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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2013
The book Predatory Thinking: A Masterclass in Out-Thinking the Competition is good in parts and has some valuable insights to how the advertising industry works, which can be used by the rest of us who dont work in advertising or creative industry in general. However the biggest issue I have with Dave is he makes a few lame remarks which expose his lack of research in some of the topics he dabbles in.

As an example in one part of the book he expresses his genuine admiration of some of the greatest minds - Hawkins, Winston, Dawkins etc. but does his credibility no favour by later in the book going on to say things such as there is no difference between logic and superstition - the very things people like Dawkins are vehemently against. He says things such as 'We've [those who rely on logic] just got different superstitions, thats all. Logic is our superstition'. Dave, if I admire somebody who is superstitious, I wouldn't like to compensate my position by trying to justify their superstitions. Rather I would overlook that aspect of theirs and focus on the other aspects that I genuinely admire.
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69 of 77 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2013
This has been well reviewed by others, but I am at a loss to know why. It is no more than a list of pointless anecdotes.

It feels like being collared by an especially boorish retired executive at a bar some night and being browbeaten into listening to his "insights" into all that is wrong with the world

Who am I to say these will help nobody ? If they work for you then good. But before you buy, do make sure you randomly flick through and read one or two. If you like them they are consistent. If not..... they are consistent.It is an easy choice.

I was livid that I had bought a Kindle book online which I would never have bought in paper format in a bookshop. But fortunately Kindle's "quick return" policy means I was allowed to return it. I did.
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on 20 January 2015
A book of stories about the power of the imaginative mind in the hands of a creative enquiring mind that is designed to grab your attention but makes you feel slightly short changed afterwards - somewhat like the world of advertising where its author hails from!

However, there are some great anecdotes containing famous quotes with elegant solutions to everyday problems, and most importantly in trying to overcome common attitudes of mediocrity, principilising (not formulating) wisdom "between the lines" of what life's circumstances brings forth has it seems been David Trott's journey since graduating from art school and we are now the benefactors of this treasure store.

I loved the observations that predatory thinking is a zero sum game at the material level in that you can't add something without taking away something; that 90% of advertising does not work; that you have to give up being spoon-fed; that believability beats truth; that trusted relationships are the ultimate point of difference among your competitive set; that not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts; that we can't assume everyone knows what we know; that we should look at the telescope from the other end; that if you cannot handle rejection you limit your possibilities for success; that lazy people don't want to grow and criticism is often more useful than praise; that resentment only hurts yourself; that those who can't, teach; that managing choice takes precedence over increasing choice; that to be reminded again "the ignorant are arrogant and cocksure, while the intelligent are full of doubt." (Russell); that in mass media you are only ever talking to one person; that great making simplifies and makes powerful; that "taste is the enemy of creativity" (Picasso); that it's OK to feel ncomfortable; that having the right credibility is no guarantee of being an expert; the difference between scepticism and cynicism; that don't try to be liked; that if we learn to ignore ourselves, we can do anything we want; that knowing your team's strengths and weaknesses increases trust in its capabalities; that having some skin in the game is like ham and eggs: the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed; that Germany lost the war because Hitler was a tactician (how-specialist) masquerading as a strategist (what-generalist), and therefore prone to making big picture blunders, whereas Churchill was a great strategist with tight deadlines and loose controls. I loved the example of the difference between effectiveness and efficiency, a common battle many of us face in bureacracies whose lingua franca can be the stuff of Orwellian nightmares.
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on 13 April 2015
There's such a delightful and elegant simplicity in the way Dave Trott thinks and writes. Predatory Thinking is a wonderfully calm book, reminding the reader at every turn that if one's going to create content and persuasion that matters - for consumers, for voters, for children - context is queen to content's king. What is particularly impressive is that this original British Mad Man with such experience is still very much at the cutting edge, and his perspective on the role that new (OK, newer, now) media play is sober and considered.

I buy and give more copies of this book to friends, colleagues and clients than any other, and that's the kind of thing I do quite a bit. STRONGLY recommended. And delightfully, not any sense of "I wish I'd written that", just "Aha!" and "Thank you!"
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 June 2013
Dave Trott has - like many advertising executives before him - also taken a stab at passing on some of the acquired wisdom from his years in the industry to the wider audience, be it with the primary purpose to educate, or to raise enthusiasm for the field and his ventures in it.

Similar again to some, the focus lies on presenting a multitude of short stories from his life (with some literary references used, too), with which he tries to illustrate the points being made. While many of the points are faultless from a general business perspective (in the sense that the advice is likely to work) the presentation will be very much a matter of personal taste. At times the author comes across as rather brash (which may or may not work with various groups of readers) but more importantly, the whole book reads like a collection of almost bullet-pointed sentences, which in my opinion works much better in advertisements than books.

The second reason why I give it three stars is that this does not - again in my opinion - reach something like Ogilvy's Confessions of an Advertising Man in terms of quality of writing, or the presentation of the arguments (even though it is decades newer, I found few points that really struck me as novel, too - but would not detract stars from the book for that reason alone).

On the other hand, if you are looking for a concise guide on some 'predatory' style business thinking (with a focus on zero sum) and are more interested in war story type examples than a theoretical framework, all presented in a very short, easy to digest language, the book certainly has a lot to offer. And as said, much of the business advice is (as) sound (as it is common sense), so it is not all lost, even if you are not a fan of the style.
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on 17 June 2013
Dave Trott makes his points through anecdotes of his life in the creative industries. The book is written in short sections and is something worth dipping into again and again. I found myself nodding my head in agreement with his analysis and observations of people and situations. And in places I laughed out loud. I have no reservations about recommending this book to anyone in the creative industries or anyone who manages people in a workplace.
And like his previous Creative Mischief, I will be buying more copies to pass onto friends and coworkers whom I know will appreciate all he has to offer.
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on 13 December 2013
I picked this out after a long review of some of the other marketing books available. I was after something to give me short snippets of inspiration...and this book does exactly that. I loved some of the stories and enjoyed the key points drawn out at the end. Some of the stories were a little flat, but still had some good takeaways which were self-drawn. The content is great (short and to the point) and the delivery complements this perfectly.

A great book to dip in and out of for a snippet of inspiration
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on 26 April 2014
I've been following Dave Trott's blog posts and this is a nice distillation of those. If you're unfamiliar with his writing, he writes how he speaks so it's short punchy sentences that don't have any flowery prose added! The book distils how to think differently and win, illustrated by a series of anecdotes and there are some real gems in here, even if you're not in marketing. I'd argue it also works well for any customer-facing industry.
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on 7 December 2014
I can't bear those people who tell us the older generation of advertising copywriters and art directors can't teach us anything.
The message from Trott (second wave) is the same as the message from Ogilvy (first wave). When you stop being a student of advertising it's time to quit. If you think you're too good for this book, you're not. If you think you might learn from it, you are good and you will get even better.
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on 28 June 2013
I don't read much, or didn't. Ask my parents, on our weekly visit to the library I refused to go in as there were 'books in there'. I'd always wait outside whilst my dad and my younger brother filled their boots. Takes a fair bit for me to pick up a book, let alone read it and this is one I couldn't put down. Its page after page of great stories and insight... a masterclass? Probably.
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