Review of Seth Godin's All Marketers are Liars - and He Better Comment on this Post if He is Tracking How His Stories Spread

All Marketers are Liars in Seth Godin's latest marketing book based around story telling. On to the review All Marketers are Liars is a book which is marketed as marketers being liars, but immediately switches to the fact that consumers
tell themselves lies to justify their actions. Marketers who can find the bias and lies people tell themselves and create a story around fitting that worldview can make large sums of profit.

After sleeping on junk beds for about a decade I recently bought an expensive bed. I paid more than I had to because I wanted the story. I was buying more than a bed.

It is sexy to make worldview changing products and stories, but it is
usually easier to extract profits by making your story fit a known
worldview. People tend to ignore things that do not fit their
worldview and more frequently remember things that do. The quality of
a product or service is frequently determined before the purchase.

To quote Seth, the curve goes like:

Here's what Tom did. He

  • found a shared worldview;

  • framed a story around that view;
  • made it easy for the story to spread;
  • created a new market, which he owns.

My Site - a Case Study:
If you look at the marketing message and framing of this site:

  • found a shared worldview: SEO Books are ALWAYS outdated and a complete waste of time

  • framed a story around that view: "A new chapter every day." & "The only current SEO Book on the planet." These stress that the consumer is right, SEO Books are outdated. They also say this one is not.
    • Eventually I may publish a hard copy version of my ebook, but it is not something I want to rush to do and will have to consider carefully because I do not want to mess up that story.

    • The home page logo says a new chapter every day, which is subtle.
    • When people go to the sales letter they get a less subtle version
      of the same story.
  • made it easy for the story to spread: I did not create a one page sales letter site. Instead...
  • created a new market, which he owns: the Overture search volume for "SEO Book" was 0 when I started my blog about a year and a half ago. On average there are around 50 searches each day for that same phrase.
    • The only way I will not rank well for that term is if I have an unnatural linkage profile or if search engines ban my site. For a brief period this site did not rank for its own name and sales were still right near their historical averages. It would likely cause brand erosion if that lasted for too long though.

    • By not charging subscription fees and sending out somewhat regular useful updates I remind people that they should recommend my ebook.
    • I may eventually charge recurring subscription charges, but am in no rush to do so as I want to make it easy for my story to

The domain name had virtually no value until the above
story was created. Doing some of the above things also helps me to keep my story authentic. For example, it is hard to be active in the forums and write blog posts nearly every day without learning.

Seth is great at writing books that market themselves. I always laugh
when I read them though, because I frequently use many of the same
examples and ideas that are in his books. Not that long ago I emailed
him about General Mills placing A Whole Grain Food on Coco Puffs
as a market lie to match the health concience mother. Of course, I just read that example in the book as well. His Free Prize Inside book ended with an example from one of his conferences which I emailed him about.

It was a pretty good book. The executive summary (hi Patrick) would read like create authentic stories about something people care about and make bank.

The two areas where I think All Marketers are Liars is lacking are:

  • while he uses the concept of permission asset he does not also talk about social currency. I don't think the ideas exactly overlap.

  • he does not break the book down into how you can tell many different similar stories at the same time.

Example of stories & social currency:

  • I sell many ebooks. That story works great.

  • I get many unrequested links. That story works great.
  • I get many unrequested recommendations. That story works great.
  • I do not get many links from most official type sites. Part of that is sector branding (ie: many people think SEO = scum), and another part of that is my style (unedited & being a bit random on occassion).
  • While I have great social currency with many independant webmasters I lack strong social currency from most offial type resources. There are perhaps some ways I could encourage more official type sites to want to link at my sites by creating another story which they would find appealing. Perhaps this is not the correct site for that story, but I certainly could create another brand or whatever to tell a story that fits their needs or desires.

His books are usually not too technical and use large print. They also tell stories which make them easy to read. Instead of focusing on numbers they are more ideas oriented. Buy the Book or Check out the All Marketers are Liars website.

Published: June 3, 2005 by Aaron Wall in book reviews


February 1, 2007 - 10:10pm

seth's always done the same thing on my posts, too. dude knows how to take care of his network.

June 4, 2005 - 4:18pm

It's interesting, Aaron, that the worldview of many of your readers (I'm guessing here) is that they don't like to pay for books (or ebooks). In other words, some people believe that books are a bargain and buy them right away, while others are attracted to free information, parceled out, as you do, over time. [if you made your ebook free, it would have 50 times the readership, which is silly, since it's obviously worth the money].

That's also relevant as you consider whether to print your book or not. If you do, my guess is that loyal readers will buy a few, but you'll find a whole new audience that will read you precisely because it's not free.

Thanks for the thoughtful review.

June 4, 2005 - 8:06pm


Even on a weekend Seth quickly stops by for a comment. Talk about practicing what you preach. Thanks for the comment Seth :)

rock on w you! write another book soon!

Not sure if you will pop back, but if you do I would love to bug you with the following question:

Musicians, authors, artists, and the like many times lose drive, content, or originality as time goes on. How do you know when an idea is a good one to make a book out of? Have you wrote any partial books which you didn't like enough to publish?


Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.