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Herd: How to Change Mass Behaviour by Harnessing Our True Nature Hardcover – March 12, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Earls has a beguiling and an irrepressible intellectual curiosity, so the book becomes a very enjoyable and allusive compendium…” (The Guardian, March 2007)

"Bold in its conception and engaging in execution, offers the most radical new theory of consumer behaviour in a generation" (Gulf Business, March 2007)

"…brain-stretching stuff, looking at economic patterns, investment history and behavioural psychology to help the reader become a shrewder investigator." (Securities and Investment Review, March 2007)

"It will change the way you think about marketing.  It will also change the way you think about yourself."  (Marketing Direct, November 2007) 

From the Back Cover

Can you explain the explosion of social phenomena like text messaging when there has been little or no promotion of the behaviour? How a Mexican wave happens? The emergence of online communities? Or – more sensitively – the steady rise of floral roadside tributes to traffic accident victims?

Unless you have a good explanation of mass behaviour, you won’t have much chance of altering it. This is why so many government initiatives struggle to create real change, why so much marketing money fails to drive sales, why most M&A programmes reduce shareholder value and most internal change projects don’t deliver lasting transformation.

Herd explains the ‘why’ of our struggles to influence mass behaviour. It reveals that most of us in the West have misunderstood the mechanics (the ‘how’) of mass behaviour because we have misplaced notions of what it means to be human. Mark Earls uses a diverse range of different sources, anecdotes and evidence - from Peter Kay and urinal etiquette to international rugby and rise of the Arctic Monkeys - to show that we are at heart a ‘we-species’, but one suffering from the ‘illusion of I’.

In doing so, Earls challenges some of our deepest ideas to reveal the truth about who we are and what marketers, managers and governments can do to set about influencing mass-behaviour. Bold in its conception and engaging in its execution, Herd offers the most radical new theory of consumer behaviour in a generation.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 12, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470060360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470060360
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,391,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Recently, books like The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell or the Influentials by Jon Berry and Ed Keller, have captured the imagination of marketers and the public alike. It's easy to see why. They propose a tidy and believable model of influence.

1.) There are some people who are more influential.

2.) If we can just reach them, we can influence large numbers of people.

Accepted as gospel, these two ideas have spawned entirely new industries and companies devoted towards creating "viral marketing."

Happily for all of us, things just don't work that way. Brand spanking new research from P&G and Duncan Watts is serving as confirmation of Mark's thesis: it is our innate nature as "herd" animals that causes mass movements, not the influence of a handful of individuals.

This simple little insight overturns much of what we currently think about and how we approach marketing. If you're serious about creating real movements in the new marketing landscape you simply have to read this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've just finished reading Herd. Actually, I devoured it in two sittings. And I urge you to go and read it if you want to think about how to better trigger changes in mass behaviour.
Unlike most business or marketing books it's not a set of case studies or a 'how to' process guide to mechanistic thinking.
Rather, it's an excellently written analysis of the new thinking (and the forgotten old thinking) about how people think, act and behave. It doesn't give you answers or tell you what to do, but rather raises questions in your mind about the principles on which most communications thinking is built.
Already, it's made me question a lot of the assumptions I have been taking for granted, made me think differently about some of the problems I'm trying to solve and helped me ground some of the different thinking I've been doing over the last couple of years.
Whether you agree with all the conclusions or not, we need more stuff like this that brings fresh, challenging, provocative thinking into the far too conservative world of marketing and communications.
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By V. Holmes on February 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book. Mark Earls combines a light, at times playful style of writing with good ideas and a refreshingly well researched investigation. In this way, Herd is as Russell Davies suggests, a pleasant change from the many marketing books that are little more than "very long business cards".

Earls investigates market behavior from the position that we humans are first and foremost social beings. He does this by drawing on a wide range of well referenced resources stemming from ethology, biology, anthropology, marketing studies and so on.

On the background of this data Earls suggests that if marketers want to be truly effective they will need to start thinking about how people naturally influence one another. This rather than how marketers have tended to think that they are able to exert influence over those they narrowly think of as consumers. He proposes that this implies a shift from direct relationship marketing (where the lines of communication exist between company and customer) to citizen to citizen marketing (where the company creates opportunities for people to interact with one another). You need only consider the popularity of social media like myspace and facebook to realize why this approach makes sense.

In addition, Earls' work provides a good counter position to the current buzz around neuromarketing, which claims to be able to understand more about consumer behavior by examining individual brains. As Earls suggests, while this is all good and well - it may miss the point by neglecting to consider the influence of others on our behavior.

Thoroughly enjoyable!
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book more than any other I have read in the last two years.

HERD is a fun, awe-inspiring outing. It whisks you through the realms of communications theory, behavioral science, anthropology, ethnography and psychology, entertaining as it goes, while stealthily, cleverly, meticulously building the case for a wholsesale rethinking of the business of changing mass behavior.

I've worked as an account planner for over 20 years, and no other business book has caused me so fundamentally to reconsider how I do my job. I'd recommend it to anyone starting out in advertising today. (Read it now before you pick up bad habits!)

HERD is solidly and imaginatively researched, brilliantly written and, best of all, mercifully short on glib rules, but long on provocation and inspiration.

A genuine tour de force!
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Format: Hardcover
Yes, we all like reading something that gives us 'inside' information. Uhhhhhmmmmm...indeed.... info that makes us feel a little bit more suffisticated and maybe even a little better than other people around us (don't feel bad about this). PopSci books about behavioural-science, -marketing and -finance etc give us such a feeling. And this feeling sells books, something that people Malcolm Gladwell and Nassim Taleb and alikes know all to well. And that's okay as long as we still learn something from the book. However, reading about the Milligram expirement for the 1000's time did not make me happy or thought me anything. Reading about social conformation etc for the 1500's time did not either. Without going into detail I would advise people to look for a summary of this book on the net. Safe your self a few extra bucks and precious time(or Euro's in my case). Summary is worth the time and the money in my view so I rate this book with 3 stars. For newbees I would advise to first read Robert Caldini (I sure as **** know Mark Earl did so too).
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