Timely, smart, and stimulating; should provoke a re-evaluation of brand marketing strategy.




Horst, a Fortune 500 chief marketing officer, addresses the marketing challenges posed by a fractious political climate.

Horst’s on-target observations in this excellent debut speak to urgent, relatively recent issues for marketers. He begins with an overview of the new reality: “A perfect storm of forces has created an environment where brands can instantly become this week’s focus for indignant and increasingly activist consumers, energized social media influencers, and news media hungry for headlines.” The first part of the book covers the broader elements of tribalism, fear and mistrust, fake news, and the politicization of just about everything. The author makes a key point about the impact on companies: They cannot stand on the sidelines, because “their every word and action will be scrutinized and judged, as will every silence and inaction.” In the second section, the author concentrates on the “new rules” of marketing. Particularly intriguing is Horst’s “Brand Risk-Relevance Curve,” which ranges from “head in sand” to a brand’s values and purpose to the “polar position” it might adopt on current issues. Rather than discuss rules in isolation, Horst weaves in several examples. For instance, Patagonia’s decision to directly confront President Donald Trump on public land policy illustrates how one brand can pursue a bold position regardless of the potential consequences. He also takes aim at a number of assumptions that deserve to be challenged. For example: Does relying on such marketing technologies as big data and sophisticated analytics obscure the need for marketers to connect with consumers in an effort to gain qualitative insights? Such salient observations lend a richness to the guide. “Leading Under Fire,” the third part of this well-crafted work, is sure to be relevant to executives whose responsibilities extend well beyond brand marketing. Horst begins by examining many of the reasons leaders might not want to engage in a “social/political agenda.” In giving voice to these objections, the author demonstrates the polarization he has been discussing in the first two-thirds of the book while laying the groundwork for his closing argument. Horst suggests there is an inevitability to a storm of some sort hitting a brand and that it’s a leader’s responsibility to anticipate it. His advice with regard to responding under fire is smart, pragmatic, and thoughtful. The concluding chapter comprises commentary from several senior marketing executives at brands and agencies who speak openly about whether the new marketing reality is here to stay. This section, at times sobering, is remarkable for its consistency of message. Horst does not presuppose the action a marketer needs to take; rather, he counsels that the reader “learn how to navigate the new realities and, better yet, take control of them and of your destiny.”

Timely, smart, and stimulating; should provoke a re-evaluation of brand marketing strategy.

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-59932-926-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Advantage Media Group

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...


A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.


An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet