Book review: selling products to atheists

Do you know any openly atheist politicians?  We have had openly gay ones for some time now.  Even a black president.  Yet, despite the fact that atheism is probably one of the major global trends to watch in 2013, atheism isn’t selling much other than itself.  This insightful book helps you open up the opportunities for any brand or product to this excited and exciting new market.   No, it’s not just for sellers of cheesy videos, candles or other “traditional” religious products.  This major shift is changing marketing for every product.

How to sell to the Godless generation: the critical thinking obstacle” is an excellent handbook for anyone in sales and marketing interested in finding a new communication channel to brand new customers.   Here’s the book’s anatomy in brief:

Chapters 1 & 2 don’t waste too much time going over the “why faith died” timeline.  This has been done pretty well before.   We have read about religion as an economic activity or from a branding perspective.  Here the author puts it all together succinctly for anyone who hasn’t read “Acts of faith”, “Selling God” or “Faith no more”.  This is because he uses the perspective of “what’s in it for me?” angle.   Were you making money selling faith or on the back of religious ideas?  Probably not.

Chapter 3 then proceeds to give you a kick in the butt!  Just in case you fell in the trap of simply agreeing with yourself and not really shaking up your thinking enough, the author really dives into why religion sells in the first place.  It is all too easy to make fun of Christian diets, or bumper stickers without deeply feeling the human need they are fulfilling.  Everyday habits are massive opportunities but also very hard to change.

Chapter 4 continues peeling away layers of understanding by dissecting many examples of faith products and what opportunities they are leaving behind as they subside.  Who is going to be the new TV evangelist?  If they aren’t buying Tshirts that write “I love Jesus” what will they buy?  The Tshirt argument is actually where the book really starts because so far atheism has only really sold witty slogans.

Chapter 5 retrospectively pays due to the author’s real idols, the religious and business leaders that used religion in the past centuries to sell.  They followed popular culture in order to sell religion and they used religion to sell products.  The “sneaky beaky” marketing, or what the author calls “social engineering” (don’t confuse it with what hackers use the term for) on a grand scale and with a long term view.  World changing stuff.   Which is why the books reaches it’s dizzying climax here with…

…chapter 6 where we are inundated with ideas!  “If you were the CEO of General Motors, here’s what you need to do” followed by “and if you are the guy at the corner shop, here’s what it means for you.”  The collapse of religion, as with every major societal shift opens huge opportunities.  The closing chapter is a ray of happy hope in a financially depressed world and you are all too likely to drop the book here and run out to start a new business venture.

Which would be a shame for two reasons.  One is that chapter 7 has some serious words of caution.  Human beings have eschewed critical thinking for most of their history; this is unlikely to change now.  And – more importantly – the author closes with the real ethical and moral underpinnings of a world without religion.  We aren’t out to game the system just to make money.  A world with more atheist products will actually be a much better world.

P.S.  This book doesn’t exist.  I doubt I will find time to write it.  However like all good consultants I throw my ideas out to the world.  If any of you reading this actually get around to writing it some day, please let me know, I can probably help you sell it…


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