Book Review: JAB, JAB, JAB, RIGHT HOOK

C Now Vaynerchuck

To be honest, the past few weeks have been rough for me personally - family health issues have kept me busy, resulting in sudden changes in my schedule that have made it . At one point, I was fortunate enough to carve out some time to "sharpen the saw", as it were, and keep up on my professional reading. Knowing how many Chicago-area nonprofits and social enterprises are relying more on social media as a communications channel, I thought that reading a book that was highly recommended to me - Gary Vaynerchuk's Jab, Jab. Jab. Right Hook: How To Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World - might be a great diversion.

And after I finished reading, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook was a worthwhile read....but I have some ambivalence about fully recommending it.

On the plus side, Vaynerchuk's book has some really strong ideas that any organization should adopt as part of their social media strategy: focusing on benefits rather than selling; telling a cohesive story; and understanding how placing strong content in the proper context can work wonders. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook's central metaphor - providing relevant content that meets an audience's needs before going for an overt sell - seems a bit more belligerent than helpful. (It's not just about promoting a product or service...it's also about driving engagement with an audience, and finding those opportunities to build community). Perhaps my own bias is showing - I am so used to working in this field that many of these recommendations may be geared towards someone who is new to social media engagement, or who has not "seen and done it all".

(In other words, I may not be the target audience - or in the right frame of mind - most receptive to Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook)

Although Vaynerchuk has many great "best practices" of consumer brands using social media, much of the book feels more hype-driven than practical. For many mission-driven organizations like nonprofits or social enterprises, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook's examples may seem out of reach, and the book's tone may be a bit overwhelming to casual readers. (For some examples, you may want to check out Vaynerchuk's YouTube channel). The book has some very strong recommendations, and provides insight into how to engage audiences in our current media climate....but much of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook feels a bit too overenthusiastic, almost bludgeoning the reader into adopting every single recommendation as working policy.

Still, I am giving Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook a very qualified recommendation - it's a great introductory book for nonprofits and social enterprises on how to approach social media strategy. However, checking Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook out of the Chicago Public Library is a good strategy to read the book....and you can decide later whether to add it to your bookshelf.  

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