Saturday, 30 May 2015

The Arabian Nights’ Entertainment – Townsend 1899

This book is purely about stories. It is not written in extraordinary language or fancy sentences – just bare stories. (this might be due to the translation though).

Stories are also the currency within this book: “The Sultan of Casgar fell into a passion against the Christian merchant. “Thou art a presumptuous fellow,” said he, “to tell me a story so little worth hearing and then to compare it to that of my jester. I will have you all four impaled, to revenge his death.
Hearing this, the purveyor (one of the four) prostrated himself at the sultan’s feet. “Sire,” said he, “I humble beseech your majesty to suspend your wrath and hear my story; and if it appears to be more extraordinary than that of your jester, to pardon us.” (Townsend, 1899, p.576).

Interestingly, despite stories being of such high value in this book, curiosity (and hence our desire to hear stories) is also described as dangerous: “But we entreat you to forbear opening the golden door; for if you do, we shall never see you again.” (Townsend, 1899, p.80).

The motor of a story only starts, when we try to shape our own destiny and don’t accept that this is in God’s hand. “”I see, Sir,” said I, addressing myself to Saadi, “that it has pleased God, whose ways are secret and impenetrable, that I should not be enriched by your liberality, but that I must remain poor; however, the obligation is the same as if it had wrought the desired effect.” (Townsend, 1899, p.254). “I upbraided myself a hundred times for not being content with the produce of my first voyage, that might have sufficed me all my life. But all this was in vain, and my repentance came too late. At last I resigned myself to the will of God.” (Townsend, 1899, p.407).

The Art of Writing Advertising – Denis Higgins 1965.

The most famous admen – from Bernbach, to Ogilvy and Reeves - do have similar ideas about how to produce advertising. It is interesting to see how the same ideas led to completely different advertising.

“My discipline – all I want is for the idea to convey memorably (and because it’s memorable, it must be fresh and original) the advantage of our product. Now if breaking every rule in the world is going to achieve that, I want those rules to be broken.” (Higgins quoting Bernbach, 1965, p. 20).

“So we never kid ourselves about the magic of advertising. The magic is in the product.” (Higgins quoting Bernbach, 1965, p. 24).

“stress this so-called inherent drama of things because there’s usually something there, almost always something there, if you can find the thing about the product that keeps it in the marketplace. There must be something about it that made the manufacturer make it in the first place, something about it that makes people continue to buy it … capturing that, and then taking that thing – whatever it is – and making the thing itself arresting rather through relying on tricks to do it. “(Higgins quoting Burnett, 1965, p. 44).

“Actually. As I found out after ten minutes’ conversation, the advertising idea was inherent in the product. It was the only candy in America that had chocolate surrounded by a sugar shell. At this point the idea lies on the table in front of you.” (Higgins quoting Reeves, 1965, p. 73).

“All the big companies – realized that the copywriter is almost helpless unless they build the idea into the product.” (Higgins quoting Reeves, 1965, p. 104).

“One, the advertising, not the product, must compete with a tremendous number of other advertising messages. Two, therefore the advertisement, not the product, must get the attention. Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Three, therefore a given advertisement, and not the product, must be different.
Such reasoning, bypasses the product, and when it does, it bypasses the advertising function. It is a classical example of confusing the means with the end. For if the product is worth paying money for, it is worth paying attention to.” (Higgins quoting Reeves, 1965, p. 125).

“Then you’ve got to close the door and write something – that is the moment of truth which we all try to postpone as long as possible.” (Higgins quoting Ogilvy, 1965, p. 73). “Sometimes I do write quite a good ad, but whenever I’m face with having to do one, I have absolutely no confidence in myself at all.” (Higgins quoting Ogilvy, 1965, p. 73).

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Saul Bellow – Mosby’s Memoir’s and Other Stories. 1968

Most stories seem to be about ‘intelligence vs. the world’. And how the world wins.

