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The Big Moo: Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable Hardcover – October 20, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Godin derived the title for this engaging anthology of business homiletics from his marketing manifesto Purple Cow, which extolled the importance of garish new products that grab customers' attention. Phrased as a feel-good kindergarten platitude ("you are not ordinary/In fact, you're remarkable"), the principle seems a harmless nod to fancy-free individualism. But set in an adult business context of constant "change" and cutthroat price competition, where "winning the game has absolutely nothing to do with hard work and paying your dues" and "a constant stream of industry-busting insights and remarkable innovations" is the only guarantee of survival, the exhortation to uniqueness becomes terrifying and demoralizing. Fortunately, the cacophony of unsigned contributions from a "Group of 33" writers (Malcolm Gladwell and Tom Peters are in there somewhere) includes more reassuring and realistic lessons. There's a lot of New Economy histrionics ("They say, 'sure, we need change'"/ "I say, 'we need revolution now'"), but also comparatively restrained parables about marketing and customer service. Some writers note that competent imitation of proven ideas is often a better strategy than innovation, that self-effacing Bill Murray did better than self-aggrandizing Chevy Chase, and that, yup, hard work and paying your dues does pay off. The selections are for the most part brief and pithy, and while they don't add up to a coherent viewpoint, browsers are bound to find something that hits a chord.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
The Group of 33 is a partnership of bestselling authors, speakers, leaders, and thinkers that includes Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters, Chris Meye, Mark Cuban, Alan Webber, Guy Kawasaki, Tom Kelly, Randall Rotherberg, and Seth Godin.
Seth Godin is the author of 12 books. His Free Prize Inside was a Forbes Business Book of the Year in 2004, in its first two years of release; and Purple Cow sold over 150,000 copies in more than 23 printings. Godin gave away his bestseller Linchpin for free for three weeks before its release to anyone willing to give $30 to the Acumen Fund for the $20 book, and raised $100,000 for the Acumen Fund.
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This may be Seth Godin’s best book , even better than the ‘purple cow’. And, yes, It is Godin’s book because he conceived the idea and talked all 33 (or better: 32 + himself) into writing this book.
The book’s concept is a genius. The topic is the Big Moo, which cannot be defined by one single person. The Big Moo is not a riddle but the fluent four dimensional quality of an extreme purple cow, which keeps on having purple calves (“the calves” are my personal definition, Godin does not say so in his book). Logically according to their different home environments and (business) circumstances, these calves need different “nourishments to grow”, just like Austrian or Swiss cows who live on high pastures eat different foods than cows in the flatlands of the Netherlands, Indian ‘holy’ cows, or even yaks in Nepal or Tibet.
By inviting so many different brilliant contributors, Godin circles the topic, allows different concepts, perspectives, and facets to shine, which together create the puzzle of a portrait of the Big Moo, a purple cow which keeps having calves.
My favorite stories (I listened to them three times)
• How to be a failure
• This is your first test
• The remarkable Gertrude Bell
• The one thing you can’t download
• Ten Things Smart Start-ups Know
• Fire the Gatekeepers
Bittersweet was the story, “Tear down this wall”. My kid brother Michael had told me that the wall was about to come down in 1988. Since I had had traveled Berlin, seen the wall, and even crossed over at Checkpoint Charlie, I told Michael to “not be silly.” About a year later, when indeed the wall came down, I stood corrected. Sadly Michael, my brilliant brother, died four years later from Multiple Sclerosis. Still, it made me proud again that he saw the signs nobody else saw.
5 stars for the Purple Cow and 6 for the Big MOO,
Gisela Hausmann, author & blogger
Some of the stories were interesting, most of them were somewhat average. A lot were like short motivational stories without a huge amount of insight. For insights, its probably better to pick up a book with a consistent theory supported by e.g. research studies.
The most positive thing about the book is that all the income goes to 3 charities. From that perspective, its an ok book and buying it will be a good thing.
All in all, worth reading, but not remarkable.
Most of Seth Godin's work centers around a premise to get the reader to really think then eventually act on that thinking. This title is no different--it's a collection of essays compiled by some of the best marketing and business minds around in an attempt to get you to think about your current (or possibly a past) situation and what changes you may wish to make to become remarkable instead of ordinary.
It's a quick read which delivers on its objective to generate actionable thought. It's also fun to try to figure out which author wrote each essay as he/she isn't identified for each.
Highly recommended as a sequel to Purple Cow.
It is a pleasure to read (multiple times) and makes a great gift. Personally, I have a dozen of bookmarks in this book, and every once in a while I re-read some of the essays for both motivation and to analyze and improve my priorities.