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on July 9, 2015
As a general rule, I completely detest Big Pharma and everything involved with it. I could not help but make an exception when I read Hard Sell: Evolution of A Viagra Salesman.
I appreciated the author’s quick wit, humorous sarcasm and how his insatiable desire to do as little as possible somehow translated to working smarter, not harder (pun not intended). His writing style makes me feel like he is having a conversation where he has leaned in to share privileged (and juicy) information with me, resulting in a quick read and leaving me wanting just a bit more.
Books that become movies are usually butchered by Hollywood, and while Love and Other Drugs has certainly been “Hollywood-ized”, it is still similar enough to Hard Sell that it wasn’t ruined. The book is still better, though.
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on May 3, 2011
I have been meaning to watch "Love and Other Drugs" - the movie that this book inspired, especially after a recent sales meeting when a co-worked mentioned that all the fuss, hype and stunts reminded him of this movie!

But as I am on a reading kick right now, I decided to buy the book instead! I am glad I did! It was a fun, easy, entertaining read. Very engaging, funny and well written! But for me, the funniest part, was just how true this book was (Viagra part aside - I cannot validate that !)

Now, just to set the record straight, I have never worked for Pfizer, but I have worked in this industry! Unlike the author, I have not stayed in bed until 10 am while professing to work, nor have I paid someone to fill up my company car while I enjoy a cocktail or many on a beach; and I have never dipped into the company products - I think a lot of companies have measures in place these days to guard against that! Though I am sure this does go on!

But that aside, the details on the training had be spewing quotes to my husband who had listened to all of this before as I relayed my own tales of training! I almost died laughing at how the author had worked for such a completely different company, yet had experiences so similar to me..and the manager ride day!! I am sure every Pharma and Med Rep could relate to that!!

This is one of the most fun reads I have had in a while, though I recommend it to any reader...I really suggest this is a must read to anyone that has ever worked in this industry!
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on March 21, 2005
I'm an executive at a major drug company and I hesitated at first about writing a review for "Hard Sell." But in the end I just couldn't resist. "Hard Sell" is simply too funny and too important to ignore. It was a long time since I read a 200+ page book like this one in only a day and laughed this much. I simply couldn't put it down.

Jamie Reidy tells the inside story of how he became a drug company rep and all the ways he found out to cash a paycheck while doing as little as possible. If I hadn't already heard many of these creative ideas, shared by drug reps during past sales meetings, I wouldn't have thought this was for real.

But behind the humor this is a cautionary tale to policy makers and patients. "Hard Sell" is brutally honest about what really sells drugs. What sells, according to "Hard Sell," is sex. A couple of the most memorable lines in the book are "I witnessed men undergo complete personality makeovers in the presence of female salespeople," and "The women had the most basic human response on their side; regardless how behind schedule or how crazy the day, a male doctor would snap to attention at a mere whiff of perfume or a glance at a pretty girl, his instinctive desire to reproduce having kicked into gear."

In the end, anyone who has seen the good-looking pharmaceutical sales reps in any U.S. sales force has to ask if we want to have our drugs prescribed based on "male doctors' instinctive desire to reproduce" or based on science.

As a doctor myself, I'm afraid that science is taking more and more of a backseat today.
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on January 9, 2017
good inside look at the pharmaceutical detail industry
As a physician, it's nice to be able to "pull back the curtain" on the "drug rep".
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on December 27, 2006
This book is really two books:the first 25% and the last 25% are interesting observations of how Big Pharma works(like a well oiled machine); the role of sales reps(helping MDs sort through the welter of info they get); the tactics of persuasion employed on Mds(hard core selling but effective; and the hiring of sexy/attractive woman as reps(it works) . The middle is how he did as little work as possible for the most benefit to himself---depending on your outlook it will either make you laugh or make you angry. All in all, a worthwhile and easy read. One note: the quality of the paper and the proofing is very poor as is the overall look of the book. I tend to think that he ran it by several publishers before he alighted on this one.
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on March 7, 2011
Reidy's book started out great; nice pace and interesting stories. Towards the middle it starts to lose focus. The last chapters seemed very rushed and the book ended abruptly. As a writer, Reidy has a lot of room for improvement.

