I can speak and write in Portuguese!

Cartão romântico do gato de Lizzy Bennett

Cartão romântico do gato de Lizzy Bennett (Cat postcards)

Not really. Although I took 3 years worth of high-school Latin, I can now barely read the inscriptions on government buildings, much less the passages I copied and translated from Homer 13 years ago.
Thanks to Google, however, my artwork is being promoted all across the world in many languages.
This piece, a kitty portrait of Elizabeth Bennett, was created for Valentine’s Day… and is being sold on greeting and note cards, stickers, and T-shirts. Here you can purchase (8) postcards for R$34,72 with “Descontos de R$ 0,21 em cada!” (a discount of 21¢ per card). Pretty nifty, huh?

But I didn’t intend to market myself today… I just stumbled across the Portuguese Zazzle page and thought it was funny.
Actually, I wanted to share my initial thoughts on a new book I picked up from Border’s last week. I went there to search for manuals on CSS coding, website design for business, things of that nature… and I did find one interesting book written by Lori Culwell, called Million Dollar Website, which I’m reading side-by-side with my Gem for today, and will probably discuss in a later blog.

Initially, I had to force myself to step away from listing items on my website, and tinkering with Photoshop, to sit down and begin reading this book… I began this morning, read 50 pages, and was so excited by the fascinating discoveries, I simply had to share with you!

I encourage everyone… and I mean, everyone (sellers and consumers alike) to run to your local bookstore, library, or computer desk… and purchase a copy of Buy•ology – The Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, written by marketing genius Martin Lindstrom.
…And I don’t take the term genius lightly. Although his credentials as a marketing consultant are quite impressive, this book deals with his $7-million dollar, global lab-experiment to uncover the psychology of how our brains are affected by advertisements, logos, warning labels, and the like. His experiments involved, among other devices, a $4 million dollar fMRI machine that can accurately map brain activity down to a millimeter!

Cool sci-fi stuff is right up my alley! 😀
But this is real…

He jumps right into the meat and potatoes of the matter, so to speak. He keeps you engaged by revealing his findings early on… although he promises to dig deeper as the book progresses.

For example, he begins the book by sharing the series of tests he performed on smokers. Why do people continue to smoke, when it’s clear to everyone that smoking will destroy your health and possibly kill you? It’s a questions that everyone asks, and nobody seems to have an answer.
They tested whether smokers are affected by the warning labels on cigarette packs, i.e. “Smoking Kills” and images of rotten livers. Their studies found that, although participants consciously declared the warnings bothered them and made them aware of the health risks, the brain scan showed a heightened sense of arousal/craving from people who viewed the warnings. The warnings actually caused them to desire a cigarette even more! So billions of dollars spent by governments around the world to enforce anti-smoking labels have turned into a huge marketing golden egg for the tobacco company.

In the first couple chapters, he has also touched on car manufacturers and soda companies… the decades-long “Coke VS Pepsi” debate was put to the ultimate test.

I purchased the book partly to understand what drives people to buy things, especially in a tough economy where every dollar counts. Additionally, I’m curious about the mind-games that advertising companies try to pull on consumers like myself… I laugh at the obvious failed attempts, but often wonder at the successful ones.

I found it interesting that people repeatedly contradicted themselves in his tests… they answered the questionnaires truthfully, as they perceived themselves, and yet their sub-conscious minds painted a different portrait of who they really were. It really makes you stop and think, “Do you truly know yourself?”?
If you claim not to be swayed by material possessions or social status, if you believe you are an “enlightened, environmentally conscious” person… are you really?
What would your brain activity reveal about you?

On a lesser note, I also enjoy reading his dry humor, which closely resembles my own… I found myself chuckling through every page, and thinking,
“I would totally say that!” Except he is funnier than I am. 😉

Martin has a killer combination as an author: boatloads of experience and knowledge to keep you thinking, a fast-paced delivery that keeps you reading, and plenty of sarcasm that keeps you laughing.

Here are just a few of the reviews for Buy•ology:

“Shatters conventional wisdom”

“Lindstrom…has an original, inquisitive mind…His new book is a fascinating look at how consumers perceive logos, ads, commercials, brands, and products.”

“Move over Tipping Point and Made to Stick because there’s a new book in town: Buyology. This book lights the way for smart marketers and entrepreneurs.”
-Guy Kawasaki, Author of The Art of the Start (- which I rented from Bookswim.com last year)

“Martin Lindstrom is one of branding’s most original thinkers”
-Robert A. Eckert, CEO & Chairman, Mattel, Inc.

I purchased my softcover from Border’s for $15.00 as an impulse buy…. hmmmm, no mind-games there, huh? 😉
Amazon.com is selling new hardcover copies for around $11.00, in addition to plenty of used copies.

If anyone has read this entire book yet, and would like to share your thoughts… please do! As for me, I plan to do something totally uncharacteristic… the kids are napping simultaneously, and usually this is MY time to paint, work on web-coding, do laundry, and tackle those other pages of To-Do’s. Not today!
I’m going to take advantage of the silence, by snuggling on the couch with a cold drink and my copy of Buy•ology
… I can’t wait to read what comes next!