A week or so I was sent a free review copy of a new book by Stephen Bayley and Roger Mavity, called “Life’s a Pitch“.
I have to admit I’m a bit slow posting my thoughts on this one, but I guess I have a pretty good excuse! Stuart Bruce, Ellee Seymour and Richard Bailey have posted their reviews on this book too.
Visually it’s a strikingly designed book, with a big bold cover and plenty of clear space on the pages. The two halves of the book have a very different feel, but more on that later.
The big idea behind the book is that we are pitching something almost every day of our lives, even if we may not consciously realise it:
The date which leads to a passionate affair is a pitch. The interview which starts your career is a pitch. Every new meeting, every new opportunity, involves pitching. We’re at it all the time.
The book is divided clearly into two halves: the first, by Roger Mavity, is a clear no-nonsense guide to improving your pitching skills in a variety of situations. The second by Stephen Bayley is a more reflective read, with almost a semi-academic tone.
Personally I found the first half much more engaging than the second. I suspect that’s because I found the written style of Mavity’s section easier to read and the content more directly applicable to my professional life.
On almost every page I found a tip that made me think of what I do at work, and how I could improve my effectiveness. I found myself nodding at many of the situations described having experienced them myself, and I think my empathy with the author made this part of the book extremely credible.
Bayley’s book was a more challenging read. With the change in font and text spacing it even looked visually like it was going to be harder-going. But once I managed to adjust to the change in tempo I began to enjoy this part of the book too. It throws up some interesting challenges and questions for further thought.
Since finishing the book I have gone back and read several of Bayley’s chapters again. I found them an easier read second-time around, and found myself going away and thinking further about the arguments he made.
I’d thoroughly recommend Life’s a Pitch as a practical guide to improving your personal effectiveness at home and at work. Roger Mavity’s half will give you with many tips to put into action, while Stephen Bayley’s contribution will encourage to you to take a step back and think about some of the situations that crop up in life.
On a related note in a comment to Stuart’s review, Richard Bailey notes that the book has an impressive PR machine rolling at the moment.
There’s a YouTube video, coverage in last Sunday’s Observer newspaper, on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, and in another national newspaper that I picked up in the hospital on Tuesday (can’t remember which!).
There’s also an interesting mobile marketing campaign for the book, although I’d question whether it’s practical for a potential reader to sample a book chapter by SMS – nice to see an innovative approach all the same though.
Given the reviews that have been appearing on marketing and PR blogs, the publishers seem to have a pretty effective approach to blogger relations too. Pitching to bloggers is a fine art, but the publishers Bantam and their agency Outside Line seem to have got it about right.