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The Boron Letters

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  1,250 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Series of letters written by copywriting legend Gary C. Halbert explaining the secrets to effect marketing.
Kindle Edition, 147 pages
Published February 27th 2013
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Average rating 4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,250 ratings  ·  91 reviews

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Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good marketing primer that doles out marketing advice as well as some pretty decent life advice.

Two nitpicks on this book:

(1) It's dated. Halbert was a whiz in direct mail marketing, and the writing shows its age. His son, also in the copywriting biz, does his best to update it for the digital age but the book should be read as foundational rather than a source of the latest and greatest tips.

(2) Every few pages has a cross-sell of some other Halbert product on their website. The book could have
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A surprising amount of just 'life lessons' as opposed to marketing techniques. I really enjoy how personal these letters are and I found them very entertaining to read outside of just being educational.

I wish there were more though. After the 25 letters, I really want to read the more formalized book he mentions he wanted to write. Does anyone know if he did write anything like the book he discusses wanting to do?

One of my favourite take-aways from this book written by a father to his son, is h
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great copywriting/selling is hardly about the writing. It is way more about the preparation that goes into writing.
- Choosing a list.
- Deciding an offer.
- Picking a great product to sell.
- Researching what a list/market wants.

This is true no matter what the medium is - a 70s newspaper or a present day smartphone screen.
C. Spencer Reynolds
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Laborious reading and so dated...

We read this in our Book club and although there were a few good points in the book, all-in-all I would not recommend it to others as a good read. If you are a marketing type and want some of his insights then certainly a book worth some of your time, but not for the average gal/guy out there to invest your time with!
Atman Pandya
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written by 'history's greatest copywriter' Gary Halbert, this book is a collection of letters from a father to his adolescent son. In these letters, Halbert teaches his 16-year old the importance of 'road-work', a strong work ethic and the inside secrets of great advertising.

There are some gems in these letters and the fatherly conversational tone makes them all the more endearing. I especially loved some of the ideas on how to grab and hold attention in direct mailers.

While the book is a bit da
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, advertising
I read the Boron letters on my trip to Vegas for a CXO event. It happened to fall on Halbert's birthday. I didn't know that until after I was reading the book.

I also just finished reading Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five. Halbert mentions that Vonnegut has some of the clearest writing, and that Breakfast of Champions is worth reading. I didn't like that book, but maybe I should reread it.

Anyway, I really enjoyed The Boron Letters. I've always loved Halbert's writing style. The book focuses on some
Joshua Pitzalis
There were a few good nuggets in here. Mostly came off as sale-sy and contrived. I suppose it made more sense in its own time. With the internet, our exposure to sales writing (in emails) has shot up. As a consequence, we instantly recognising when something is sale-sy. That said, the principles seem sound and with a little recontextualising I think will prove helpful. The gist of the book was to focus on helping people rather than selling them stuff. Make the benefits of your offer vivid and cl ...more
Corey Constable
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These letters to Bond were an excellent base to build off of for entering into the field of copywriting. They were personal, humorous, and insightful. While they may seem a bit outdated, the principles within can be carried over into the digital age with just a little bit of ingenuity. The subject line is the new envelope, the link title is the new bag of soil, etc. I look forward to reading the other titles he recommended.
Aurimas Mikalauskas
I had no idea where this book will lead me. It was supposed to be about direct marketing and mail oder business but it was way more than that. I love Gary's style of telling stories and getting really emotional when he feels like it. Even if it sometimes it has nothing to do with the point he is making. I'm re-reading it again now. Why wait?
Madhav Sekar
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very gud book on copywriting and such
Ellis Morning
Nov 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable letters from father to son with candid revelations, advice for personal improvement, and interesting sales tricks.
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love those kind of "Reflexions" a father may give his son, or we may give to our younger self. It's like gathering all the experience we had, and reflect on them, and give a summary of the most important things, of what matters.
Those kind of writing are powerful, because they help us to focus on what matters, and not to get drifted in a wrong path for too long.
Our time is precious, and this helps us to make a better use of our precious time.

What I liked about it:
- The tone of the letters is cl
Mark Manderson
A positive addiction is simply being addicted to something that improves the quality of your life.

A negative addiction is being addicted to something that lowers the quality of your life.


Try everything multiple times. 

Go over your plans again and again daily as they will become more and more clear.

The money is where the enthusiasm is. When hiring someone always look for the most enthusiastic one, not necessarily the most qualified.

Be a student of the markets a
Dean Brooks
May 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This should be required reading for every kid in high school, though it's also great for anyone who wants to get into business, no matter the education level.

TBL has some of the best advice you'll ever find about copywriting, direct marketing, and direct selling. Fun fact: Direct mail gets a better response rate even today than email and other online promotional marketing methods, which makes this book as valuable today as the day it was written. Halbert's techniques can certainly be adapted to
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: copywriting-read
This is my second book on copywriting after Dan Kennedy's "The Ultimate Sales Letter"
The Ultimate Sales Letter Attract New Customers. Boost Your Sales by Dan S. Kennedy Dan Kennedy's

And WOW! This book is easy to read that you won't feel flipping the pages, his style in writing is so addictive to read, because it's a conversation between a father and a son. That's why there is so much emotion.

