I know a lot of you liked those posts, and obviously some people bought those books because I got an Amazon Gift card for like $32 (which I will probably use to buy DVDs of Mad Men instead of books.) I know a few of you, like me, swear by “Tested Advertising Methods,” which was recommended in the previous posts. So here we go again….
Even though it’s been a few months, I actually haven’t done too much reading. Like I said before, my reading goes in spurts and I’ll go for a while without reading anything.
Warning: This post contains affiliate links so I can make $0.12 off every book your purchase. I’ve included a rating this time too.
The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing
Short, cheap, and to the point. 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (if you had to look up what immutable meant … ) is for the most part, geared towards branding and positioning of real businesses. Though that doesn’t mean the rules cannot apply to affiliate marketers too, especially advertisers.
This book goes into the how and why some businesses and ventures succeed, while others fail miserably. Marketing is perception- it doesn’t matter what you’re selling. All that matters is how you’re perceived by the public. Chapter 1 goes is about being the first in a category. If your business is nothing but a copycat of another, then you’ll probably fail. Not the first mover but still want to succeed? Go into Chapter 2 about being the first in a specific slice of the category. Chapter 5, the Law of Focus, goes into why many businesses fail after they reach success: They figure “We’re successful, lets branch out into other stuff we don’t really know about just because.” The business loses focus because it has stretched itself thin, then eventually shrivels up and dies.
There are a ton of examples in the book like that. It’s a very short read but it has some invaluable “Laws” to follow. It can really help affiliates, and advertisers, avoid mistakes that businesses seem to make over and over and over… Essentially, each “Law” is something you can follow to position yourself better against the competition.
Rating: [5/5] – Short, concise, and powerful.
Words That Sell and More Words That Sell
I carried this book everywhere because it’s that damn good. It’s not even a book to read- it’s just lists of words. It’s a reference manual for marketers. And you must have it at your desk when writing any copy.
Words mean everything in marketing. If you want to reach the masses, then you have to use words that are short, easy, and understandable. The words need to get the point across without straining your poor prospect’s brain. Sometimes we use words that we may know the meaning to, but 95% of the population does not. You even see it a lot on B2B sites, where businesses seem to think, “The more jargon and buzz-words I can stick in here, the better!”
And sometimes (well, most of the time) we hit mental blocks when writing copy. We either use the same words over and over, or use words that don’t really sell. “Why can’t I think of another word for ‘experienced’?” or “What’s a powerful way to say ‘new’ and ‘reliable’?” Just skimming through this book can give you tons of ideas on how to say the same thing, but better.
Words That Sell is to marketers what a thesaurus is to English majors. An essential tool for anyone serious about their copy and ads.
Rating: [5/5] – Absolute must have reference manual for marketers.
More Words That Sell is a nice follow-up to the previous book. I don’t think it’s as good as Words That Sell, but there is still some good stuff in the book that all marketers can use.
If I could only pick one, I’d pick the original. More Words is good, but with Words, you can utilize almost every single page from a marketing standpoint.
Rating: [3.5/5] – Not as good as the first, but still pretty good.
Hot Button Marketing
Someone on the twitter gave this book a good review, so I bought it. Edit:via this guy
Want to know why your customers buy the shit they don’t need? This book will tell you.
We all have our emotional triggers that push us to buy. We want to be in control, save time, belong to a group, have the latest and greatest, etc. Hot Button Marketing touches on most of these emotional triggers (except pure stupidity).
Hot Button Marketing provides 16, specific emotional triggers which explore the reasons why we consume goods and services. Great marketing books like Cashvertising and Tested Advertising Methods provide the knowledge on how to write great copy, what works and what doesn’t, and how to be a better overall copywriter. But before you even write that copy, you need to know why anyone is going to buy your shit. Hot Button provides just that.
This is great companion to Influence by Cialdini, which also deals with emotional triggers. I know Influence is very popular with marketers, but for me, I don’t think it was that good. Its been a little while since I read Influence, but from what I remember, I didn’t get too much out of it because it was lacking with specific marketing examples. I’m not saying Influence was bad by any means (it is referenced by Hot Button Marketing a few times), but I was definitely left desiring more- especially for such a long book.
