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4.2 out of 5 stars12
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 21 April 2000
This is about as far away from a traditonal business book as you can get. The Cluetrain Manifesto is about the end of business as usual and the role of the Internet as the empowerer to the masses. It whitewashes the world that traditional marketing and advertising paint. The authors clearly present a simple choice to businessmen. Ride the Cluetrain, understand that markets are conversations, and that customers and workers will have these conversations whether you like it or not, or lose your business. The book is written in an anecdotal fashion and as such some of it should be taken with a pinch of salt. An interesting and provocative read - not for the faint hearted or unimaginative.
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on 8 June 2004
The Cluetrain Manifesto was one of the seminal books of the dot.com bubble era, but reading it now is like waking with a hangover and looking at all of the empty bottles, each of which seemed like a great idea at the time. The Internet changed everything, all right. Those who can bite back the irony long enough to see the big picture and keep reading will find some valuable practical advice on using the now-not-so-new-technology of the Web to do business more effectively. We recommend this pivotal book for the sake of your sense of perspective (or to give you a critically necessary background if you are too young to remember when Amazon was just a river.)
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I had trouble rating this book. While I agree with a large percentage of what the book has to say, I also felt that the authors did not address the full extent of the issues they are raising. In addition, the book is organized like a cross between a Web site bulletin board and a series of monologues with Internet examples. As a result, the book has little internal structure, is much more repetitive than necessary, and creates a lot of energy without successfully channeling that energy.
Here's my rating scheme. 5 stars for useful thoughts. 3 stars for being incomplete in discussion. 1 star for writing style and organization.
Nevertheless, I do recommend you read the book. It strikes hard and relatively effectively at the kind of unemotional, dissociated, everyone-look- out-for-number-one thinking that amoral executives can be guilty of. Unfortunately, the book also slams the methods along with the lack of trustworthy purposes. For example, anything aimed at the subconscious mind gets condemned in this book. Unfortunately, one can communicate better by addressing both the conscious and the subconscious mind at the same time (that is what branding is all about). The Cluetrain authors seem to think that all subconscious communications cannot be trusted. I agree that they have to be watched carefully, or influence can be smuggled into our lives that doesn't belong there.
The best part of the book is its many ways of communicating how trust can be developed. The Internet isn't really going to develop properly until levels of trust among individuals and companies can be expanded, based on proper skepticism about the possible hidden agendas. Extended conversation is certainly a great help in this regard. Reputation is another way. Certification by some external process is yet another way. I felt that the authors lacked openness to other ways that trust can be built. For example, I suspect that when most of us are using video on the Internet, our ability to see the other person will give us many more clues about how much we can trust what is going on.
The authors make a great case for less constrained communication. Obviously, with more sources and information, understanding will develop faster. Also, we will be more interested in communicating with people than with very polished messages. The work on complexity science and chaos theory could have been successfully invoked here but were not.
The biggest missing element of this book is what we as individuals (both as consumers and employees) should be doing differently to create this environment of increased trust through communication. That would have made more sense than aiming the writing and the original manifesto at those who are communications challenged.
If you like the ideas in this book, I recommend that you consider other books that will give you guidance on how to implement the concepts behind the manifesto. The Soul at Work is very good on the subject of trust building. Simplicity is a fine source of ideas for how to get rid of obstacles between people.
In the meantime, do read and enjoy this book in the spirit of the untamed Internet.
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on 5 August 2005
I got hold of the US edition hardback of this a year or so ago, and finally got round to reading it while on holiday earlier this year. Great fun and light to read, the Manifesto offers some valuable and obvious truths about the impact of the internet on us as consumers, employees and businesspeople. As someone who works with the web on a daily basis and uses it as a communications tool, I found the book stimulating and thought provoking. some great ideas to take and develop into programmes within your business.
The book did ramble on occasions, though, and could have benefitted from more stringent editing. As it is, the structure of the book, with multiple authors, has given rise to a fair amount of repetition. This can be a good thing in order to drive vital points home, but they do overcook it somewhat.
Overall though, well worth the effort, and if you are in business you should have read this book, as it offers a simple and direct way to use the net to create and enhance those all important conversations with your market.
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on 21 January 2000
This screed should not just be viewed as "some business book that will teach me about the Internet". The Internet is secondary to the message inherent to book: traditional business isn't working because people are talking. The Internet has merely speeded up this process.
The authors clearly present a simple choice to businessmen. Ride the Cluetrain, understand that markets are conversations, and that customers and workers will have these conversations whether you like it or not, or lose your business.
Many people will read this book and think that from cover-to-cover it never understands real business. These people are precisely the kind that need this book the most, and need to understand it, before some young whippersnapper comes along and sideswipes their entire business.
The most important, intelligent, reasoned book you'll read this year.
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on 15 October 2003
The Cluetrain Manifesto was one of the seminal books of the dot.com bubble era, but reading it now is like waking with a hangover and looking at all of the empty bottles, each of which seemed like a great idea at the time. The Internet changed everything, all right. Those who can bite back the irony long enough to see the big picture and keep reading will find some valuable practical advice on using the now-not-so-new-technology of the Web to do business more effectively. We recommend this pivotal book for the sake of your sense of perspective (or to give you a critically necessary background if you are too young to remember when Amazon was just a river.)
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on 6 October 2000
This book contains a lot of good ideas about better treatment of your customers. A lot of the ideas are simple (the I-knew-that kind) but that does not mean they are easy to get implemented at the Company. Some of the authors are too radical to be usable but they all contain golden nuggets. The book is a written in a fresh and clear language, making it a nice read. But there are a lot of repeats in the chapters. Do read it if you want to improve your customer relations.
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on 1 November 2014
I only bought this recently, though the book is over a decade d but I found it fascinating and inspiring. The messages are still relevant and clear today and there is a lot that big business marketing and social media departments can draw from this. Although there are no specific learnings or actions to be drawn from the book, the overall sentiment and motivation is a great reason to read and be inspired.
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on 30 January 2010
I bought this because a friend in advertising told me to. It was supposed to be the best book about marketing in ages so I bought it.
Soon as I started reading it I noticed something was wrong. The authors don't speak like human beings and their obsessed with the word "conversation".
The whole book is about marketing being a conversation and that companies should listen to their costumers. This may be true for companies that sell expensive products, but that's all.
If you read my review you won't need to buy the book because you won't find anything new in it.
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on 16 May 2001
An easy to read, and extrememly enlightening book which allows the reader to understand the implications of communicating on the internet, not just the technological implications.
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