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The Responsive Chord Paperback – September, 1974

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Paperback, September, 1974
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Editorial Reviews


Schwartz is original and intriguing; the book does strike a responsive chord. --New York Magazine

About the Author

Tony Schwartz, the acknowledged master of electronic media, has created more than 20,000 radio and television spots for products, political candidates and non-profit public interest groups. Featured on programs by Bill Moyers, Phil Donahue and Sixty Minutes, among others, Schwartz has been described as a "media guru", a "media genius" and a "media muscleman". The tobacco industry even VOLUNTARILY stopped their advertising on radio and television after Schwartz's produced the first anti-smoking ad to ever appear (children dressing in their parents' clothing, in front of a mirror). The American Cancer Society credits this ad, and others that followed, with the tobacco industry's decision to go off the air, rather than compete with Schwartz's ad campaign.

When Marshall McLuhan met Tony Schwartz, he said he met "a disciple with twenty years prior experience!" Later, McLuhan and Schwartz shared the Schweitzer Chair at Fordham University.

Credited with the single most effective and talked about ad ever produced, Tony Schwartz created the "daisy ad", as it has become known, to highlight the dangers of nuclear arms. It was used by the Johnson campaign in 1964 to clearly illustrate his position on the use of nuclear weapons. Considering the extensive discussion that the ad has sparked, it is remarkable that the ad ran only once.

Schwartz has created the media campaigns of over 200 candidates, including the winning 1976 presidential campaign of Jimmy Carter, the 1964 Johnson presidential election, the campaigns of Abe Ribicoff (Connecticut) and Daniel Moynihan (New York), and selected campaigns of Tom Foley (Washington state), Mike Gravel (Alaska), Bob Hattfield (West Virginia), Edward Kennedy (Massachusetts) Tom Lantos (California), Warren Rudman (New Hampshire) and Andrew Young (Georgia), to name but a few.

For thirty one years (1945-1976) Schwartz created and produced a weekly radio program of people and sounds of New York on WNYC (AM & FM). For over 15 years he wrote a weekly column for Media Industry Newsletter (MIN). For many years he has been a Visiting Electronic professor at Harvard University's School of Public Health, teaching physicians how to use media to deal with public health problems. He is also teaching at New York University and Columbia and Emerson colleges. Because Schwartz is unable to travel distances, he delivers all out of town talks by 2-way telephone. Schwartz is a frequent lecturer at universities and conferences, and has given presentations on six of the seven continents (not Antarctica). He holds honorary doctorates from John Jay, Emerson and Stonehill Colleges.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 173 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First edition (September 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385088957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385088954
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #795,866 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first encountered Tony Schwartz in the early 1970s thanks to a remarkable grad school teacher named Ralph Baldwin. Following a symposium on media in New York City in which Tony demonstrated several examples of his work, Dr. Baldwin arranged for our small class (no more than 10 of us)to visit Tony in his studio. The visit was most impressive for one single point that he dramatically demonstrated, namely the difference between "sound" and "noise." "Noise," he explained is nothing more than "unwanted sound."
My copy of "The Responsive Chord" - purchased when it was first published - has been read and re-read to the point of delapidation. I have been working in advertising for more than 30 years and this book has been virtually my bible. I have lent it to students and collegues innumerable times. The reasons is simple: Tony's message goes to the heart of communication and persuasion. To reach a person and motivate him or her to respond to your message requires more than information, facts, and glitzy effects. Your message must "resonate" with the person. It must strike that "Responsive Chord" by connecting and touching your audience's whole matrix of beliefs, cultural identifiactions, opinions and values.
In this book, Tony Schwartz reveals completely, clearly and definitively his secret of success. And, in a way that inspires emulation and appreciation.
I can honestly say that my own work, when it has been most effective, whether in TV, radio, or print, has been the result of its reflection of Tony's principles as delineated in "The Responsive Chord.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For me, the information in this book is as vital and relevant now as it was when it was published in 1973, for the same reason that the insights shared by Marshall McLuhan in his famous 1969 Playboy Magazine interview are still vital and relevant.

I really cannot talk about Tony Schwartz without mentioning Marshall McLuhan. For Schwartz, McLuhan was like what pure science is to applied technology. Schwartz essentially practiced what McLuhan preached and taught others to do the same.

Today Marshall McLuhan is mainly known for a statement he made and the title of a book he published in 1967 -- "The Medium Is The Message". It is tragic that so few people understand what he meant by this!

Before the Supreme Court decided to lift the ban on corporate spending, I would have chosen "unfortunate" instead of "tragic" to describe the possible impact of this lack of understanding. I also would have chosen "important" rather than "vital" to describe the relevance of the information contained in this book and McLuhan's interview.

McLuhan was more interested in enlightening people as regards how electronic media affects us, so we would not be manipulated by it:

"The extensions of man's consciousness induced by the electric media could conceivably usher in the millennium, but it also holds the potential for realizing the Anti-Christ -- Yeats' rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouching toward Bethlehem to be born. Cataclysmic environmental changes such as these are, in and of themselves, morally neutral; it is how we perceive them and react to them that will determine their ultimate psychic and social consequences.
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As a public health professional (who also took a course from Tony Schwartz, through Harvard), I've found this book invaluable. Anyone who thinks that just giving people facts will change attitudes and thus behavior needs to read this book and learn how the real world works.
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