If your business is not fascinating, you are in big trouble


A review of Fascinate by Sally Hogshead, which may be one of the most important marketing books ever.


Sally Hogshead has created an 'Einsteinish' unified theory for capturing attention in an ADD world.

“Over men and horses hoops and garters
Lastly through a hogshead of real fire
In this way Mr. K will challenge the world”


If you think that “hogshead” sounds fascinating, let me tell you about Sally.

I first heard the name Sally Hogshead in 2009 when University of Virginia digital media guru Stace Carter offered her as a reference before he and I worked together on a project. During a brief chat, Sally gave Stace well deserved praise. Afterward, I began following her on social media and noticed that she published a book in 2010. Last week, I read it.

I was . . . it was . . . well, Sally has given a whole new meaning and importance to the “F Word.”

Read it or leave money on the table

Anyone needing to alert, persuade or convince another person of anything must read Fascinate by Sally Hogshead and take it to heart. Read this book even if you are among the 75% of the population (85% of business people) who would rather spend a day in the Mojave Desert without water than read a book. If you need people to like you, read this book. Read this book and you will make more money. Don’t read it and you are leaving money on the table.


Giles Corey, a prosperous landowner, was tortured and executed in 1692 for fascinating young women of Salem. Today, that ability would earn him his own reality TV show.

Sally’s book is not the latest revolutionary playbook, habit manual, effectiveness study or performance formula. Fascinate is a “unified theory” (yes, almost Einsteinish) about a word, its meaning and its supreme importance in everything we do. Instantly, the secret of how to get and give everything you ever wanted becomes crystal clear. All you have to do is fascinate, because the only thing no one can resist is being fascinated.

You are hopelessly fascinating or just hopeless

Is there a catch? Of course. For some, fascinating others comes naturally (Muhammad Ali, Lady Gaga, chocolate, space aliens) but most of us struggle to be captivating (Mitt Romney, broccoli, bus transportation). Sally can’t tell you how to do it (she’s too smart to suggest putting lipstick on a pig, like many other popular authors) but she does explain how and why it can be done.

Today, the word fascinate (and variations) has become a thoughtless exclamation. “Wow!” “Fascinating!” “No way!” “I’m speechless.” But, Sally explains that throughout history the ability to “draw irresistibly the attention and interest of someone” see reference.com has been revered, examined, studied and feared. She then goes on to prove that a person, product, event or anything else must be fascinating or it just doesn’t matter.

If I haven’t fascinated you, go %(*# yourself!

For any business, that is the point; if you are not fascinating in one way or another, you fail. But, you can learn how to fascinate by understanding seven universal triggers that make people PAY ATTENTION, even when they don’t want to stop what they are doing. For more, read the book. (If you are not yet fascinated, it is my fault. In fact, you are no longer reading so it doesn’t matter what I write.)

Fascinate is one of those rare books (especially in the areas of marketing and advertising psychology) that makes and proves its theory by connecting dots scattered throughout human history and experience. That alone distinguishes it from marketing drivel promising paths to riches.

Fascinate works on more levels than just about any business book I have read. But most of what fascinated me, probably will not fascinate you. So, I’ll end this article but plan to write more about why Sally’s fascinating revelations are so important.

You can get the book on SallyHogshead.com or Amazon.com.

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Mac Strong September 27, 2012, 3:23 pm

Thanks John. Great tagline and content. Along with the art of reading, the art of storytelling is too often absent from business people’s lives, but never has it been more important!

The below interview with screenwriting coach-to-the-stars Robert McKee hits on similar chords.


John Ribbler September 28, 2012, 8:16 am