Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The Science of Why - David Forbes

                The Science of Why delves into the psychological reasons behind why different people are attracted to different advertisements and how advertisers design the ads towards these personality types. Mr. Forbes is very knowledgeable about this subject as he owns his own consulting firm that deals with helping advertisers understand and market their products to consumers. His high level of intelligence is evident throughout the book as he writes in depth about different personality types and what these types would look for, consciously and unconsciously, in advertisements before buying the product. It often reads like a text book and I’m sure it must be a part of the recommended reading of a marketing course somewhere. I admit there were times my mind wandered a bit but Mr. Forbes does a good job of pulling the reader back in with interesting side notes and, my favorite, real life examples of how certain products and companies have used little tricks to entice different personality types to buy the product. Most of the time he doesn’t name the company or product but it’s fun to speculate which company or product he is referencing. Before reading this book I always thought myself to be fairly savvy at not falling for advertising “candy” but now I realize I’ve fallen for almost all of the tricks of the trade. The Budweiser commercial gets me every single time and I don’t even like beer! David Forbes and this book reminds me of radio personality Terry O’Reilly who discusses the same issues with advertising and I’m a huge fan of his so overall I found this book to be really fascinating. I read the digital version of this book which worked well on my ereader and the cover, although fairly plain, uses the question that plagues most of us, Why, and so caught my eye. This was an interesting and informing read.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

To Ride the Tiger - Robert Parker

                One of the meanings of the saying “to ride the tiger” is to finish a job until the end, no matter how dangerous, because getting off the tiger would have much worse consequences. This pretty much sums up Robert Parker’s life. This book takes the reader on a ride of their own as he writes graphically and candidly about his life as a Green Beret in Vietnam and his struggles with emotional and mental issues when he came home. I know very little about Vietnam so I was interested to read Mr. Parker’s first-hand account of what it was truly like for the soldiers, something the history books never really acknowledge. The whole book is hard to read due to the content but the descriptions of the war itself, knowing the story isn’t fiction, was very disturbing. The torment Mr. Parker went through in his mind as he did his job was almost as horrible as what he was ordered to do to the enemy, including women and children. In a time before PTSD was a recognized disability, Mr. Parker came home unready to deal with living a normal life. The fact that he befriends quite a few unsavory characters, including mob bosses, adds to a life story that should be fiction but is entirely true. It is a gripping account of life experiences that thankfully most of us will never have to deal with but we should be aware of them. Everyone should read this book because it will open reader’s eyes on so many levels. I read the digital form of this book and it translated well to my ereader. The bright red cover is eye catching but it’s the content that will really catch a reader’s eyes.

Kill the Lights - David Wahlberg

                A young woman is found raped and murdered at Fatman’s Cove in Malibu which causes concern for Ty Malone and his group of tenants from the property he manages which is actually a front for a bunch of good hearted small time crooks. They pride themselves on looking out for those who can’t look out for themselves and righting wrongs. Reading this much within the first few pages made me think this was going to be a novel I could really sink my teeth into but the more I read the more I found myself losing interest. Kill the Lights is one of those books where the author seems to have so many ideas that he wants to get into the story that the main idea gets a bit watered down. Had this book only been about the murdered girl or sweatshops or even the cut throat world of fashion, I would have loved it but, for me, there was too much going on. The author’s knowledge of the setting in California made the area really come alive and helped me visualize a place that I have never seen. I liked how the characters were written even though Ty was not particularly likeable for me. I read this in digital format and it translated well to my ereader. The cover is attractive and did catch my eye. This wasn’t my favorite book but the author’s style is one I like so I will be sure to look for other books written by him.