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Small Is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas Hardcover – August 17, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In what's likely to be the next in a string of bestselling marketing guides (after Purple Cow), Godin compiles entries from his popular blog. Many are only a few paragraphs long, though he also adds longer entries, from his Fast Company column, to the mix. The pieces are arranged alphabetically by title rather than chronologically, leading to occasional choppiness, but Godin's ability to hone in on key issues remains intact. Following up on the themes of his earlier books, he reminds readers that the first key to successful marketing is to produce something remarkable and let it grow. "If your idea is great, people will find you," he advises. "[I]f your target audience isn't listening, it's not their fault, it's yours." He urges people to take control of their creative lives by taking responsibility for tough decisions and pushing themselves to make bolder choices. (His advice to McDonald's, for example, includes free wireless Web access at every restaurant.) The appendix contains two lengthy essays on Web design and blogs that were previously distributed as e-books. These are a more polished than the casual main entries, but still exhibit the spontaneous energy that has earned Godin so many loyal fans. (Aug. 17)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Godin, author and business blogger, presents a collection of essays that are thoughtful and wise. His ideas are skillfully presented with themes that include being big is no longer an advantage, so act small if you want to be big; with instant communication, lies get exposed faster than ever; consumers are more powerful than ever; and Aretha Franklin is correct: respect is the secret to success with people. His comments on business schools are challenging and contain his list of five things that help people succeed, including finding, hiring, and managing extraordinary people; embracing a changing world while effectively prioritizing tasks in it; and the ability to sell. Readers skip his riff on Web design and strategy at their peril. Along with his definition of velocity--a company's ability to zig and zag and zoom or change with speed--Godin tells us, "Give me five serially incompetent executives with a focus on velocity, and I can change the world." Excellent. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio (August 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591841267
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591841265
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Many say you shouldn't give away your work for free if you wish to sell it. Nonsense. Seth Godin has got a big idea with his new book Small is the New Big. This entire book of riffs already exists for free in places such as on Seth's blog or via his Squidoo lens. I've read most of the stories in the book already. Yet I pre-ordered the book on Amazon for overnight delivery because I wanted the content, again, in the new package. I want to take it to the beach. I want to have it on my desk and pick it up now and then.

"you're smarter than they think"

Yes, I'm a Seth Godin fan. Reading his stuff contributed to a life change for me. Back in the late 1990s, I had ideas about how content drives action on Web sites. As the VP Marketing of several reasonably large public companies, I realized that I had "power" and "a good job." In most people's eyes, I was successful. But I just didn't have the right platform to tell the world about my ideas. And I was not fulfilled.

Seth Godin's writing always focuses on getting people like me, those with a fire in the belly to take action. "I've been betting on the intelligence of my readers for almost a decade," Godin writes on the back cover of Small is the new Big, "and that bet keeps paying off. They just don't get it. Now you, you get it... And I'm, betting that once you're inspired you'll actually make something happen."

For me, the big moment was when my company was acquired by a huge organization and I was shown the door. I chose not to take the "safe" route and find another VP Marketing job, but instead to strike out on my own. The "I dare you" messages from Godin were an important part of my life changing decision.

Wow.

I work much harder than before, but fewer hours. I attend very few meetings.
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Format: Hardcover
Those who now struggle to create or increase demand for whatever they offer (products, services, or a combination of both) must be able to answer three basic questions. All are important but the first two are much less important than is the third:

1. Who are you?
2. What do you do?
3. Why should I care?

As my reviews of Seth Godin's earlier published works indicate, I think he is one of the most thought-provoking business authors whose insights (especially those provided in Small Is the New Big) can provide substantial assistance to answering the aforementioned questions.

Whenever I read or re-read any of Godin's books, I view his insights as "acorns" or "mustard seeds," any of which - with proper nourishment - can be developed into substantial results such as increased recognition and a higher level of awareness, a better understanding of a given market segment, a clearer sense of how to position and then promote one's offering more effectively, or perhaps overcoming what James O'Toole has aptly characterized (in Leading Change) as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom."

Godin encourages those who read Small Is the New Big not to read it all at once. "It took eight years to write, and if you read it in one sitting, it'll give you a headache." Contrary to my normal approach, that is what I did, after checking out the table of contents. I skimmed through the first 276 pages and as I did so, ideas seemed to "fly off the page" and demand my attention. I immediately highlighted them for future reference and then continued on until arriving at "Special Bonus!! $243 Worth of Free E-Books, Reprinted Here at No Extra Charge to You, My Faithful Reader." I then carefully read each word until the narrative's conclusion on Page 310.
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Format: Hardcover
As I read this book, I thought "Seth Godin is like a red rubber ball." You know, you throw a ball against a concrete wall and it just bounces off. It looks pretty and makes a nifty noise. But the wall doesn't move.

And that's Seth Godin. A lot of action, but no real impact. This book is a big idea without a next step. A complaint without a solution. Seth is the guy who stands up to start a standing ovation, but does it so awkwardly that no-one joins him. This book is a celebration of everything Seth abhors about marketing and business and management, written with the luxurious smugness of someone who cannot suggest a practical alternative.

I can understand why Seth's rant seems to be "everyone is afraid of change". That's what my rant would be if I had a lot of ideas, but couldn't actually convince anyone to follow my suggestions. I'd think "it's them! They're all stuck in the status quo!"

To illustrate the point, Seth recalls a time a salesperson tried to pin an executive down to make a yes or no decision. The exec was non-committal, and then showed the pushy salesperson the door when she asked the exec to sign a document giving her permission to take the offer to a competitor. Seth uses this as evidence that some people are afraid to make a decision. I say, if a salesperson tried to force me to make a decision on the spot, they'd get shown the door too. But this just proves the point. An inability to influence is somehow the other guy's fault.

Actually, I think it's Seth who is stuck. His book "Small is the New Big" reads like it was written by a 14 year old boy - where everything is black and white (you change or you die) and he's discovering things other marketers have known for a long time (it's not about needs, it's about wants).
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