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Profile for Nick Westergaard > Reviews


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Nick Westergaard RSS Feed (Coralville, IA)

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No One Understands You and What to Do About It
No One Understands You and What to Do About It
by Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.95
91 used & new from $8.69

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT INSIGHT! The Title Says It All, June 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It sounds cliche to say "the title says it all" BUT ... it actually does! The central issue addressed in this book is a huge challenge for many. Whether you're in sales, marketing, or leading a team, how we are perceived by others plays a huge role. Heidi Grant Halvorson not only has the science behind how our minds work when perceiving the actions of others, she has a light yet thorough way of laying it all out. It's rare that you have a book packed full of social psychology that's a fun and engaging read but No One Understands You is just that. I found myself both learning and laughing. If you care what others think about you (who doesn't??), this book belongs on your next-up list.

Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It
Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It
by Dorie Clark
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.98
66 used & new from $9.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dorie Clark has done it again!, June 3, 2015
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What an incredible book! Whether you're already established as a thought leader in your industry or if you're looking to jump out and live your passion, Stand Out is a must read. Clark offers a systematic process for crafting and refining an idea that will set you apart from the rest of the pack. From here, she takes you step by step through building, nurturing, and growing your following. Again, if you're already established, you'll find this a concise and comprehensive checklist for upping your game. If you're looking for a blueprint for how to start from scratch, look no further. In short, if you want to stand out in your field of practice or passion, this book should be your next read.

The Content Code: Six essential strategies to ignite your content, your marketing, and your business
The Content Code: Six essential strategies to ignite your content, your marketing, and your business
by Mark W. Schaefer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.99
39 used & new from $12.09

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mark Schaefer Has Done It Again!, March 7, 2015
One of the sharpest minds in social media and content marketing today is Mark W. Schaefer. That's because he not only has his finger on the pulse of what matters most for marketers but because he also develops books and resources that help them create usable systems for getting the work done. No one has all of the budget and staff they need. Building on his powerful blog posts on "content shock" and "content ignition," The Content Code provides a process and tool box for creating content and engaging your audience at one of the most complex and critical junctures in the history of marketing. Buy the book. Crack the code. Connect with your customers.

Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on It.
Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on It.
by Mitch Joel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.05
73 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are You in Need of a Reboot?, May 30, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
One of the joys of doing The Work Talk Show podcast with DJ Waldow each week is conversing with guests about how they get work done and manage their professional and personal lives. That's where I first heard Mitch Joel call BS on the concept of work-life balance. As he quoted Seth Godin, "instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don't need to escape from." Mitch elaborates on this in his new book, Ctrl Alt Delete.

The Elevator Pitch
More than a simple marketing book, as the subtitle suggests, Ctrl Alt Delete has two areas of focus -- rebooting your business and rebooting your life. If there's another theme at the core of the book it's that this really isn't something you can wait for in either case. The marketplace -- your customers and community -- have already changed irrevocably. It's not enough to simply hire some young turks to rework your image or fire off a new social media strategy. You have to change and your business has to change. Your future depends on it.

4 Big Ideas from Ctrl Alt Delete
But Joel doesn't paint a grim picture with Ctrl Alt Delete. Indeed, as the title implies, your life and work can start anew with a reboot in some key areas. Here are a few examples.

1. Direct Customer Relationships Are Where It's At -- Beyond any specific platform, the real value of digital media comes when you are able to establish a direct relationship with your customers. For many industries, distributors and other partners have owned the end users but now it's easier than ever to work directly with your customer and forge a meaningful relationship. The downside? You're all (you, vendors, suppliers, etc.) competing for their social attention.

2. No Multiple Screens -- Flying in the face of our favorite talking points about "multiple screens," Ctrl Alt Delete calls out the one screen that matters -- the one that's in front of you. Rather than worrying about individual screens, Joel advocates adopting a digital-first posture across our business units to bring about a holistic change in the customer experience.

3. Kill the Content -- Wait, "content is king," right? Sure, but the reality of the new media landscape is that now that we're all publishers and can create more content than ever before, we have an even bigger responsibility that may require us to pause and, yes, kill the content for a bit as we regroup. What could be more important than content? Making sure your brand is telling powerful stories.

4. Embrace Your Careers Squiggles -- This is one of my favorite concepts in the Reboot You portion of the book. Why should your career today be based on a decision you made at age 16 with your high school guidance counselor? While our career paths look more different and less linear now (they squiggle instead!) this can also help businesses as well. Consider how companies like Twitter and Instagram sprung forth as squiggles from companies originally founded to do other things.

