Gini Dietrich

Review: Humanize by Maddie Grant and Jamie Notter

By: Gini Dietrich | November 4, 2011 | 

It’s time for a new series to begin. I hope you’re as excited as I am!

On the first Friday of every month, I will review a PR, marketing, or social media book here.

It is going to replace one #FollowFriday. Don’t worry! It’s just once a month.

The photo used is here is the stack of books I have received, but haven’t reviewed yet. So we have a lot of work to do!

Today…Humanize by Maddie Grant and Jamie Notter.

The quote I wrote for the book cover follows:

The days of controlling your messages are dead. Born is the human organization where people buy from people, not companies. This is not another social media book. Notter and Grant dispel the notion that your leadership and your culture can continue to be self-centered and two-dimensional. With additional reading recommendations and worksheets, they’ll have you well on your way to creating a sustainable shift inside and outside of your organization.

Enough said?


OK, OK. Fine.

This book is not for you if your organization is already using technology to help it sell. It is not for you if your organization is already using social media really effectively. It is not for you if your organization is open and trustworthy and it empower employees at all levels. It is not for you if your organization doesn’t have silos and is completely decentralized.

If the above statements don’t describe where you work, then this book is for you. It’s for your executive team. It’s for your clients. It’s for you.

As you can imagine, I read a lot of books. Too many, probably. So they all start to sound the same.

What I like about Humanize is it doesn’t sound like everything else I’ve read. It doesn’t use the same case studies. It only touches on social media as a tool, not a strategy. And it tells a story.

You feel like Maddie and Jamie are in the room with you, telling you exactly what to do next and taking away all of the fear. They describe the challenges you’ll face and take you by the hand and help you move past them.

On a five star scale, I give this one four stars.

You can buy it here (not an affiliate link) OR you can enter to win a copy that I will personally send to you.

In order to enter to win, please leave a comment below about why your organization or one of your clients needs to humanize and three ways you think this book will help you get them there.

I have two copies to give away and Maddie and Jamie will choose the two entries they think are most deserving. I totally just sprung that on them, too. Hi guys!

Let’s hear it!

Disclosure: I received a free copy to read, in order to write the praise quote for the book. I also was given the two copies I’m giving away in this contest. But neither Maddie or Jamie bribed me in any other way, which is the real reason they didn’t get five stars from me.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Well, this is certainly a book I want to read, as it hammers home what I try to get across to my clients. In my mind, THIS is the real reason to use Social Media. Not as a marketing or PR tool. Those are secondary to the people to people nature of the medium.

    My hope is that this book would 1) help give me new ways of communicating this to clients, as sometimes they get it, sometimes they don’t. 2) be a constant reminder to ME to live that out in my business and as I engage online, and 3) offer advice that helps break the pattern that I see in so many as they approach the online realm as if it’s just another medium for one-way ad copy. Oh, and I’ll add 4) Too many small businesses fear the digital and social media realm because they see it as “new” and “different”, but if they would understand that it can merely be an extension of who they are, and how they conduct business IRL, it becomes less daunting.

    There. Those are all pet peeves of mine, and are a big part of the educational battle I face every day when working with small businesses who, in my mind, SHOULD be incredibly well suited to this sort of thing.

    • ginidietrich

      @KenMueller The types of businesses you work for ARE well suited to this sort of thing.

      • @ginidietrich It surprises me that more small businesses don’t gravitate to this, and don’t do it well. To me it’s a no-brainer. Most small businesses are already silo-free. One or two people already take care of most of those functions rather seamlessly. They don’t even compartmentalize between marketing, sales, etc in their heads. And yet the moment you take it online, their minds freeze up. I think a big part of that, at least from what I can see, is that many small business owners are in that last demographic to “get” and get on social media: Men 45+. The good news is…I’m in that same demographic, so perhaps I can be an example.

        • ginidietrich

          @KenMueller That said…many start-ups silo really quickly in order to sell as fast as they can. They’re also considered small business, but it happens almost more quickly than in big corporations.

