Review: ‘Unthinking’ by Harry Beckwith

Unthinking: The Surprising Forces Behind What We BuyUnthinking: The Surprising Forces Behind What We Buy by Harry Beckwith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Beckwith has offered us here a very accessible investigation into the cyclical exchanges that form the relationship between the consumer zeitgeist and the almost astoundingly complex world of marketing successes and failures. His best gestures are those that gently guide into understanding those justifiably perplexing examples that seem to defy all of our intuitions.

While the structuring of the book at times struck me as a bit scattershot and jumpy, this allowed for a certain fluidity that I appreciated in the way it worked to highlight the interweaving that underlies so much of the commercial world as it attempts to mime the movements of the Buyer. I did occasionally feel that Beckwith had left a lot on the workshop floor however, and my gut response is that while the book isn’t slim as it stands, another 40 or 50 pages of deeper exploration on some of these topics were not only probably available but would have done some appreciable work towards a culminated effect that reached further than, “Well, that’s all very interesting.”

I suspect this might be reflected in the book apparently being framed less as an intellectual endeavor on the matters at hand than a ‘How-To’ for young marketers looking to get a larger grasp of the market’s often schizophrenic-seeming personality. This hardly means it is without insight, but does mean that at least this reader felt Beckwith had shortchanged not only the consumers of the book but his own investigations.

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