Monday, June 27, 2005

Book review: "All Marketers Are Liars"

All Marketers Are Liars: The power of telling authentic stories in a low-trust world by Seth Godin – Portfolio Hardcover, 2005, 208 p., ISBN 1-59184-100-3 An excellent book by one of the prominent authors in the marketing today. This book is interesting two-fold. First, it’s whole purpose is to explain you how to tell great stories with authentic feeling not necessary with regard to the reality and why are they so important. In our lingo, it would be “how to create efficient marketing mind viruses, when nobody trusts marketers anymore”. See the point? If you know how they’ll cheat you, it gives a certain advantage, right? Even better, the book also swarms with examples of the mind viruses made by marketing (“great authentic stories and marketing successes” in Seth Godin’s language) Worth reading whether you are trying to defend yourself against mind viruses, or create ones for others.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Nice Girls don’t get rich by Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D.

Nice Girls don’t get rich by Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D. – Warner Business Books, 2005, 288 p., ISBN 0-446-57709-X A great example of why normal self-help and how-to books are not exactly enough without a memetic approach. This book is based on the author’s experience in executive coaching, leadership development and team building. It catalogues 75 mistakes women often make that prevent then from reaching financial success. It seems to be a great book as well as its predecessor book “Nice girls don’t get a corner office” Considering the author’s credentials it should really help people (no matter what the title says, guys also make the mistakes listed in this book.) However, its’ just a case study, not a deep analysis. And cases studies are known to have a problem or two. First, behavior correlated with the success may just coincide with the success or originate from the same root instead of being a true reason of one. And, second, an explanation, why some particular behavior works, does not usually have any really material ground. Let me explain it on the examples from the book. The author rightfully notices that women are likely to listen to naysayers and that compromises their effort. True, and not only for women. However the coaching tips in the same chapter are not so straightforwardly evident. How about “use your research as offensive tactic”? Sure, you have to do your research first, but why on Earth should you waste you time convincing a naysayer? Trying to convince everybody who has doubts in your success is an enormous time and energy drain. It’s just not worth it, and it alone can stop you from reaching success. Another example: “Setting artificial boundaries”. A chapter is a generic advice to get a balance between values and prosperity. Nice. However, no word on why people choose to set artificial boundaries for themselves. And if you read it from memetics point of view, you’ll notice few “old friends” like “Money won’t make you happy” mind virus. Only in this book it is called “paradigm” and there is no explanation how it gets into the people’s minds and how to agree with yourself to prevent this seemingly correct statement from shooting you in the foot. And “Saving instead of investing”, that’s really interesting to hear… As it stands in the title, that’s the great mind virus of 90s (and 20s before that) by itself. Don’t make a mistake, if you are capable of investing, good luck! The problem is that not everybody is capable to invest reasonably and get ahead as a result without working on it full-time. And if you are not, “get educated” as the book suggests usually does not work. And the book rightfully admits the fact: “One study suggests that by the time the average investor tries to adjust to changing market conditions, 80% of the damage is done.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Book review: "Eat that frog"

Eat that frog: 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time by Brian Tracy – Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2002, 144 p., ISBN 1-57675-198-8 Nothing new, nothing that you did not hear before, but a very good book. Why? First, their advice - plan your day, prioritize, eliminate unnecessary task, concentrate on an important one - it’s all well known, but it helps you to rehearse these memes and enforce them. Why is this good? Because these memes make you to apply a process, a cognitive filter to what you are doing. And these particular processes and cognitive filters are designed to weed out actions that are forced on you by mind viruses. By enforcing these memes, you reinforce you mind virus immunity.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins

The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design by Richard Dawkins It's primarily about the evolution, so if you are a creativist, it may get to your nerves. Even if you are an evolutionist, it's 400 pages of neatly packed text. But it is one of the best books explaining how the natural selection really works. I mean really, not like in popular magazines and folklore. And understanding the natural selection process is the key to the understanding how memes are spread around.