My thoughts on The Business of Belief: How the World's Best Marketers, Designers, Salespeople, Coaches, Fundraisers, Educators, Entrepreneurs and Other Leaders Get Us to Believe are ripped directly from my Amazon.com review, which the author called his favorite review ever via Twitter.
This is an odd little book. This text reminded me of the quirky, profound cross-genre texts so many of us were in love with in my MFA program. It’s different and feels philosophical and smart, and I think that’s why so many folks are rushing to give this title five stars—you feel like you should love this title if you are a clever, thoughtful person. Or maybe the majority of those who read it really connected so deeply with this book.
This book feels like an accumulation of all of the asides from a much larger, meatier work. I’m sure the idea was to read between the pages, but I feel like something was missing there. And I think there was a lot missing. I appreciate the author either leaving us to draw our own conclusions or assuming we would find the way, but I don’t think that’s why most folks snag business books—it’s why we read poetry. And not everyone gets the point, and that includes those who rave about this title.
Because I work in marketing and branding and I read many related titles, I did get a lot out of this book by applying the vignettes to my existing knowledge, current brand philosophy questions, and continuing education studies. But I had to stop and breathe and think a bit before going on, the way one would before moving on from reading something philosophical, spiritual, or poetic. I had the same little “ah” after reading as I do after being touched in some way by a poem I’m reading. I had to let it settle in.
However, I’m not certain I like my business-related books being this profound. I don’t know if I want to “work” so hard to get to the takeaway. While I’m passionate about what I do, I don’t know if I want to have to take in my thoughts on brand and belief the way one ruminates on religion or philosophy.
At the same time, I had to appreciate the treatment of the topic matter. Beliefs in brands or products are often as zealous as those tied to spirituality, so in terms of a merge of form and function, it’s pretty darn clever. It also is quite a disruption to what we expect from a business book—it does make you read differently, forcing you to slow down and digest. Maybe another holdover from my MFA days, the smartness of the choices Asacker made for putting this together made me smile.
I only gave it four stars. I can’t claim to be clever enough to give it five.