White Hat SEO is a Joke by Kris Roadruck
White Hat SEO: It F-ing Works by Rand Fishkin
Both have great points, but I think the best point was made in the comments of Rand's post by Ross Hudgens.
- I think it's important to not justify white hat SEO techniques (building really great content then spreading it), as white hat alone - often times - no, always - the most effective SEO in the world is extremely strong content and links that effectively "covers up" the grey hat techniques that large brands use to pick up exact anchor text citations. JCPenney didn't do this effectively - others, in verticals where links come in droves - it seems intelligent - and indescrinable - for them to blend in grey techniques, as it it extremely difficult to be picked up by a sniff test - and it is also the best way to pick up exact anchor citations.
Black Hat however, is another story and is outright deceptive and spammy and should be avoided.