  • “It doesn’t use the same case studies. It only touches on social media as a tool, not a strategy. And it tells a story.”




    And DING.

    I’m in. Thanks for the tip, Gini!

    • ginidietrich

      @fitzternet It’s one of those books that, as I read it, kept nodding my head. It wasn’t a painful business book to read.

      • @ginidietrich Sounds like “Making Ideas Happen” or “The Long Tail.” If a book MAKES me want to read it, I’m all in and I’ll pimp it out in blog comment sections for months and years to come.

        See above.

  • ginidietrich

    @jamienotter LOL

    • lesmckeown

      @ginidietrich Appreciate the cliffs notes, Gini – made my prep for interview today even easier 🙂 @jamienotter

      • ginidietrich

        @lesmckeown Oh it’s today?! Great!

      • jamienotter

        Interviewed by the awesome @lesmckeown today on #Humanize. I think he knows the book better than I do! Thanks Les!

  • 1day1brand

    I would love to win one of the copies of the book. I get a real kick out of winning things. However, based on your review, I plan to pick it up whether I win or not because:

    1. Technology and Social Media is changing the way we interact;

    2. There is tremendous potential for it to allow greater engagement and connection between brands and the customers they want to reach;

    3. I fear the tendency for Social Media to reduce communication to an echo chamber or just another content distribution channel;

    4. Thoughtful consideration of how to better use the amazing technological advance to create a dialogue as opposed to just message distribution and humanize that engagement is very welcome.

    Margaret of 1day1brand

    • ginidietrich

      @1day1brand Thanks Margaret! My favorite is your fourth point. Social is fundamentally changing the way we communicate, but so many marketers want to use it as another avenue to push their wares.

  • maddiegrant

    Thank you so much for the review – and praise quote – and friendship – and everything. Even though Jamie and I wrote the book, we feel like it’s bigger than us. Deep stuff that hopefully will help put all of the mass of social activity into some context that makes sense as to WHY we’re all doing this (successfully or not).

    Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who has commented that they will buy the book (or apply to win a copy!) We’re very keen to hear what all of you think about it.

    • ginidietrich

      @maddiegrant You’re welcome, welcome, welcome!

  • ginidietrich

    @1day1brand Great comment on @spinsucks today!

  • ginidietrich

    @jenniferwindrum Seriously rocks

  • Social Media is indeed a tool (though one of the favorite curretnly) – and the key lesson for all is that the tool-man (is that a word?) is the real issue – who uses the tool and how they use it….

    I am about to set off on a new challenge where (once I get the darned contract) – I will be experiencing a very ‘alien’ set of challenges – with different cultures, different belief systems and different knowledge bases…. Having my own tool (i.e. the prize winning book) to help me show how we (the new employer) can empower staff, use SM effectively, and to sell (key target) will be awesome… So – please Alien-ize me up!!!

    • ginidietrich

      @Nic_Cartwright You can read it while you ride a camel!

  • KatherineBull

    Can I win a book? No? Oh, right, shoot, I’m their editor!

    I’ll raise Gini’s offer by two additional books so now Maddie and Jamie have to pick FOUR of the best responses. Hi Maddie and Jamie! Surprise! 🙂

    • ginidietrich

      @KatherineBull Woo hoo!

      • maddiegrant

        @ginidietrich@KatherineBull double whoo hoo!! Thanks!

  • KatherineBull

    Can I win a book? No? Oh, right, shoot, I’m their editor!

    I’ll raise Gini’s offer by two additional books so now Maddie and Jamie have to pick FOUR of the best responses. Hi Maddie and Jamie! Surprise! 🙂

  • RamHatter

    @jenniferwindrum Whoa, just flooded my feed! Which link first? 🙂

    • jenniferwindrum

      @RamHatter Ooopppp. Sorry about that. I obviously hit a “wrong button.” Grrr….thanks for letting me know.

