The Dark Side: A Review of Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive by Robert B. Cialdini et al

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Luke: …Is the Dark Side stronger?
Yoda: No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.
Luke: But how am I to know the good side from the bad?
Yoda: You will know… when you are calm, at peace, passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.

In his first book, Robert Cialdini, psychology-professor-turned-marketing-guru wrote of his desire to learn “How to Say No” to itinerant marketers, aggressive solicitors and various other ne’er-do-wells. As a result, (and as I explain in my review of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion), Cialdini goes out of his way to show readers why we say “yes” when don’t want to and how to say “no” when we should. Furthermore, in his follow-up book (see my review of Influence: Science and Practice) Cialdini extends his discussion of the six principals of persuasion to specifically include Continue Reading “The Dark Side: A Review of Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive by Robert B. Cialdini et al”

Don’t Be a Patsy! A Review of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

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Influence_The_Psychology_of_Persuasion_300Whether it was actually said by P.T. Barnum or about P.T. Barnum, few would discount the adage “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Truth be told, if you asked Robert Cialdini, a well-respected Regents Professor Emeritus of psychology and marketing at Arizona State University who many consider the guru of the science of persuasion, he would freely admit he was born during one of those minutes. Indeed, in his introduction to Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, this favorite author of marketers around the globe states in no uncertain terms, “All my life I’ve been a patsy.”

Cialdini attributes his long standing disposition as a sucker inspired his interest in the study of compliance. “Study of compliance?” you might ask. To the scholarly Cialdini, who cut his bones with a series of seminal academic papers on social psychology in the 1970’s, that phrase means “the psychology of persuasion” as in “how does one get another Continue Reading “Don’t Be a Patsy! A Review of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini”

A Book Cover to Judge: A Review of Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini

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Influence_Science_and_Practice_300Towards the end of Influence: Science and Practice, author Robert Cialdini tells a story of a rather nasty TV talk show host who regularly berated his publicity-seeking celebrity guests, often immediately after he introduced them. Many felt the host’s venom stemmed from a leg amputation suffered earlier in his life. Cialdini writes of the time in the 1960s when a long-haired Frank Zappa came on as a guest. The host introduced Zappa with this zinger: “I guess your long hair makes you a girl.”

Without hesitation, Zappa shot back: “I guess your wooden leg makes a table.”

This story reflects the motif of Continue Reading “A Book Cover to Judge: A Review of Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini”

Like Crap Through a Pheasant: A Review of The Mirror Test by Jeffrey W. Hayzlett

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The_Mirror_Test_300As I read The Mirror Test: Is Your Business really Breathing?, one particular passage of the opening monologue of the movie Patton kept haunting me:

“Now there’s another thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying that ‘we are holding our position.’ We’re not holding anything. Let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly and we’re not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We’re going to hold onto him by the nose and we’re going to kick him in the ass. We’re going to kick the hell out of him all the time and we’re going to go through him like crap through a goose!”

Author Jeffrey Hayzlett offers this message: Either your business is moving forward or Continue Reading “Like Crap Through a Pheasant: A Review of The Mirror Test by Jeffrey W. Hayzlett”

Leon Tec’s Targets – The Book That Started It All

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Target_300“Dreams will get you nowhere, a good kick in the pants will take you a long way.”
– Baltasar Gracian

Like most undergraduates, I enjoyed college. I viewed those four years as a time of experimentation, a release from the staid banality of suburban pabulum.

But not in the way you think.

Some people collect nostalgia. Some people collect materials. I collect experiences. And it started almost immediately upon setting foot in a courtyard surrounded by walls of ivy. And my parents reacted like most parents of university students. They told me to stop it.

But I couldn’t. As I explained at the time, I was like a shark. These carnivorous Continue Reading “Leon Tec’s Targets – The Book That Started It All”

Why I Got Religion – A Book Review of Philip Plait’s Death from the Skies!

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Death_from_the_Skies_300I’m normally an optimistic person. I regularly practice a “can-do” philosophy. It’s fun. It’s generated its share of success. It’s something I demand from everyone working with me. I can’t stand the lamentable “first you are born, then you die” way of life found too often among naysayers, doomsdayers and, in general, soothsayers of gloom. “There’s always hope!” I’ll shout from the highest mountain. Give me a “no-win” scenario and I’ll find the loop hole. It’s just the way I am. Deal with it.

