March 02, 2011
Public radio's Kai Ryssdal reviews Duncan Watts' latest book, "Everything Is Obvious Once You Know the Answer," in which Watts offers his take on why everything you thought you knew is wrong and why.
April 14, 2010
Given that it fails to meaningfully address the impact of the global recession (due to publishing deadlines?), Mark Tungate's "Luxury World" sometimes reads like a samizdat from an alternate reality where Lehman Brothers is still alive, unemployment isn't near 10% and investor portfolios haven't been savaged.
April 08, 2010
Hands-down, "ReWork" is simply the best business book I've read in years. It's actually readable and entertaining. Chock full of nuggets of business wisdom, disguised in part as common sense, I wish I'd written it myself.
March 23, 2010
Some simple questions are stupid. And some are just annoying. But every once in a while a simple question makes one re-evaluate everything. Joseph Jaffe asks one such question in his new book "Flip the Funnel," making it a must read for anyone interested in selling anything to anyone anywhere.
March 16, 2010
"Multi-minding" is a sort of evolution of "multi-tasking"; whereas multi-tasking was more activity-related, multi-minding is more thinking-related. It is the idea that people -- women more so than men -- are literally thinking about multiple things at once. This makes sense and seems a logical progression that our current electronic environment accelerates. But why are we like this? Kelly Skoloda's book "Too Busy to Shop: Marketing to Multi-Minding Women" either doesn't have an answer or isn't interested in one.
February 08, 2010
"The Design of Business" is a perceptive, wide-ranging, entertaining and, at less than 200 pages, tightly written guide for marketers that truly want to make innovation part of their DNA.
January 28, 2010
Seth Godin's premise is that today's organizational structure is a throwback to the days of factories, with interchangeable parts and interchangeable workers. Basically, this means that if you do your job as you're told, then you're easy to replace. Seth wants you to "become indispensable" instead.
January 24, 2010
Daniel Pink's newest book, "Drive," disputes the long-held corporate ideology that handing out external rewards on the job -- money, for example -- is the best way to manage employees. This approach is counter-productive and crippling to company morale. What we really need, he said, is an upgrade in management technique, one where people are free to explore what really motivates them -- the desire to learn, create and improve their surroundings.
January 21, 2010
The way marketers interact with customers -- in the store, over the phone and on the web -- is as critical to their success as the product or experience they offer. And marketers that can get their customers to love them have an enduring, and lucrative, advantage. In "I Love You More Than My Dog," Jeanne Bliss lays out the big steps companies must take to earn customer affection.
January 15, 2010
When industry vets decide it's time to add "author" to their bank of titles, readers often end up with one of two treatments: a play-by-play of four decades in the biz, peppered with self-congratulatory life lessons and newly minted catchphrases that underscore one final attempt at creating buzz; or, a vindictive roman à clef bursting with big-city characters you can identify at the drop of a client. What a welcome surprise that Dan Wald's first novel is neither.
January 08, 2010
I don't know about your office, but Ad Age didn't make out so well with the holiday swag this year. In olden days we'd be reinforcing our cubicles with tins of King Leo peppermint bark well into March. Now, reporters are fighting over broken slivers of white chocolate. With raisins. But if the four wooden crates hauled through the doors of Crain Communications today are any indication, profligacy is back in 2010.
January 07, 2010
In Lee Eisenberg's 'Shoptimism,' I was somewhat troubled that a former head of advertising and marketing for Land's End had so little understanding of what many in the sales promotion side of our business would consider profoundly basic aspects of how stuff gets bought.
December 02, 2009
"Adland" is a meditation on our industry through the lens of a personal story, told by a veteran of the Old World Order who is rapidly acclimatizing to the new. It resonates with everything we love about this industry, everything we hate, everything that keeps us working in it, everything that makes us want to leave and everything that makes us believe in what could still be possible.
December 01, 2009
Fans disappointed to learn that famed art collector Charles Saatchi does not actually appear in "School of Saatchi," a new reality TV series where contestants vie for a spot in Saatchi's namesake London gallery, should steer clear of his latest tell-all.
November 23, 2009
A considerable collection of internet history books have been written over the last decade. Ken Auletta's "Googled: The End of the World As We Know It," is one of the better entries I've read from the genre. Like many dot-com profiles, this one is full of "anecdotes" -- we industry folks might call it gossip -- from the early days of Google down through the search giant's challenges in recent years.
October 22, 2009
When Ellen Ruppel Shell talks "cheap," she does not mean "that which is a good value for the money." She means that which we buy because it is priced insanely low, whether we need it or not. It is this cheap, she argues, that is now the driving force in the world economy. And that's bad.
October 05, 2009
This book is tougher than it looks. At first glance it resembles yet another theorizing tome written by an experienced adman -- in this case John Hunt, a giant of South African advertising and worldwide creative director of TBWA. But it soon transpires that the book has little to do with advertising: the word is never mentioned. It's an inspirational tool, a guide to the creative process for when your back's against the wall.
October 05, 2009
Oil prices are only going to rise, argues author Christopher Steiner, who was trained as a civil engineer and is now a reporter for Forbes, in his book "$20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better." The emergence of a global middle class is driving demand for oil even as remaining supply becomes more expensive to extract. And because oil byproducts can be found in household goods ranging from shampoos to toys -- only 40% of the oil we import goes into our fuel tanks -- virtually no aspect of our lives will be untouched by the end of cheap oil.
October 01, 2009
Bob Gilbreath's new book, "The Next Evolution of Marketing: Connect With Your Customer by Marketing With Meaning," revolves around a three-tiered Hierarchy of Meaningful Marketing: solution, connection and achievement. The book is a critical, timely and enriching read for anyone looking to succeed in a world of consumer control, media fragmentation and content co-creation. It's an honest diagnosis of advertising and marketing pains, but also a practical road map to digging ourselves out of our own hole.
September 24, 2009
"Baked In," a manifest of sorts written by Alex Bogusky and John Winsor, argues that companies that pair consumer feedback and research with product design are rewarded with a product that can sell itself, meaning stronger market penetration at a fraction of the paid media. More important, the product retains the same message and target user from creation to distribution.