September 19, 2021

I was sitting at my desk earlier this week when my In Box started behaving like a stock market ticker. 

I was in the middle of responding to a detailed email…but I couldn’t help noticing that I was receiving a series of book orders, rapidly, one after another, for Breakthrough Advertising (the classic text written by master copywriter and Renaissance man Gene Schwartz, which I publish exclusively).

And the orders kept coming in for 10 minutes straight.

27 orders before the orders (sort of) stopped…they continued to come in throughout the day…but this order pattern was quite surprising, a little strange…but of course totally rewarding.

Then my paranoia took over.

After all, it can take up to two weeks to sell that many books…so I immediately thought, “who is trying to rip me off?”

The orders looked legitimate…but they couldn’t be.

Weird that I went there as my first reaction…must be all of those online “pirates” trying to sell copies of Breakthrough Advertising at five times the price I sell it for…not to mention unauthorized Kindle versions and PDF’s (with typos galore).

I thought there was a conspiracy afoot–and these 27 people were sent the order page at the same time from some online marketing madman figuring out a plan to derail the selling of the book.

One of my credos is:

“Paranoia is not a psychosis. It’s survival.”

And it certainly got the best of me here.

Simply put, there is no way I could legitimately sell so many copies so quickly (since I was not doing a launch of any kind or anything out of the ordinary).

I was sitting at my desk minding my own business. Really.

Before I alerted the Internet Police (whoever they are!), I received a couple of emails from some friends who happened to be at the Traffic and Conversion (T & C) conference letting me know:

“Ryan Deiss just mentioned, during his keynote speech, that Breakthrough Advertising is a must read for all marketers and copywriters.”

Those of you who don’t know Ryan, he is an industry leader in the digital marketing world…so this was a huge mention…although he forgot (for the second time) that I own the exclusive rights and folks should only buy it from me since those aforementioned pirates will want to rip them off.

The first time he mentioned it was at a 30,000-seat stadium event where he followed up with, “It’s out of print and hard to get. I don’t know where you can get it at a reasonable price.”


Over here Ryan…at

It slipped his mind…understandable…he had 30,000 raving fans to deal with.

He did a little better at T & C, when he mentioned the book in front of 3,000 people (or so I was told):

“Everyone needs to own this book. Google ‘Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz’ to find a copy.”

He forgot the URL again but alas, I guess beggars (like me) can’t be choosy.

The good news is the link to my page for the book——comes up as the first link on Ryan’s recommended Google search…however it’s surrounded by illegal ebooks and PDF’s and overpriced used copies on Amazon.

I hope none of you have ever bought it on any of those links.

When Ryan spoke at my Titans Mastermind earlier this year, I told him if he ever mentions the book again, he should give out my URL rather than send his audience into the wild west of rip-off artists and thieves.

I’m actually sending him a few copies of Breakthrough Advertising today as a thank you gift for the mention…so he can give them out to some people who call him a mentor…of which there are thousands.

And I’ll also remind him of the URL for next time too. 🙂

Ryan is anything but an opportunist or a pirate of any kind…he’s the opposite…always giving out the best information to his audience.

And I love it when he mentions this one-of-a-kind book, with a URL or not. His heart is always in the right place.

I am grateful to Ryan for being an advocate of the book… and for spreading the gospel of Gene Schwartz…like so many other superstars in marketing and copywriting do on a regular basis (and for good reason).

I was also relieved to hear my windfall of book orders was due to a simple mention by Ryan and a recommendation to “go to The Google to get a copy” rather than from an unscrupulous member from the invasion of the book snatchers.

Some lessons from this experience?

  • Read your emails and don’t rush to judgment.
  • Understand the power (and value) of a public mention of you or anything you are affiliated with…but still proceed with caution.
  • When you discover an advocate, make sure they have your URL handy when they make that public mention.

This story reminded me of another greatest hit from the annals of unsolicited Breakthrough Advertising mentions.

I received an order for Breakthrough Advertising a little over a year ago from a chap in the U.K.

He then sent me an email telling me how thankful he was that I had brought this all-time classic back to life (because he thought it was out of print).

We then got into a lively email correspondence and I asked him, “Where did you hear about Breakthrough Advertising and Gene Schwartz?”

He said it was from a newsletter coming out of the U.K. called The DO Lectures…and he gave me a link to check it out.

I did just that. And I subscribed.

I then sent the co-founder of the newsletter, David Hieatt (who I had not heard of previously), a warm and detailed email letting him know how appreciative I was that he mentioned Gene Schwartz’s masterpiece…and that I received over 30 orders (at $125 each) from his subscribers, mostly from the U.K.

I wasn’t looking to pay a retroactive affiliate commission nor did he ask for one…but the correspondence has grown into something much more special than exchanging checks.

We are each getting “paid” by utilizing, enhancing, appreciating and referring to each other.

This led to an invite to speak at his epic event (postponed due to COVID but they are gearing up for the next summer)…it encouraged him to join my Titans Xcelerator mastermind (at a significant discount) …and it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship…for life.

Read “The five ways we get paid…and the fifth is cash” for more details on this universal lesson learned from this encounter.

