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3.25  ·  Rating Details ·  76 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
"Five little words: BlackBerry, Accenture, Viagra, Cayenne, e-business. Two of the words are appropriated (BlackBerry and Cayenne); two are completely made up (Viagra and Accenture); and one (e-business) is a composite word made of a word and a letter that already exist. . . .These five words are the characters in this book."

Words shape and move the modern marketplace; the
Hardcover, 241 pages
Published April 20th 2004 by Crown Publishing Group (first published 2004)
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Jul 26, 2012 Kasandra rated it it was ok
Naming agencies get huge amounts of money for coming up with names that, in many cases, just plain suck. A lot of their "process" ends up sounding like luck in this book, which often gets bogged down in uninteresting detail, and focuses on 5 names , half of which aren't interesting (Cayenne? who cares.... Accenture? again, who cares...) Viagra and BlackBerry, sure, those are appealing and interesting, but this book makes it sound like the naming business is hard to get into, populated with con a ...more
Nov 29, 2011 John rated it liked it
Shelves: work
[My review from Brand Building Magazine:]

In a transitional chapter of Wordcraft, Alex Frankel describes the genesis of the word ‘maverick’ and its meanings:

1 : an unbranded range animal; especially : a motherless calf
2 : an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party

Samuel Maverick was an American pioneer who did not brand his cattle. In time, Maverick’s neighbors and other cattlemen began to call any unbranded animal roaming the prairie a maverick, and from there the se
Aug 05, 2015 Harvey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
- Frankel has written the "On Language" column for the New York Times Magazine and reported on business culture for Wired, Fast Company, and Outside Magazines. His interests in synthetic languages led him to launch his own product naming firm...
- from the jacket - "Five Little Words: Blackberry, Accenture, Viagra, Cayenne, and e-business. Two of the words are appropriated (Blackberry and Cayenne), two are completely made up (Viagra and Accenture) and one (e-business) is a composite word made of
Michael Klein
Jun 13, 2008 Michael Klein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I read this and the other branding books on here as research for a new article I was writing, I found this book to be very interesting. It is the nonfiction account of how a journalist became a corporate namer, and then talks about tricks of the naming trade and some case studies.

I referenced it in interviewing some namers for my article and they were impressed I had read it - but noted that it turned the author into a total persona non grata in the naming industry center of the SF Bay
If you think the idea of people naming businesses and products is the coolest thing ever, you will be on the same wavelength as the author and might be able to enjoy this book. For me personally, it's not that exciting. I was interested in the subject for practical reasons. But I simply couldn't read this book... normally I like the style of writing that accompanies in depth journalism, but in this case it didn't succeed in making a fairly bland subject exciting or intriguing at all, and instead ...more
Jan 12, 2010 Hilary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gift-from-mama
Definitely one of those books that makes you think about the world around you in a different way. I loved this, and of course couldn't help but think how cool it would be to work amongst the people profiled here. Really, really interesting book. I rushed out to buy his other one, Punching In, which I didn't like nearly as much.
Aug 10, 2011 Glen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent into the process and power of naming products. Anyone interested in the marketing should read this!! Would the Blackberry have been as popular if it had came out with a name such as the cumquat or the dingle berry?
Jul 19, 2010 Danielle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Hm...Was more a book on words + branding, and less about... word origins, like I hoped it would be. It was also hard to follow...some paragraphs didn't flow really well and confused me. Not the book I hoped it would be.
Agus Jakarta
Quite a good book that tells stories on how some of the big companies like Porsche, RIM, and even my previous company before, Accenture. When Shakespeare said that "What's in a name?", I am really sure he doesn't know how powerful brand's name will be :)
Oct 23, 2008 Bliss rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all writers and those who wanna be...
Shelves: self-help
I have this one from the library but I have to take it back cuz we're moving and I don't want it to get lost. I did take time to read the author's notes and the table of contents and I can tell this is gonna be a good one. :-)
Jon Paul
Aug 08, 2010 Jon Paul rated it really liked it
Not what I was expecting. About the practice of naming products. From an investigative case study approach. Very anecdotal.
Jul 02, 2007 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was interesting to learn the origin of some words (Accenture and Blackberry) and how the "naming" industry works. But it was not cativating and pretty dry.
Andy rated it liked it
Jan 21, 2008
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Mar 04, 2014
reads like an overly long New Yorker article
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Will Leben rated it it was amazing
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