A Thoroughly Read Review of Trust Agents

Had enough of Trust Agents buzz yet? I have. Let’s see if the reality matches the hype.

Trust Agents coverIf you’re already a trusted community member/manager, already a thought leader of sorts, Trust Agents isn’t going to do anything new for you. There isn’t anything in the book that you haven’t already heard and practiced before. Some of it will be good reminders of things you should be doing if you’ve lapsed, but for the most part if you have the trust of your community, your tribe, then don’t expect mental fireworks. If you’ve read previous works that Trust Agents builds on, like Tribes, New Rules of Marketing and PR, Cluetrain Manifesto, The Whuffie Factor, Chris Brogan’s blog, etc. expect Trust Agents to be more or less a derivative work with a few different case studies.

If you are not a trusted member or leader of your community, Trust Agents is for you. The nearest trusted person in your community, if you’re very lucky, will buy the hardcover edition, laminate it with granite, and then beat you over the head with it until [a] you get it or [b] your forehead resembles chunky salsa. Either way, we all win.

This is the paradox, the irony of Trust Agents, and the part that I hope all the buzz and hype actually works to break:

The people who need Trust Agents the most are the least likely to read it.

The people who need to get a clue about how to manage trust, how to behave in a trustworthy fashion, how to create value instead of simply broadcasting the same crappy commercial message over and over again, probably won’t pick up the book. Ideally, all the buzz and hype will convince them it’s a must read, even if they don’t have a clue why they’ve got a copy on their desk. It’s your obligation if you work for one of these people to either make them read the book or commit homicide with it via blunt trauma.

There are a great many little things in Trust Agents that, if you’re trustworthy, should be annoying. “How to earn trust” and “how to behave in a community” sound like they were written for 6 year olds. Your inner voice as a trusted person should be saying, “DUH!” and “Is that really all there is to this book?” and the answer is yes, because you know these lessons. You’ve internalized them, you practice them daily, and you don’t need them as reminders any more than you need reminders not to shoplift at the grocery store. For the used car salesman at your office, at your business, on your salesforce, in your community, these lessons are probably the closest thing to divine revelation that they’ll get this week. Sad, but true.

In the end, if you read this blog, if you listen to Marketing Over Coffee, if you follow me on Twitter, you’re probably already a reasonably trustworthy person and you’re not going to get much out of Trust Agents. Like I said, it’s not for you. Buy it anyway, skim it, and then force it down the throat of your pointy haired boss as fast as you can.


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  • nwjerseyliz

    Sometimes I buy books just to support my friends who've spent a year writing them!

  • http://www.honeybeeconsulting.com startabuzz

    I always imagined that, were I to see anyone beaten in the head with a granite-bound book, the resulting mess would look a lot more like guacamole. And when I say “always”, I mean in the thirty seconds since I read the 2nd paragraph of your review.

    But I digress. I think that, many times, even those people who're engaged in communities of trust or those who're “in the know” (and I can think of SEVERAL examples) should be reminded about how to behave; how to interact with others. For this reason, getting involved in the discussion about Trust Agents — and about trust, in general — is important for all of us. Not just because we like Chris & Julien and want to see them succeed, but because it's important not to get mired in our own self-importance and stagnate. So whether the meat of the matter makes you say, “DUH” or not, if it makes you think consciously about how you're dealing with others, then it's an effective book, a totally worthwhile purchase, and probably not something that you'll ever need to employ as a bludgeon.

  • http://www.livinghalffull.com/ Peter Mis

    Chris,

    How true: “The people who need Trust Agents the most are the least likely to read it.”

    It seems like that is the case for so many important messages that need to get out. But the message still needs to get out. Not a big fan of military metaphors, but those of us enlisted in the Army of Trust must spread these lessons one-to-one, door-to-door, living by example and exposing those to this and similar messages. Especially to the pointy haired boss.

    It would be far easier to say “screw 'em”, but that type of indifference creates a whole other batch of problems. But wisdom brings with it a certain responsibility including striving for betterment of the world we live in.

    Let's spread the word!

    Appreciate your posts…glad you're sharing your gift with the world!

    Peter

  • Liz Pullen

    Sometimes I buy books just to support my friends who've spent a year writing them!

