Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else)
Over several decades, The New Yorker's Ken Auletta has done deeper, more insightful reporting than perhaps anyone else writing about the American media landscape. In Frenemies, Auletta applies his familiar formula to the chaotic world of contemporary advertising, where the Internet is changing everything. Companies are intensely anxious about how to reach today's consumers, and long-established alliances between corporations and agencies are collapsing. Auletta does a masterful job injecting byzantine business proceedings with drama. But the book's motivation is fuzzy. The palace intrigue of the advertising world matters, Auletta tells us, because media as we know it is existentially dependent on the success of advertising and marketing. If this is true, I would have welcomed a more rigorous chapter on people working not to save media as we know it, but to build something else.