And I encourage you to subscribe to David Hieatt’s newsletter (it’s free).

It’s called The Do Lecturesclick here to become part of his online family.

The lessons are similar from this story as they were with the more recent Deiss story:

  • Read your emails…all of them…don’t rush to judgment…and then follow the breadcrumbs to other emails and websites that spin off from those for fun and profit.
  • Understand the power (and value) of a public mention of you or anything you are affiliated with…proceed with caution…but be inquisitive…and look for signs or a pattern of speech from your subscribers, students, customers that can take the relationship deeper.
  • And of course, when you discover an advocate, make sure they have your URL handy…and you have theirs (did I mention The Do Lectures?) 🙂

And one more lesson from the “Deiss Lecture” and the “Do Lecture”:

Everything is an educational/knowledge/wisdom event as long as you enter into every new encounter as a lifelong learner.

Which then leads to breakthrough (pun intended) ideas.

NOTE: See the P.S. for a breakthrough idea that was spawned from these two particular encounters which I think you will be very interested in hearing about.

The subject line on The Do Lectures newsletter where David was describing Breakthrough Advertising was:

This second-hand book cost £743.44? Hmmm!

And I just went to my handy dandy currency calculator and converted 743.44 British Pounds to $1,025.78 in U.S. Dollars.

If you don’t want David’s insights (and mine) on how to get the most important knowledge under your skin and into your brain from the books you read, I won’t hold it against you…and you can stop reading now.

But at least go to the P.S. to read about an application of these insights.

And take this with you to the bank:

Whether a book cost £743.44/$1,025.78…OR…£12.321. /$17, the process is the same.

He begins by saying Breakthrough Advertising, available on various British websites (used) for as much as £743.44, is actually a “bargain” at that price.

Here’s how he makes his case:

  • This book is perhaps one of the best books on advertising. Ever.
  • He then asks: How can you spend that much on a book, no matter how good it is?
  • Will it help me grow my business? YES, WITHOUT A DOUBT.
  • OK, by how much? By 10% a year? EASILY. Hold up Hieatt, let’s be cautious here.
  • OK, let’s say it will only grow my business by 5% (And see the P.S. for a way to grow your business by at least 5%…but most likely, much more)
  • For the sake of easy math, let’s assume our business does £1 million a year in business.
  • And so, if I did that each year for a decade, that one book would grow my business by around a half a million pounds.
  • That is the mindset that I use when I invest in knowledge, regardless of its price.
  • Would I invest £700 in a book to grow my business by £500,000 in a decade? YUP, ALL DAY LONG.

But what do I [David] know that others don’t about garnering this knowledge?

Below are David’s three lessons—with mine intertwined–and this is a dynamite system to get the most out of books…and everything else in business.

It begins with the obvious:

Choose important books. Only. Not what is the most hyped that month.

And as my mentor Marty Edelston believed, when he launched the newsletter Boardroom Reports in 1972:

“There are lots of great business books but there is only a chapter or so in each that is really worth retaining and absorbing.”

Lesson 1


Who you learn from matters.

Research the author before you embark on reading their book.

The biggest investment in a book, regardless of its price, is time.

Learn from the best.

Lesson 2


Ever read a book, and when you explain it to someone just a month later, you have forgotten most of it?

I know, I have.

So, choosing the most important books won’t matter an inch if retention is nil.
Forget about how many books you read a year and start getting better at the thing that matters most.



This reminds me of another technique fashioned by Gary Halbert in terms of promotion pieces—and I believe it applies to books as well.

Quoting Gary:

“Get yourself a collection of good ads and DM pieces and read them aloud and copy them in your own handwriting.”

This concept actually has a name which I just learned from one of my Titans Xcelerators.

It’s called “Structural Priming”

Who knew? I certainly didn’t.

I had a young copywriter take this a step further.

When I ship copies of Breakthrough Advertising the book comes with a note from me suggesting the student reads and studies the first three chapters multiple times before moving on to the rest of the book.

The book is dense…it’s not a “casual read” …and this is a good way to absorb the groundbreaking elements of Gene’s theories of copy, marketing and human behavior.

(NOTE: In the P.S. I will give you another way to get the most out of the groundbreaking elements from this dense but extremely important book. You don’t need to fear this book…you simply need to hug it. 🙂 )

What did this junior copywriter do?

He had studied Halbert (but I can’t say he knew it was actually Structural Priming).

And he hand wrote the first three chapters of Breakthrough Advertising on a legal pad and sent it to me.

It didn’t even fit in my mailbox.

He got some brownie points from me…but I hope that is not the reason he did it.

I believe he knew that retention would be key with a gem of a book like this…and repetition leads to retention.

(Pro tip: Make sure you write the promotions/chapters if you do this…don’t type them out on a keyboard. There is data that suggests better retention is linked to writing—that is, to your thumb and index finger—which is a sounder way to get a more direct “cranial implant” into your brain.)

Lesson 3


What was that book about again?

We have all uttered those words.

Enter Zettelkasten.

Zettelkasten created over 90,000 notes and produced over 70 books.

The Zettelkasten method is simply a better way to take notes.

