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Wondering just what to read?

Wondering just what to read? Paul Arnold has the answer. His website contains a whole host of reviews that will keep you occupied for the foreseeable future. Here are just two summary extracts.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman is dense. It is full of great insights into the human frailty of decision-making. What is so good about it is we have the architect of the theories and the experiments rather than a third-party reporter (like Gladwell or Lehrer). But that closeness to the subject comes with a few problems.

Maybe quite harshly, this book feels a bit self-indulgent. It goes into far too much depth, gets lost in minutiae and over-labours points repeatedly. I believe he could easily have edited out 100 pages of unnecessary detail of discussion. I also worry that people will read it and assume they can manipulate others. Many of the experiments are isolated events which bear little reality to life. Thus some of the biases may have been over played.

How Brands Grow: What marketers don’t know

How Brands Grow: What marketers don’t know by Byron Sharp is, for me, one of the most important marketing books of the past decade. Clearly, its principles need to be validated for your brands and category. A big area I struggle with is statistics: mediums and averages always disguise the truth. For all brands there will be loyalist and advocates at one end and dismissers at the other. Thus we must be careful not to paint a picture of all brands and all consumers as being the same merely because of the way that numbers work: they will push everything back to the average.

If this was a ‘scientific’ paper I think there would be a cry for more
evidence to really support his claim (and likely the need to
‘disprove’ any counter evidence). Thus, I feel he has certainly
opened up the debate about the need for more empirical evidence
and challenged many myths. That said, I find it hard to accept
some of the principles he challenges (maybe because I am so
committed to them and so have convinced myself of their veracity).

More reviews

For complete reviews of these books, and many more, visit the Paul Arnold Consulting website:

www.paularnoldconsulting.com/book-summaries

 

Paul Arnold
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