV.  In a world of crazy noisy web video,  they’ve both curated channels with a voice and a community of quality creators.

Steve Rosenbaum

[credit provider=”Steve Rosenbaum”]

There was no shortage of writers, which always reminds me that writers go out of their way to support other writers. Adam Buckman, Jerry Weinstein, Jeffrey Hayzlett, and from McGraw Hill Publisher Gary Krebs and Mary Glen led a contingent of editors editorial team members.

Entrepreneurs like Daymond Johns, creator of Fubu, Coogi, and now a celeb in his own right on ABC’s Shark Tank, ex Sorgatz of KindaSortaMedia, Wendy Diamond (sans Lucky) from Animal Fare Magazine.

Venture Investors David S. Rose, David Freschman, Dan McKinney,  Howard Morgan – and folks on the deal side including Terrence Kawaja of LUMA Partners and Reed Philips of Desilva+Phillips, and from the worlds of advertising and media, Andrew Heyward of Monitor Group and JP Maheu of PublicisModem.

All in all, a steller group of people.

But there were two in the crowd that stood out. In a room of people talking about this new-fangled word called “curation” and how “curation” is going to help the onslaught of data that is overwhelming us, there were two unassuming people who’s presence couldn’t be ignored.

Two actual Curators — Amy Weisser and Michael Shulhan, who along with their colleagues have taken on the daunting task of curating what is perhaps the most complicated and painful story of our lifetime.


Michael and Amy are curators at the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum  – now taking shape on the site where the former World Trade centres once stood. Their titles are somewhat different, Michael is Creative Director and Amy the Director of Exhibition Development. But both of them epitomize what curation strives to be. To find meaning in noise, to help people understand complex and sometimes overwhelming subjects, and to help each of us make sense of what is an increasingly complex and fast moving world.

So the next time I write a blog post (like this one) don’t expect an engraved invitation to a party with hor d’oeuvres and fine wine.  But the next time I write a book,  you just may.  But don’t pencil in any Friday nights just yet, these things take time.