The basic idea is this: Take notes on cards, review them, and then link them together.

That’s it. It’s not a complicated system, but it is powerful.

The method was developed in the 1960’s by Niklas Luhmann, a prolific German sociologist.

I do one or two cards a day – no big deal.

But the act of writing them down makes me remember it.

Also, on the back of the card, I have to say the context to it.

I want to thank David Hieatt for this in-depth analysis.

But it is way more than just getting the full value out of an expensive book.

Or even a cheap book.

It’s all about getting the knowledge we can’t keep up with–and still retain what matters.

Coaching is part of this formula as well…not mentioned by David but also important…please check out the P.S. for more about that.

I agree with David that paying £743.44 for a book, especially Breakthrough Advertising, is not expensive, as long as you follow up the purchase with some additional education.

It’s actually “crazy cheap” in his words assuming we can retain the most important elements and implement them in our business.

Breakthrough Advertising is one of those books written by a master (Gene Schwartz); and while some have paid over 700 pounds (or over $1,000 dollars) for a copy of it, David ends his blog with this advice so no one has to make that mistake again.

You can find a link to the book for under £100 here.

How would we calculate “cheaper than crazy cheap?” 🙂



P.S. There are many buyers of Breakthrough Advertising who tell me how grateful they are that I have made this classic book universally available at a reasonable price.

And there are many other buyers (and non-buyers) who tell me it’s way too expensive and “how could any book be worth that much?”

I’ve explained some of that in the blog post above.

And I dare say both camps are correct.

But whether you think Breakthrough Advertising is a bargain or a huge expense, there are ways to extract the wisdom from this book worth 10 times to 100 times its purchase price.

And I’m here to let you in on a unique opportunity to make sure that buying this book will never be seen as an expense but only an opportunity to expand your business…and your life.

I am aware that it is a dense book and not a beginner’s guide to marketing and copywriting, one that needs some additional guidance and coaching to get the most from it.

That’s why I created:

“The Breakthrough Advertising QuickStart Bootcamp.”

The idea came from the thousands of buyers who have bought Breakthrough Advertising, looking for ways to “put the book to use.”

Many feared it would go on their shelves to collect dust like so many other expensive books and courses (there’s “digital dust” too in your hard drives) that they never got around to applying to their businesses.

It’s an expansion of an idea I heard from online marketing rockstar Jason Fladlian who believes that a book is only useful if it is actually read (which is a revelation to many).

Once read, it then needs to be studied…and acted on…so he developed what he calls “E Classes for books” which are short courses to go through books…always with application in mind.

And that’s what the “BA Bootcamp” is all about.

It’s an intense sprint which covers a little over two weeks where you will absorb all of the most critical concepts from Breakthrough Advertising:

“Channeling mass desire onto your particular product,” “the levels of sophistication of your market” (and how to approach your prospects at each level), “38 ways to strengthen your headline once you have your basic idea” …and that only takes us to page 58.

Mastering these concepts—and applying them to your specific business–is part of the Bootcamp as well.

The “BA Bootcamp,” is limited to a maximum of 60 people for two weeks which means we will get down and dirty and keep it totally interactive.

Not only with the concepts…but with applications for your particular niche…with time for personalized hot seats and “ask me anything” sessions as well.

As I’m writing this (very long) P.S., half the seats are already taken.

This is the coaching you will need to “get your money’s worth” from this exceptional book…and a whole lot more.

The particulars about the “BA Bootcamp” are all here.

This is our second time running it and included on that page are success stories from students who participated in the first one.

Their results were astounding.

The next “Breakthrough Advertising QuickStart Bootcamp” begins on Tuesday September 28th and runs through Tuesday October 12th.

There are multiple calls each week…not every day and none on the weekends… all recorded if you miss any. You’ll receive a firm schedule once you sign up.

Calls are held at 11:00 a.m. U.S. eastern time…they run approximately an hour…there may be some additional surprise calls with guests…and the calls when we do hot seats and “ask me anything” will run a bit longer.

There is also a temporary, interactive, private Facebook Group to get to know your fellow “Bootcamp-mates” …and ask questions throughout.

Note that the “BA Bootcamp” is not a “done for you” course…how could it be at the price we’re charging?

But it is “done with you” …and far from “do-it-yourself.”

There will be homework in-between calls…with follow up coaching…all designed to create or enhance the business of your dreams.

With Breakthrough Advertising, the Bootcamp (and me) as your guides.

And Chris Mason, my marketing partner, will be your guide as well, who you will meet on the information page here.

Go there and check out Chris’ short video and all of the benefits and success stories from former students.

I hope to see you on the “inside” of the next “BA Bootcamp.”

P.P.S. As you might expect, having the book is “highly recommended” to joining the Bootcamp…but not necessarily “required.”

However, owning the book (and at least reading it once even if you are not able to absorb it completely), will lead to a much richer experience.

There’s still time to sign up for the Bootcamp and receive the book before September 28th…we ship Priority Mail in the U.S. and can expedite any international orders.

Go to and pick up your copy right now.

And sign up for the “Breakthrough Advertising QuickStart Bootcamp here.

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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