It’s been a while since I did any book reviews here. Not that there weren’t a ton of books that could be reviewed – 2010 and 2011 saw more social media and marketing books released than there are reasons for Klout to exist. Probably.
But so many of them said the same thing, or seemed to be just a collection of blog posts reformatted for print, that it seemed pointless to share here, since you could easily find more value from the people mentioned here and save your book money for something really good.
Like Brand Against the Machine, by John Morgan, and easily one of my favourite business books of the last 18 months or so.
So why is it so good, and brought me back into book review mode? Let’s dig in.
No Fluff, No Filler
The problem with many business books is that they feel disjointed. They have 20 chapters, and two are good with the rest seeming to try and make a point that doesn’t need making.
With John Morgan’s Brand Against the Machine, though, you’re hooked from the very first page. Not only that, but you find yourself nodding your head along to so much – if not all – of what John’s saying.
He makes salient points that we all should know, and yet every day we let others think, say or do. He shows the importance of why the brand is everything (sorry, product whores). And you know what? He’s right.
Yes, the product or the content is key; but the perception and reality of who and what’s behind the product or content is what really sells and keeps people coming back for more.
It’s something that others may have spoken or written about before; but none have written it in the manner that John does. Every point is forced home – but it’s in such a way that you can’t help but get imbued by everything and want to run outside and start putting everything into practice.
John’s humour helps too, since you smile at both his wording and admonishments, as well as his self-effacing manner. Which helps immensely when talking about the kind of brand that draws so much ire.
Personal Brand Isn’t a Dirty Word After All
I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of the personal brand moniker. While I understand the reason for it, I find many of the people that preach personal branding are egotistical asshats.
However, in Brand Against the Machine, John Morgan shows that peoples’ perceptions of you defines their perception of your product, service, content or whatever it is you have to sell or share. That in itself immediately makes you a brand.
Get your own brand right, and you can take on the big companies with a fraction of the budget. Your content will be shared; your products will have a warm audience; and your customers will trust you and want to stay with you.
That personal brand will carry across into how your employees feel around you, and again that will define the success of your business.
So, like it or not, you are a personal brand – deal with it.
Buy It, Brand It
There’s so much that you’ll take away from Brand Against the Machine that a mere review here can’t possibly do it justice. It’s short punchy chapter after short punchy chapter of real, solid advice on making you stand out from everyone else, and what you need to do to believe you can.
It’s not airy-fairy buzzwords to make people swoon and feed John grapes – instead, it’s a business book that will teach you how to use your brand/business and yourself as the key weapon to beat anyone.
If you’re getting the feeling I love this book, you’re right, and if you buy one single book for Christmas, make it Brand Against the Machine. You will not regret it – that’s a promise.