I wasn't that thrilled by the author, or her bad language and (apparently) numerous body tattoos. But being that is part of her particular brand. And in that case, more power to her. I'm a male businessman, author, and TV producer, with decades in business, so we're not really in the same alley, are we?
That said - so what? That's Erika's point. Be who you are - know what you do - and do it, and F*&^) anyone who says different. At least, that's how she'd put it.
A lot of the stuff, I already knew - that's why I give the book 3 stars. In my view, she padded out her central idea with a bunch of gunk. But otherwise, she wouldn't have had a book.
The main idea really is NOT the power of UN-popular - that's just a catchy title. It's the power of not being afraid to claim your niche, and be it to such a clear extent that those who are not part of it, might loathe you. It's really the power of knowing who you need to be popular with in order to be successful in your field, and then, expect and WELCOME criticism and attacks from everyone else. If you're not getting attacked, you're probably too bland to really make any difference.
It's a fun and fast read, and may just reboot your approach to your biz. A full 3 stars for that!
This book is more than a book about branding, it's about being honest with yourself and your business.
You're going to find out how to, on a DEEP level, resonate and connect with the people who mean the most to your business.
But the scary thing is, this will mean the rest don't matter. I know, sounds scary... but if you follow the advice clearly laid out by Erika in this book, it will not be scary any longer.
In fact, you'll love whatever it is you do that much more (and the people who love what you do).
Great book, highly recommended.
*This review is being given after reading an advance copy of the printed version.
on March 28, 2012
Full Disclosure: I am a Red Head Writing fan, and I bought the book at FULL price the day I saw Erika speak at the South by Southwest book reading in 2012. (Friends buy friends' books!)
Of course, I was looking for the gems, the takeaways, and within the first 64 pages I found enough to apply them to my business. As a full time conference speaker, author and workplace performance advisor (or, is that three full time jobs?!), it is important that clients know what they are getting, when they get me.
If you're an entrepreneur, small-business owner, or freelance solopreneur, I highly recommend you read this book. At least the following pages:
26, 45, 61, 113, 168
Let me share 5 reasons I love this book:
She provides an outline to begin thinking about your popularity - or unpopularity - and what to do to enhance it. Early in the book, her activities, suggestions and stories make it easy to want to read more.
Move. Move toward and move away from plans and ideas. I breathed a big (and I mean BIG) sigh of relief when I realized that Erika isn't preaching AT us, she's simply sharing what she as found through her dozens and dozens of conversations and interviews. Remember, "shift happens."
She offers step-by-step solutions to one of the most interesting business problems I face: "What to do to let potential clients know I exist?" After reading the chapter on "Personality," I reviewed and changed up how I'm reaching out to people that come to our office as referrals. The goal is to engage, and she showed me how.
It's all about trust. I trust Erika to tell her truth. (Even if her truth is not your truth, at least you'll have someone in your hands who's willing to stand up for what she believes in.) The meta-message throughout this book is, "Figure out what you want and hang out with the people who are willing to push on you to do more of that."
Erika tells it like it is, and says what we don't always want to hear. She "reminds" us that when someone (a customer, a mentor, a friend) tells us we made a mistake and offers an idea of what we could to do improve that we've made it. Go, seek out the people who will tell you where you're off "just a little bit."
I've revised my review after reading this book twice and putting some of the ideas into practice.
* The contents is inspiring. Yes, it's repackaged stuff that you can find elsewhere, but it is presented in such a way that makes it relatable, easy to use, and valuable. Isn't that why we buy information?
* The author is genuine. I think this is the book's best selling point. Despite my objections (below), there was something very attractive about the book and I believe that it is the author's sincere desire to help. She gives lots of pertinent examples of what she means and acknowledges a lot of people. It made me feel that this was not an "all about me" book, but one where she truly cares about helping.
* My business is big and unruly. It's been functioning for years, but not as a cohesive whole. This book made me see it differently and tie things more closely together so that even *I* understand it better and like it more. I can't help but think that my potential clients will too.
* Blue language. I think it lacks professionalism. I get that the author is encouraging authenticity, but I think the professional world should still be professional.
* "The Power of Unpopular" is a really bad metaphor. I think that trying to sell people the idea that they should rejoice at being unpopular is a hard sell. There was something nagging at me about what I didn't like about this book and that was it. I have always been one to stick out. Even if you didn't like me, you knew who I was, so I know what it is to have a presence and be popular with a set of people. Still, that packaging is kind of weird.
