Have you ever been to Stillwell, Kansas? It’s the type of place where you walk down the street and everyone says hi to you. That warm receptiveness to strangers is a hallmark of the Midwest. [...]
How Derek Sivers accidentally grew CD Baby to $22 million
You know the “It’s either hell yes, or no” principle? That came from this book. So did, every other non-intuitive principles for running a business, like:
- Don’t take investment (“By not having money, you never waste money.”)
- Confidently exclude people
- Don’t try and make money
Derek’s philosophy is a manifesto for the next generation of entrepreneurs who see business as a way to help others. Afterall, “It’s about what you want to be, not what you want to have.”
You can finish this book in an hour. I recommend drawing it out and reading one two-page chapter a day and letting the lesson marinate.
Half memoir, half tactics, and all fantastic.
You won’t be able to put this thing down once you start. It doesn’t read like a pedantic “how to.” It’s a story. Told by your best friend who is trying really hard to be honest with you about the fact that you’re probably not cut out for this. Still, he gives you the tools you need to improve as a storyteller, with tons of examples of what works, what doesn’t, and why when it comes to literary style, syntax, story structure, grammar, etc. But mostly you get brutal honesty.
If that’s not convincing enough, this excerpt from the forward should do it: “This is a short book because most books about writing are filled with bullshit.” (page ix)
(Note: It’s not short. But you will be glad. I didn’t want it to end.)
Not a book on copywriting. A book on writing. Specifically, storytelling. The real kind, not the metaphorical kind Godin and Gary V refer to all the time.
This is not about influencing behavior (though you could argue it’s about influencing feelings. After all, your readers should feel something after reading you. Otherwise, what are we doing here?)
Lester Wunderman’s biography. Lester Wunderman: The guy you’ve never heard of who is responsible for #nbd things like AMEX credit cards, the toll-free 1-800 number, and the entire field of Direct Marketing.
You know the famous saying, “50% of my marketing’s working. Trouble is I don’t know which 50%.” Direct Marketing is the 50% that is working.
Mr. Wunderman is credited with inventing the field of Direct Response Marketing.
His story is a turn-of-the-century rags-to-riches tale, but the road to success is fraught will lessons that will make you pause and go “Why am I not doing this is my business?!!” He invented industries, manufactured demand, created markets, and harnessed the power of human nature in order to sell more. If you want to know how to attract and retain customers, you will enjoy this book.
It’s a remarkable tale of perseverance and business savvy.
Some parts are a little slow and…dry. If you’re not in the mood, it can get boring.
Rumored to be the book Mad Men was based on.
There are more lessons on business packed into this man’s story than any textbook on entrepreneurship.
This man set the tone for an entire generation of high achievers. No one has been able to replicate what he built and when you read it you’ll see why. His no-nonsense approach to doing business and advertising will have you gasping with “Holy $%^# did he actually write this??”
Remember, he’s famous for being insufferably arrogant (and rarely wrong). Plus, he’s a copywriter, which makes it a very entertaining read. You won’t be bored.
Sexism. (More pragmatic than offensive in tone, but still sexism). In 1988 (20 years after publication), he explains that women have a place in the workforce and even credits them with talent: “Don’t let men write advertising for products which are bought by women.”
If you have a weak stomach for 1960s boozing and business, you will get queasy. Worth it, though.
A funny thing happens when you tell people you work in marketing. You become the devil. “So (dramatic pause), you manipulate people for a living?” That’s always a fun conversation starter. [...]
No one likes promoting themselves. It’s awkward, uncomfortable, and it feels icky. You think to yourself, “I’m not a sales person. I’m the subject matter expert. I shouldn’t have to do this. [...]
“Are you afraid of the impending revolution of the robots taking over the world or do you feel completely safe and not at all worried about A.I. technology?” That wasn’t a joke. A real surveyor [...]