Always On?

  1. 51wcdoq7qgl_sl500_bo2204203200_pisiNew on this week's WSJ's best selling business book list is AlwaysOn: Advertising, Marketing and Media in an Era of Consumer Control by a media consultant at Booz Allen called Christopher Vollmer. It's ahead of such blockbuster hits as Tim Ferris' Four Hour Work Week (#7), Jim Collins' Good to Great (#4) and, of course, Levitt & Dubner's Freakomonics (#15)

Huh?

On Amazon, Vollmer's Always On, which was published by in paperback by McGraw-Hill on 25 March this year, is ranked 33,055 overall on Amazon and #94 in the e-commerce category. Which is about as obscure as it gets. I'd never heard of the book before seeing its name on the list. This is the Always-On's blurb on Amazon:

We stand at the beginning of a consumer-centric age-an era with potentially enormous returns for leaders in marketing, advertising and media-if they get their approach right. The new media environment is “always on,” digitally accessible to audiences from anywhere at any time, and responsive to their control. As consumers get used to this, the world of marketing is shifting to one of constant experimentation, fine-grained insight through new metrics, and continual innovation of the visible advertising message, as well as the changing business infrastructure beneath it.

Yeah, Always-On sounds like a second-rate version of Wikinomics, which is itself a second rate version of The Long Tail, a book which pinched the ideas of Tony Perkins, Silicon Valley founder of Red Herring magazine and the current governor of the Always-On network.

From Always-On to Always On: can anyone hold onto a half decent idea these days and make it their own?

But I'm still intrigued -- and not a little jealous -- that an unknown book which has been on the market nearly six months should suddenly enter the WSJ business book chart at #3. Anyone out there who can help solve this Always On mystery? Seems almost too good to be true. Did Vollmer's friends & family order every copy on the market last week? Or has all of middle America simultaneously woken up to the consumer-centric nature our age and begun to flex its collective muscle?

First five half-convincing answers gets a signed paperback version of my Cult (not in the bookstores till 12  August -- but I've got some early copies for keen literary sleuths).