Joel's frank personality also shines through in the book with chapters such as "Sex with Data" and passages like, "So if a toilet paper company has figured it out, what's got you all blocked up?" Ctrl Alt Delete also contains great sections on utilitarianism marketing, authenticity, and social media automation.

So, Should You Read It?
I looked at the question above for a long time before deciding to instead approach it from the angle of "who shouldn't read Ctrl Alt Delete." You shouldn't read this book if you embrace the ostrich approach -- you think all of these media shifts will go away if you keep your head in the sand. You also shouldn't read this book if you are content to punch a clock and not make a difference. If it's more fun to plan a week of vacation that planing how you spend your other 51 weeks, you should avoid this book like the plague.

Kidding aside, Ctrl Alt Delete is a business book that has value for any hacker, whether they sit in the marketing department or in the C-suite. It has value for someone looking to reboot their business by better understanding the shifts at play today as well as someone looking to reboot their career with a meaningful squiggle.

In the end, Ctrl Alt Delete helps you see that what we're all after is longevity. Whether it's building brands or crafting careers, one hopes to pivot with the shifts and stay in a game that's fulfilling and rewarding as long as possible. Ctrl Alt Delete is a great manual for doing just that.

The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?
The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?
by Chris Brogan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.46
109 used & new from $0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definite Guide to Creating a Channel/Platform, October 29, 2012
Are you building a new brand or re-imagining an existing brand in the digital space? Are you a consultant, professional services provider, blogger, or speaker looking to add value and make your mark? If your answer to any of these was `yes,' then The Impact Equation belongs on your reading list.

A word of warning: Don't dive into this expecting a light read that you can casually flip through. The Impact Equation is a book of big ideas that merit careful consideration and thought. Simply blowing through the book won't result in optimal impact for you or your brand. I'm a very deliberate reader and found myself slowly going through the book's pages and re-reading to internalize Impact's ideas. You'll also want a Moleskine or Evernote (or both) handy for capturing concepts you'll want to implement. The book also features a few interactive workbook-like activities that you may want to record for future use.

Again, this is not a paint-by-number social media 101 handbook. Rather, The Impact Equation is an advanced recipe book for building a trustworthy, human brand on a channel that by definition reduces our physical closeness to others. In short, if you are ready to get past the headlines and hype and create a more human brand, check out The Impact Equation.

You can check out my full review here - [...]

The Rebel's Guide to Email Marketing: Grow Your List, Break the Rules, and Win (Que Biz-Tech)
The Rebel's Guide to Email Marketing: Grow Your List, Break the Rules, and Win (Que Biz-Tech)
by Jason Falls
Edition: Paperback
23 used & new from $2.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Email Marketing Needs a Rebel's Guide, September 27, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm not big on full-throated endorsements but if your business has anything to do with email marketing (if it doesn't that's another issue altogether) there's something in The Rebel's Guide to Email Marketing for you. Whether you're a marketing VP or coordinator, a copywriter or designer, you'll find nuggets of intel that will leave your copy of the book broken-spined and dog-eared.

I also have to give Waldow and Falls props for how they close the book as well. First, they poll four venerable email experts on the future of the channel. Next, taking Nike's advice to "Just Do It" a step further, Rebel's Guide leaves you with an actionable four-step list (with due dates!) for you to kickstart your email program.

Like a true manual, The Rebel's Guide will serve as a continuing resource not simply by telling you what you should and shouldn't do with your email marketing campaigns. Rather it provides the frameworks you can make your own and reminds you that only by testing with your audience will you know for certain. Take to heart the book's golden rule -- best practices are practices tht work best for your subscribers. This is valuable advice for email marketing and beyond.

How are you using email in your marketing mix? If you need to shake things up, look no further than The Rebel's Guide to Email Marketing.

You can read my full review here: [...]
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 29, 2012 7:06 AM PDT

Brand Against the Machine: How to Build Your Brand, Cut Through the Marketing Noise, and Stand Out from the Competition
Brand Against the Machine: How to Build Your Brand, Cut Through the Marketing Noise, and Stand Out from the Competition
by John Michael Morgan
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.02
66 used & new from $10.93

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why You Should Brand Against the Machine, March 19, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
With powerful tools like Google, Facebook, and Pinterest, we don't need to concern ourselves with dusty concepts like `branding' anymore do we? That's soooooo old school. Think again. Now more than ever we need to build strong brands to stand out against the deafening noise. A new book not only makes the case for branding but offers a prescription for success in our rapidly evolving and ever-crowded new media world.

