Customer Review

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Premise, Terrible Author, July 13, 2009
This review is from: Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy (Hardcover)
This book has a fascinating idea, using fMRI imaging to see what parts of our brain are used when we make decisions (thereby getting a direct look of how we actually make decisions and not how we "think" we make decision) - like for instance do most people buy a Prius to help the environment and save money, or do they buy the Prius as a statement to let everyone else know that they are conscious about the environment (random example)

Sadly, the books is basically a couple of mediocre ideas padded with a lot bad writing, unscientific analysis, and the author stroking his own ego through lots of bragging and patting himself on the back for his own brilliance.

This is a direct quote from the first page of introduction the describing the author:

"anyone seeing Martin from twenty feet away... [will see like] a slight blond creature that has just stepped into the spotlight. You wait for the light to fade, but it doesn't. Like a pre-Raphaelite painting, there is a glow that emanates form Martin as if he was destined to be on stage. No, not as a matinee idol, but as some god-waif. The man exudes virtue. Close up, he is even more starting. I've never met anyone with wise eyes, set in such a youthful face... you might ask him for an autograph".

Think of the type of person who would use that to introduce himself... seriously... and it just goes on and on...

"But this study wasn't going to come cheap, and I knew that without corporate backing, it was dead in the water. But when I get an idea in my head that keeps me up at night, I'm persistent. Politely pushy, you might call it. Those twenty-seven messages on your answering machine. They're all from me (sorry)."

"By way of profession, I'm a global branding expert. That is, it's been a lifelong mission (and passion) to figure out how consumers think ... If you look around, chances are you'll find my branding fingerprints all over your house or apartment ... As a branding expert and brand futurist (meaning that the sum of my globe-hopping experience gives me a helicopter view of probable future consumer and advertising trends) ..."

"I've been told more times than I can count that my appearance is as unconventional as what I do for a living ... My features [he has a baby face], my raked-back blond hair, and my habit of wearing all black give a lot of people the impression that I'm some kind of quirky child evangelist, or maybe some precocious, slightly wired high-school student who got lost on the way to the science lab and ended up in a corporate boardroom by mistake. I've gotten used to it over the years. I suppose you could say it has evolved into my brand."

I myself ignored the negative reviews bought the book anyways and paid for it with several hours of suffering through this book (there are very few books that I would describe as suffering). Please do not make the same mistake as me... here are some much better books...

Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions - a great book that covers a similar idea... basically we think we are rational people that make decisions based on logical thinking... but in reality there are several times when we don't make rational choices. The author brings up several real life situations that I'm sure we think about ourselves and does lots of experiments to test and understand our thinking. This author is not only intelligent (Columbia undergrad, PhD Cognitive Psychology at UNC Chapel Hill, PhD Business Duke, Professor at MIT and later Duke), but is a good writer (i.e. he can write nice, clean, concise sentences that get his ideas across) and his a bit of dry humor. I highly recommend this.

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School - an interesting book by Molecular Biology at University of Washington that talks about how the brain works. He does keep things pretty simply though... so anyone who as taken a Intro to Psychology course in college will bit of the information as commonplace (but there are a few interesting things in there). Also his writing seems to feel like he's doing a live college lecture more than a book (that's just me). I somewhat recommend this.

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (P.S.) The book that help start the entire genre. Very interesting. Highly recommend this one.
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