Introduction To Personal Branding by Mel Carson
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 read and reviewed quite a few short reads. (I like them 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, has done this from a personal branding perspective. Since his book is narrower than most, it helps it to stand out. However, from a user experience perspective, it is not helpful for two major reasons.
Firstly, 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 it with both hands, pulling the pages apart in order to easily read it, it also makes you feel like a child and puts you in an almost condescending position.
Secondly, once you have accounted for the margins of the book, the narrow pages allow only a small amount of room for text – about 2-3inches per line.
Not only does this make you feel as though you are reading from an autocue, a lot of words have to be hyphenated at the end of each line. When the author has to indent for bullet points, it creates even less space.
Overall, it didn’t make 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, I lost all credibility for the author.
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 box 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 on the back of 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. It’s a very clever thing to do, and if I was in his position, I would have done the exact same thing. But from a personal branding book author, by piggy-backing on Microsoft, he 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. It must be mentioned at least 20 times. 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 wrote on his own blog titled How to Write a Blog Post in 30min.
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 a good quality blog post, that will help your blog get traction, in just 30 minutes, 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 other issues that I have 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 apart this book and it does make me feel bad because the author has obviously invested a lot of time into it.
However, I must mention again that it 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 it – he can’t please everyone at the end of the day.
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 an 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.