Recommended Reading

Short on pages but long on repetition, this newest book by Godin (Purple Cow) argues that lasting and substantive change can be best effected by a tribe: a group of people connected to each other, to a leader and to an idea. Smart innovators find or assemble a movement of similarly minded individuals and get the tribe excited by a new product, service or message, often via the Internet (consider, for example, the popularity of the Obama campaign, Facebook or Twitter). Tribes, Godin says, can be within or outside a corporation, and almost everyone can be a leader; most are kept from realizing their potential by fear of criticism and fear of being wrong.
The youngest partner in Deloitte Consulting’s history and founder of the consulting company Ferrazzi Greenlight, the author quickly aims in this useful volume to distinguish his networking techniques from generic handshakes and business cards tossed like confetti. At conferences, Ferrazzi practices what he calls the “deep bump” – a “fast and meaningful” slice of intimacy that reveals his uniqueness to interlocutors and quickly forges the kind of emotional connection through which trust, and lots of business, can soon follow.
Gladwell (The Tipping Point) once again proves masterful in a genre he essentially pioneered-the book that illuminates secret patterns behind everyday phenomena. His gift for spotting an intriguing mystery, luring the reader in, then gradually revealing his lessons in lucid prose, is on vivid display. Outliers begins with a provocative look at why certain five-year-old boys enjoy an advantage in ice hockey, and how these advantages accumulate over time.
Unabashedly inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling The Tipping Point, the brothers Heath-Chip a professor at Stanford’s business school, Dan a teacher and textbook publisher-offer an entertaining, practical guide to effective communication. Drawing extensively on psychosocial studies on memory, emotion and motivation, their study is couched in terms of “stickiness”-that is, the art of making ideas unforgettable.
The premise of this facile piece of pop sociology has built-in appeal: little changes can have big effects; when small numbers of people start behaving differently, that behavior can ripple outward until a critical mass or “tipping point” is reached, changing the world. Gladwell’s thesis that ideas, products, messages and behaviors “spread just like viruses do” remains a metaphor as he follows the growth of “word-of-mouth epidemics” triggered with the help of three pivotal types.
Godin’s latest business handbook (after Small Is the New Big and The Dip) revisits some of his most popular marketing advice, while emphasizing that it can’t just be applied willy-nilly. In past decades, he says, companies were able to get rich by making average products for average people, but those markets have long since been sewn up; mass is no longer achievable [or] desirable. Rather than simply rely on mass media to raise product visibility, New Marketing treats every aspect of interacting with customers-including customer service and the product itself-as an opportunity to grow the organization. In order to be successful with such marketing techniques, a company must change its practices across the board.
Treat a product or service like a human or computer virus, contends online promotion specialist Seth Godin, and it just might become one. In Unleashing the Ideavirus, Godin describes ways to set any viable commercial concept loose among those who are most likely to catch it–and then stand aside as these recipients become infected and pass it on to others who might do the same. “The future belongs to marketers who establish a foundation and process where interested people can market to each other,” he writes. “Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk.”
Eker’s claim to fame is that he took a $2,000 credit card loan, opened “one of the first fitness stores in North America,” turned it into a chain of 10 within two and a half years and sold it in 1987 for a cool (but somewhat modest-seeming) $1.6 million. Now the Vancouver-based entrepreneur traverses the continent with his “Millionaire Mind Intensive Seminar,” on which this debut motivational business manual is based. What sets it apart is Eker’s focus on the way people think and feel about money and his canny, class-based analyses of broad differences among groups.
In the most important business book since The Tipping Point, Chris Anderson shows how the future of commerce and culture isn’t in hits, the high-volume head of a traditional demand curve, but in what used to be regarded as misses–the endlessly long tail of that same curve.
Kim and Mauborgne’s blue ocean metaphor elegantly summarizes their vision of the kind of expanding, competitor-free markets that innovative companies can navigate. Unlike “red oceans,” which are well explored and crowded with competitors, “blue oceans” represent “untapped market space” and the “opportunity for highly profitable growth.” The only reason more big companies don’t set sail for them, they suggest, is that “the dominant focus of strategy work over the past twenty-five years has been on competition-based red ocean strategies”-i.e., finding new ways to cut costs and grow revenue by taking away market share from the competition.
What do you do? Tim Ferriss has trouble answering the question. Depending on when you ask this controversial Princeton University guest lecturer, he might answer: “I race motorcycles in Europe.” “I ski in the Andes.” “I scuba dive in Panama.” “I dance tango in Buenos Aires.” He has spent more than five years learning the secrets of the New Rich, a fast-growing subculture who has abandoned the “deferred-life plan” and instead mastered the new currencies-time and mobility-to create luxury lifestyles in the here and now.
Best-selling author Gladwell (The Tipping Point) has a dazzling ability to find commonality in disparate fields of study. As he displays again in this entertaining and illuminating look at how we make snap judgments-about people’s intentions, the authenticity of a work of art, even military strategy-he can parse for general readers the intricacies of fascinating but little-known fields like professional food tasting (why does Coke taste different from Pepsi?).
Godin, a business whiz kid who does direct marketing for Yahoo!, asks a provocative question: Does advertising work? He cites example after example of recent misguided campaigns, a “waste jamboree” of traditional ads aimed at consumers who no longer care. There’s an “infoglut” out there, he says, of ads in myriad media whose only power is to “interrupt” people’s lives. Godin’s professional journey to his current status as a guru of online promotion began with his work for such industry bigs as Prodigy and AOL.
In this first new and totally revised edition of the over two million copy bestseller, The E-Myth, Michael Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business. Next, he walks you through the steps in the life of a business — from entrepreneurial infancy through adolescent growing pains to the mature entrepreneurial perspective: the guiding light of all businesses that succeed — and shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business, whether it is a franchise or not.
Most of us struggle daily to pay the bills, take our jobs to the next level, nurture our relationships, support our health and maintain our peace of mind. Wouldn’t you like to say goodbye to the endless struggle to balance our lives, and greet the dawning of an exceptionally satisfying and empowered existence?
How would like to spot future trends before the competition? We all know the rules for success in our business or professions, yet we also know that these rules–paradigms–can change at any time. What Joel Barker does in Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future is explain how to spot paradigm shifts, how they unfold, and how to profit from them. Through the power of this method–paradigm spotting–you can: find the people in your organization most likely to spot a new trend; ;help your key people adept when a massive change is occurring; learn to effectively grapple with your “intractable problems” and improve your results incalculably.
Goldstein, Martin and Cialdini meld social psychology, pop culture and field research to demonstrate how the subtle addition, subtraction or substitution of a word, phrase, symbol or gesture can significantly influence consumer behavior. Interspersing references to Britney Spears, the Smurfs and Sex and the City with more academic concepts such as loss aversion and the scarcity principle, the authors illustrate the simple and surprising approaches that can hone a company’s marketing strategies.