  • http://www.honeybeeconsulting.com startabuzz

    I always imagined that, were I to see anyone beaten in the head with a granite-bound book, the resulting mess would look a lot more like guacamole. And when I say “always”, I mean in the thirty seconds since I read the 2nd paragraph of your review.

    But I digress. I think that, many times, even those people who're engaged in communities of trust or those who're “in the know” (and I can think of SEVERAL examples) should be reminded about how to behave; how to interact with others. For this reason, getting involved in the discussion about Trust Agents — and about trust, in general — is important for all of us. Not just because we like Chris & Julien and want to see them succeed, but because it's important not to get mired in our own self-importance and stagnate. So whether the meat of the matter makes you say, “DUH” or not, if it makes you think consciously about how you're dealing with others, then it's an effective book, a totally worthwhile purchase, and probably not something that you'll ever need to employ as a bludgeon.

  • http://www.livinghalffull.com/ Peter Mis

    Chris,

    How true: “The people who need Trust Agents the most are the least likely to read it.”

    It seems like that is the case for so many important messages that need to get out. But the message still needs to get out. Not a big fan of military metaphors, but those of us enlisted in the Army of Trust must spread these lessons one-to-one, door-to-door, living by example and exposing those to this and similar messages. Especially to the pointy haired boss.

    It would be far easier to say “screw 'em”, but that type of indifference creates a whole other batch of problems. But wisdom brings with it a certain responsibility including striving for betterment of the world we live in.

    Let's spread the word!

    Appreciate your posts…glad you're sharing your gift with the world!

    Peter

  • beckymccray

    And this is why I ordered two copies. I'm giving them both away at upcoming events where I'll be outside the usual crowd. I'll be looking for the people who most need to read it, and putting it in their hands.

    Me, I'm holding out for the audio book for my personal copy.

  • http://bloggerillustrated.net/ Allyn

    Umm, did you read it, or just write this diatribe (good use of word and sentence structure BTW) as a funny?
    thanks,
    AL

  • http://www.uniquefrequency.com/ Daryl Tay

    I wanted to say

    a) I'm definitely picking this up

    b) I enjoyed the Dilbert reference

  • http://www.ChristopherSPenn.com Christopher S. Penn

    Read the entire thing. I was sent an advance copy.

  • beckymccray

    And this is why I ordered two copies. I'm giving them both away at upcoming events where I'll be outside the usual crowd. I'll be looking for the people who most need to read it, and putting it in their hands.

    Me, I'm holding out for the audio book for my personal copy.

  • http://bloggerillustrated.net/ Allyn

    Umm, did you read it, or just write this diatribe (good use of word and sentence structure BTW) as a funny?
    thanks,
    AL

  • http://www.webinknow.com/ David Meerman Scott

    Very thoughtful review. You've identified an issue I face with my own books. The people who hear about them know a lot of the stuff in the book already. And the people who should read it probably aren't listening to podcasts like Marketing Over Coffee so they never hear about it. Interesting stuff.

  • http://www.uniquefrequency.com/ Daryl Tay

    I wanted to say

    a) I'm definitely picking this up

    b) I enjoyed the Dilbert reference

  • http://www.uniquefrequency.com/ Daryl Tay

    I wanted to say

    a) I'm definitely picking this up

    b) I enjoyed the Dilbert reference

  • http://www.ChristopherSPenn.com Christopher S. Penn

    Read the entire thing. I was sent an advance copy.

  • http://www.ChristopherSPenn.com Christopher S. Penn

    Read the entire thing. I was sent an advance copy.

  • http://www.webinknow.com/ David Meerman Scott

    Very thoughtful review. You've identified an issue I face with my own books. The people who hear about them know a lot of the stuff in the book already. And the people who should read it probably aren't listening to podcasts like Marketing Over Coffee so they never hear about it. Interesting stuff.

  • http://www.webinknow.com/ David Meerman Scott

    Very thoughtful review. You've identified an issue I face with my own books. The people who hear about them know a lot of the stuff in the book already. And the people who should read it probably aren't listening to podcasts like Marketing Over Coffee so they never hear about it. Interesting stuff.