This concept is at the very heart of Brand Against the Machine by John Morgan. Regardless of the media shifts around us, brands have the potential to be strategically advantageous, long-term assets. Pricing, customers, and databases can easily be stolen or copied. Building a strong brand is really the only option for true differentiation. As Morgan says, "Having a strong brand beats the heck out of selling."


The short chapters in Brand Against the Machine (about 3-4 pages each) are built around stand-alone concepts that make the book a quick and easy read. While there are too many points to summarize completely, here are a few key take-aways.

Your Brand Needs an `Anchor Belief'
Passion in your work begets passion in your audience. That's why the strongest brands have an Anchor Belief. An easy exercise for thinking of this is exploring why you do what you do outside of monetary goals. For example, Virgin has anchored their brand around being a dissident voice in a world of followers.

Personal Brands Can Be Components of Bigger Brands
Think about Oprah and Richard Branson. Both are powerful personal brands but they are also part of bigger brands OWN and Virgin respectively. Personal brands can impact company brands of all sizes.

Visibility Matters More Than Ability
Increasingly, as we build brands in the online space our conversations center around the concept of being seen. While people will initially find your brand because of your visibility they will buy more over time because of your ability (the order is important -- remember, only one in five who encounters your brand becomes a customer). Your brand has to be seen first. As Morgan asserts, there's no room for passive brands today.

Definitions Matter: Marketing vs Branding
This is an important distinction that's often glazed over. These two words are not interchangeable. How you market comes and goes while your brand is forever and built over time. Morgan also examines the concepts of `Attention vs. Trust' and `Interrupting People vs. Involving People' as well.

Borrow Authority to Build Authority
Consumers look for authority when exploring brands, thus establishing an authoritative beachhead online is critical in positioning your expertise. Interviews are great tools for building authority via association. To be honest, I do that with the interviews here on my blog,

Beware of Brand Dissonance
Brand damage can occur when you lack transparency -- when the real `you' doesn't match the brand you've created. Tiger Woods is a great example of this.

Create Brand Ambassadors
As the media landscape continues to evolve it's easy to forget that our employees are among the most effective brand touch points if they are empowered to do so.

Tips for Professional Services Brands
While a good fit for any brand architect, there are a few treats in the book especially for personal/professional service brands. Tips such as `fire bad clients' and `avoid the free lunch to pick your brain' are valid as Morgan ties their impact directly to effects on your brand over time.

Passion & Confidence
Brand Against the Machine also takes an interesting turn and relates one's passion and confidence to the brand as well. As a brand leader, you have to believe your story first if you want anyone else to.

The Best Advice Is the Least Sexy
Early on and again at the conclusion, Morgan makes a case for a thing that can impact your brand significantly -- a calendar. A simple, low-tech calendar. And by that, he means making the time to work on your brand and build a body of content that positions your expertise.

Ultimately, Brand Against the Machine asserts that we have to take action. We shouldn't accept conservative timelines or axioms like "Rome wasn't built in a day." You should stay on it and build your brand for awesomeness as fast as you can without limitations and timelines imposed by others.

Are you charged with being your company's brand steward? Or are you an entrepreneur looking to create a unique brand that stands out from the crowd? If so, then Brand Against the Machine is a must read. It's also an enjoyable read. Morgan's tone keeps the book light with jokes about kidney punches and mothers-in-law. At the end of the book, you feel like you know the author pretty well.

Moreover, Morgan's background as a realtor (talk about an industry where stand-out brands are a must) keeps the book grounded in action. What some might call odd tangents in a book about branding -- such as charity, leadership, and email marketing -- are precisely the types of holistic, new-school tools we need to be focusing on.

Most of all, the book makes the case for the "squishy" concept of branding in a world that's been redefined by new media. Branding used to be tied to traditional advertising's billboards and TV ads. Morgan helps us see branding in a new light.

If you're responsible for building a stand-out brand in our noisy, new media-driven world, Brand Against the Machine deserves a spot on your bookshelf.

Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition
Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition
by Michael A. Stelzner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.40
79 used & new from $0.01

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Launch Your Brand with the Elevation Principle, June 27, 2011
What do the entrepreneur at the kitchen table and the frustrated corporate marketing exec have in common? Both struggle with launching things. Both have been burned by the broken promises of marketing in our rapidly changing economy.

Modern consumers are more educated and informed than ever before. They've got your number and, most of all, they don't want to be marketed and sold to. So where does that leave you and your idea? How can you cut through the clutter and rise above it all?

"People want valuable insight, access to great people, and recognition before they want products and services." This is the thesis offered early on in the new book Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Above the Competition by Michael A. Stelzner, the founder of Social Media Examiner. Those people that you want to reach with your widget or website? The ones that don't want to be marketed to? What they do want is to have their problems solved -- preferably by a trusted expert. So how do you do this?

Launch's stage-by-stage, rocket-like assembly lays this out effectively and formulaically for you through The Elevation Principle. This theory states that Great Content + Other People - Marketing Messages = Growth.

As the book is built around the metaphor of launching a rocket into space, the great content you need to produce is broken into two categories. First, there's the 'primary fuel' you need to keep your rocket moving. This is the basic stuff we all create each day and week. How-to articles, interviews, reviews, case studies, and the like. This builds your body of work. But what about that big tank in the center of the rocket?

This booster is the 'nuclear fuel' that gives you that kick you need to breakthrough and get where you're going. This is the harder-to-produce content like research reports, white papers, and events. This propels your subscribers, leads, customers, and ultimately your business into orbit. A classic example of nuclear fuel is Disney's development of theme parks, which leveraged their existing content while taking their experience to a whole new level of engagement.

Rockets don't fly themselves, an early chapter in Launch announces. So who consumes all of this great content? To lift off, you'll need to engage three types of people:

- Reader base -- your general audience, which may or may not yet be prospects and customers (yet) but whose problems you understand
- Outside experts -- people outside your company who have access to knowledge your readers value; leveraging experts can help your idea take flight
- Fire starters -- super-experts who can help you reach the next frontier

Each of these groups is absolutely critical to helping you and your brand achieve escape velocity. You could say Launch is a book about content marketing but that's an oversimplification. If you take another step back, you'll realize that the great content is really powered by a deep belief in helping people solve their problems and the impact this has on your business. As Stelzner says, as "you lift people up they will lift you up."

As a marketer you might raise an eyebrow to learn that there is only one chapter about marketing messages in Launch and it's the very last one! Alas, though a tough pill to swallow, Stelzner's Braveheart-like plea to hold, hold, HOLD (!) the marketing messages is critical to successful implementation of the Elevation Principle.

Remember all of those people who don't what to be sold to? We've helped create that stigma, as so many of us marketers (this blogger-included) are hard-wired to ask for the sale too early. Launch tells us to focus instead on creating and sharing compelling content that you give to your audience.

Wait -- give?!? We aren't using marketing messages and we're giving our thought leadership away?!? More revolutionary thinking but Stelzner -- who has built successful businesses around both social media and white paper development using these proven principles -- reassures that even giving away some of your best ideas and content in a blog post or report will never replace you and what your business have to offer. Further, he goes on to say "something free can lead to future fees." By focusing on great content for other people and caging your overt marketing messages, Launch blazes a trail for marketers that is based on restraint.

Dog-earred, written in, and stuffed with papers, my copy of Launch is a mess already. But that's what you do with a book of action. If you are a person of action, then Launch is a book for you. While heavy on examples from Stelzner's own successful ventures, Launch also features diverse case studies ranging from solo bloggers to major corporations.

Will this be the first time you've heard of some of the ideas and concepts in Launch? Maybe not. But this will be the time you finally thread them all together and make something big out of the pieces. You see, how Stelzner packages this process here is a key element to the book's power. The launch/rocket/space metaphor is airtight. It is a flawlessly built brand story. From the formula of the Elevation Principle to primary and nuclear fuel and even the dangers of friction and drag, this parable not only dynamically illustrates the content but it packages it in an extremely memorable and easily sharable format.

You can't launch a business, brand, or rocket to the moon without a plan. And this book reads like a mission-control manual stuffed with the step-by-step processes and examples you need to achieve escape velocity. That's why Launch is a good fit for both the entrepreneur and the corporate marketer. For many of the executives I see every day and also for my wife the yoga teacher struggling to stand out from the competition. We're all looking to launch something ...

Read more of my reviews and brand-driven insights at [...]

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