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on 13 October 2009
I have been following Chris Brogan on Twitter for over a year and I love his style and the information he imparts to the world. When I read his tweet that he was releasing his book Trust Agents (co-authored by Julien Smith) i was straight on to Amazon to order my copy.

Chris Brogan is ahead of the game, really at the forefront of social networking and using social media to grow influence. A Trust Agent is someone who spreads influence far and wide and someone who people look to for advice. You need to become a Trust Agent in your field of business. Chris shows us how to use the web and online tools to build our influence and spread it to a much wider audience. The traditional methods of promotion and advertising are losing their effective in the new world of web 2.0 - Trust Agents gives us the formula to succeed.

If you are reading this review you are probably already a bit of a Trust Agent. You probably "get it". Get what? That you can't go on shoving advertising down people's throats. You have to be more subtle - build trust, and once it's built keep it. That's real influence, that's being a Trust Agent.

Buy the book, have a read. You may already know and be using some of the advice in it but I can guarantee you that there's a lot of thought provoking material in it that you don't know. It's an easy read, it's not heavy and it's a great reminder of what is required to succeed in social networking. One of the problems people have is being consistent and having the patience to succeed. It takes a long time and dedication but it's good fun and opens doors. Reading this book will keep you right on track.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 17 November 2010
As Chris Brogan and Julien Smith explain, "The idea for this book came out of our individual successes in achieving goals using the Web to work with people and out of our fascination with non-currency-based economies. We've taken what we've learned from our years as `digital natives' (people who have grown up inhabiting the various online haunts of the moment, combined with our understanding of games, people, and business as a whole, and followed it all up with information and ideas to help you better understand the mindset required to match these actions to your business needs." There seem to be at least two primary objectives that their book is intended to achieve:

1. To help their readers become "trust agents." That is, "power users of the new tools of the Web, educated more by way of their own experiences and experiments than from the core of their professional experiences, [and who] speak online technology fluently."

2. To help their readers think more strategically, to understand certain principles much better, and to master the aforementioned "new tools" to build influence, share influence, "and benefit from the other currencies that such exchanges of trust" deliver to them.

I appreciate Brogan and Smith's skillful use of reader-friendly devices such as "ACTION" sections throughout the narrative that serve two separate but related purposes: they emphasize key points and suggest how to apply them. For example:

"Build a Listening Station" (Pages 11-12)
"Start Figuring Out the Rules...Everywhere!" (Pages 45-46)
"Starter Kit fir Hacking Work" (Pages 61-62)
"How to Make Friends" (Pages 88-89)
"The Business Card Game" (Pages 161-162)
"Get LinkedIn" (Pages 177-178)

Brogan and Smith repeatedly stress the importance of being worthy of others' trust and respect, of building healthy, honest relationships. In Chapter 1, they identify the six characteristics of trust agents (e.g. "The Archimedes Effect" which involves effective leverage) and then devote a separate chapter to each of the six. Those in need of information and counsel to help them increase the scope and depth of trust in a workplace should seriously consider this book.
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VINE VOICEon 22 April 2010
I've been reading Chris's Blog for a long time now. I was looking forward to read his book. I must say I feel a bit cheated.

Let's be fair, if you lived in cave for the last few years and never used any social media (facebook, twitter etc...) then this book might come handy.

I try to review books one or two months after reading them, just to see there was important things to learn. Unfortunetaley I can't remember anything good about this book. It's been very well marketed, during the launch you couldn't miss it.

The book has no structure whatsoever, it's hard to read and never know where the book is heading. You really see it's been written by two different people, the tone is confusing, there is no style.

It also feels like re-reading the same blog post all over the books but written differently. I've read a few books written by bloggers (Crush it, Escape Cubicle Nation, Power of Less, 4 hours week, Seth Godin, Tom Peters etc...) and have always been impressed by them, you can't write a book like a blog (and vice versa), you have to construct the argument, build it and give more details than just giving some general feelings on how you should use social media.

Overall I would say that social media is just using common sense, don't spam people and create useful content. I think Chris is losing it, I can see he's struggling to renew his topics on the blog, by writing this book he totally lost me.

Remember, social media is a tool, if you haven't got anything interesting to say it's not gonna help you.
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"Let him not trust in futile things, deceiving himself,
For futility will be his reward." -- Job 15:31

The online world spins out ever-increasing amounts of videos, images, words, and Web sites. There may be needles in the middle of all those haystacks, they are getting harder to find.

Chris Brogan and Julien Smith look at this circumstance from the perspective of someone trying to create or improve a business and pose the useful question: How can you become and remain the person who is trusted most in your area of expertise? From there, you follow an exciting journey through lots of good stories and little tips that clarify how you can operate more effectively in the online world.

Here are my paraphrases of some of the key principles:

1. Use continuing business model innovation to create ways to develop and share useful information in ways that delight people with their novelty, freshness, and value.

2. Be viewed as someone who is just like the audience, not someone with a hidden agenda, a lot of arrogance, or a phony.

3. Energize online communities by providing them with choices they like from a point of authenticity.

4. Build genuine, positive relationships by seeking to provide value for everyone you interact with.

5. Be considerate.

6. Assemble large numbers of people to work toward a common purpose while meeting their needs.

I was impressed that the authors appreciate that the way to do these things will continually change, but the principles will probably remain the same. It's a useful book from that perspective. Most people who write about the online world assume it will always be like it is today . . . and optimize on things that don't last.

My only disappointment is that they didn't address more about what those who write book reviews on Amazon.com should be doing to be more helpful to more people. There are millions of us who would like to know.

Be trustworthy!
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on 14 January 2014
Build your reputation and influence with this remarkable book. Many things to help you along with being a TRUST Agent.
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on 10 April 2010
Chris and Julien wrote this, as they told me personally, to introduce people into the trust economy. If you're already doing a lot of Social Media, and reading blogs everyday, you know this stuff. Don't buy it.

But if you don't read blogs, and aren't in the Social Media world, then this book will provide a create introduction to one of the foundation concepts of the emerging social world, namely the idea of trust. With examples, a few models, plenty of calls to action, and even ways to engage with the book and the community, it's a great way to get started.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 November 2010
Archimedes, the Greek mathematician and inventor, once said, "With a lever large enough, I can move the world." Today, the internet can be that potent lever "for increasing the power of what you do," according to social media gurus Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. The most effective way to use the web to improve your brand's "influence, reputation and profits" is to become a "trust agent" online. That requires developing strong, sustaining relationships with consumers who believe in you, respect you and see you as a helpful resource, credible expert and honest person. In this illuminating, witty guide, the authors explain who trust agents are, what makes them special and - most important - how you can become one. getAbstract recommends Brogan and Smith's tales of what individual trust agents have been able to accomplish in cyberspace. You'll realize all over again that the internet is a remarkably interactive, powerful medium - a lever indeed capable of helping you move the world.
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