Learn why we unthink

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When I finished reading the galley for Harry Beckwith’s latest book, Unthinking, I shot him an e-mail that said:

“Unthinking is a fantastic read.  Your other books gave readers the what and sometimes the how — this book provides the why.  It’s a perfect companion to your earlier works.  What I love most about it is that you follow your own advice — you delight and surprise readers from beginning to end.  Storytelling at it’s best!”

As you know, Harry Beckwith is a part of my trifecta of the best business writers I’ve ever read (along with Steve Farber & Joe Calloway) and his new book may be his best.  In it, he explores how our mind and experiences “play tricks” on our buying decisions.

Through his brilliant, understated storytelling, Harry shows us what’s behind our consumer behavior and…of course as marketers, how we can use those insights to better connect with and serve our customers.  Here are some examples of the stories/lessons you’ll enjoy.

  • What do Howard Hughes and 50 Cent have in common, and what do they tell us about Americans and our desires?
  • Why did Sean Connery stop wearing a toupee, and what does this tell us about American customers for any product?
  • What one thing did the Beatles, Malcolm Gladwell and Nike all notice about Americans that helped them win us over?
  • Which uniquely American traits may explain the plights of Krispy Kreme, Ford, and GM, and the risks faced by Starbuck’s?
  • Why, after every other plea failed, did “Click It or Ticket” get people to buy the idea of fastening their seat belts?

Harry would argue that the answers to these questions can be found in our childhood, our culture and from our eye’s view.  Drawing from dozens of disciplines, always enlightening Harry Beckwith answers these questions with some surprising, even startling, truths and discoveries about what motivates us.

This is really a must read for anyone who deals with customers. (As are all of his earlier works if you haven’t already read them).  Buy it by clicking here.  (Amazon affiliate link)

You can also enjoy Harry’s foray into blogging at Psychology Today.

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9 comments on “Learn why we unthink

  1. martin says:

    Interesting book, to be sure!

    I would definitely read it if the answer to the following question is yes:

    Is this book a must-read for european marketers who wants to understand the europeans? Or does it solely focus on the beautiful minds of the americans?

    1. Martin,

      I would say the book is US centric in its examples etc. although I would guess you’d find most thoughts/ideas would transfer pretty readily.


      1. Martin says:

        Thank you Drew,

        I’ll read it and let you know if your guess is right!
        BR, Martin

  2. Jen,

    It will be worth the lost sleep!


  3. Thanks Drew, I didn’t realize Harry was coming out with a new book.

    His best book yet? That’s exciting because I thought Selling the Invisible was pretty awesome! I’m definitely going to check it out.

    1. Donald —

      Come back and let me know if you think I was right or wrong!


  4. Tracy says:

    Thank you, Drew, for the info on Harry Beckwith’s new book. I always enjoy your posts and from what you have written about “Unthinking,” I know it will be an excellent read. Trying to put yourself in your customers’ mind-set is always helpful, even more so in the current economy when we are all fighting harder and harder for a piece of the market share.

    1. Tracy,

      Come back and let us know what you thought of the book! The more we understand our potential customers and what matters to them — the better we can communicate/introduce them to what we have to sell.

      It’s getting them to even consider it that’s the challenge.


  5. Cassy,

    I would say the book is US-centric in its examples but most of it is about us as human beings, not Americans.

    I think you would find enough insight that applied regardless of nationality that it would be worth the read.


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