Spin: How Politics Has the Power to Turn Marketing on Its Head by Clive Veroni

"Politics is frequently cynical business. It seems to attract more than its fair share of charlatans, trickster's, and toadies. But it isn't always that way. At its noblest, politics asks and answers the critical question, "What kind of society do you want to live in?"

Ostensibly this is a book that shows what marketers can learn from political persuasion. For the rest of us, it's a brilliant analysis of how we are manipulated by both politicians and advertising. Spin is a book that will reframe the way you interact with the messages and information that bombard you. By the time you finish reading this, you'll be asking all kinds of different questions about what you see and hear and what's the point of the emotional punch it gives you. Before you respond to surveys and questionnaires, especially those that reveal information about who you are, you will stop and ask, who wants it and why? It's bound to help you understand how we've come into an age where facts hardly matters to many people. 

Much of what you will read isn't new, but how Veroni has put it together and made connections across the different concepts is profound. He provides ample examples from political and marketing campaigns that make the underlying principles easy to understand. Veroni shows us how politicians and businesses create and use wedge issues for their own benefits. Readers will come to understand how a small enclave of passionate people, like the Republican Tea Party, can influence and subvert the actions of the larger group. He takes us behind the scenes of the Obama campaign and shows us how they were able to mine data and redirect messages to specific individuals that ensured they would vote for him. He shows us how here in Canada, Chad Rogers used scenario planning to help the Nova Scotia Conservative party get re-elected in spite of their failure to follow through on their campaign promises.

I can't help but wonder what the author, Clive Veroni, would have to say about recent elections and the proliferation of fake news sites. After reading his book, I've come to see them through a sharper lens. 

Hopefully, the knowledge Veroni has imparted will give us the power to resist the manipulation tactics of both politicians and marketers. 

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