“”If you don’t do as he therapist tells you, Hattie, you’ll need another operation. Do you know what adhesions are?”
She knew, but Hattie thought, How long must I go on taking care of myself?” (Bellow, Leaving the Yellow House, 1968, p.16).

“I can see bright, but I feel dim.” (Bellow, Leaving the Yellow House, 1968, p.27).

Whom to leave the yellow house after her death: “”It is too soon! Too soon! Because I do not find it inmy heart to care for anyone as I would wish. Being cast off and lonely, and doing no harm where I am. Why should it be? This breaks my heart. In addition to everything else, why must I worry about this, which I must leave? I am tormented out of my mind. Even thoughby my own fault I have put myself into this position. And I am not ready to give up on this. No, not yet. And so I’ll tell you what, I leave the property, land, house, garden, and water rights to Hattie Simmons Waggoner. Me! I realize this is bad and wrong. Not possible. Yet it is the only thing I really wish to do. So may God have mercy on my soul.” (Bellow, Leaving the Yellow House, 1968, p.42).

“Only tonight I can’t give the house away. I’m drunk and so I need it. And tomorrow, she promised herself, I’ll think again. I’ll work it out for sure.” (Bellow, Leaving the Yellow House, 1968, p.42).

“Respectable elms about his house sighed with him for the past.” (Bellow, The Old System, 1968, p.64).

“But once humankind had grasped its own idea, that it was human and human through such passions, it began to exploit, to play, to disturb for the sake of exciting disturbance, to make an uproar, a crude circus of feelings.” (Bellow, The Old System, 1968, p.82).

“Again, nothing! It was only an imitation of understanding. A promise that mankind might – might, mind you – eventually, though its gift which might – might again! – be a divine gift, comprehend why it lived. Why life, why death.
And again, why these particular forms – these Issacs and these Tinas?” (Bellow, The Old System, 1968, p.83).

“”I’ll report it and see what can be done.”
“Nothing can be done, I expect. You know and I know. There ain’t so little ways to make things better, and the only big thing is money. That’s the only sunbeams, money. Nothing is black where it shines, and the only place you see black, is where it ain’t shining. What we colored have to have is our own riches. There ain’t no other way.”” (Bellow, Looking for Mr. Green, 1968, p.102).

“Rebuild after the Great Fire, this part of the city was, not fifty years later, in ruins again, factories boarded up, buildings deserted or fallen, gaps of prairie between. But it wasn’t desolation that this made you feel, but rather a faltering of organization that set free huge energy, an escaped, unattached, unregulated power from the giant raw place. Not only must people feel it but, it seemed to Grebe, they were compelled to match it.” (Bellow, Looking for Mr. Green, 1968, p.104). “To be compelled to feel this energy and yet have no task to do – that was horrible; that was suffering.” (Bellow, Looking for Mr. Green, 1968, p.104).

“Objects once so new, so concrete that it could never have occurred to anyone they stood for other things, had crumbled. Therefore, reflected Grebe, the secret of them was out.” (Bellow, Looking for Mr. Green, 1968, p.104).

“I’m not much on modern poetry in English. Some of it is very fine, of course, but it doesn’t express much wish to live. To live as a creature, that is.” (Bellow, The Gonzaga Manuscrips, 1968, p.113).

“His Belly was like a drum, and he seemed also to have a drumlike soul. If you struck, you wouldn’t injure him. You’d hear a sound.” (Bellow, The Gonzaga Manuscrips, 1968, p.137).

“Money surrounds you in life as the earth does in death. Superimposition is the universal law.” (Bellow, A Father-to-Be, 1968, p.145).

“Seated, one of the passngers, Rogin recovered his calm, happy, even clairvoyant state of mind. To think of money was to think as the world wanted you to think; then you’d never be your own master.” (Bellow, A Father-to-Be, 1968, p.148).

