The full title of this classic book by Victor Schwab is
“How To Write A Good Advertisement: A Short Course In Copywriting“.
In my review at Amazon.co.uk, I rated it at the FIVE STARS level, which means I consider it to be excellent.
Here is what I wrote.
A classic copywriting guide
I’m not sure what else I can say to persuade you to buy this book when there is already a five star review from British copywriting legend, Drayton Bird, on here.
It seems to me that there are three types of copywriting books available.
1 Those that appear with plenty of hype (the authors are copywriters after all), become popular, garner a lot of five star reviews and then, in a few years, are forgotten, lying dusty on bookshelves or unopened on someone”s Kindle.
2 Classic copywriting texts that have well and truly stood the test of time. Some like Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins and Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples, date back to the period between the two world wars. Others like this one hail from the 1960s.
3 A small number of recent books are destined to avoid the ignominy of group 1 and will pass into the second group. The trouble is, it’s impossible to identify them before reading and not even clear afterwards. You need to keep being pulled back to the book. I’m expecting most of these modern classics to be strongly kinked with breakthroughs in marketing psychology, neuromarketing and behavioural economics. We’re starting to be able to explain why the tested and proven methods of the historical masters actually work.
There’s a reason why books in the second category are still valuable despite the obvious exclusion of references to websites and social media. That’s because the underlying psychology of people is hard wired into us and will only change gradually over centuries, regardless of the media used to carry the words.
If you’re an aspiring or practising copywriter or a direct marketing professional, I urge you to spend the few hundreds of pounds acquiring the classics before you commit even more money to another training course. There is so much to learn from the old masters.
If you’re a business owner looking for tips on how to write do it yourself copy for your website, sales letters or advertisements, you don’t have the time or interest to assimilate all these different perspectives so I suggest you look for a general guide on copywriting (I like The Brain Audit by Sean D’Souza) or a more specific one for writing copy on your intended media. Even better, you might want to find what widely read copywriters who will do it for you.
As for my own views on the book, I have my favourite business books in both paper and digital formats wherever possible. I may prefer looking at the real book but the digital version is always with me and available to check if something is nagging away in my subconscious. I have both versions of this book.
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PS, sorry about the rant. It’s something I’ve been building up to for a while as there has been a flurry of books about copywriting appear.