Tuesday, September 30
Book Review: Purple Cow
The book is short, and the chapters are really short. Each chapter averages maybe two or three paragraphs. It reads very much like a blog, and I'd guess it's essentially a scrapbook of Godin's posts. If I hadn't been privy to the blogging phenomena, I'd probably have described this book as The Art of War for marketing, a collection of quips and anecdotes.
Again Wikipedia sums up the book's premise pretty well:
"...marketers no longer have the power to command the attention of anyone they choose, whenever they choose. ... Godin asserts that the only way to spread the word about an idea is for that idea to earn the buzz by being remarkable."
It struck me as a lot of armchair quarterbacking. The author builds some pretty big bridges over the chasm between cause and effect with bold and broad statements along the lines of "product X was crazy successful because of tactic Y," glossing over any possible nuances of the relationship between the two or other possible external market factors. As I read it, my mind kept conjuring up the image of Andy Rooney and his rants at the end of every episode of 60 Minutes.
In summary, I don't regret reading the book, I just didn't enjoy it. Now I know who Godin is and what he preaches so the next time I encounter his name I'll be able to better participate in the conversation. The book also made me think; unfortunately it made me think the author is more about braggadocio than pragmatism.