This book makes a lot of good points, and it's pretty clear to me that the overall process and exercises described are a much better approach to brandThis book makes a lot of good points, and it's pretty clear to me that the overall process and exercises described are a much better approach to branding than pretty much anything I've ever seen or heard of before.
That said, I have to take some major points off because it also seems oddly opinionated in ways unsupported by data, and gets some things just plain wrong. For example, several of the listed "7 Deadly Sins" of naming have prominent counterexamples of brands that have done stunningly well while violating them, which rather implies that they're not quite so much deadly as not to the author's taste. And witness this gaffe:
"It's confusing and shortsighted to name your product and company the same thing. Although you may have only one product now, think about the future. What if Apple had named their first computer the Apple? What would they name the dozens of other products that have launched since then?" Apple's first product was the Apple Computer, followed by the Apple II, II Plus, and Apple III, before they introduced Lisa, Macintosh, etc. The whole iThing which the author admires so much didn't begin until Apple had been in business for over 20 years.
In the section "Punctuation is a crutch," I expected solid advice about, for example, the unnecessary exclamation mark in Yahoo! Instead, "if your name needs the visual crutch of punctuation (güd)...." Note to the author, copy editor Tanya Grove, and proofreader Nancy Evans: punctuation is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "The marks, such as period, comma, and parentheses, used in writing to separate sentences and their elements and to clarify meaning." The diaeresis in ü is a diacritical mark, not a punctuation mark. Also, domain names are not "also known as URLs." The domain name forms the (arguably) most essential part of a URL, but is not, in itself, a URL. One minute of fact checking on each of these would have made it look more like you actually know what you're talking about.
The one that really got me hot though was this: "As with book titles, song titles (as well as album titles and band names) can't be trademarked and are up for grabs when it comes to brand names." (my emphasis) No. Nonononononono. This person claims to be a branding professional? Has lawyers on staff? This is just. Plain. Wrong. I mean, aside from the bad will likely to be generated by stealing a band name for your own product line, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office makes it pretty clear and simple: "You can register a trademark for a band name." And there are lawsuits about just that all the time.
So yes, if you have a branding project, by all means, check out this book. Then, consult your lawyer (which admittedly the book repeatedly advises)....more
A handy resource for when you're trying to remember the difference between the Docetist and Manichaean heresies, but it's really only a starting pointA handy resource for when you're trying to remember the difference between the Docetist and Manichaean heresies, but it's really only a starting point. The articles, like the book, tend toward brevity except in a few major areas, such as Witchcraft or the Inquisition. Also, this compilation focuses almost exclusively on heresy from the point of view of the Roman Catholic Church prior to the Reformation, with some information given on overlapping topics, such as the Protestant adoption in some areas of the Malleus Maleficarum in the persecution of alleged witches. It nevertheless remains a good basic Who's Who of Gnostic and unorthodox religious thought from the Neoplatonists up to the earliest Protestants and their progenitors, and for that reason I will continue to keep it close by....more