So, when I say, “Philip Plait’s Death from the Skies bluntly stripped all hope from me,” you’ll know just how significant a statement that represents. As I turned each page, I could feel the Continue Reading “Why I Got Religion – A Book Review of Philip Plait’s Death from the Skies!

Groucho Speaks! A Book Review of The Groucho Letters

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The_Best_Game_Ever_250Who’s the best comedic commentator too many people haven’t really seen? Long before Jon Stewart, ages prior to SNL’s Weekend Update, decades in advance of Johnny Carson and even years ahead of Bob Hope, the world had Groucho Marx. A biting satirist when needed, Groucho had an advantage over all these heirs: He had no pretentions about his own humble beginnings (vaudevillian slapstick can do that to anyone). How did Groucho achieve this while Stewart, SNL and, at times both Carson and Hope, fail the snideness test?

Many credit Irving Thalberg with the successful relaunch of the Marx Brothers. After a five year run with Paramount, the Marx Brothers left the studio over a disagreement. Thalberg picked up the act for MGM. Though their Paramount movies proved popular, those pictures lacked something. Thalberg knew what the films overlooked. Besides a traditional story line, Continue Reading “Groucho Speaks! A Book Review of The Groucho Letters

Sex Doesn’t Sell! (But it Does!) – Book Review of David Ogilvy’s Ogilvy on Advertising

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ogilvy_on_advertising_250Ever since Bewitched I always fancied myself an adman. The glamour. The excitement. The rush of adrenaline as the client smiles and accepts your big idea that just oozes with creativity. The beautiful wife who summons up your every delight with an alluring twinkle of her nose. Ah, what a life…

I never did end up in the field, but I’ve spent the better part of my life marketing one thing or another. You have to do that whether you’re an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur, whether you’re working in a non-profit or for-profit organization and, most especially, if you volunteer for a community organization. So when the man hailed by Time Magazine as “the most sought-after wizard in the advertising business” published a virtual how-to book on the subject (indeed, six of the first ten chapter titles contain the phrase “how to”), you just know I’m buying it and absorbing every single word.

Continue Reading “Sex Doesn’t Sell! (But it Does!) – Book Review of David Ogilvy’s Ogilvy on Advertising

The Moment That at Once Created and Destroyed Johnny Unitas – a Book Review of The Best Game Ever by Mark Bowden

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The_Best_Game_Ever_250In an America long ago, boys, after faithfully completing their homework and their chores, once gathered in sandlots across the countryside. As leaves gently fell in the damp autumn air, they’d pick teams – always as even as possible to make it fair – and stake off a field with imaginary (or sometimes natural) markers. They’d then huddle around a spare spot of dusty dirt a few yards behind a well weathered football, draw up a play, break, snap, run, jump and laugh. This repeated endlessly, or at least someone’s mother called “Dinnertime!”

Electronics had yet to invade our youthful agenda. Except for an occasional coonskin cap, the only media (and this one was on paper) that universally influenced young boys dealt with the witty way Tom Sawyer got his friends to whitewash that fence. Even popular shows like “Howdy Doody” pointed children to outdoor activities.

That was then. Now, you sit on the edge of your seat, anxious and excited at the same time. It’s a ritual being played out all throughout the land. In living rooms, bars and just about any place capable of holding a large screen TV and a tableful of crunchy snacks, we share this national experience – the Superbowl – fanatics and neophytes alike.

Why? What fascinates us about this game? Why have television networks, advertisers and promotional campaigns paid so much to affiliate themselves with this singular event?

Continue Reading “The Moment That at Once Created and Destroyed Johnny Unitas – a Book Review of The Best Game Ever by Mark Bowden”

The Best Social Media Manual… Ever! A Book Review of David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing & PR

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The_New_Rules_of_Marketing_and_PR_250“What’s the best book I should read to get started with this whole ‘social media’ thing?” When I asked my good friend @mikefixs this question last year, he strongly suggested I read David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing & PR, originally published in 2007 with an updated paperback published in 2009. This may represent one of the best pieces of advice on the subject I’ve ever received.

Why?

To begin, just take a look at the author’s subtitle: “How to Use News Releases, Blogs, Podcasting, Viral Marketing & Online Media to Reach Buyers Directly.” What else can I say except, “It works.”

Here’s how.

Continue Reading “The Best Social Media Manual… Ever! A Book Review of David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing & PR