July 21, 2006
News & Opinion: Watching the Bestseller Lists
It is very interesting to look at this week's Wall Street Journal bestseller list [sub. needed]. There are three entries on the business list outside of the regulars. This is really unusual. The list is dominated week and week out by books like Freakonomics, Blink, and Who Moved My Cheese. It makes it very difficult for new books to get on the list. So, let's look at the three new entrants and I'll give you my thoughts on why they are there.
Debuting at #2 last week and moving to #1 this week is Waiting For Your Cat to Bark? by Bryan and Jeffery Eisenberg. This is the second effort for these two. You might remember Call to Action. In this book, they are selling an idea called Persuasion Architecture. It is a customer profiling technique that is reminiscent of Meyer-Briggs Personality testing. I would attribute the location of this book on the list to Mike Drew at Promote A Book. He gets books on bestseller lists and has been involved with this one.
At number #6 is Chris Anderson's The Long Tail. We have been talking about this book for awhile and everyone in the industry expected this to be a big book. It will be interesting to see if it takes one of those semi-permanent positions on the list. You can read Jack's review here.
#15 is the interesting one this week. 48 Laws of Power is a book that has been out since 1998. Author Robert Greene writes a Machiavellian take on how to get ahead. Among the laws, "Discover Each Man's Thumbscrew" and "Strike the Shepherd and The Sheep Will Scatter." The LA Times ran a story last week on how the book is finding a strong audience in the hip-hop community. It is a fascinating article and a probable explanation for 48 Laws' visit to the bestseller list.
The only other odd item about the list (and I usually don't look this close) is seeing The World Is Flat on the general non-fcition list, but not on the business list. That discrepancy might have created the spot for 48 Laws.