Internet gurus, Carole Levitt and Mark Rosch, offer a new book, Google Gmail and Calendar in One Hour for Lawyers. This is another addition to the popular “One Hour” series from the ABA’s Law Practice Management Section.
As I’ve said before, I’m not really a big fan of these over-priced books, since many of them are out for showing the basics (they are 1 hour, afterall), without much substance. At $39.95 (sure, there’s some discounts available), Google Gmail thankfully misses that “price without substance” platform. Spoiler: it’s at least worth the $24.95 LPM members pay.
In full disclosure, you’re going to see a foreword from yours truly, but I received no compensation for writing the foreword, and nothing from the book sales. I also had no input in the development or suggestions given in the book. I think I’m pretty unbiased when it comes to this review.
I’m particularly fond of Google Apps for Business, so I recommend that a lot of firms let Google manage their email, calendar, and contact needs. I selected Google Apps for Business because the system integrates well with Android OS, it’s Google-based, but some users might like Office 365 and integrated Exchange, which offers similar features.
This book, like the other in the series, is for beginners, but if you’re a power user like me, you’ll find one or two snippets that help you to improve your Google Apps use. For instance, Carole and Mark do an excellent job in Lesson 3 of explaining how to use labels to boost productivity within Google Gmail. Labels are something that many users forget, so the tidbits in this lesson are worth reading.
Carole and Mark also make very good use of input from actual attorneys using the system, and include the comments throughout the book. The introduction includes some more in-depth comments from three other attorneys.
If there’s a big flaw, I think it’s Mark and Carole’s brush-over mention of setting up the Google Apps account (and dashboard) (12 pages), and their failure to mention some of the best apps available in the Google Apps Marketplace. Being an Android lover, I’m also disappointed the book doesn’t mention one of my top recommended Google Apps apps, Google Apps Device Policy. The Android app enforces your Google Apps for Business security policies on your Android device. Finally, I really wish that Carole and Mark would have added a quick reference list of some of the best Gmail search tips, rather than a quick lesson (6) of two pages with a link. Even though these lists are rather easy to find on the internet, this is one example of where the authors could have boosted their substance. In their defense though, Carole and Mark do mention that the book isn’t directed towards the IT professional, but for the introductory user.
Overall, readers will find that Google Gmail and Calendar in One Hour for Lawyers is a handy resource, and provides a compelling argument for why lawyers should integrate Google Apps into their law firms. If you’re new to the Google Apps system, or debating between Google Apps and Microsoft, Google Gmail and Calendar in One Hour for Lawyers is a must read.
Be aware though, this book covers the basic functions of Gmail and Google Calendar, so power-users will be bored with the content. In other words, don’t waste your money. However, for new users or basic users, even though I’m still not satisfied with the LPM’s pricing structure (I know, printed in the USA, specialty practice, blah, blah, blah), with the ABA discount (is it really a discount when you factor in membership dues?), you’ll spend your money wisely.
I’m giving Google Gmail and Calendar in One Hour for Lawyers 4 out of 5 stars.
Now, if you’d like a copy, and you’d rather not buy one yourself, I’m going to give my copy – with my autograph if you’d like – away to one lucky reader. Here’s what you’ll need to do to win:
1. Be located in the United States;
2. Submit your answer as a comment on this post, to this question: Who provides better email and calendaring services, Microsoft or Google?
The contest will end on Friday, April 12. Good luck!