Rating: [4.5/5] – People not buying your shit? Then buy this book.
The Culture Code
I saw Clotaire Rapaille referenced in a Mr Green post and remembered that I read one of his books.
That book was The Culture Code. I read it earlier in the year, maybe last year, so its not entirely fresh in my mind.
For anyone interested in international marketing, you should probably pick up this book. It goes into how different countries perceive different things. Rapaille breaks it down into a “code,” which is one word or two to generalize what we think about something. For example, the culture code for being fat in America is basically “giving up.”
I was expecting some more from this book. I wanted it to be like:
“Chapter 1: How to market to people in Argentina”
“Chapter 2: How to market to people in Austrialia”
“Chapter 145: How to marketing to people in Zimbabwe”
But its not. The chapters are broken down into things like “Health and Weight,” “Love and Sex.” Then each chapter compares American culture to a different one. Sometimes we’re compared to the English, and others to the French. Sometimes we’re compared to a few different cultures. Overall, there are some great insights into how other countries view basic human activities, but its not a full country-by-country comparison.
As far as international marketing goes, there are few books on the subject. Even though this book is not as great as I thought it’d be- it still provides some valuable insight into how different countries view different things, like health, family, sex, and money.
Rating: [4/5] – Not exactly a “How To” of international marketing. But there’s a lack of information on the subject, so its as good as its gonna get for now.
The Power of Self-Coaching: The Five Essential Steps to Creating the Life You Want
This is another recommendation from someone on the twitter (Thanks, social media!) Edit:Recommendation came via Clint
I just recently finished this one, and I found it to be an excellent read. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of self-help books (since most are bullshit guru nonsense), but there are definitely some gems out there (like Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy). This book is different from most of the other self-help books I’ve read over the years. In fact, its been so long that I don’t even remember most of the self-help stuff I read.
I’m trying to choose my words carefully so I don’t sound like some emo bitch…
Everyone has their self-doubts. Sometimes these self-doubts because so powerful that we get stuck in our own little worldview (that nothing can or will change.) Some of us are so crippled by fear and worry that we never step out of our comfort zone. Some of us like to make ourselves miserable for no reason, blame the world for our problems, and other bitch-shit that prevents us from really living the lives we want.
We all get caught up in “reflexive thinking,” a term used by the author Joseph Luciani- a formerly-neurotic and compulsive person that became a therapist who helps people deal with their own bitching and moaning, to describe the knee-jerk reactions in our conscience.
Everyone does it. Reflexive thinking is the act of making up your mind before you even think about decision. We load up our brains with why we can’t, why we shouldn’t, what we need to, and more- which all turn into habits that shape the lives we have- for better or worse.
They’re the little lies we tell ourselves so we feel in control. “I need to work 80 hours a week to be productive” even though you really only do 20 hours of actual work.
“Yes, but … ” which is the excuse of “I know I want to do this, but I’m creating excuses in my head already to not actually have to do it since its out of my comfort zone.”
“What if she says no, what if she laughs at me, what if … ” and many other ‘what ifs’ a basement-dwelling affiliate might ponder when approaching a female.
A good majority of this book explains what and why people do this kind of shit to themselves. Essentially its all about us wanting to be in control of our lives, even though it leads to the opposite- more people losing control and ending up in therapy because the world conspires against them.
The final chapters are 5 steps on how to deal with these issues. Just a few mental tricks on how to catch ourselves listening to our own bullshit, learning how to separate fact from fiction, and how to move forward.
You don’t need to have depression, anxiety, or be in therapy, to get something out of this book. The author keeps it real as hell. We all have reasons to doubt ourselves and our capabilities- but 99% of the time those doubts are simply bullshit.
Learn to let go and just live the life you want.
Rating: [5/5] – If your life is perfect, then you don’t need this book. For everyone else, get it and read it. If you can’t help yourself, maybe you can help someone else in your life stop being a bitch.