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Tag Archives: Marketing Book Reviews

Review: The CSS Anthology

CSS Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks and HacksThe CSS Anthology: 101 Essential Tips, Tricks & Hacks
Author: Rachel Andrew
Paperback: 400 pages
Cost: $26.37
Published: August, 2007

I’ve never claimed to be a programmer but working in SEO means that I’m involved in creating or editing hundreds of pages over the course of a year. Understanding how CSS works, and being able to implement basic to more advanced CSS strategies, has become essential over the past few years. Until now I’ve only had a rudimentary knowledge of CSS. The CSS Anthology has helped me grow my knowledge significantly on the topic.

I’ll admit that I didn’t follow the coding examples line by line, but that’s the beauty of this book. You don’t have to be a CSS programmer to be able to follow it. The great benefit of this book to the non-programmer like me, is simply knowing what kind of styling tricks can be accomplished via CSS. It’s easy to search for CSS tricks once you know what can be done, but until you do, then searching can be a shot in the dark. That’s what makes CSS Anthology such a good reference.

At 400 pages, it’s actually a very quick read unless you study all the CSS code examples provided. If you’re like me, you burn right past them which leaves you with probably about 150 pages of actual reading. But it’s all very valuable material. I can say that I have a much firmer grasp on what can be done with CSS and as I look to implement some of these tricks on the sites I work on I’ll frequently be referring back to the book.


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Review: The Successful Investor

The Successful Investor by William J. O'NeilThe Successful Investor: What 80 Million People Need to Know to Invest Profitably and Avoid Big Losses
Authors: William J. O’Neil
Paperback: 183pages
Cost: $8.76
Published: September, 2003

After dabbling with the stock market for a couple of years and finding both moderate success and spectacular failure, O’Neil’s book “The Successful Investor” pretty much confirmed what I already knew. I was doing this all wrong. That’s the depressing part. But the good part is that O’Neil teaches you how to do stock investing right.

“The Successful Investor” outlines five steps that every stock investor needs to know. Complete with stock charts and visual illustrations, O’Neil provides a very easy to understand step-by-step instruction for wise investing. Of course as the cliche goes… it’s easier said than done.

While O’Neil teaches you how to read stock charts, he makes it look much easier than it is to the non-professional investor. I’m certain that with practice–and O’Neil makes this point in the book–one gets better and better at it. But even while going through the five steps, knowing how and where to get the information you need before you invest is extremely time consuming. I’m certain it would be much easier if we all knew what stocks to watch, but that’s up to each investor overall.

I definitely would recommend this book to anyone investing in the market. Even if you can’t immediacy put all of the steps to use you’ll learn a great deal about the market and you’ll have a much better idea of how and when to invest in what than most people do now.


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Review: The Eyes Have It by Kevin Lee

The Eyes Have it by Kevin LeeThe Eyes Have It: How to Market in an Age of Divergent Consumers, Media Chaos and Advertising Anarchy
Authors: Kevin Lee with Steve Baldwin
Hardcover: 189 pages
Cost: $16.47
Published: October, 2007

I didn’t know what to expect going into The Eye’s Have It. I know Kevin Lee’s reputation in the SEM industry, which is good, as well as his thoughts on the SEO industry (which can be way off base) so I’m sure those things colored my perception before I even began to read. But I have to say that whatever you know or think of Lee, this book is well worth reading.

The book takes you through a lot of the history of marketing, but not as a “here is how things used to be done” but more as a way of using the past to explain the future of marketing. Lee and Baldwin did a fantastic job researching the days of marketing past and exploring that under the light of the new age of digital marketing.

Upon closing the back cover you’ll feel breathless with the wealth of information covered as well as the ignition of new thoughts and ideas for creating forward thinking marketing campaigns. I’ve probably learned more from this book about marketing than any book I’ve read last year. But the trick now is to take this information and to translate it into new results for the new advertising age we are in.


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New Marketing, What Are You Waiting For?

Meatball Sundae
There is a new book out by Seth Godin that gets to the why of New Marketing and explains the 14 trends that go with it. He encourages you to wisely dive in and embrace it. What are you waiting for?

Seth Godin who has written 11 books to date including Purple Cow as well as being an entrepreneur and highly respected speaker has another great book for us to read, Meatball Sundae. I truly enjoyed yet again his getting to the point writing merged with real-life business examples. Godin doesn’t focus on the negative instead he illustrates through words what a company did and what they could have done better and on the flip side what they did and what he thought was amazing about it. He also includes many websites that should be looked over as examples or used in your new marketing strategy. Godin gets into old marketing and new marketing how they differ and why old marketing is not the future or the present. He touches on, The Long Tail theory coined by Chris Anderson which is also one of SEOmoz’s must read books. Godin explains why direct communication with your customers is more important then ever and how one person can effect your business by using direct communication. It’s up to you to make it a positive comment or a negative one.

