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Herd: How to Change Mass Behaviour by Harnessing Our True Nature Paperback – 7 Aug 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; First Updated edition (17 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470744596
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470744598
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 192,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

The PM′s advisers would do well to consult the work of Mark Earls, whose book, Herd, explores the extent to which "the physics of mass behaviour" are governed by imitation more often than ideological purpose Matthew D Ancona, Evening Standard

As the riots spread throughout London and the rest of the country, I grabbed for my edition of Herd to see what it held to explain behaviour such as this.  Author Mark Earls talks about how people s behaviour can be influenced by a system that is primed Research

 

Review

"...entertaining and thought-provoking" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Pete on 29 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is probably the first book I have read when I was glad to stop reading it. Let me clarify that:

I read books like this during my lunch at work, as it provides a welcome break from the office and a chance to muse over some psychology and philosophy points that I invariably don't live out in my life. To that end, I like a book which stimulates and challenges my thinking, but also provides a good sense of direction. I like to pick up little tit bits to ponder in the afternoon.

The problem with this book is that it is not at all fun to read. It's the reading equivalent of that shaky-hand wire game, and you have to constantly concentrate and keep check of yourself. I do think the topic being discussed is important and highly relevant. Critical even. But I found myself constantly hoping that the next page would be a good place to stop for the day, and that meant that it took the best part of 3 months to read this book, by which time I had forgotten most of the points made at the start. It's also fairly heavy on the marketing lingo at times, so be prepared to puzzle over what "MVC" and "MIC" are?

My core criticism of the book is that it doesn't seem to really know where it is going. It builds and builds and builds like there is going to be some kind of epiphany moment brought on by all the countless examples and case studies. But you never really reach that summit, and so rather than providing answers it just poses more and more questions. You leave feeling intellectually battered and bruised, and looking forward to going back to your 'real world', even though you have now been convinced that it is a false and useless real world. The crux of this book teaches you one thing: people are relational and social; businesses have misunderstood (or refused to accept) that.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jwinnar1 on 18 Dec. 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is an intersesting book on herd mentality and how to influence people or sell them something or an idea. It wasn't quite as scientific as I was hoping- more a marketing/management slant due to the author- but there are some references in it so you can follow up the background stuff if you want. His writing style is a nice and easy to read and his humour is great; and there are lots of interesting asides from the examples, for example discussing the Join-Me movement who enact Random Acts of Kindness to strangers. Although you might expect a book about influencing the masses to be a bit of a downer, in fact one of the things that comes out is that we are a super-social species and work best in our herds- or troupes I guess as we are apes- and some positive thoughts about society and the future. A good and thought-provoking read.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By N. J. Baker on 13 Mar. 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book was totally compelling - my copy is now completely covered in crib notes - having devoured it at some speed I now want to go back and read the whole thing again. Not just interesting for people working in marketing, but also for those, like myself, working in small businesses, or, frankly, anyone interested in social psychology. Put simply (although there's nothing much simple about this book) Mark investigates how we are less driven by independent thought than we would like to believe, and more by peer influence; more than simply recapitulating that word-of-mouth is the best form of marketing (something we already knew) he gets right down to the roots of how it occurs, who perpetuates it and what it actually consists of, throwing up some fascinating insights into human behaviour in the process. He then strips back many existing marketing assumptions and presents some compelling new ideas as to how these theories should affect marketing in the modern world. Marketing tips aside, the book leads you to re-examine your choices, decisions, preferences, taste and even identity. It's immaculately researched and a totally absorbing read. Steven Poole in the Guardian compares him to Malcolm Gladwell on speed; I'm thinking more Robert M Pirsig with a point.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By taupe5 on 27 July 2010
Format: Paperback
"Although there were a few interesting things, this was a bit of a disappointment considering all the positive feedback this book has been receiving. Firstly, the book is longer than it could be mainly due to far too many examples through which the author is trying to prove his thoughts (was the rather long baseball example towards the end really necessary to show that we should work as a team??). Secondly, the style of writing was quite similar to university dissertations - too many quotes of someone else's thoughts, absence of clarity, too long (and often off-topic) descriptions of otherwise straightforward points. Thirdly, the book's main point that our behaviour is influenced and shaped by interaction with others is nothing new; the author just gave it a new name. I also lacked examples of the successful implementation of the herd theory by businesses. If you are not sure whether you want to immerse yourself in this book, just check the very handy conclusion which will help you decide. "
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Format: Paperback
I saw Mark Earls deliver the keynote at a conference a few years back. I remember enjoying the talk and having great intentions of reading Herd....but then never getting round to it.
It's just fallen into my lap, as we're doing a project where herd psychology reared its head and seemed pretty relevant...so my colleague Katie thrust Herd into my hand as a useful book.

I now love it. Here's why:

It's not just a `business' book (which I endeavor to read many of... and often end up getting halfway through and giving up). It jumps straight into the nature of humanity - The super social ape. For anyone interested in psychology or just intellectually curious - it's fascinating, and underpins the book with an academic grounding.

It's practical and applicable to my work, now. It doesn't just sit on the fence and say why the the rest of the world is wrong, it gives you a framework to actually do stuff differently.

It's inspiring and I regularly get ideas whilst reading it. Unfortunately it's my friend Katie's copy, so I'm going to have to get my own to scribble in the margin.

It's well written and fun.I try to read books on the tube to and from work. This book I get out of my bag as I leave the office.

Enjoy.
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