4real this book is a tresure in the field of copywriting, becuase it's written by the best copywriter ever, and for me (as a beginner in copywriting) this book is perfect start in this
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part copywriting advice, part self help, part marketing book which takes the form of letters written from direct sales guru Halbert to his son, as he stews in a cell for postal fraud.*

As usual for self help books, most of the advice can be summarised in a couple of pages of notes. For this reason, the book did drag on a bit.

Some of the more specific advice and all of the examples are out of date, since direct mail marketing isn't a big thing these days

However, the book flows better, and is easie
Edd Thompson
I have just finished the book. That is the quickest I have ever read a book. It is a good format for a book and is easy to whizz through. As a small business owner looking to improve his copywriting, I am slightly disappointed with the description of the book and what is actually inside it. There are some wise words about copywriting and selling your ideas which are very useful.

If you want a book that outlines the steps of making money via direct mail along with general self-help advice and som
Tim Miller
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boron Letters is marketed as an insightful look into the world of writing copy. The reality is, it’s a series of letters, written from a father in prison, to his teenage son. Yes there’s a lot about writing copy—Gary Halbert was said to be one of the greatest copywriters of all time, but I saw a lot more life lessons that anything else. This book is a father, attempting to instill valuable life lessons to his son. There’s advice about fitness, psychological & social well-being, even some philoso ...more
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably one of the best marketing and advertising books you should definitely read. The genius is really in how it's written - letters from a father in prison to his son. There's gold in evey chapter. It's stupidly easy to read, but deceptively valuable. Don't rush through it, take your time and really digest each chapter.

Also, this book is a GREAT example of 'just get it done and published'. The font is courier, it's 8.5x11 big, which means it's great for making notes in the margins. The cove
Ksenia Larina
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just came here to say, that I can't argue with those, who gave this book low ratings because they thought the letters were salesy and outdated, BUT :)

2 buts actually:

1. I'm pretty sure the "salesy" part was intentional. As a copywriter myself, I know that there is really no better way to learn how to write better than copying the style/structure/mood from others. So, in addition to telling how to write the letters Halbert thought were good, he showed it too.

2. Yes, of course, the tips Halbert
Leticia Supple
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have only read this once, so can’t really write much about it yet. Like the Robert Collier Letter Book, it needs to be read and digested over, and over, and over again.

Having said that, it’s one of the best works on the topic I’ve read since... well. Since the Robert Collier Letter Book.

Some other reviews note that this is dated. Sure, it’s dated. So are the updates. The point is that all of these things still work, and if you apply the core principles to any format, in any market, it’s still
Phat Nguyen
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The greatest copywriter of all time, Gary Halbert, wrote letters from his prison cell (at the age of 46) to teach his son about life, work ethic, and most importantly, copywriting.

Although all letters are aimed at direct mail marketing, which is an outdated medium for today's marketing, the core principles can easily be adapted to this age of advertising. The author's son, Bond Halbert, helped with this by writing short comments at the end of each letter, adding a bit of this and that so readers
Tobias Johnson
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
>become a student of reality
>new way of thinking about procrastination (the four square lesson on life); successful people spend more time doing things that are not necessarily urgent, but still important
>sell what people want to buy (do this by looking at what they're actually buying, not what they say they're buying)
>best way to overcome creative blocks is to just keep moving
>the very best writing goes unnoticed
>don't make decisions when you're hungry, angry, tired or lonely

My favourite letter
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Gary Halbert is considered to be one of (if not) the greatest copywriters of all time. He was a master persuaded. A skilled writer. And a brilliant money-maker. Yet...

During his lifetime, he was broke, rich, broke, rich, broke, and even imprisoned.

The Boron Letters is a set of 25 letters he wrote to his youngest son while in prison.

These letters contain some of the best marketing tips and general life lessons.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced professional, The Boron Letters is a mus
K. Rezaiezadeh
Not quite as focused on actual writing tricks as I would have liked - more generally useful for getting into the right mindset for copywriting success than for learning what makes great sales letters tick. There's definitely something to be said for the idea of Halbert's honesty and voice doing that all by itself though, as it certainly comes through even in these personal letters (and is further explained through his son's useful breakdowns).
Gary Dale
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interesting to see how someone keeps their mind active in prison

I thought this was an interesting book in that someone would give business advice (sound, practical advice) to his teenaged son while in prison. Much of the letters are personal meanderings but there is a lot of practical business advice for the reader who is interested in copywriting. And it is advice to learn from and to be followed.
Maria Rowena Getutua
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a lot of information in this book, but it's specific to copywriting and marketing. In that sense, I think that it is an excellent book. But this book also has some briefly mentioned truths about life that I personally found really enriching. I know I'll end up reading these letters again and again.
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decent overall, though many of the digressions smell strongly of 1980s self help culture.

Overall this is not bad but quite a bit informal and the copy I have was printed with many errors and in monospace font.

Certainly there ought to be a balance between a verbatim copy of personal letters and general standards of professionalism...
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This has a very blunt, pragmatic - almost friend like tone. What would a book written by an advertising man at his prime to his 16 year old son sound like? Amazing!

That is exactly what this book is. It's crisp, endearing, engaging and keeps on! :)
This is a book worth coming back to with a pen and paper in hand.
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