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Small Is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas Hardcover – August 17, 2006
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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.
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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This is not criticism--it's factual praise. Godin understands the new world and its demand for blended information technology--the blog is the column is the chapter is the book . . . And he practices what he preaches.
The book itself, like any collated book, is uneven. The author challenges readers to select any ten "posts" and dares them not to be changed. I suppose the simple statistical possibilities would suggest that a random sampling would lead to some motivational, challenging, and helpful posts and some less so. That has been my experience.
I will say this, he is always interesting, passionate, self-assured. Of course, many of those late-night infomercials are the same. But in fairness to Godin, his ideas, while not novel, are much more useful than the self-serving infomercials. It's just that they are not as useful and unqiue as they seem to claim to be. After a while the claim to remarkability becomes a constant dripping that causes one to wonder just how remarkable (purple-cow-like) any of it is. In other words, less telling us how remarkable it is and just be remarkable.
First of all, there are some great ideas in the book. Most have to do with marketing and product development. Even better, however, is that many essays teach you how to think up your own ideas.
Second, Seth is an extremely talented and funny writer. I found myself laughing out loud several times as I was reading. Like all great humor, it was never gratuitous and served to support the point he was making.
Third, the individual essays are short enough so that you can pick it up and start reading without making a huge time commitment. Each essay is self contained, so you can stop just about anywhere without interrupting a long chain of logic. (This is manna to an "agile project manager" like me.)
Finally, I find it truly inspiring. After I read some of it I feel renewed and excited about working.
Don't miss out on this informative, inspiring and entertaining book.
As for the content: it's excellent. Inspirational even. Seth Godin is one of those visionary, charismatic types - even if his voice gets a bit whiny and annoying at times. Although I'm not someone who is in the "new media" industry - I still found his points of view the sort that spur people to action no matter what field they are in.
Last note: at $30, get the iTunes/mp3 version and save yourself a few bucks.
Once again, Mr. Godin has helped to "validate my existence" (despite my intense self-certainty!) by showing that the crazy, "outside the box" (hey, can we just shred the box, then burn it in effigy of the outdated strategies and the consultants who promote them?), simplifying, forward-looking, remarkable, visionary adventures we can lead our clients and companies on are really worth the effort. In short, less is more, small is big, and remarkable is just that: REMARKABLE.
This book is REMARKABLE. I strongly encourage adding it to your shelf, then spreading the virus of its contents to others.
P.S. The entire ending "Bonus Section" on blogs and other resources is something not to be missed, and single-handedly justifies the purchase.
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Seth is a genius