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Changing the World Is the Only Fit Work for a Grown Man Paperback – 28 Feb 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Adworld Press (28 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0957151500
  • ISBN-13: 978-0957151505
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 44,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Drayton Bird on 29 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
I picked this up while suffering from advanced jetlag - and read it straight through.

I cannot recall anything as well researched or written about any subject or person in the advertising business. Not a duff sentence. And what pictures! Even Gossage's old 1960s offices look damnably cool today.

The writer, Steve Harrison, has the advantage of being a very good copywriter who built up and sold a highly successful agency. If you study these things you can see that a lot of his work reflects the kind of thinking Howard Gossage introduced.

While Ogilvy, Reeves and Bernbach were making news on Madison Avenue, Gossage - a 100% proof madman (very fond of Irish whiskey) - was breaking all the rules old and new on the West Coast.

To be honest, few will appreciate just how good he was, or how good this book is. But then a lot of people think McDonalds is good food.

But if you'd like to know how he managed to make marketing money work about ten times harder than it should, this tells you.

He was doing stuff 50 years ago - perfectly - which foreshadows so much of what people are doing today - imperfectly in most cases. But doing it with extraordinary wit, panache, commitment - and above all results.

David Ogilvy once told me that the secret of success in this business was charm. Gossage had it by the bucket-load.

I knew of him and some of his advertising. But I didn't realise what a trailblazer he was. What a fool! I could have learned so much.

He was decades ahead of his time. They called him The Socrates of San Francisco - no coy understatement on the West Coast.

But he really was something else. He was integrating marketing in the most imaginative ways possible.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Giles Blackburn on 18 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
All the reviews praising the quality of research and flow of this beautifully written book are bang on, though I'd also like to draw attention to the broader appeal of the content beyond the student of advertising.

As someone who has to market a business with a limited budget I found Steve Harrison's insights into how Gossage created clever campaigns without a colossal ad spend very inspiring.

I love the eloquent examples of successful campaigns that highlight the importance of:

- conversational copywriting
- inviting response and building rapport with the reader
- adjusting campaigns as a result of feedback
- use of long copy in ads
- using ads and articles as a platform for PR

Quite simply, if you are involved in marketing or selling anything and like to read about unsung business heroes and at the same time learn techniques you can use yourself, you'll love this book.

And it's a gem to read; in fact I rattled it off in a couple of days as part of this summer's holiday reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Phrontiste on 26 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who's studied and worked in communications for a fair while now this book made me feel like a fool for not knowing about Gossage.

This guy was a fascinating character and well ahead of his time. He began interactive, social media well before anyone else (decades before...) and his style and creativity were unmatched. But he also went far beyond that.

He made Marshall McLuhan famous, he saved the grand canyon from drowning and he helped kick-start the modern environmental movement. The 'Socrates of San Francisco' was a fascinating character and I urge anyone with an interest in advertising, media or even environment to have a read of this book.

Harrison is thorough with his research but never heavy, making it a breeze to read. Every line is entertaining and educating and I'm telling everyone around me to have a read of this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Pack TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 7 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
American West Coast advertising man Howard Luck Gossage was decades ahead of his time, pioneering interactive advertising, green concerns, PR-stunts and much else in the 1960s, well before they became mainstream aspects of his industry. Steve Harrison's book does justice to Gossage's innovation and superb copywriting skills with its own highly readable and easy to enjoy account of the man and his work.

Harrison isn't starry-eyed about it, however, leaving the reader with reasonable doubts about whether, for example, the Grand Canyon was really in danger of being flooded high with water before Gossage's advertising campaign kicked in or whether the flooding was a hyped-up scare story to turn people against plans that were in reality rather more modest.

Such caveats however never detract either from the pace of the book or from the justifiable overall assessment of Gossage as a major pioneering figure who have been strangely forgotten. If nothing else, Gossage's role in making Marshall McLuhan famous means that the current advertising world and indeed modern society still feels the after-effects of Gossage's life.

Only one small complaint about the book: the reproduction quality of some of the advertisements is poor which, given they are heavy with Gossage's expert copy, means having to seek bright lighting and possibly a magnifying glass at times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jim Compton-Hall on 20 April 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An exciting account of a man who everyone ought to know.

See reprints of some incredible adverts, read letters from Gossage to his friends and hear from some of his many admirers and colleagues. Discover the stories that made Howard Luck Gossage the great man that he was.

Steve Harrison's book is very well written. From the moment it came through the door I could barely put it down. Each chapter is split into easily digestible parts making the book effortless to read.

I thoroughly recommend this book, not just to advertisers but to anyone looking for a bit of enlightenment, intelligence and wit.

A longer review can be found here: [...]
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