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December 10, 2007

2007 Brand Autopsy Marketing Book Awards

Yep, I’m an avid biz book reader and since 2003, I’ve shared with you the Brand Autopsy Marketing Books of the Year awards. (Review winners from 2003, 2004, and 2006).

2007 is no different. Below are the recipients of the Brand Autopsy 2007 Marketing Book Awards.

Business Lexicon Obfuscation Accolade
*** THE STRATEGY PARADOX *** (Michael Raynor)

After reading page 16, I gave up on this book
. I couldn’t understand the basic principles behind the book because Raynor’s reliance on using business speak gobbly-gook greatly hindered my ability understand. Academic-types might be all over this book but I, a simple-minded marketing-type, didn’t have the patience to decipher the business hieroglyphics from Raynor. Maybe you’ll fare better.
Best Marketing Advice Book
*** NO WINNER *** (empty)

Sorry y’all — no winner in this category. I searched through all my marketing-related books from 2007 and couldn’t find THE ONE that truly kicked-ass in helping me generate new marketing ideas. If you’ve read a marketing book published in 2007 that unleashed a stream of ideas within you, share that book with us in the comments section.

Surprise Book of the Year
*** WHAT WERE THEY THINKING *** (Jeffrey Pfeffer)

Jeffrey Pfeffer is an academic that doesn’t get caught up in the “Raynor Way” of using highly-flatulent words to get his message across. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING is a fast-paced, easy-to-understand book that’s laced with knowledge nuggets from a broad spectrum of business angles. Each chapter is an extended remix version of Pfeffer’s articles from Business 2.0 magazine. I’m a much smarter business thinker and doer because of this book. Click here to read some choice knowledge nuggets from the Brand Autopsy “Surprise Business Book of 2007."

Best Business Book That is Not a Book

I've tired of slogging though 260-page business books hoping that somewhere within the far too repetitive pages I’ll find a few money quotes. I continue to believe most business books can be slimmed down to a svelte 25-pages without losing much. THE SECRETS OF MARKET-DRIVEN LEADERS is a super-slim 16-page manifesto that delivers more money quotes than most lengthy business books.

In this must-read manifesto, Craig Stull, Phil Myers, and David Meerman Scott share practical advice on how businesses can be more successful by being market-driven rather than being just customer-driven, competitor-driven, or sales-driven.

The Philip Kotler Vanguard Lifetime Achievement Award
*** SETH GODIN ***

Seth Godin is the author of nine international bestsellers, most recently the New York Times bestseller THE DIP. His other books include PERMISSION MARKETING, UNLEASHING THE IDEA VIRUS, PURPLE COW, FREE PRIZE INSIDE!, ALL MARKETERS ARE LIARS, and SMALL IS THE NEW BIG. He is also the founder and CEO of Squidoo and the most popular marketing blogger in the world.

That’s his short bio from the sleeve of his to-be-published book, MEATBALL SUNDAE. But I understand Seth Godin to be the author who has most influenced my worldview of marketing. It’s my pleasure to award Seth Godin with the 2007 Philip Kotler Vanguard Lifetime Achievement Award.

Past recipients of The Philip Kotler Vanguard Lifetime Achievement Award include:
Al Ries & Jack Trout (2003) ; Sergio Zyman (2004) ; Adrian Zackheim (2006).

Best Business Strategy Book
*** WAL-SMART *** (Bill Marquard)

Bill Marquard worked deep inside Wal-Mart as a strategic thought-leader. Besides his first-hand Wal-Mart experience, Bill also spent 17 years at Ernst & Young, did a stint as the EVP/Chief Knowledge Officer at Fleming, and served eight-years as an adjunct professor of finance at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. (So, he has some business chops to speak of.)

Bill’s brilliant book, WAL-SMART, sheds new light on Wal-Mart’s business DNA and how companies can profit in the Wal-Mart world we live in. (For a more thorough look inside WAL-SMART, read this post and this post from the Brand Autopsy archives.)

If you are responsible for managing business activities of any retailer or any supplier/distributor, I implore you to read WAL-SMART. It’s chock-full of smart strategy musings which will help you better compete against any big dog dominant company in your competitive set.

Best Marketing Book of the Year
*** MADE TO STICK *** (Chip & Dan Heath)

MADE TO STICK is absolutely the breakthrough business book of 2007 for creatives, marketers, and anyone else responsible for communicating ideas and/or messages. (Anyone else includes writers, teachers, lawyers, salespeople, project managers, pastors, rabbis, etc.)

