Archive for Book Reviews

What is the story behind your body of work?

I just finished Pamela Slim’s terrific book, Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together. You probably remember Pam from her first blockbuster, Escape From Cubicle Nation: From Corporate Prisoner to Thriving Entrepreneur. I had the chance meeting with Pam when she was picking up a friend, Michael Margolis, from our office. We had lunch a week later and she gifted me with her book. I finally got to read Body of Work when I was traveling back from…

Cool new tool for creating a quick video story on your iPad

Pick a template. Upload an image. Record your voice in snippets. Add music. Then post your video. It is that easy with Adobe Voice. Let’s face it, if content is king, creating content is a bitch. Everyone says no one is reading anymore. You have to regale them with infographics, videos and podcasts. But that is more easily said than done. Adobe Voice (Kind of a misnomer given that this is a video program) can help bring your stories to…

How I got myself unceremoniously fired on Basecamp by my self-publisher

I need some help with self-publishing. And apparently at communicating. I was working with a local group to publish my new book, Story Built. But they terminated me. That’s not the half of it. I was fired on Basecamp. Basecamp! Now I know what you’re thinking: “Basecamp is for project management, not a platform for meaningful creative conversation about how to best publish the blood, sweat and tears one puts into writing a book. And especially not a place to…

What crazy ass stories are your customers making up about your brand?

Our brains are suckers for story. They’ll take the most benign stimuli (like most powerpoints, car dealership commercials, and mission statements) and attempt to knit narratives from them in an exhaustive effort to make sense of the world. Here’s a brilliant example: watch this one-minute film, created in 1944, and scribble down what you see. Show it to others and see what stories they create. Of the 114 test subjects in the Heider/Simmel study who saw this rudimentary film of…

What marketers can learn from the freaks, cheats and familiars at Burning Man

Have you ever been to Burning Man: this 55,000+ burner event in Black Rock City, Nevada? If not, have you ever wanted to go? Or do you think like some folks do that it’s just a self-indulgent orgy of hipsters parading around the Playa? I hear it’s actually a model of sustainability in that every Burner must bring in all of their provisions, and take out all of their trash after the roughly week-long gathering. They literally build a city,…

How NOT to become an MBA zombie

I teach storytelling workshops to business executives and sustainability professionals around the country, and I’m always gratified to see how people from every imaginable endeavor naturally embrace story. But some audience members get frustrated when they can’t quickly grasp and apply the basic structure of story in business. Therefore, I’ve been searching for a tool or technique to make storytelling easier. I found it last week. The new book, Connection: Hollywood Storytelling meets Critical Thinking, and its storymaker app are…

Purpose-driven marketing made easier through new book: Good Works!

When people find out that I own an ad agency, they always ask, “What’s your specialty?” “Are you an automotive agency? A health care marketing firm? Consumer products? B2B?” My answer often puzzles them. “We ignite the growth of people, products, companies and causes that dare to make the world a better place.” We help companies dramatically grow their brands and bottom line by focusing on their higher purpose. A good example is our work with Lowe’s and the Water…

How social media is humanizing corporations

Command and control. It is one of the lasting corporate legacies of the industrial age. But its grip is weakening. For 100 years, most American companies have approached corporate culture with a cold, mechanized hand. Just look at the Dilbert cartoons tacked to faceless cubicles, and you’ll see the Post-it cries for help from the people caught in this dystopian world. However, like the famous quote from Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way.” Online social media…

Influence: 6 proven ways to get to “YES”

“What in the hell was I thinking?” How many times have you asked yourself this following a less-than-spectacular decision, especially at the ass end of a dumb purchase? Instead of being a willing buyer, you were probably subconsciously manhandled and you didn’t suspect a thing. Many experts in the art of influence, like Arizona State University professor, Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D, a self-proclaimed patsy, suggest we are more susceptible now than ever to slight-of-hand salesmanship. Content is the culprit. Or more…

Are you practicing creative destruction as a green marketer?

If you’re following the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) hearings, you’ll find that this digital land grab by the government follows “The Cycle,” the same rise, capture and fall of every significant communications empire dating back to the telegraph. AT&T’s failed $39 billion play for T-Mobile is another example of the cycle as explored in the book The Master Switch. It’s all about creative destruction, the fuel that propels free markets. Author Tim Wu is a former tech writer from Silicon…