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Three (Plus One) of the Best Marketing Books of 2005: Start Reading Here

by Jack Covert  |  
September 13, 2005

With the start of autumn and a new school year comes a renewed emphasis on learning. That's true for those of us who haven't ridden a big yellow bus for many years.

So, among the dozens of marketing books published every year, here are three published in 2005 that are worth reading (and buying).

Bag the Elephant: How to Win & Keep BIG Customers by Steve Kaplan (Bard Press, 190 pages, $19.95, hardcover, August 2005)

Steve Kaplan has written a book that is very near to my cold capitalist heart. I have been a believer in "bagging the elephant" for years—with limited success.

What's an "elephant?" It is a big client. This is the book that will teach you how to do it. The book is one of the most detailed "how-to" sales books I have come across. To give an idea of my feeling for the book, once it leaves my hand it will be on my sales guy Aaron's desk with the instruction to read it right away.

The book shows you that "shoot high" can be done, but needs some preparation. Kaplan explains the challenges of bagging the big one. Here is what he says about elephants:

Why do I call these giant companies "elephants"? Because they are huge, slow-moving, ponderous, strong, slow to react, often loveable, sometimes stubborn—and because they require enormous amounts of input, which, if you can make it your job to supply, can bring you great financial rewards. Elephants are also smart, sometimes dangerous, uniquely individual, and equipped with long memories—all reasons for you to be super-cautious and respectful when dealing with them.

Based on my experience, Kaplan really nails the process of getting the "big one" with this book. (As an aside, I could have retired by now had this book been written 15 years ago! It's that good.) The book is loaded with important, valuable down-to-earth advice. I haven't even mentioned yet that it is loaded with color pictures—it has great graphics and fun stories. Check out the author's Web site at to get a better idea of this book's offerings.

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Jack Covert is the president and founder of 800-CEO-Read ( Reach him at

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