Principled Profit: The Good Business Blog

Musings on the world-wide movement for ethical business, frugal marketing, and how honesty, integrity, and quality combine with deep relationship building to create business success. By the originator of the Ethical Business Pledge campaign and award-winning author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and five other books

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Monday, December 24, 2007

BenMack’s Amazing ‘Poker Without Cards’

Novels have been used to persuade since at least the days of Gulliver’s Travels. Books like Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Huckleberry Finn had a major influence on 19th century social policy; in more modern times, authors from Ayn Rand to Joseph Heller to Phillip Campbell have used novels as a platform for their agenda.

Now comes a novel that teaches the very skills of persuasion–something I’m not sure has been done before (though the late Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea’s Illuminatus trilogy skirts the edges).

Advertising maven Ben Mack’s Poker Without Cards goes deeper into the human psyche than even the very provocative Daniel Quinn, and with the same kind of unexpected mind twists. Set up as a dialogue over several months between Mack’s alter ego Howard W. Campbell and a hospital psychiatrist who believes Campbell holds the key to understanding a particularly difficult case, the book is a page-turner even without trying to have any kind of real plot. The places the two men go in their discussions may change your mind to the whole idea of what’s possible and how the brain actually works–while providing a gripping, if not particularly easy, read.

And speaking of persuasion, he’s managed to persuade people who seldom write blurbs to endorse his book, including not only Wilson himself but also Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Brodie (author of Virus of the Mind as well as the original MS Word) and Internet marketer supreme Mark Joyner, among others.

As a marketer, I recommend this book without hesitation to marketers who want to understand persuasion on a deeper, more personal level than you can get from nonfiction. And as a planetary citizen, I recommend it to consumers who want to understand what’s being done to them by forces they may want to understand.


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