#74.5/111: Scientific Advertising

What is it about?

Scientific Advertising was written some years before My Life in Advertising and is a bit like a shorter and concise version of it. Claude Hopkins writes about writing ad copy and using statistics to eliminate guess work.

What can I learn?

Salesmanship-in-Print: A simple rule for writing ad copy is asking yourself: Does this help your salesman in person? You can derive lots of suggestions from this question. Does being loud and annoying help your salesman in person? Probably not. Does being boring help your salesman in person? Nope. Does offering detailed specifications help your salesman in person? Yes!

Use a personality: Most people see cooperations as soulless therefore you can use personalities. This could be an unreal or real person, like the head of engineering or the CEO. People feel more connected if they can feel that a person is speaking to them.

Free samples to interested: Free samples work if people are interested in your product. That is, it’s okay to collect addresses and names because interested people will exchange their address for a free sample if they are interested and uninterested people are deterred.


Scientific Advertising was written in 1923 and was quite revolutionary. Other statisticians like Fisher created early statistical methods in agriculture and Hopkins began using it in advertising. It’s a subset of My Life in Advertising, i.e. you don’t have to read Scientific Advertising if you read the other book before.

#18/111: Born Entrepreneurs, Born Leaders

What is it about?

Scott Shane summarizes various scientific studies in genetics on work, leadership and entrepreneurship. He shows what genes can do and how they act in these different situations.

Key points?

We don’t know so much about genes: Genetics is a complex topic and it isn’t easy to test hypotheses. Most studies cited in this book are based on twin studies, i.e. you can only check if there is a genetic difference but not where it actually is. Scientists have extracted some genes which are responsible for characteristics like risk taking or impulsiveness but they affect a lot of different behaviors. In conclusion, it is really hard to find (all) genes which are responsible for a particular behavior.

Look at indirect effects: However, it is possible to extrapolate differences which are generated by genes. E.g. your temperament or your OCEAN (Big Five) personality traits are much influenced by your genes. These account for about 50-60% of your characteristic. 

What we know is that there is influence: Your personality traits, in turn, influences many of your decisions, like what job you are going to choose. So, genes actually influence your decision whether to become an accountant or a salesman but mostly indirectly.

I think that this book is a good draft which should be extended if there are more¬† scientific discoveries. Many studies aren’t replicated and scientists are only at the beginning to understand how everything works. Nonetheless, it is an interesting book that shows what could be possible in the future. Like identifying your strengths more easily or more efficient forms of education.
But your life isn’t determined. Genes don’t explain all the variance, i.e. your environment (parents, your actions, friends, etc.) explains the rest.

Addition: programmer personality [statistic]

I’ve repeated my information search for better accuracy. Moreover, I’ve added an column char with the single personality factors.
Maybe I’m going to crawl Google’s results for improving accuracy.

Source: Google. searched term: “DHLC” +programmer

programmer personality

Your programmer personality type is:

I found this test quite interesting and it’s possible effect on hiring/formation of teams. What would be if people would use this or a more detailed version in the hiring process? Let’s analyze the four different categories:

Doer and Planner
It’s a bit like traditional hacker and software architect. I think it’s more a synergy than a contest. Software architects (planners) plan modules and there are doers who implement them.

High level and Low Level
Low level programmers are rather encountered in embedded system programming, operating system programming and the like. In contrast, high level programmers work on web applications, desktops applications etc.

Solo situation and Team
That’s interesting. Most projects are projects with more than one person. There are definitely exceptions (David Heinemeier Hansson) but generally it’s teamwork.

Conservative Programmer and liBeral programmer
It’s a bit complicated. Doolwind distinguishes between over-commenting and under-commenting. There was a large debate about this (Coding Without Comments). I’m inclined to less but useful comments.

So, would it affect the hiring process? Maybe, the last two points could be crucial. The other points are very job title related, therefore the result is much likely fixed.


Source: Google. searched term: “DLSC” programmer

Take the test: What programmer personality type are you?