The Library: Paid Attention, by Faris Yakob

Reviewed by Alex.

This book appealed to me as it suggested that it might answer the ongoing question in advertising – how do you get cut-through?

As much as this book is filled with great insights, behavioural science notes and relevant case studies, the bit that’s missing is any kind of answer that is promised throughout the back cover copy and introduction. In fact the last line of the book is: “No one has enough money to out-shout the rest of culture, so how do we get attention?” – showing that it’s a question that can’t really be answered in one book by one man.

Apart from this missing piece, and the subtle PR for the author’s agency (whole chapters dedicated to showcasing Genius Steals processes), the book covers a broad range of topics and does a nice job of firstly setting up how branding and advertising work from a behavioural point of view before moving on to the complex issues with the digital world and media planning. It then deviates into a few too many topics that feel like he was trying to pack too much in to one book.

Overall it’s nice that Yakob does go deeper than just giving an all-knowing answer, but at times can read like a mash-up of all the best theories he has read. It would make a great reference book if anyone was (in the spirit of recombinant thinking) going to create new planning theories from the numerous quotes and great studies that are referenced.