“Be The Cat: A Marketing Book With Claws” by Blaine & Honey Parker (2014)

I really don’t know how to feel right now.

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Evidently the purpose of this brief tract (a scant 83 pages!) is to encourage humans to learn from felines, and at that fundamental level I support this book wholeheartedly. Humans fail at so much in life only because they fail to emulate their betters. But using us as models for proper marketing?

Nope. I’m sorry. We’re more Gordon Gekko…

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…than Don Draper.

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Blaine Parker uses examples from feline behavior and famous human quotes about felines to draw conclusions about the ways in which humans should approach marketing their businesses. Arguing that felines are the most successful marketers in all the world, he explains that we successfully “establish our brand” and, through flattery and inherent confidence, make humans so desperate to please us and incorporate us into their lives that they care for us even though we neither fawn over nor slavishly obey humans. Some of this is unquestionably true. Dogs do both of those embarrassing behaviors and what has it gotten them? Oh, they have their fans, but dogs serve humankind. They will never, can never, rule over them – and certainly could never do so while convincing humans that humans were in charge. They’re too obvious, too clumsy. They lack our grace and our precision.

So yes, we felines are extremely successful at marketing ourselves in that sense.

But the rest?

All right, that’s true in its way as well. But he’s assuming there’s more intent behind our actions than is actually there. We do not intentionally do these things – we simply are that charming, elegant, powerful and intelligent.

A final note about this work: I assumed, perhaps optimistically, that this “Honey Parker” was the author’s cat. But no! She is the author’s wife who contributed various insights to the treatise and is the true fan of felines in their household, so for that I salute her – and I salute him for acknowledging her contributions! But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that my heart sank a bit when I learned that Honey Parker was not, in fact, a cunning feline carefully working behind the scenes to shape her human’s perceptions in our favor.

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