MADE TO STICK makes actionable the chapter on “Stickiness” from Malcolm Gladwell’s THE TIPPING POINT. The Heath Brothers have dissected the traits for what makes ideas stick and explain it so that we can shape our messages for maximum stickiness. According to the Heath Brothers, Simple Unexpected Concrete Credentialed Emotional Stories stand a better chance of sticking with people than do ideas presented in some willy-nilly, off-the-cuff way. Brilliant book. Get it. Read it. Do it.


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Thanks again for you book addiction! I like your choices and agree that there wasn't a real stand out in marketing. Made To Stick is a fantastic book for many arenas. It would be great to see books like that on all of the Tipping points!

H O L Y S M O K E S!

you totally made my day.

am I supposed to die now?

thanks for the kind words, John. It makes the brainfuzz completely worth it.

Holy smokes,

Did Seth just comment on your blog? You win my life time achievement award or best conversation provocateur, John.

Val ... reckon I goaded Godin.

Nice of Seth to stop by and pick-up his Philip Kotler Vanguard Lifetime Achievement Award.

Appreciate the recognition for our e-book John. What great company to be in too!

I agree, too much gobbledygook.

Thanks for the award, John! I would like to thank my agent, my lawyer, my hairstylist, my entourage, and my accountant. Also my brother I guess. [intrusive music begins to play...]

Best Marketing advice book 2007:

A Master Class in Brand Planning: The Timeless Works of Stephen King

by far....instant classic

I am perversely happy that you couldn't come up with a best marketing book of the year. Why, mine gets published in January of 2008: "Stopwatch Marketing." I hope you'll at least find it worth the read!

For my money, the best Marketing book of 2007 was David Meerman Scott's "The New Rules of Marketing and PR." ( At least I learned something from it.

Hi John,

Love your list -- and got so much out of Made to Stick since it is applicable in so many ways in one's life.

Keep an eye out for this book which may win one of your categories for 2008 -- The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. It's a simple but powerful book about success in business and in life (IMHO anyway). Thanks again for the great awards list -- will have to read some of your other winners.



As a sometime reader of your blog and related material, I was disappointed by your early appraisal of The Strategy Paradox, and posted some comments suggesting that the book had more merit then you recognized. In your year-end book awards, I fear that by continuing to insult both Raynor and this book in such a cavalier way, your comments say more about you than either the book or its author. You (and your readers) will undoubtedly be surprised to learn that Paradox was named by BusinessWeek as one of the top ten books of 2007, and by Strategy + Business as one of the top five strategy books of 2007. You are, of course, under no obligation to agree with other reviewers, and few works receive unanimous praise. But when several high-profile and informed consumers of business books name Paradox among the best of the year (commenting -- notably, given the substance of your criticism -- on its excellent writing, among other attributes), and you insist that it is among the worst, you might want to avoid the temptation to conclude that others are deluded, and instead at least consider the possibility that you've missed something im

Andrew Meister ... consider re-reading my comments about Raynor's book. No where did I insult Raynor nor did I insult the book. I do stand by what I said which is copied and pasted below. In re-reading my comments you'll notice I said others may fare better in understanding and appreciating Raynor's work. So yes ... I did consider the possibility that I might have missed something.

I wanted to enjoy Michael Raynor’s THE STRATEGY PARADOX … but didn’t. Raynor is at the forefront of strategic business thought as a Distinguished Fellow with Deloitte Research and having co-written the classic book, THE INNOVATOR’S SOLUTION. He has lots of smart stuff to share. Unfortunately, Michael Raynor’s book is chock-full of too much business speak gobbly-gook for this marketer to comprehend.

After reading page 16, I gave up. I couldn’t understand the basic principles behind the book because Raynor’s reliance on using business speak gobbly-gook hindered my understanding. [SOURCE]
I think the title rocks ... "THE STRATGEY PARADOX: Why Committing to Success Leads to Failure (And What to Do About It)." This interesting book title got this reader interested. (Too bad the book's style was uninteresting.) [SOURCE]

I couldn’t understand the basic principles behind the book because Raynor’s reliance on using business speak gobbly-gook greatly hindered my ability understand. Academic-types might be all over this book but I, a simple-minded marketing-type, didn’t have the patience to decipher the business hieroglyphics from Raynor. Maybe you’ll fare better. [SOURCE]

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