Top critical review
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Glad to get to the end!
on 29 March 2012
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. But it doesn't really provide much in the way of direction for what to do about this. The examples of success given are all there, but you feel they don't really apply--can't be applied?--to your own situation.
One final point, the book is completely inaccurately subtitled. A better subtitle would be "Why you will rarely change mass behaviour because you don't understand our true nature". It doesn't tell you how to do it; it just points out that most people are not doing so. Scratch that, it does tell you how to do it. Somewhere. But I can't remember what the answer was...