Friday, February 03, 2012

Book Review - Grouped

I've never done a book review, and I don't plan on making it a habit. But this one is worth a mention given many of us have to do some level of marketing, even if it's not officially in our job description. And in today's Facebook/Twitter centric world, marketing's changed a lot from the good old days.

Grouped, by Paul Adams is an easy, interesting, worthwhile read. It has the distinction of being the very first e-book I've ever bought. Essentially, it talks about the social web and how people are influenced in today's constantly connected world. You'll feel smarter after reading it, but you don't need a PhD to understand it. Paul's done a great job of distilling and simplifying copious amounts of PhD-worthy research for the masses.

If what you do relates to marketing in any way, you'll appreciate the ideas Paul puts forward. Even if you're not, you'll learn enough to make it worth your while and it'll make you see many things in a different light. For example, where you may not have realised an online interaction is actually influencing your behaviour in the past, you'll sure as hell notice once you've finished the book. Our emotions and subconscious play a much bigger part in our seemingly logical decisions than we realise.

The best ideas are the ones that are easy to understand and seem obvious, except they didn't occur to you until now. For example, the fact we work hard to conform to social norms, observe how others react to understand what is acceptable thus shaping our behaviour seems obvious. But we don't consciously realise that's how we tend to behave. We apparently also communicate with the same 5 to 10 people most of the time, but it's not something I realised until I thought about it. I'm not doing the content justice in my paraphrasing, so you're better off reading the book than trying to gain any useful insights here.

The book is well researched, has a nice selection of case studies and examples, and best of all, doesn't take long to read. I should point out a lot of the examples are from Paul's experiences at Facebook, but I don't think he means for the book to be a big advertisement for the Facebook platform. He simply used the relevant data he had access to given his position at the company.

Then again, the fact I'm being positive about this book could be because we generally don't want to appear to be negative in public, especially when doing so in a non-anonymous manner. Perhaps I've been Jedi Mind Tricked into this way of thinking by Mr Adams.

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