Garfield's Chaos Scenario is about the "historic reordering of media, marketing and commerce triggered by the revolution in digital technology." As America's foremost advertising critic, he is able to tell the story from a unique perspective and with his signature style: straightforward writing, strong analysis, logical arguments, great examples and a very healthy dose or irreverent humor. The book will make you laugh. And sometimes, it will certainly make you cringe.
Unlike so many other digital revolution writers, Garfield is neither a late-comer nor revisionist to this upheaval. When he writes about the collapse of analog media -- "The Death of Everything," as he calls it -- he delivers arguments that he has developed and refined over the years. Analog media of old like newspapers, music publishers and magazines, are dying because: 1) their audiences are shrinking; 2) their methods of distribution are obsolete and carry unsustainable costs; and 3) every computer user in the world is now competing with them.
Fortunately, "The Chaos Scenario" doesn't just predict doom, depress all who make a living in media and marketing, and leave you wondering how you will pay the bills once your analog employer collapses. Rather, Garfield offers prescriptions for the future of marketing. He has chapters critiquing a number of the emerging technologies and companies in digital marketing, from YouTube to widgets to behavioral targeting (disclosure: he does mention my former company, TACODA, and include a couple of quotes from me), to his own foray into word-of-mouth marketing, his well-chronicled run-in with Comcast and his "Comcast must Die" campaign.
Garfield's primary prescription for marketing in the future is Listenomics: that marketers must truly listen and respond to people at the individual, not mass level, if they are to have a hope of surviving and prospering in the post-advertising age. He even offers his own Top 10 List: Garlield's Top 10 Principles of Word of Mouth. Finally, in reading the book, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it is published by Stielstra Publishing, the new imprint founded by Greg Stielstra, the author of "PyroMarketing" and the executive behind the marketing of "The Purpose Driven Life," whom I wrote about a couple of years ago.
If you care about the world of advertising, media and marketing, or just want a great read and some really good laughs, you should read "The Chaos Scenario." Those of you who have already read the book or the earlier Chaos essays, please tell us what you think in the comments section below.