Quote from Meatball Sundae:

“If the New Marketing can be characterized by just one idea, it’s this: Ideas that spread through groups of people are far more powerful then ideas delivered at an individual.”

This book is written for the busy bee it has an executive summary and gets to the point in only 232 pages.

Seth’s Blog is another good resource to look over and see what point he’s making today or even in the past. I signed up for it about a month ago and have found it to be refreshingly informative and useful. He also has free ebooks which touch on subjects such as website design, blogs and the new web.

In my opinion Godin’s success thus far has come by doing exactly as he preaches and not being knowledge greedy. He focuses on the success of others and doesn’t hold back knowledge because of insecurities; which you’ll find in the business world a lot. People who are so focused on keeping all the best knowledge to themselves in fear of their jobs, let it go. Once you build others up you’ll find they are thankful and want to help you succeed as well. Try it, you’ll be surprised how much more of an asset to your company you’ll become.


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Review: Link Values Factor

Link Values Factor

Wiep Knol put together a fantastic document on internal and external linking values. Developed in the same format as Rand’s Search Engine Ranking Factors, Wiep’s Link Values Factors puts together some of the greatest minds in link building, presents them with a series of factors and asks them to rate each according to how much weight it carries.

As is usually the case, not everyone agrees, which is what makes this document fun. It’s very eye opening in that some of the top minds disagree so completely on what is or isn’t a valuable link. It only goes to show that there is still much to be proven in the science of link building. But you have to admire anybody who can definitely answer any of these questions at all. A lot of time and testing has to go into knowing many of these answers, and you know that even if in disagreement, these guys are well educated in the realm of links.

But the experts are more often in agreement than disagreement which makes this an extremely valuable document for learning and understanding the good and the bad of link getting. Of course, don’t confuse this with a how-to document, it’s not. You won’t learn any link building strategies or gain any insight in the process of getting good quality links. But what you will learn is what makes a quality link and what does not.


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2007 Reading List Wrap-Up

Last year I made it a New Years Resolution goal to read a book a week. I’ve actually had that goal for the past several years now but it wasn’t until this year that I started documenting all my reading so I’d actually know if I hit my mark. I did.

So if you ever want to know what a person like me reads, here you go. This list incorporates all my business and personal reading. The links will either go to my reviews of the books which I have already posted here on the blog or directly to the Amazon product page.

  1. How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter, Ann Coulter
  2. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell
  3. Quantum Business, Bobbi DePorter with Mike Hernacki
  4. The Winning Attitude: Your Pathway to Personal Success, John C. Maxwell
  5. The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, John Grisham
  6. The 7 Best Things Happy Couples Do…plus one, John and Linda Freil
  7. True North: Discovering Your Authentic Leadership, Bill George
  8. Developing the Leaders Around You, John C. Maxwell
  9. Viral Copy: Trading Words For Traffic, Brian Clark (30-page printout)
  10. Which Sells Best: A quick Start Guide to Testing for Retailers, Bryan Eisenberg & Anthony Garcia (45-page printout)
  11. Knock Knock, Seth Godin (41-page printout)
  12. How to Increase Keyword Saturation (Without Destroying the Flow of Your Copy, Karon Thackston (34-page printout)
  13. 365 Ways to Motivate and Reward Your Employees Every Day – With Little or No Money, Dianna Podmoroff
  14. Next, Michael Crichton
  15. Becoming a Person of Influence: How to Positively Impact the Lives of Others, John C. Maxwell & Jim Dornan
  16. No B.S. Business Success: The No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Tough and Spirited Guide, Dan Kennedy
  17. A Mind for Pool: How to Master the Mental Game, Philip B. Capelle
  18. Persuasion Architecture: Persuading Customers When They Ignore Marketing, Future Now, Inc. (60-page printout)
  19. Coaching Your Kids to Be Leaders: The Keys to Unlocking Their Potential, Pat Williams and John Wooden
  20. Search Engine Ranking Factors V2, SEOmoz (43-page printed web page)
  21. The Professional’s Guide to Link Building, SEOmoz (40-page printout)
  22. Deception Point, Dan Brown
  23. The Conversion Expert’s Workbook, FutureNow
  24. Guerrilla Marketing: Secrets for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business , Jay Conrad Levinson
  25. The Professional’s Guide to Keyword Research, SEOmoz (70 page printout)
  26. The New Art of War, Tactics, and Power, Rodney Ohebsion
  27. How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie
  28. Save the Sale!, Bryan & Jeffrey Eisenberg (32 page printout)
  29. The Illustrated Guide to Building a Search Friendly Website, SEOmoz (35 page printout)
  30. Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines, National Cancer Institute (73 page printout)
  31. A Business Case for Usability, E-Consultancy (18-page printout)
  32. Online Lead Generation (B2C) 2007, E-Consultancy (32-page printout)
  33. Blog Profits Blueprint, Yaro Starak (55-page printout)
  34. People’s History of the United States: 1492 to Present (P.S.), Howard Zinn
  35. The Usability Kit, Gerry Gaffney and Daniel Szuc (350 page binder)
  36. Leadership, Rudolph Giuliani
  37. Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, Orson Scott Card
  38. Arrogance: Rescuing America From The Media Elite, Bernard Goldberg
  39. The Cluetrain Manifesto, Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, David Weinberger
  40. Reframe Your Life: Transforming Your Pain into Purpose, Stephen Arterburn
  41. Breaking the Idols of Your Heart: How to Navigate the Temptations of Life, Dan B. Allender & Tremper Longman III
  42. Facing Your Giants: The God Who Made a Miracle Out of David Stands Ready to Make One Out of You, Max Lucado
  43. Think Biblically!: Recovering a Christian Worldview, John MacArthur
  44. The Power of Simple Prayer: How to Talk with God about Everything, Joyce Meyer
  45. Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists, Shirley Kaiser
  46. The Perfect Post: Advanced Writing Skills for Pro Bloggers, Bill Hilton (50-page printout)
  47. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Malcolm Gladwell
  48. S.H.A.P.E.: Finding and Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life, Erik Rees
  49. Skin, Ted Dekker
  50. Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
  51. Social Media Daily, Michelle MacPhearson (26-page printout)
  52. Professional Search Engine Optimization w/PHP, Jaimie Sirovich and Cristian Darie
  53. The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class, Keith Cameron Smith
  54. Holy Discontent: Fueling the Fire That Ignites Personal Vision, Bill Hybels
  55. Teaching Sells: Forget everything you know about making money online… and start making some, Brian Clark (22-page download)
  56. Social Media Optimization Strategies, SEOmoz (55-page download)
  57. Angels & Demons, Dan Brown
  58. Do It Wrong Quickly, Mike Moran
  59. Seinfeld on Marketing: 7 Marketing Lessons From the Cast of “The Show About Nothing”, Bill Gammel (14-page download)
  60. Blink, Malcolm Gladwell
  61. Online Retail 2006: User Experience Benchmarks, E-Consultancy (85-page download)
  62. Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right: How One Side Lost Its Mind and the Other Lost Its Nerve, Bernard Goldberg
  63. Search Engine Marketing Kit, Dan Thies & Dave Davies
  64. Personality Plus, Florence Littauer
  65. Viral Marketing and Linkbait on the Web, SEOmoz (46-page printout)
  66. The Shining, Stephen King

It’s quite the long list so I think this year I’ll start posting these reading lists monthly. If any of the links above are broken, just let me know so I can get it fixed. Happy reading in 2008!


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Review: Viral Marketing and Linkbait by SEOmoz

This is the last of my book reviews for the year. I had a pile of completed books that I hadn’t had a chance to write up my reviews of them until this week. Hence the all-review-all-the-time thing we got going on here at EMP this week. Next week I’ll be publishing a complete list of all the books and documents (not counting blogs) that I’ve read in 2007. That’ll be a treat for all you readers out there.

Anyway, on with the show. I got a chance to read SEOmoz’s Viral Marketing and Linkbait on the Web document. Yes, you need a subscription to read it. The document does a great job of explaining the broad strokes of link bait, starting with the audience. They outline who they are, where they are, and how you reach them, and why you want to do this in the first place.

The document takes you through a variety of options for linkbait concepts with a number of illustrations, examples and ideas along with. They also address the ever-important protocol for putting together a successful linkbait campaign, covering everything from domains to server load issues. Finally, they touch on measuring your link bait success to ensure that your hard work can be measured in some form or another.

Viral Marketing and Linkbait prints out to just under 50 pages and is worth taking the time to read, especially for anyone struggling in the world of link baiting. I think that if there was one drawback of this document is that it assumes that you already have the social media profiles in place to leverage a successful linkbait campaign. That is one thing that we’ve found to be a near requirement, though there are always exceptions.

