I purchased this book because it came up in the ‘other books you may like to read’ section on Amazon. It was only £3.99 and had a sea of 5-star reviews.
I quickly added it to my cart but after reading the book, unfortunately, I wouldn’t give it 5-stars.
Let me explain why…
Design and layout
When the book arrived, the first thing I noticed was that the book was very small.
Now, I don’t have a problem with small, thin books, and I have reviewed quite a few short reads. (I actually do appreciate small books because they are usually very concise, straight to the point, and don’t take a huge investment of time.)
But with this book, it’s not the thickness that I have a problem with; it’s the dimensions; it’s very narrow.
I assume that the author, Mel Carson, had chosen this design from a personal branding perspective. Since his book is narrower than most, it helps it to stand out. However, from a user experience perspective, that design is not helpful for two major reasons.
First, in order to comfortably read the book, you have to force the spine to bend, which no reader likes to do with a new book.
As you sit holding the book with both hands, pulling the pages apart in order to read it more easily, you feel like a child in an almost condescending position.
Second, once you have accounted for the margins of the book, the narrow pages allow only a small amount of room for text, typically about two to three inches per line.
Not only does that make you feel as though you are reading from an autocue, but a lot of words have to be hyphenated at the end of each line. When the author uses bullet points, it creates even less space.
Overall, I didn’t find it a pleasurable book to read.
Moving away from the design and onto the content of the book, again, I had a few issues.
Within the first few sentences, the author lost all credibility with me.
The first sentence reads, ‘In July 2012, I was laid-off from my role as Digital Marketing Evangelist at Microsoft.’
Evangelism marketing is an advanced word-of-mouth marketing; therefore, I put Mel Carson in the same category as what Matt Cutts is to Google Webmasters.
Carson noted in this book that when he was let go from Microsoft, he published a blog post, and his phone immediately started ringing with offers. Therefore, it’s clear that through his role with Microsoft, he was able to accumulate a following of his own.
People in his area of expertise already knew him because he was associated with a well-known brand.
When I read a personal branding book, I want to hear about someone who has started from the gutter. I want them to have started from scratch because that is the position that most people who read this book will be in.
Now, I don’t blame the author for taking advantage of his Microsoft following and connections. That’s a very clever thing to do, and if I was in his position, I would have done exactly the same. But as a personal branding book author, by piggy-backing on Microsoft, Carson already had a massive head start on the rest of us.
There are two things that pop up in this book an awful lot, especially considering it’s so small.
The first is LinkedIn – it’s everywhere. LinkedIn must be mentioned at least 20 times. So much so, that I did start to wonder if Carson had an affiliate deal with the social media platform or if he was receiving some form of compensation from them.
The second thing that is mentioned a lot is a blog post that Carson published on his own blog, entitled ‘How to Write a Blog Post in 30 min.’
Recently, I have done a lot of research and reading on content marketing and SEO. All the experts in this area are encouraging people to write long detailed posts rather than to publish loads of short posts. Although I have not read Carson’s blog post, I believe that writing and publishing a high-quality blog post in just 30 minutes, which will help your blog get traction, is not realistic.
I assume that the only way Carson could gain traction from a blog post that he wrote and published in 30 minutes is by utilizing his already established following.
There are some other issues that I had with the content of this book, and I go over them in-depth in the video above if you would like to know more. (You can also view it on YouTube)
I do feel as though I have ripped this book apart, and it does make me feel bad because the author has obviously invested a lot of time in it.
However, I must mention again that the book has received numerous 5-star reviews on Amazon, and a lot of other people do highly rate it.
Maybe I am just that one anomaly that doesn’t like the book. At the end of the day, the author can’t please everyone.
Have you read this book?
This review is simply my own opinion and experience of “Introduction to Personal Branding”. If you have read this book, I’d love to know what you thought of it.
Please leave me a comment below and don’t forget to give the book your own review in the box below.
This book review was originally published on LittleRozMoments.com. It has since been moved to this website and I thought it was only fair to move the author’s comments.
Mel Carson: Hi Roz – thanks for taking the time to review my book. You obviously took a lot of time an effort to buy the book, read it, record a video, edit it and publish the video and blog post. I appreciate you for doing this. I understand someone of your experience might find some of the content to be basic, but it’s not really targeted at people like you. That’s why it’s called the “Introduction” to Personal Branding. Here’s what LinkedIn themselves had to say about it: https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/blog/marketing-book-worth-a-look/2016/marketing-book-worth-a-look–introduction-to-personal-branding–
If you want another book to review, try my other one, Pioneers of Digital. You might learn something new: https://www.amazon.com/Pioneers-Digital-Success-Advertising-Marketing/dp/0749466049
Good luck with your travels. And thanks again for reading my book! Cheers Mel
Roseanna Sunley: Hi Mel,
Thank you so much for taking the time to post a comment.
I just felt as though the book lacked ‘meat’ – even if it is only an introduction to personal branding I think that you could have given a lot more value.
But in saying that, your book has numerous 5-star reviews on Amazon, so maybe I’m just that one anomaly – you can’t please everyone.
I’ll definitely check out your other book and I’ve added it to my Amazon reading list.
Thank you very much again for dropping by my blog. I’ll let you know when I have read and reviewed Pioneers of Digital.
Introduction To Personal Branding
Although this book has numerous 5-star reviews on Amazon, I thought it lacked useful information. The book is very basic, and some of the content was questionable. For those who are entrepreneurs and/or self-employed looking to build their personal brand, I wouldn't recommend this book. At a push, I would say this book is more suited to employed professionals who want to look better on LinkedIn.
Your review is appreciated