      • RamHatter

        @jenniferwindrum No worries. I’ve done the same thing before. Always good stuff you push on Twitter.

  • rustyspeidel

    God, we sure need it. Three reasons:

    1. We are seriously old-school and don’t even communicate among ourselves clearly, let alone with our customers, about what makes us special in the marketplace;

    2. We have yet to do basic technology integration with our social programs and cannot even get agreement on the need for decent tracking and CRM;

    3. We do a lot of backpedaling on features, delivery dates, and commitments based on poor implementations around 1 and 2.

    Can you help? 🙂

    • ginidietrich

      @rustyspeidel 4. The IT guy really needs some help.

  • ginidietrich

    @shepherd_group You’re welcome!

    • shepherd_group

      @ginidietrich – We heard you’re away traveling, any stops in Toronto?

      • ginidietrich

        @shepherd_group No. 🙁

        • shepherd_group

          @ginidietrich – Too bad. We’ll meet up one day soon!

        • ginidietrich

          @shepherd_group I’ll get up there in Q1. I promise.

        • shepherd_group

          @ginidietrich – Sounds great! Dinner will be on us! Cheers and have a great weekend Gini.

  • ifdyperez

    I’m always one to jump at the chance of getting a free book (I always read them, I swear) but because I know @maddiegrant and she’s my rockin’ Give to the Max Day superstar, and because my dad’s an author and I know it makes him feel warm and fuzzy when someone actually pays for his book, I’m going to buy “Humanize.” 😀

    In any case, your review @ginidietrich tells me this book can give me ideas that I can pass onto the hundreds of nonprofits I’m in touch with everyday. Being human in conversations is hard for some NPOs (I should know, I was there at one point), and I’ve been dying to find case studies that show them that it’s more effective to talk normally, without the big-corporate-formal voice that turns everyone off. Gracias for the helpful review, muchacha! (There’s some Spanglish for ya.)

    • ginidietrich

      @ifdyperez There are GREAT case studies in it!

  • ginidietrich

    @RTRViews Do what Rick said!

  • ginidietrich

    @jonbuscall It feels like the book list never goes down

  • SarahRobinson

    w00t! Free books!!! I am currently fascinated with (and researching) what it takes to re-vamp the internal and external cultures today’s businesses create. So many are DINOSAURS, thinking they can dictate the message and and control their communities. Uh – no. Whether I win this book or not, it is now on my Amazon list “Books for Research”. And of course you helped me find it. 🙂

    P.S. When my book comes out, will you please supply a list of Appropriate 5 Star Bribes?

    • ginidietrich

      @SarahRobinson LOL! I read this comment as you’re reading books about dinosaurs and you need something else to read. I mean, it could make sense!

      P.S. A list of five star bribes. Oh this could be fun!

  • It’s funny that you talk about using technology to sell and people buying people before they buy a product because that is exactly what my agency is, a consumer advocate, but the directors will not buy into the technology part of a communications program to reach the people we serve. If convincing them of the value technology and social media to humanize our agency maybe we wouldn’t have seen a 50% budget cut.

    Part of it is I think they are so scared of the unknown and letting go of the misnomer that social media is in fact a better way to get the pulse of the people we advocate for than the old way of doing things.

    And if Maddie’s and Jamie’s words can help where I have struggled, I am all for putting it in front of their noses.

    • maddiegrant

      @Anthony_Rodriguez fear is bad for business. 🙂 Please let us know if the book helps!

    • ginidietrich

      @Anthony_Rodriguez I think your company definitely needs this book. If you win a copy, I hope they’ll actually read it.

  • SpinSucks

    @jamienotter Hi Jamie! I’ve “met” @maddiegrant but not you yet. – Lisa (chief content officer)

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  • melmonstahall

    My organization is a not for profit and we’re looking for every resource possible to do a better job with our fledgling social media efforts! This book should help give our executives a new perspective…

    • ginidietrich

      @melmonstahall Thanks for the comment! I’m closing the contest now. So stay tuned!

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