Thursday, November 25, 2010

Book Review: Fascinate by Sally Hogshead

Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation by Sally Hogshead is a book I have been waiting close to six months to read.  Took me longer than I had anticipated to get to it, but I'm glad that I finally did because this book is amazing and a must for any communicator or marketer.

There seems to be a trend in marketing thinking these days.  In order to really understand why we do things (like buy or hold onto an idea) we need to look to the "ologies".  Biology (or Buy-ology), sociology and anthropology are all being used to explain why we do seemingly irrational things.  In Linchpin, Seth Godin talks about the lizard brain and its power over our actions.  In Made to Switch, the Heath brothers talk about engaging the rider, directing the elephant and shaping the path... all of these are metaphors for parts of our brain.  In order to write Fascinate, Sally Hogshead must have poured over thousands of pages of research because much of book is based on scientific research about what fascinates us.

At the start of this book, we learn the golden hallmarks of a fascinating message:

  1. Provokes a strong and immediate emotional reaction
  2. Creates advocates
  3. Becomes "cultural shorthand" for a specific set of actions of values
  4. Incites conversation
  5. Forces competitors to realign around it
  6. Triggers social revolutions
 After this, we spend the rest of the book learning about the seven fascination triggers:


However, what I would say makes this book really stand out is the amazing three part ending on how to evaluate how fascinating your company or message is, how to create a fascinating message and then how to execute it.  This is the part of this book that sets it apart because it gives you specific exercises you can do in order to harness the power of fascination for your own endeavors.

Simply put this book is a must-read and one I will be adding to my own personal collection for sure.  If you'd like to get a taste for the material before reading it, you can listen to Mitch Joel's Six Pixels of Separation Podcast that has an interview with Sally Hogshead.  

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