“”You have the healthiest looking scalp,” she said. “It’s all pink.”
He answered, “Well, it should be white. There must be something wrong with me.”
“But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you,” she said, and pressed against him from behind, surrounding him, pouring the water gently over him, until it seeled to him that the water came from within him, it was the warm fluid of his own secret loving spirit overflowing into the sink, green and foaming, and the words he had rehearsed he forgot, and his anger at his son-to-be disappeared altogether.” (Bellow, A Father-to-Be, 1968, p.155).

“But the French cannot identify originality in foreigners. That is the curse of an old civilization. It is a heavier planet. Its best minds must double their horsepower to overcome the gravitational field of tradition. Only a few will ever fly. To fly away from Descartes.” (Bellow, A Father-to-Be, 1968, p.159).

“He was quite ugly with his information. The Water Table, the Caverns, the Triassic Period. Inform me no further! Vex not my sould with more detail. I cannot use what I have.” (Bellow, A Father-to-Be, 1968, p.181).

Saturday, 14 March 2015

The Brand in the Boardroom – Joanna Seddon 2013

A good summary. Well written.

“the marketing budget is an investment, not an expense. If brand is an asset that generates value for the company, then marketing is an investment in increasing the value of the brand asset. Brand, just like any other asset, needs to be invested in, put to work to generate value and held accountable for the results.” (Seddon, 2013, p.50).

“Because it looks over the head of the different channels to the financial outcome, brand valuation can initiate a holistic approach to marketing. This is needed urgently to cope with the great fragmentation we live with now. (…) Measurement is as fragmented as media. (…) from the big picture (market mix modellingand brand equity tracking) to the most micro (e.g. campaign specific copy testing, impressions-based analysis, social media metrics” (Seddon, 2013, p.68).

“Brand valuation looks at every measure of marketing, in all media, unconcerned with fragmentation, and brings it all together under a common unit.” (Seddon, 2013, p.68).

 “Because it looks at the whole experience, brand valuation allows the ROI from investments in intangibles, such as brand and marketing, to be compared with investments in tangibles such as technology, R&D, or hiring more salespeople.” (Seddon, 2013, p.72).

“Brand tracking must in the future blow past intermediate measures such as awareness, preference, differentiation, or recommendation. It must go all the way to the only measure that has real meaning outside the marketing department – money.” (Seddon, 2013, p.74).

David Copperfield Charles Dickens 2010

A book almost free any ideas, concepts and philosophies but the love and understanding of mankind.

“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.” (Dickens, 2010, p.355).

““What! Bewitching Mrs Copperfield’s encumbrance?” cried the gentleman. “The pretty little widow?”
“Quinion,” said Mr. Murdstone, “take care, if you please. Somebody’s sharp.”
“Who is?” asked the gentleman, laughing.
I looked up quickly; being curious to know.
“Only Brooks of Sheffield,” said Mr. Murdstone.
I was quite relieved to find it was only Mr. Brooks of Sheffield; for, at first, I really thought it was I.” (Dickens, 2010, p.369).

“We used to walk about that dim old flat at Yarmouth in a loving manner, hours and hours. The days sported by us, as if Time had not grown up himself yet, but where a child too, and always at play.” (Dickens, 2010, p.378). “We made no more provision for growing older, than we did for growing younger.” (Dickens, 2010, p.378). “So the fortnight slipped away, varied by nothing but the variation of the tide.” (Dickens, 2010, p.380).

“how kind and considerate Mr. Copperfield had always been to her, and how he had borne with her, and told her, when she doubted herself, that a loving heart was better and stronger than wisdom, and that he was a happy man in hers.” (Dickens, 2010, p.441).

“I found Uriah reading a great fat book, with such demonstrative attention, that his lank forefinger followed up every line as he read, and made clammy tracks along the page (or so I fully believed) like a snail.” (Dickens, 2010, p.507).

