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on 30 April 2003
For anyone who loves language, this is a book to read and treasure. It is so lucid, so elegant, so engaging, so quirky - who but John Simmons would write a whole section travelling on the underground with each passage starting and ending with consecutive letters of the alphabet?
And for anyone who is concerned about corporate communication, about how words as much as pictures give life to a brand, this book is a must-read. It is not a simple ten top tips for successful brand communication - oh no, it is much more subtle than that. What it does is explore and explain why words impact so much on audiences and readers and how businesses can engage more powerfully and more authentically with their customers.
Above all, perhaps, this is a book of great stories - stories of brands that have got it right and a few that haven't. And as John writes, "Stories create links between people and they build bridges between different minds and different worlds."
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on 6 May 2003
This is a very fine book. If you work with words in pretty much any capacity you should whip out your credit card right now and do the decent thing. �The Invisible Grail� covers similar ground to its predecessor �We, Me, Them & It�, but in this book John Simmons concentrates on how brands can create an emotional connection with their audiences through their use of words, particularly stories. The result is a deeper, slower, more thoughtful work than �W, M, T & I�. The mix of personal insights, examples, case studies and asides makes this an inspiring and life-affirming read. It also includes a heap of practical advice on how business writers can sharpen up their act. If I had a criticism it would be that Stephen Denning�s concept of springboard stories could have been given more space, but it�s a minor quibble. Overall, a must read for anyone interested in how brands connect with their audiences and how words can be made to work harder at work.
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on 31 March 2003
....and do not start again until you've read The Invisible Grail.
With his last book - 'We, Me, Them & It' - John Simmons made an impassioned plea to businesses to be more direct and engaging with customers and staff. Above all, Simmons called for greater honesty and creativity in the language business owners and managers use.
But where 'We, Me, Them & It' was Simmons’ call to arms for writers everywhere, 'The Invisible Grail' is an even more practical resource.
Simmons explores - by taking a look at example businesses like Innocent drinks and Lush - the ways in which more enlightened businesses succeed by using the power of storytelling in new and surprising ways. This really is a superb 'how to...' guide which will help anyone achieve more effective brand building.
As a professional writer for business, I am not alone in considering John Simmons to be one of the most important figures working in business communications today. So, if this is your first Simmons experience, then I envy you. But if you're already a fan you will not be disappointed. Every writer - and business owner - should have a copy of The Invisible Grail. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Martin Hennessey .....
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on 7 May 2003
John Simmons is a maverick writer, whose previous book (We Me Them & It) made a lot of people sit up and take notice of the power of language and words in business. His new book is perhaps one of the most stimulating and intelligent books ever written about brands. For anyone who is involved in brands, who spends time communicating into work, this book will make that journey less taxing and more inspirational.
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on 15 April 2003
I'll confess straight away. I've met John Simmons several times and the brand I write for is featured in The Invisible Grail as an example of good writing, so please take my bias into account. John is a lovely man, supremely talented and unexpectedly modest - he supports Arsenal but I shan't hold that against him - and his writing is beautiful.
When you read John's books you get to know him; you also learn how to write better. Any writer who wants to improve can't help but be fascinated by the way in which The Invisible Grail unfolds and shares its secrets with you, showing you signs which you hadn't noticed before. It tells stories about how to write for business and how to engage your customers by allowing them to get to know your organisation better. You will learn by reading it and, as long as you are ready to learn and open to recognising where you have room for improvement, you will reach the end as a better writer almost by osmosis.
It shows by practical examples, it gives suggestions for improving your own work and it talks intelligently and humorously in John's voice. Even if you aren't a business writer you'll find it interesting; from poetry to job ads for waiters, it brings you examples of great writing and inspires you to raise your own game and care more about the words you write.
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on 24 October 2005
A clutter of messages are in our faces everyday. I found this book very refreshing, partly down to being so cleverly written and partly down to my recent reading of All Marketers Are Liars by Seth Godin. The message I got from these two books kind of go hand-in-hand and that is (at a very basic level) that writing in the business world should be more fun - clearer and more engaging. Why not paint a picture with words?
This is an inspirational book - definitely worth a read.
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on 28 April 2003
An excellent book that should be read by anyone who has a message they'd like communicate.
Although Simmons would probably shudder at the word 'inspirational', this book deserves that tag. Not because it is a 'how to' handbook for brand marketeers across the globe, but because of his ability to provide insight through humour and an acute understanding of the weight of words.
Through balancing stories from his own wide experience to grapping with the use of language by small and established organisations, Simmons sharpens one's appetite to write, read, listen and talk more effectively.
There are hundreds of business books that claim to offer a new perspective, but very few manage it. The Invisible Grail does.
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on 11 April 2003
I enjoyed "We, me, them & it" and read it from cover to cover.

"The Invisible Grail" is even better. One of the best business books I've ever read. Charming. Engaging. Insightful. Inspiring. McLuhanesque in that he uses storytelling and brilliant language to promote storytelling and brilliant language
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King Arthur and his knights sought the Holy Grail. Brand managers seek another shining goal: public adoration and identification. Author John Simmons shares that quest, but his knights in shining armor are writers. If the real legacy of King Arthur isn't the still-missing Grail, but the magic of enduring storytelling, Simmons is a sword-carrier in that crusade. He somewhat self-indulgently advocates a creative experiment in brand management based on examples from his firm. In his experience, the most effective approach to brand building is to have "creative" writers - not corporate managers and certainly not non-creative writers - devise stories that are "true to the brand." Such stories, he believes, are the most powerful medium for conveying brand strengths. As with most myths, readers may wish for more empirical evidence, even while enjoying his observations about the English language and its limitations. We recommend this book to brand managers and corporate communicators who want to use language more creatively in hopes of creating that "Holy Grail" of a story.
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