It's late May 2004 and I'm preparing the final teleseminar for a new copywriting program I'm putting together. As I searched my brain for what to recommend to my students for further study, one book kept coming up: this one.It takes a lot of sophistication and direct-marketing experience to appreciate the real genius of Gene Schwartz. Don't kid yourself - this book isn't easy. I know easy, because that's what I specialize in.However, Mastery is not easy. On the other hand, information that will lead you to Mastery in marketing - especially, mastery in copywriting - is rare to the point of being almost non-existent.But this book contains exactly that information.Who should get this book? Let's start with who shouldn't. If you want run-of-the-mill yet valuable, money-making information about copywriting, get books by John Caples and by all means, get Vic Schwab's "How to Write a Good Advertisement." They're available on Amazon.If you want to learn about branding, grand strategies and other B-school versions of marketing, forget this book. It's not for you.The person who should get this book is the person who would like to create a million-dollar business with an idea, a product, or a division of an existing business. There is simply no other resource that will show you how to do that with marketing.I recently spent some extremely valuable time with a corporate consultant who bills at $25,000 a day to help companies dominate markets and create new ones. I don't know if he's ever read "Breakthrough Advertising," but I can say that his level of thinking indicates he _owns_ the material in this book.The re-publisher of "Breakthrough Advertising," according to Schwartz, hired Schwartz to write a sales letter that started his business.Read more ›
This is a rock solid, if challenging, book about writing ad copy from one of the best copywriters who ever lived. It is NOT an easy read so if you're looking to be entertained by a 'personality,' look elsewhere.
On the other hand, if you want to dig deep into the subject of copywriting and go beyond the 'paint-by-numbers,' training wheels approach that's so widely taught these days, this is a good book to work with.
And 'work with' is the way to look at it.
This book is so packed, one chapter could easily give you enough things to think about for a year.
By the way, there is absolutely nothing dated in this book.
Calling this book dated is like saying Claude Hopkins is dated because he used examples from the turn of the century or that John Caples is dated because he used example from the 30s and 40s.
You don't buy books like these for their examples. You buy them for what a highly experienced and successful ad writer has to say about his craft. That being said, this book will probably be too much for readers who want everything 'quick and easy' and need to be entertained.
Eugene Schwartz is one of copywriting and advertising's legends. His story is well known among copywriters: He started in mail order as a delivery boy in 1949 and became a junior copywriter before the end of that year. By 1951, he was a copy chief and became the president of his own mail order firm in 1954. He skills as a copywriter led him to become one of advertising's highest paid consultants (Rodale Press once paid him a commission of $54,000 for four hours work). This book is considered by many to be a classic on copywriting in general and mail order copywriting in particular. It is also legendarily reputed to be the "most stolen" book from public libraries and it is claimed that there are only 130 copies to be found in the world. I'm not sure about that claim as my local library came up with a 1966 copy with no problem and the librarian indicated that other copies were available from other libraries. She also had never heard of it as being the "most stolen" book in public libraries.This is the most recently published edition and it appears to have been published, in part, because of the reputed difficult of finding copies. The price of $95.00 would seem to reflect a pent-up demand for it (more on that later)."Breakthrough Advertising" is excellent in its analysis of advertising and the marketplace. Schwartz was an advocate of the idea that advertising could not create demand but it could channel it to a certain product. He referred to demand as "Mass Desire" and believed that there had to be some level of desire before a product could be offered and sold profitably. An example he uses is that of weight loss. There is a huge mass desire to lose weight and, as a consequence, a demand for weight loss products.Read more ›
Eugene Schwartz was a great copywriter. He understood copywriting. He knew that it was salesmanship in print. In this book Schwartz gives us his method of constructing an ad (he calls all copy ads) and he explains who our market really is. He tells us that our ad is directed to a group of people who have one main desire or need.
This is a great book. It's odd that many of the books that sold only a few thousand copies in their day, such as this one, now are in high demand. This is especially true of copywriting books. It seems that everyone thinks he or she can either become a copywriter or at the very least write copy for his own advertising by simply reading a book! I don't think so. Hey --- I've been at it 40 years and I'm still learning.
This is not a book for the person looking for a quick fix. If you're not a serious copywriter, don't buy this book. Only a copywriter can really understand it. If you're an entrepreneur looking for some basic knowledge, buy Bob Bly's latest books. His are the books for the novice. They're good. They're easy to read. They're easy to understand. And Bob is a great copywriter.
But if you are a copywriter and want to read a great book, you must buy this. Is it worth the money? Oh yes. If you're a copywriter it is. If you're not a copywriter, save your money.
This book is not dated. In fact, one could almost feel he's reading a book written today. I applied some of what I read to one of my Web sites and it really works. Gene wrote long copy and many sites are nothing more than long copy. For those sites, this book is a find for the copywriter who writes them. Fact is, I prefer it to the books on the market directed to copywriters who write web copy.Read more ›