Book Review: “Can I Change Your Mind?” – Lindsay Camp

1st December 2008:
Can I Change Your Mind?
by Lindsay Camp

I am, as I’ve mentioned before, a self-confessed business book addict.  I normally indulge this addiction by browsing the bookshops, flicking through whatever book catches my eye and seeing whether the info and advice appears sensible, readable and interesting.  I rarely buy business books because they have been recommended.


This book was the exception. I heard about it, read about it and hunted it down.


Originally, I thought it would help me with my copywriting work but its impact has been felt in all my areas of writing (letters, emails, notes to clients/partner/mam).


Lindsay Camp is an experienced and successful copywriter and – as heard on a recent Radio 4 programme – he’s also a poet. And his book is one of the most readable business books out there.


Made up of 4 separate sections, this book takes your hand and gently explains what persuasive writing is, why it’s important to everyone, not just copywriters and how it can be applied. There’s no jargon, no lecturing and no unrealistic “exercises”.  (There are some funny and cleverly chosen exercises at the back of the book such as “Job Application Haikus”).


Section 1 of the book looks at what Mr Camp calls the ‘Persuasive Principles’ and deals with the what? why? how? whadya mean by that? of good writing. He goes on to explain – by sharing with us a note he wrote to his Milkman – why understanding your reader is vital when it comes to clear and concise writing.


Next is a “brief canter through the alphabet” of good persuasive writing, explaining the effects of editing, humour, jargon and those weasel words.


The final two sections get down to the nitty gritty, looking at the actual writing in more detail; the questions to ask yourself and others before putting pen to paper, and the power and impact of your opening lines. Mr Camp also shows us how his persuasive principles work in real life, because, as I’m sure he would admit, even copywriters have to interact with the real world sometimes.


Would I recommend this book?  Yes, absolutely.   If you’re a professional/wannabe copywriter, journalist, writer – buy this book. If you want to sharpen and tighten your written communications – buy this book. If it takes you twenty minutes to write a note saying “your dinner’s in the dog” – buy this book.


Or, maybe I should just say – buy this book.


Christine … from the Shed

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