For those who complain that it's the same old thing, maybe. But sometimes you need to hear the same old thing in a different way for it to click. That's what it's done for me.
Suppose you're an entrepreneurial type with a new idea. You won't be starting the next Wal-Mart or Microsoft. Chances are most people will be indifferent to your idea or product, some will hate it, and a special few will love it. That special few is your audience, and with proper care and feeding your audience will carry you along to a level of success. You will have to spend full time nurturing your special audience, answer the phone yourself, give them many ways to contact you, listen to their ideas, and in fact develop them into a kind of community. Such is this book in a nutshell. The basic idea is fleshed out with lengthy pieces by various successful entrepreneurs, also experts to consult, resources, websites, books and more.
The book includes chapters on identifying your audience, sharing, financing, profitability, and the problems that may come when the business starts to grow. It is certainly not a text-book, but it develops some counter-intuitive ideas about the development of a new service or product, mainly by NOT trying to please everybody, but by developing one's special appreciative audience.
Author Erika Napoletano writes in a gritty, sometimes coarse manner, meant for quick reading and quick absorption. If you have a hot new product or service you'd like to turn into a business, this is one of the books you should probably be reading. Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber.
on June 2, 2012
If Michael Porter ever had a mind melt with Anthony Robbins the result would have been "The Power of Unpopular." There are many places where you can learn how to write a business plan but they won't inspire you. They may actually scare you into thinking that you should not give up your day job. Erika makes it very clear that Fear is the only four-letter word that starts with an F you should exclude from your vernacular.
Filled with relevant and actionable advice and examples, reading "The Power of Unpopular" makes you feel like an idiot if you don't grab life by the balls and get off your butt and start that great business you have been dreaming and procrastinating about. It will make you want to execute and ignore all those naysayers and other advisors who want to save you "from making a big mistake" or "from failing."
And, the book is just the beginning because there is a whole support system that Erika has built online to help you connect with great people.
Read the book. It more than deserves a spot on your shelf or Kindle screen. And then go build a brand. Your brand.
This is a wonderful book if you *really* want to learn about branding or just get a reminder of the basics. The author's brand is lively, with a lot of 4-letter words sprinkled throughout; if I quoted most of her best lines, this review would be banned forever.
While the book is lively and fun to read, Napooletano does offer solid information and she "gets it."
For instance, on p 56, she says, "Brands should be inherently human." So if you make people mad (she has a more colorful expression), you're on the right track. After all, nobody is universally popular.
Of course, since I'm a copywriter in one of my other lives, I love her comment on page 63: Don't hire a graphic designer till you've nailed the concept and put it on paper. If you don't read anything else, this section will save you countless dollars, lots of aggravation and endless embarrassment and misery. Branding the wrong way is worse than not trying to brand at all; I've been there and done that.
I also applauded discussion of sharability and immersing oneself in a community It's hard to put into practice and I'd have liked even more specifics there.
I was a little surprised to see the discussion of business topics, such as taxes and licensing, in this book, and I'm not sure how they fit. The issue of scalability does, and her warning against becoming a commodity is critical to her discussion of pricing. (I just finished writing a post on that topic myself.)
Since I'm working with solo-preneurs on branding these days, I suspect I'll be doing a lot of referring to this book and of this book.
on March 9, 2012
This here is a business book complete with 6 month plans but it becomes apparent (quickly) that you can apply these principals to just about any aspect of your relationships whether it's Social Media, personal, professional. Erika Napoletano is a fast, blunt author whose style will make you smirk knowingly back at the words you've read. You don't just agree, you know you agree and it's just between you two. Written conversationally and organized like the tackle box of an obsessive compulsive fisherman you can read it quickly and get back to the points that resonated with you. The concepts in the book are from such a different angle that you'll be sharing them with your colleagues quickly after you've absorbed them. I can highly recommend this book for management and entrepreneurs alike.
Author Erika presents an interesting twist on branding your company and yourself with many avenues to do so while being yourself for better or worst. There lies the secret sauce to your success. Don't give a hoot what others think when breaking into a new market, time after time Napoletano shows readers examples of successful companies putting the Un- popular approach to work. The author gives more than just the book, she also offers more at her website for the references such as using an online survey to see how your current or future customers may or may not like a service or product of yours. Saving you hours and hours of headaches- I am going to try this out myself.
Recommend to any one owning their own companies or planing to own or launch a new product.