Brains on Fire

a book about igniting powerful, sustainable, word of mouth movements.

buy it now

Brains on Fire

A book about Igniting powerful, sustainable, word of mouth movements

buy it now

What it’s about

Igniting sustainable movements is hard work. It’s building with people, not tools.

Featuring ten lessons you can start building on today, it takes you step by step through lessons the authors have learned on how to inspire excitement and engage the customers and other stakeholders who will advocate for you.

Are you really surprised when you hear that people don’t trust marketers? After all, who wants to be considered a “target,” a “demographic,” or just a faceless piece of “market share”? Who wants such a relationship? What’s in it for them? Yet even as they resist “marketing,” your customers are embracing causes and communities that have meaning for them. Empowered by new technologies, they’re speaking out, talking back, and spreading the word on what they’re passionate about. Do you want your business to inspire and benefit from that passion?

Brains on Fire reveals how to ignite powerful, meaningful, sustainable, word-of-mouth movements that are “win-win” for your customers and your business. Believing that the focus should be on people and not the shiny new tools and tactics du jour (like Facebook and Twitter), Brains on Fire gives you the keys to building long-term momentum both online and offline for your company, product, service, or organization. Featuring ten lessons you can start building on today, it takes you step by step through lessons the authors have learned on how to inspire excitement and engage the customers and other stakeholders who will advocate for you. How did a 360-year-old company double its profits in key markets just by tapping into a community its customers had already formed? How does a major retailer plan to win as it moves into an entirely new type of business? Real-life examples show you how today’s companies win at word-of-mouth; all are discussed so you can easily understand and apply the principles in your business.

Meet the authorial team

all of them are illustrious in their own right.

I’m known as the Courageous President around the halls of Brains on Fire. (Wait, we don’t have halls.) I love my two kids in a way words can’t explain. I’ve worked with brands such as BMW, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Love146, Find Great People International and Ryobi Tools. I love hot yoga, cold beer, sunny days and starry nights. I believe writing inspires thinking. I write and think out loud at I think everyone works better when they are having fun. I expect my business dealings to be profitable. I want to create positive change in the world. I am pretty psyched PQ Media names us one of the top three word of mouth companies in the industry in 2007. And that Wommie Award was cool. (Yahoo! And Coca-Cola got one along with us.) I believe love is a circular transaction. I try really hard to keep things simple. Some days I am better at that than others. I am part of the Brains on Fire Movement.

I’m Chief Inspiration Officer at Brains on Fire. I work for my children. I’ve been a concepter, a writer, an art director, a screenwriter. I might be something else next Thursday. I believe all people are brilliant. I drive American. I’ve spoken at AIGA gatherings and PRSA conferences and corporate events and the happy hour around the corner. Because I like to talk. I cry, too. At weddings and animated movies. I’ve worked on creative solutions for Coca-Cola, Yakima, BMW, Don Pablo’s Mexican Restaurants, Applebee’s and Best Buy. In another life, I might be a philosopher. I’ve had work used as the backdrop for an American President’s war on drugs. I’ve added crazy-big numbers to national brands’ bottom lines. I like being a conduit for inspirational energy. I believe everybody deserves the right to be excited about something. I believe there is always a better way and the greatest thing people can experience is to realize they need each other.

My title on the Brains on Fire website is Word of Mouth Inspiration Officer, but I consider myself more of a Pathfinder for our clients and Brains on Fire. And I’ve been down that path with Fiskars Brands, Best Buy, Colonial Williamsburg, the American Booksellers Association, Charleston Parks Conservancy, the US Office of National Drug Control Policy, Love 146 and Rage Against the Haze (South Carolina’s youth led anti-tobacco movement). I wouldn’t be here without a ton of support and love from my family at home and the Brains on Fire family. I’m lucky to be an explorer in conversations. I like uncovering the DNA of sustainable word of mouth movements and building them from the ground up. I’m a blogger. I’m a talker – at places like the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, the Public Relations Society of America, American Marketing Association, the New Comm Research Communications Forum, and the World Africa Customer Management Conference. I used to play in a glam-rock band. I survived.

Spike Jones is a writer and editor who gave our message one voice. You can currently find him at


Some nice words from smart people.

“Brains on Fire succeeds at doing what so many other business books attempt: it provides a recipe for how every company can succeed—but the secret isn’t in the latest tools, online communities, or campaign tactics. It’s about passion, humanization and common sense. And to prove that it’s possible, Brains on Fire is filled with examples of organizations that have already done it.” Scott Monty
Head of Social Media, Ford Motor Company
“Brains on Fire is loaded with great advice from a team of people who have repeatedly built successful movements, ranging from an anti-teen-smoking movement to a pro-city-parks movement. If you want to lead a movement, start with this book.” Dan Heath
Co-Author of Switch and Made to Stick
“Enter Brains on Fire. It isn’t just a book or a company, it is a collection of real people, with souls and hearts and stories—oh, the stories!—able to offer real advice to anyone who wants to make a movement out of what they do all day. Put down your Powerpoints and ad campaigns, folks. This takes guts and faith and patience, but mostly it takes passion. Not yours. Your customers. Brains on Fire can help you find it, trust it, and gently blow on the ember until it ignites. It’s not brand management, it’s brand transformation. You in? There’s a truth that lies deep within the promise of this modern, digital world—that authentic leadership can be released from your customers, and their passion can be fanned into movements that change lives forever. Brains on Fire can help make it true for you. Buy the book.” Ellen McGirt
Senior Writer, Fast Company magazine
“Brains on Fire has the ability to assemble a powerful team that speaks as one unit. This engaging book is all about how that team works, including love, hard work, shared passion, with a constant focus on the goal.” Douglas J. Greenlaw
Former head of sales and promotional marketing, MTV Networks, New York
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