#BIT15Reads: Interview with author Clive Veroni

Today at 5:00 pm ET Clive Veroni joins me to discuss his book Spin

Veroni’s book Spin revolves around the idea that modern media marketing has completely changed politics and business practices from autocratic to democratic….much the same way that education is moving.

There are so many things that Clive said that both reaffirm and challenge by beliefs in what I try to do in school each day.  In the book and the interview I tried to get Clive to talk about his own creative process and he shockingly says he doesn’t have a process!  In fact approaching each challenge in his marketing work with a fresh perspective is a strength which he uses all the time.  As I suspected through Clive’s own writing, he has a deep relationship with literature, art and beauty which helps him in non-linear problem solving.  It is refreshing to hear how much his arts education background has helped him with the empathy-building and narrative-constructing that he requires on a daily basis.

Final words, dear reader:  You need to read this book.

#BIT15Reads: Spin by Clive Veroni

Spin: How Politics Has the Power to Turn Marketing on Its HeadSpin: How Politics Has the Power to Turn Marketing on Its Head by Clive Veroni
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Clive Veroni is a masterful writer and this is a timely book. Not until most of the way through this book does he reveal that his degree in English literature has served him well in the world of marketing…and it has also served him well as a writer. This 295 page book is tightly edited to emphasize the organization of Veroni’s argument and and the marvelous flow of his ideas. Although it is largely a retrospective on politics and marketing in order to show cause and effect relationships, Veroni’s introspective analysis rings true about current events as well. My favourite chapters are #4, The Age of the Open Brand, and #7 The Impropable Team. Veroni argues that real-time social media has “turned the old brand autocracy into a new brand democracy” and I think we’ve just seen that happen in the Canadian election with the sweeping majority won by now Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. In line with this concept, Veroni also argues that the best think tanks happening today are a heterogeneous group of people from different backgrounds and that their varied perspectives create a tension that they have to work through in order to harmonize. In education, we call that creating dissonance. There is a lot to learn from Spin and I hope to see more from Veroni.

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#BIT15Reads: Passionate disagreement

“….ideas that inspire passionate disagreement can lead to success” (Clive Veroni, Spin, p. 27)

At last I’ve found a common thread between three #BIT15Reads books (two books is easy).  Veroni says that modern marketing has finally understood that being really disagreeable, can also make you memorable and he goes on to say that politicians have known this for years.  Spin is such a great book to be reading at the same time as a national election is happening as it spins the motivation behind every political sentence right now.

The data in Christian Rudder’s Dataclysm agrees. Rudder is the co-founder of OkCupid, a major matchmaking site in the U.S., and his fascinating book explains what our data can tell us when we’re not looking.  It also says that the most extreme answers often get the most attention either because they passionately disagree or maybe because they disagree passionately.  I can certainly attest that the fact that a certain significant male in my life first drew my attention by NOT reading the required books in our common Canadian Children’s Literature class and then argued vehemently for issues that he had no basis for.  (See? Still stirs me up.) According to Rudder, there are two polarizing questions to ask a potential mate:

  • Do you like scary movies?
  • Have you ever travelled alone to another country?

See what I mean?  The answers to these questions move me immediately to that deal breaker clause…..or do they?  Because what I most admire in other people is also what I am also looking to improve in myself.

So that’s the reason that I’m also currently reading (in audiobook) Nicholas Carr’s book The Glass Cage….because Carr makes me crazy.  His hyperbolic style of using ancient history to prove a very modern point makes me feel nauseated and foolish.  I say to myself: how could I not see this doomsday he speaks of coming?  Our reliance on the machine has been centuries in the making.  So despite my attraction for all things shiny and new, the archivist in me says: Yes, let’s slow down the automation and mindfully work to become more self-reliant.  I hate Carr and his smug smile because his skepticism is irritatingly well-grounded and his arguments push back all of my knee-jerk impulses to forge blindly ahead.

On that note: please if you’re reading any one of the fabulous #BIT15Reads choices, it is time for us to whittle down our list by rating your reading.  Please do so here in the long form version of “how many stars?” here:
http://goo.gl/forms/r3Y84tpveK