Top critical review
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A Political Book Disguised as a Helpful Business Book
on April 13, 2011
Short version: Use it but don't fall for it. Don't celebrate it. Skim the gray sections and revisit it.
Rating 2.5/5 If I had to commit to a whole number I'd lean to give the book a very soft 3. There are better biz books out there.
This book disguises itself as a business book, but is riddled with distracting political rhetoric and worship of the cult of celebrity. From the man that brought you Words That Work among others, Luntz should stick to presenting what he knows best; polling data for effective language. In this book, he presents "Win" as a combination of interviews/profiles of winners mixed with sections of Words That Work.
The Words That Work sections and various Luntz Lessons are worth reading. The conclusion was also well written and had far less political distractions. These saved this book from a 1 star rating.
Why it Belongs on Your Shelf or Coffee Table
It's a good critical thinking test to measure business colleagues, to see if they follow suit or can identify holes.
It's a challenge to read and will help you develop patience.
What it lacks will help you discern your values.
Read it so you can use it but don't fall for it.
There is some useful advice and vocabulary that can be easily located in the grayed call -out sections.
The hardcover edition (which I own), would make a suitable weapon.
Unlike Luntz, I find it important to derive wisdom from any experience
Provides a great way to know thy enemy as I promise you many who practice the art of corporate douchebaggery and ameteur salesmen will worship this book.
Ultimately, I kept in mind it was better than the first Twilight movie, which pumps up it's score.
"Win" suffers from 3 big problems and 3 more notable problems: a deceptive title, chronic business idolatry, political rhetoric slanted obnociously far to the right; alienating middle of the road readers (conservative or otherwise), bad analysis, hypocrisy, and throughout the book you can't help but feel like he's pandering to clients and colleagues. All of these things distract from some truly useful gems that are buried among the rubble of musings of a mindset that is politics and business 1.0, desperately in search of an upgrade.
Republicans will love it. Entrepreneurs will laugh at it or struggle with it as I did. This isn't a book I'd recommend to budding entrepreneurs to shape a mindset or set of standards. This is a book worth a read because of it's problems and the implications of this method of deriving value and determining success and winners. Great for the coffee table or balancing a piano. It's bot that bad and good enough.
Deceptive Title & Political Rants
The political slant of this book made it seem more like Luntz' Guide to Republican Argument rather than The Key Principles To Take Your Business From Ordinary to Extraordinary. I understand that publishers name these things but Luntz is accountable for luring the unsuspecting public into a book with this title. At first I dismissed the noticeably charged statements, then they persisted re-appearing as if in a game of Whack-A-Mole. Regardless of your affiliation, you'll find these lengthy rants are distracting to the subject at hand: Business principles. In fact, you must call 3into question his credibility, as he can see no flaws in his own party or clients.
Pandering & Hypocrisy
The soft positions on some obvious historical offenses of Luntz' heroes does not reflect the aura of accountability that he advocates for throughout the book. This hypocrisy, unfortunately, wasn't limited to the political winners either. The political slant, though annoying is understandable, but he marches on to excuse some and label them winners, and then trash on others. He presents no standard characteristic or attribute of a winner that he doesn't proceed to violate in some way with the various personas he chooses to label winners or not winners. Calling out various virtues such as the importance of being people-centric while using a pyramid scheme model as an example really grinds my gears. For legal reasons, I won't make the direct assertion but if you read the book you will know who I am referring to.
Save for one dead, Democratic Senator, the celebrities with a (D) next to their name are vilified while the Republicans are celebrated. He seems only capable of recognizing the virtues of the home team (the party) and it broadcasts a short-sided viewpoint and weak mindedness. Bear in mind, I am not a Democrat and I can clearly see this. Furthermore, many of the Gordon Gecko types of 80's business fame and beyond are forgiven for transgressions and labelled winners. Again, he violates his own assertions and definitions of winners to forgive and label friends and colleagues as winners. You get a sense that many of the shout outs in the book are to friends and colleagues. In fact Luntz makes this pretty obvious.
Business Idolatry & The Cult of Celebrity
This book is haunted with blatant worship of characters like Steve Jobs and products like the iPad. Not exactly insightful, and with no criticism, the watered down business idolatry is mostly useless to the business community. General rule of thumb for business books: read only those written by the people who have actually accomplished something or at least practice what they preach. This book loses on both accounts. Winners don't follow other winners; they carve their own paths and break paradigms. Luntz calls this out, and then proceeds to give the profile pieces and descriptions of winners that make so many of us unsubscribe from magazines like Fast Company. The Words That Work and Luntz Lessons sections were the only substantive entries that kept hope alive for this book.
Luntz also calls out several companies as failures, like Toyota based on events like the recall and accident record. Much of the analysis in the book has been proven false, and much more will be proven to be so over time. When assessing credibility, you must include the capacity for critical thought. This is exactly why profile business books offer so little, so focused on celebrity that pay very little attention to critical thought, analysis and thus don't produce many useful tidbits and insights.