For an inside look at the life of a lazy pharmaceutical sales rep, this is a good read. If you're looking into insights on the actual "evolution" of a mediocre sales rep to a #1 rep you'll be disappointed.
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on August 31, 2010
Everything went fine. The book came as promised and in excellent condition. Very pleased with the transaction.

Regarding the book itself, the author writes in a comical fashion about his entry into the world of business. However, in my opinion, the writer, if he is telling about his actual efforts, comes off as an arrogant, pompous boob. If he meant this to be a tongue-in-cheek history of his performance, I would say his effort was successful.
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VINE VOICEon July 17, 2005
James Reidy's "Hard Sell" is a funny, if troubling, personal story of Reidy's four year sojourn as a Drug Rep for Pfizer, Inc. The storyline begins with Reidy's early departure from the Army (his decision when offered) and ends with his "premature" departure from Pfizer. Premature since his sales territory achieves number one status shortly after he leaves.

Reidy provides interesting detail on the Pfizer recruiting process (they love Mormons and military officers); Pfizer's sales training program (pharmaceutical brainwashing); the tension and field tactics around being closely monitored by managers (voicemail then expense report receipts then sample sheet signatures); and, reasons why female reps do better than male reps (Gloria Steinem, where are you?).

Reidy joined Pfizer's newly formed pediatric/ENTs/ObGyn specialty sales force where he distinguished himself with mediocre sales and poor work activity. His lackluster performance put him in-line for a promotion, as the Pfizer culture encouraged the promotion of incompetence rather than dealing with it (Hank McKinnell, where are you?). Fortuitously for Reidy, he was "promoted" to a newly formed Urology sales force created to launch Viagra (erectile dysfunction), a drug launch which became the most successful in history.

The author notes that he came to view competition, Abbott and Lilly, as enemies of society because they lied and cheated. Meanwhile, he and some colleagues used "Sample Closets" as pharmaceutical filling stations when in need (as did office personnel and docs); falsified regulated sample sheet signatures when in need of time off; and rigged giveaways when seeking a new route to a doctor they wanted to build a relationship with.

One redeeming aspect of this book is the focus on the role of the drug rep (applies also to diagnostic and medical technology reps). Doctors in private practice lose their source of education about drugs and do not have time to refresh themselves about what was previously learned or educate themselves on new drugs. The number one complaint of doctors is that they do not have enough time. As a result, doctors stick to products that they were trained to use and have grown comfortable with (even if detrimental to the patient). Reps, once "in," can fill this void providing valuable clinical information on both existing and new products. However, as Reidy shows us, a rep can also take advantage of his/her trusted position influencing the decision-making process negatively.

This book is a must read for all healthcare executives, regulators, legislators, doctors, and office personnel. Not only does the book provide an insider's view of another industry problem, but also puts us on notice not to hire Jamie Ready.
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on December 20, 2010
Awesome book. So clever and well written!

Just make sure that when you go to see "Love and Other Drugs," not to have your heart set on this book remotely resembling the movie. It doesn't. They both have viagra. That would be it.
(This mentality helped me enjoy the movie, though completely apart from the book!)
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on February 22, 2015
Only about half the book was about the Viagra. He starts out schlepping drugs to Kids' Doctors. Then he decides he is tired of that grind and gets 'kicked upstairs', so to speak, to the Viagra Circuit. The information on Viagra itself, was pretty interesting. And that it works on women, too. The girls at the Urologists' offices would corner him for free samples when he would come in. Being a drug salesman is a high pressure job, and not something I would want to do. Sales, in general, turns me off, though.
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