“Time has stolen on unobserved, for Adams is not the head-boy in the days that are to come. (…) He has not staggered the world yet, either; for it goes on (as well as I can make out) pretty much the same as if he had never joined it.” (Dickens, 2010, p.529).

“My passion takes away my appetite, and makes me wear my newest silk neckerchief continually. I have no relief but putting on my best clothes, and having my boots cleaned over and over again. I seem, then, to be worthier of the eldest Miss Larkins.” (Dickens, 2010, p.530).

“He surrounded himself with an atmosphere of respectability, and walked secure in it.” (Dickens, 2010, p.549).

““I think my memory has got as short as my breath,” said Mr. Omer” (Dickens, 2010, p.552).

Best description of being drunk: “Somebody was smoking. We were all smoking. I was smoking, and trying to suppress a rising tendency to shudder. (…)
Somebody was leaning out of my bedroom window, refreshing his forehead against the cool stone of the parapet, and feeling the air upon his face. It was myself. (…)
We went down-stairs, one behind another. Near the bottom, somebody fell, and rolled down. Somebody else said it was Copperfield. I was angry at the false report, until, finding myself on my back in the passage, I began to think there might be some foundation to it. (…)
The whole building looked to me as if it were learning to swim; it conducted itself in such an unaccountable manner, when I tried to steady it.” (Dickens, 2010, p.590).

“I said he was a hound, which, at the moment, was a great satisfaction to me.” (Dickens, 2010, p.595).

“if I could oblige her with a little tincture of cardamums mixed with rhubarb, and flavoured with seven drops of the essence of cloves, which was the best for her complaint; - or, if I had not such a thing by me, with a little brandy, which was the next best. It was not, she remarked, so palatable to her, but it was the next best.” (Dickens, 2010, p.614).

“If I may so express it, I was steeped in Dora. I was not merely over head and ears in love with her, but I was saturated through and through. Enough love might have been wrung out of me, metaphorically speaking, to drown anybody in; and yet there would have remained enough within me, and all over me, to pervade my entire existence.” (Dickens, 2010, p.664).

“He considered it the principle of a gentleman to take things as he found them.” (Dickens, 2010, p.668).

“I thought it possible that I could truly love one creature in the world, and not the rest.” (Dickens, 2010, p.733).

“”Oh, to be sure!” said Uriah. “When a person’s humble, you know, what’s an apology? So easy! I say! I suppose,” with a jerk, “you have sometimes plucked a pear before it was ripe, Master Copperfield.” (Dickens, 2010, p.734). “I mean that he forced his confidence upon me, expressly to make me miserable.” (Dickens, 2010, p.760). “”I do, and you can’t help yourself,” replied Uriah. “To think of your ging and attacking me, that have always been a friend to you! But there can’t be a quarrel without two parties, and I won’t be one. I will be a friend to you, in spite of you. So now you know what you’ve got to expect.” (Dickens, 2010, p.761).

Helping a married couple that were estranged of each other: “I dare say he rarely spoke a dozen words in an hour: but his quiet interest, and his wistful face, found immediate response in both their breasts, each knew that the other liked him, and that he loved both; and he became what not one else could be – a link between them.” (Dickens, 2010, p.762).

“”Mr. Copperfield,” returned Mr. Micawber, bitterly, ”when I was an inmate of that retreat I could look my fellow-man in the face, and punch his head if he offended me. My fellow-man and myself are no longer on those glorious terms!”” (Dickens, 2010, p.817).

“I was tired now, and, getting into bed again, fell – off a tower and down a precipice – into the depths of sleep.” (Dickens, 2010, p.874).

“We look into the glittering windows of the jewellers’ shops; and I show Sophy which of the diamond-eyed serpents, coiled up on white satin (…) and we pick out the spoons and forks, fish-slices, butter-knives, and sugar-tongs, we should both prefer if we couold both afford it; and we really go away as if we had got them.” (Dickens, 2010, p.910).