Book Review: The Impact Equation—by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

Impact Equation book review photo of bookDisclaimer: I was not paid to give this review. I did receive the book for free and had a chance to be chosen to go to the book launch in New York (but wasn’t chosen). None of this influenced my opinion. I also happen to love reviewing books.

The Impact Equation is the second book written together by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. Though I follow Chris on social media channels (and now Julien too), I had not read any of their books.

Chris’ instruction to us reviewers was “…no three star reviews. Either love it or hate it.”

I have to admit I almost gave the book three stars. And I’ll explain why in a second. But first, let me tell you this (which I learned from reading some other reviews): Your opinion of this book will depend on your level and type of experience.

Most important, I do believe that everyone who needs an online presence can learn from this book. Maybe a chapter or two might not make much difference to you, but the whole book will.

Three Stars to Four

The first few chapters didn’t speak to me. I felt like the authors were talking too much, over-explaining without saying anything concrete. But this may have been because of my own thoughts and experiences. I read Shannon Clark’s review in which he said he loved the first few chapters and thought the last few were the weakest—exactly the opposite of my opinion. I thought the final chapters were the strongest.

This difference is why I say that different chapters will speak to different people. And, you will still find little nuggets of wisdom and inspiration throughout the book, like:

Ideas without reach are like plants without sunlight.


Information alone rarely sways people. Only feelings do.

The authors aren’t telling you anything you don’t know with these statements, but they’re worded so that they really sink in.

Good Examples

Real-life examples that demonstrate the points Chris and Julien discuss strengthen the book quite a bit. They’re easy to find—outlined in boxes throughout the book—and they’re kind of the gift that keeps on giving. I can’t wait to go back and look up all the websites, books and people they mentioned.

I do wish, however, that Chris and Julien would’ve given more details about their own struggles and journey to making an impact. (Was this something I missed by not reading their other books?)

The Four-Star Clincher

I did think this was a three-star book overall, except for one thing—the emotional connection it made with me. Call it what you want—resonance, inspiration, even impact. I left the book thinking “Yes, I understood many of their points and strategies before, but I need to put more effort into actualizing them…I WANT to put more effort into actualizing them.” (I expanded on this in: Shifting Perspective & Finding Purpose to Make an Impact.)

That’s why I give it four stars—for the energy and inspiration I, and I think all readers, leave with.

The book consists of an actual equation that may seem to some a bit contrived, but it works. The content is real, the connection is personal, and we know from experience that the authors are credible. They do know how to make an impact. Learn from them.

I recommend you buy The Impact Equation. Read it and underline it, even, so you can refer back if you go off track on your own path. Be inspired and start increasing your impact on the world.


  1. Natalia F. Morais (@NatMoraisBR) · October 25, 2012

    Hi Coreen! I loved when you said “Your opinion of this book will depend on your level and type of experience”. I found that to be so true in so many books! I’ll add The Impact Equation on my ‘to read’ list and then I’ll let you know how I feel about it. Love your point of view though — your posts are always inspiring (even if it’s only a book review). Keep up the great work!

    • ctmarcom · October 25, 2012

      Thanks for your kind words, Natalia! I forgot to mention in my review my first favorite part of the book. The book starts with a story describing how there are two sets of people–you’re either a head of lettuce or an apple tree. Very thought-provoking. I’ll let you discover it for yourself–that part alone is worth buying the book for. Enjoy it! And let me know what you think.

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