Book Recommendations

Memetic Engineering vs. Your Mental Immune System

It’s Friday! Here’s another book recommendation to celebrate the upcoming weekend.

The latest marketing book enduring the wear and tear of the ever-enthusiastic Reality Is Fake team is Contagious by Jonah Berger.

The book, according to the back-cover copy, “provides a set of specific, actionable techniques for getting things to catch on.” As usual, the how-to practicality of the book does not live up to the promises of the cover copy. But this book, at least, lays out some solid principles that can be applied to the development of products that almost market themselves. Get these principles in your head, and all that’s left to do is to figure out how to exploit them in your specific situation.

The principles, by the way, are labeled thusly: Social Currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public (iow, visibility to the public), Practical Value and Stories. As you can see, these labels need to be explained a little bit and the book does a fine job of that. The explanation of each of these effects doesn’t just use anecdotes, but calls upon specific research to illustrate how the effects can work.

Certainly all of this information is out there on the internet somewhere. This book was released in 2013, so the concepts have had a lot of time to leak out into the world. But the book is still a good, centralized container for the information. Reading it is bound to provide insights and ideas that anyone might miss if they tried to put the material together piece by piece.

Readers who are not interested in marketing should pay heed, too. We’ve said this several times. And now we say it again. If you don’t know how marketing and advertising works, you are at a disadvantage to the countless people and businesses out there that are trying to make a buck off of you. It isn’t just your bank account that suffers from not understanding these things, either. Your mind takes some damage as well. Seeing the various ploys and appeals that fill the air will immunize you from many of the unhealthy effects of our consumer culture. Marketers are sort of like bulls in a china shop. They just want to sell their stuff. The side effects of their emotional manipulation is not often on their mind when the run the schemes that they run. It is up to you to become like “one who can see,” if for no other reason than your psychological well being.

Reality Is Fake 05.19.2017

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