In my review of this book
The Boron Letters By Gary Halbert
posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave it four stars. This means I think it is good and worth reading.
Here is my book review.
“Babblings” of a great copywriter from prison
I first read these letters written by the author to his son from prison on the Gary Halbert Letters website and bought the book to add to my copywriting and marketing library.
These letters date back to 1984 so don’t expect tips about the Internet, email and social media. Instead expect advice that goes deeper than modern media. Their purpose was to teach his youngest son about marketing and life.
Even by then Gary Halbert was a legendary copywriter and direct marketer who had lived a roller coaster life. He published a popular marketing newsletter and has been an inspiration to many of the top copywriters of the last 30 years.
The letters are in some parts a ramble about his life in prison and the life lessons he has learned. Sometimes they contain personal comments about his family. At other times, they focus on explaining how he had managed to be so successful. The letters are not edited so you have to go wherever he takes you. His son, Bond Halbert follows up with his own comments to give his thoughts on the advice he received from his father and updates the ideas to the days of the Internet and emails.
If you want a pure marketing guide, this book isn’t for you. It even takes its time before it starts talking about marketing.
The book covers:
– How to select the best list to use.
– How to train yourself in copywriting including the books to read more than once.
– How to select a market worth pursuing.
– How to create an information product, even when you know nothing about the subject at the start.
– The A and B piles and why it’s vital to pass this first test. Halbert was very firm on this while other copywriters favour teaser copy in some situations. The right thing to do is to test it.
– How to use grabbers to gain attention.
– How to induce guilt to reply using stamped return envelopes.
– How to prepare to write the copy.
– How to improve your copywriting skills.
– How to use “eye relief” to keep people reading your copy.
– And more
This is a hard book to assess and rate. Gary Halbert was a great copywriter and his insights are valuable. So too are his lessons on life. Even if you don’t agree with a few, they make you think.
Halbert himself recognises his “babblings are getting too random”. This is the problem if you want to learn copywriting. There is little structure and he doesn’t delve in as deeply as I’d want when he finds an interesting issue.
3 or 4 stars? I think I’m probably at the 3.6 level so I should round up.
If you’re a business owner who wants to learn copywriting, there are many books that will give you a more structured approach. If you’re a copywriter, you should probably read it as part of your continuing education but it’s a book of nuances rather than theories, concepts or direction. You should also read The Gary Halbert Letters.
I’m left wishing there was a better copywriting book by Gary Halbert . There is a book called “How To Maximum Money In Minimum Time” but I haven’t seen it or read it and it’s a bit expensive to buy on spec.Business Books Reviews by Paul Simister (Please click). I've also narrowed these down to a list of the 12 Best Business Books For Business Owners & Entrepreneurs (Please click).
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