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on February 16, 2009
This is clearly a critical addition to the bookshelf of anyone who wants to start their own business and also feel they are doing something worthwhile with their lives, in addition to earning a living. The entire concept of knowing your purpose can make the difference between success and failure and is the core element of all 318 pages. In addition to knowing your purpose (which, in essence, is your position in the marketplace), a critical question asked by the authors is would your customers miss you if your company (or your product) ceased to exist? For all the good intentions you may have, someone out there has to be interested in what you are selling - whether it's a product, a service or even a political concept.

PR professionals, especially, should read this book. If the idea behind the product you are selling - or the ideals, beliefs or positions of the person you represent - is not in tune with your own purpose (even your soul), think hard about finding a different client. Being true to yourself, "what you stand for," is step one in truly making a difference in our very complex society. (Reviewed by the author of: Personal Publicity Planner: A Guide to Marketing YOU and Top Cops: Profiles of Women in Command)
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on June 16, 2010
This book is way better than I expected. I didn't even know you could write a 300 page book about purpose. I really bought it because Amazon had it at Bargain Price. Mr. Spence spends the book highlighting a few companies: Wal-Mart, Southwest Airlines, Red Cross, AARP, Charles Schwab, John Deere, Whole Foods and others. Yet he clearly shows the correlation between their success and their ultimate purpose. There are many companies that don't have purpose yet they make money and are extremely successful. However, those companies aren't the ones we root for. Those companies are successful at the expense of its stakeholders. The top three things I've learned are:

- Employees need purpose. Many people wake up not knowing why they get up to go to work every morning. If you share your purpose with employees you will become more than just a paycheck to them.

- Defend employees over your customers when necessary. A customer can be replaced but a chastized employee can be a cancer to your organization and make even more customers upset.

- Stick to your purpose and strategy even if competitors are doing something that seems more successful. This is not stubborness, but awareness of the fact that you can't be all things to everyone.

We look at many companies, but I don't think we recognize a purpose in each. He could have added Apple, whose main purpose in recent years has been a kind of anti-Microsoft movement. This purpose moves both employees and customers.

Great Read!
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on April 2, 2009
If you're a shareholder value evangelist who wants public companies to maximize their financial strength, read this book. If you believe that great companies exist to make a difference for their employees, customers, shareholders and communities, read this book. If you love brands that matter and leaders who inspire; if you believe that businesses can change the world; and if you know in your heart that the future can be better than we can even imagine right now, read this book. Read this book.
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on May 13, 2011
If you've been feeling like your work life might be lacking a higher calling or purpose - something beyond simply making money, then reading this book will help you begin to articulate a process for determining and defining that "purpose". Overall the book is excellent, although some of the case study type examples might be hard to relate to, most probably will resonate. We've made this a must read for all the staff at our company and have been using it as the reference material for engaging the staff within the company to seek out and articulate our company's purpose. We now feel like articulating a simple, elegant and inspiring "purpose" is essential to give our staff cohesion, direction and inspiration and prevent us from devolving into a band of individuals - "just doing their job" each day. (We're not done yet - this is a really, really hard process.....but it is inspiring to have Roy Spence's decades of experience as a guiding light!) Plus - this is simply one book among a whole collection of books that are must reads at our company - that have been helping provide us all with a common language and inspiration for continuing to grow the business and keeping it fun.
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on June 16, 2009
Roy Spence has a definitive point of view on understanding and defining purpose and he explains it in a logical, engaging way using examples drawn from his experiences at GSDM's Idea City. Perhaps because I was already familiar with some of the examples that he used, they were especially relevant and instructive.

I read the book on a business trip (Kindle version) and was sufficiently taken by the concept to apply it at work when I returned. The consideration of how each element of strategy would relate to the group's purpose served to sharpen our discussions and I believe the end product (revised strategy) was considerably improved.

I recommended this book as a useful read that succeeds at both conceptual and practical levels, and which will be relevant to anyone engaged in or wishing to understand strategic discussions.
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on April 6, 2009
It's Not What You Sell is a well writen and delightful, entertaining book that happens to be incredibly informative. Roy Spence uses stories from his interesting and varied client list to create an informative book about the new rules of business. I highly recommend it, especially to those at the CEO level of running a business, be it a large business or just a one man shop. You'll be entetained and amazed while you learn.
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on December 3, 2012
This is an inspiring book! Even though it is written from a business perspective (as in the fact that businesses that operate with purpose are more successful than the average--and I loved reading the true stories!), it is easily adapted to personal purpose. All businesses have people! If the individual members have purpose and their purpose supports the business purpose, you have a WIN/WIN situation! I enjoyed the book!
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on June 2, 2011
Really liked the fact that this book was written by someone who clearly had intimate knowledge of how these organizations work. The examples were really on point and I feel like I got a lot of excellent ideas. Overall, I felt the book was a really good read.
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VINE VOICEon August 6, 2009
The goal of It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For is to show that every business should strive for more than just profit. Businesses should try to become an organization of purpose. Spence has several examples from his consulting business; including Southwest Airlines, Walmart, BMW, PGA Tour, and more. Spence argues that people work harder and more joyfully when they believe they are part of something larger than themselves.

It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For has some interesting points. I think Spence has some valid points that will work for large organizations like his examples from the book. Smaller companies will find a more difficult time finding the capital to make a difference. Roy Spence's overall goal with this book is to address the fact that companies goal shouldn't just be profit.
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on February 11, 2013
Roy Spence is an engaging writer that in some ways, states the obvious. Purpose has the ability to inspire others (just look back through history at great leaders) and business is no different. Roy's anecdotes and case studies are engaging and enlighten the reader as to why we use some of these companies products. I have cruised with NCL, shopped at Wal-Mart and drive a BMW and knew I enjoyed the experience of all three, but didn't know why. Now I do.
As a Manager of people, I have infused "purpose" into our team and my leadership.
Not only am I getting my team to read this, I'm also giving a copy to my Manager.
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