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Highly Recommended: Harnessing the Power of Word of Mouth and Social Media to Build Your Brand and Your Business by Paul M. Rand

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INTRODUCTIONLiving a Recommendable Life

I was dressed in full graduation regalia—stiff black mortarboard, flowing black gown, and a regal purple and white stole. And I was nervous.

In two minutes, I’d be stepping on stage to deliver the commencement address for Northwestern University’s Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) graduate program.

What in the world could I say of value to students (and their families) who had just completed two grueling years of learning from some of the best marketing minds around?

These students already knew that the world of business and marketing was fundamentally shifting—much of it happening while they were getting their graduate degree. When I delivered this address in late spring 2012, social media was ...

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