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The Happy Soul Industry [Paperback]

Steffan Postaer
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 16.76 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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By K.P.
The Happy Soul Industry is a book about God, Advertising, hope, the devil and L.A. It tells the story of an Angel who is sent to Earth by God, to find the perfect Advertising Agency that will run a campaign to support "goodness."

One of the agency's that's up for the running CN&W, has a president with a serious anger/ depression problem, the Creative Director has a serious drug problem and their personal assistant has joined a cult (that sounds suspiciously like Scientology) in an effort to find meaning in her life.

I liked this book. It was funny and clearly a social commentary on our society - you will find recognize many of the references in this book. And its description of the advertising industry is very accurate, as it's after all written by a veteran of the industry.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  34 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God Chooses an Ad Agency to Promote Goodness April 17 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on
I began reading Steffan Postaer's blog when he went to Cannes in 2009. I didn't know that much about him, then learned after some quick research that he was the mastermind behind Altoids' "Curiously Strong" effort and a co-creative behind the "Not your father's Oldsmobile" campaign. Without knowing it, I was already a fan.

When I learned he had written a couple books, one being, "The Happy Soul Industry," I picked it up and knocked it out in a couple of sittings, unable to put it down. It's an engrossing, great read. My only qualm is that it ended quickly...leaving me with the question, "What happens next?"

Briefly, the gist of the novel is that God decides to choose an advertising agency to promote goodness. In an effort to do so, God's emissary, an angel, changes the lives of those with whom he interacts,and ultimately himself. The characters are easily understood as they question themselves, and the world around them.

There's a point being made by the novel, and that point is: There's a dark and sordid underbelly to the advertising industry that isn't openly spoken about; it exists, but is largely ignored. The Happy Soul Industry draws this underbelly into the light without delving too deeply, highlighting that even those who start with the best intentions get sucked in, one small sacrifice at a time. Some are able to justify themselves while others pay a moral price.

The Happy Soul Industry is like an amusement park ride; fast, exciting, and definitely worth it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Happy Soul Industry. Trust me. Feb. 21 2010
By T. Jay - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Happy Souls Industry will make you want to believe in something. What you do with that is entirely up to you. A thoughtfully fun read. It's hysterical. The story begins a little sketchy. Probably because it has to cover centuries of setup in a small space. But then, as with any good story, I got caught up, literally. One minute I'm struck with longing for an advertising era that would not have included my type. The next I'm laughing aloud at another one of the character's antics. The main character, David reminds me of me. Naive. Idealistic. Only he catches up fast for having been out of it for almost a century. Sometimes he catches up too fast. Either way, he seems to enjoy himself.

There are a lot of sensitive, thought-provoking topics covered. Religion. Greed. Avarice. Sex. Racism. Class. Even the volatile, touchy minorities-in-adverting subject. It may be too much to tackle, yet the author doesn't preach. Well, only a tiny bit. Again, coverage of advertising greats like Leo Burnett and David Ogilvy -- creatives who worked before the process, the committee, the group think invaded -- left me wistful for a chance to do great work. Was advertising ever so great? I once believed it was.

Happy Souls Industry really does leave me wishing I could believe again. It's harder to work so hard without faith.The Happy Soul Industry
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not a bad idea but a terrible book Feb. 9 2009
By Anita K. H. Peterson - Published on
My first impression was that this slick book read a lot like my high school friends' attempts at writing a book or screenplay. Then I began to realize that, while the first impression is still right, this book is not written for a wider audience. It's written for the author, some people he may have known in the advertising industry, and potential movie producers.

The central idea - that God would like to use the American advertising industry to promote goodness - is interesting but the execution is simplistic with cardboard characters, ham-handed descriptions, and eye-rolling narrative as well as story inconsistencies and errors.

The author attempts to shock and surprise but things are so obvious and lamely-presented that each attempt can be seen not only a mile away but fizzles when it gets to the reader.

I am not a Christian but if I were, many of the ideas in this book would be offensive, so watch out if you're sensitive that way (also a good warning for Scientologists). I am, however, a bit offended (if one can be offended by such 11th-grade stuff) that the author thinks it appropriate to pretend that Eve (and so, by extention, women) was a construct of Satan. Even the Bible, that bastion of misogyny, says Eve was created by God and the snake was the one who was evil. Whatever.

I can see that Postaer is angling for a movie treatment for this. I think that with the proper director, a very good screenwriter and skilled actors this might be a good movie. As a book, though, this piece is paper-thin (no pun intended) and feels, again, like something you'd find on your teenager's computer.

I would like to soften this review a bit by saying that it's great that Postaer had the dedication to write a book and have it published. I am not a writer and I have never done that. I wish him luck. For the potential reader who is looking at this review on Amazon and trying to decided whether to buy it or not I have to say that it is really not worth your money or time.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something More July 9 2009
By Zachary Bonnan - Published on
When taking a quick look at this book and its premise, it would seem like a story about religion and advertising. It's not. Though God is a character, and yes the main protagonist is the head of an ad agency, religion and advertising are just the means to something more. This book has a message. A simple message: be good. The author, however, shows us that something as simple as being good isn't always as easy as it sounds. This is a book about people, and the decisions we all have to make. Even God and angels in this book are more like people rather than like the perfect, divine, boring beings that they are typically represented as. This book has made me begin to look at people's actions differently, and has in turn influenced myself to act differently. I was having a particularly bad day on one of the days I was reading this book and some advice I came across while reading it actually made me put the book down and go running instead. It made my day to do that. So when you read this book, look past the religion and past the advertising on to something far more important, look to the people, look to yourself, your actions and how they're affecting you and everybody around you. This book might help you find out something new about yourself.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this book. Feb. 19 2010
By Julie Glassman - Published on
Someone once told me that if I pursued a career in advertising it would "suck away my soul." That the people are terrible, that my creativity would be suppressed, and well, all that kind of stuff.

What I like about The Happy Soul Industry is that it actually embraces all of these stereotypes, and stays comedic and positive. Yes there are screwed up people in the advertising business. Women who use sex to advance their careers. Ad execs who drive SUVs like they own the road because they are rich and feel entitled. But it's hilarious.

By so perfectly nailing these stereotypes, Postaer makes a greater statement about the stereotypes themselves - that they're just that: stereotypes. The choice is yours as to whether you let these stereotypes suck away your soul or whether you find them a source of creative inspiration, as Postaer did, and as I, the reader, did.

The plot is well structured, and unfolds in unexpected and whacky ways. This is a book that's easy to read, and definitely a page-turner. The characters and events are so well-described that you almost see them - and maybe someday you will. My fingers are crossed for the day this book gets made into a movie.
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