This week’s Resource Recommendation: Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster,the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam by Pope Brock.
Two weeks ago I recommended a new book, Making Them Believe – a book about the marketing strategies of J.R. Brinkley. (Here’s my recommendation.) Last week I wrote an article about the value of reading biographies. This great book pulls those two things together.
I became aware of this book as a result of reading Making Them Believe, which was inspired by and mentions Charlatan. Dr. J. R. Brinkley was a very wealthy and famous “doctor” who from the 1910s-1930s became so wealthy and famous in large part because he transplanted goat testicles into men (that era’s answer to the problem now cured by Viagra and its brethren).
However, Charlatan is more than just a biography of Brinkley; it also tells the story of others like him, those who sought to discredit them and much more. It is a fascinating history of the men, the times and more.
Since I read the other book first, I was most interested in Brinkley’s life, and so at times early on I was frustrated that Charlatan is more than a straight biography. However, once I realized and accepted it, I enjoyed the rest of the book more.
If you are interested in marketing, the history of medicine in the United States or the time period the book covers, I would highly recommend it.
I found myself amazed by some of the antics and situations, yet, once I thought about it further, I realized there is less difference between those times and now than I originally thought.
It is interesting, engaging and a light read for the beach, the airplane or your favorite chair.