cover image Life's a Pitch...Then You Buy

Life's a Pitch...Then You Buy

Don Peppers. Broadway Business, $22.95 (261pp) ISBN 978-0-385-47403-0

Here's a savvy book for hopefuls in the few-holds-barred arenas where suppliers fight for business contracts with potential customers. Peppers (The One to One Future) takes many of his examples from his own experiences in the fiercely competitive advertising industry, where agencies overpower rivals through stages of elimination. His methods are pragmatic, audacious and admittedly unorthodox. When an agency he worked for was knocked out of the semifinal stage of a competition, it sent in its pitch anyway with an order of pizzas. When a marketing director for Reebok wouldn't talk to him, he left his pitch with a life-size cardboard figure at the doorstep of her home. The book involves more than stunts. Peppers's strategy is to use psychology and prepare thoroughly. Finally, he describes how and when to lie, concluding with a Machiavellian overview of questionable ethics that is the book's most controversial aspect. He admits there are no right answers to an ethics questionnaire. Illustrations. (Sept.)