After having read all of the SEOmoz premium content I have a few simple requests. 1) Create a cover page and a table of contents, the latter being of most importance. 2) Add page numbers. Some of us like to print things out rather than read on the screen and page numbers help keep the document organized and make pieces more easily bookmarked for future reference.


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Review: Personality Plus: How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself

Personality Plus: How to Understand Others by Understanding YourselfPersonality Plus: How to Understand Others by Understanding Yourself
Author: Florence Littauer
Paperback: 208 pages
Cost: $10.93
Published: 1983

Years ago, and a few times since, I took a personality test that was unbelievably accurate at describing me and how I act, react and respond to life situations. For the past ten years, I’ve been looking for that test and finally found what I was looking for with Florence Littauer’s book Personality Plus.

Littauer classifies the four primary personality types: Popular Sanguine, Perfect Melancholy, Powerful Choleric and Peaceful Phlegmatic. Most every person fits into one of these personality categories, while some (like me) are near equal parts of two of the personality types (bet you can’t guess which two!).

Personality Plus starts off with a quick quiz that will allow you to determine your primary personality. Then the book begins to go through each of the personality types, outlining the strengths and weaknesses and the positives and negatives of each.

This isn’t just about understanding your own personality but about the personality traits of others. Littauer teaches how to recognize the different personality types in different people and talks about each personality and how they interact with the others. She explains how your personality might be more sensitive to other types when conflict arises.

The book provides a fascinating study of the human personalities and is an essential read for any office environment where there is a collection of different personality types. It’s also a great read for parents to better understand their kids, though Littauer does have versions of this book targeted specifically for parents (Personality Plus for Parents: Understanding What Makes Your Child Tick) and couples (Personality Plus for Couples: Understanding Yourself and the One You Love).


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Review: Search Engine Marketing Kit

Search Engine Marketing KitUpon first glance, The Search Engine Marketing Kit, authored by Dan Thies and Dave Davies, appears to be a more daunting read than it really is. The material stands about three inches thick complete with 4-inch three-ring binder. The thickness is deceptive in that the pages are printed only on one side. But running at over 350 pages, the SEM kit is no slouch in dishing out the info.

Designed to be the go-to manual for all things SEM related, the SEM Kit successfully delivers. The kit, which includes a CD loaded with documents, covers search engines, SEO basics, advanced SEO, PPC, and link building; giving the reader a well-rounded knowledge base for developing successful SEO and SEM strategies. The authors have even included a chapter on running an SEM firm, which can be particularly insightful at understanding the various strategies and options available to anyone running, or thinking of running an SEO business. Normally I’m not one much for interviews, but I did find the interviews chapter to be particularly worthy of a read (I’ve copied the pages and passed them around the office.)

There wasn’t a chapter in the kit that I didn’t find useful or engaging. Though the dual authorship created some minor confusion when referring to things in the first person, I often wasn’t sure if it was Dan or Dave speaking at that particular point. This is the only major flaw in the kit, they need to clean up the author speak in order that when referring to a particular author we know which author is speaking. But other than that, the SEM kit is a fantastic read and great office resource that we’ll keep referring back to for a long while.


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Book Review: Google's PageRank and Beyond

Google’s PageRank and Beyond: The Science of Search Engine Rankings

Google Page RankAuthors Amy N. Langville & Carl D. Meyer did a fabulous job with this book. Their writing allows you to actually visualize something that is extremely mathematical and complex, not an easy thing to do. It also incorporates illustrations that go along with the text and algorithms to make it easy to understand. This book gets into the nitty gritty of page rank from crawling and indexing methods to the algorithms used to figure out page rank. Now I will admit that the the algorithms were a bit confusing for myself but if you just read through the mathematics of it this book it is still very informative. The book caters to two very different audiences from one angle it covers the curious science reader and the technical side of page rank. For those of you mathematicians it covers your intellectual interests allowing you to explore mathematically how exactly everything fits together.

Amy N. Langville is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. Carl D. Meyer is the Professor of Mathematics at North Carolina State University. He is the author of Matrix Analysis and Applied Linear Algebra. Langville and Meyer have other documents about page rank and search engines such as, Deeper Inside PageRank, The Use of Linear Algebra by Web Search Engines, Updating PageRank with Iterative Aggregation, etc.

I wouldn’t recommend this book for employers to give their link marketers right out of the shoot. I would give them the option to read it once they’ve had some experience and become truly interested in how page rank works. The first 4 chapters are a good read as a business owner trying to get a general understanding of pagerank without getting too deep into the algorithms.


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