I’ve been really struggling to actually like my Kindle reader.

Perhaps I chose the wrong book to get excited about e-readers … my first real attempt is The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, by British neuropsychiatrist Iain McGilchrist.

I can assure you, the problem is not the book … it’s a magnificent treatment of how the brain functions. But this book takes what you might have gleaned from pop literature about left/right brain dynamics and projects it right out onto social systems and cultures. The problem is, the book is complex and I’m constantly needing to refer back to stuff I’ve already read, which is quite tedious on the tablet.

Why am I writing about this? I had been intending to recommend the book to serious fundraising students of mental processing (every fundraiser is at least an amateur at attempting to influence how others feel and think, right?). But, as noted, my pace has been slow.

So I was delighted to read this manageable article written by Jim Gilmartin on Engage:Boomers that draws marketing lessons from The Master.

Noting that the analytical left brain will generally not process new information unless it has first been processed by the contextual right brain, Gilmartin advises: tell stories (i.e., word pictures) to activate the right brain, whose verbal ability is primitive … don’t lecture. [The Master gives entirely new depth to the power of stories.]

Gilmartin is a marketer focusing on Boomers and Seniors, so he’s especially attuned to insights from The Master that relate to his target audience:

“…the whole business of marketing, sales and public relations is about getting information into people’s brains and persuading their minds to buy or do something. The older we become the more emotional reactions determine if we should think about a matter (the right brain works harder). Emotional triggers in the right brain activate memories, and the stronger the memory, the stronger the emotional response.

In marketing and sales – it’s not what Baby Boomer and senior customers think that’s most important — just as important is how they think. Marketing and sales must integrate both empathy and vulnerability into marketing messages. These two attributes are necessary to build trust, and are essential to optimal results in marketing and sales communications.”

In short, with Boomers and older, try nostalgia!

Meantime, anyone who’s managed to make it through The Master using an e-reader, I take my hat off to you … you deserve an Agitator raise!


P.S. Obviously there are many books to choose from if you’re interested in how our brains work, with anything written by Antonio Damasio at the top of my list. But The Master is unique in offering a theory about the societal consequences when most of us have brains that today (as McGilchrist sees it) tilt to the left or logical.



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