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Posted Nov. 13, 2008 7:06 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us by Seth Godin, Portfolio, 151 pages, $19.95, Hardcover, October 2008, ISBN 9781591842330
"We Need You To Lead Us." The call to action is clear and powerful, exactly what you would expect from marketer Seth Godin. But when is the last time a book's subtitle expected so much from you? Most business books are created to sell you something, some way you'll be improved or bettered. Think about how that simple statement turns all of the reader's expectations around.
In Tribes, Seth expands on his previous mantra: now, not only are we all marketers, but we are also now leaders. He says there are existing guilds, legions and platoons of people just waiting for someone to step forward, though fear will deter many from the call. "Fear of change is built into most organisms, because change is the first sign of risk." The irony is that change is exactly what tribes wants, but they need fearless crusaders leading the way.
There are differences between tribes and groups. Tribes are about connections and the communication that runs sideways between those connections. The members of a tribe share a vision and tell a story about who they are. And they do something, whether trading baseball cards or protesting a war. If any of the three conditions are lacking, the tribe becomes merely a group.
"What Do You Have to Lose?" Seth asks in one of his final riffs. He refers to Brad Garlinghouse and his Peanut Butter Memo, a missive imploring his bosses at Yahoo to change the direction of the company. His memo got leaked and ended up on the front page of The Wall Street Journal (imagine Brad's next week in Sunnyvale). That risk led to the firing of a CEO and Brad to a bigger role at Yahoo. Many people may find that kind of move too risky. But was it really a risk? Silicon Valley is full of companies looking for heretics like Brad. What Brad saw a tribe that needed leading.
I have reviewed every book Seth has written since I started this column in 2000. In Tribes, Seth certainly delivers his most important book since Purple Cow and quite possibly his most important book yet. It is time to look at Seth as more than a marketer. He too is a leader of tribes.
Jack Covert Selects: The Big Moo
Posted Oct. 3, 2005 10:55 a.m. by jack
by The Group of 33, edited by Seth Godin, Portfolio Books, 208 pages, $19.95 Hardcover, October 2005, ISBN 1591841038
When I was at lunch at last year's book convention, someone mentioned that when it comes to interesting business books, everything seems to be within six degrees of Seth. As you know, Seth wrote a great book a few years back called Purple Cow. In that book he states that all cows are boring but a purple cow is remarkable. As he states in the introduction, "A big moo is the extreme purple cow, the remarkable innovation that completely changes the game." He goes on to say, "Remarkable isn't up to you. Remarkable is in the eye of the customer. If your customer decides something you do is worth remarking on, then, by definition, it's remarkable." This is simple to understand but difficult to initiate.
Seth is the editor of The Big Moo. He asked 33 of the worlds smartest business thinkers--Tom Peters, Guy Kawasaki, Kevin Carroll, Jackie Huba, Dan Pink, Alan Webber and other interesting people--to talk about being remarkable. Alas, not me. Now what is extremely interesting and great about the book and why 800-CEO-READ is totally involved in this book is:
Every word in this book was written for free. All thirty-three of the book's authors are donating 100 percent of their royalties to charity. The proceeds from the sales of this book are going to:
You can read about these charities and see updated records of our fundraising by visiting www.thebigmoo.com. You can also read more about the work of some of the authors in the Group of 33 by visiting www.remarkabalize.com.
When you bought this book, you also bought the right to photocopy as many pages as you like, as many times as you like. Go ahead and make five hundred copies of your favorite story and send them out via interoffice mail. You can also find a few of the stories in digital form at our Web site. Feel free to e-mail those to as many people as you care to.
Another intriguing part of this book is that none of the stories have bylines. This originally bothered me but now, I enjoy not having bylines. Each story has its own tale without being dependent upon an author's name.
You need to read all the stories. Some of my favorites are Tuesday with Shecky: a Play in Three Jokes and Panic at Inappropriate Times which contains one of my favorite last lines, "Panic early, not late, and your fire drills will actually pay off." I believe in this book enough to issue my second "I guarantee you will like this book or your money back" promise. I know I'll be rereading this book.
If you would like to receive the monthly Jack Covert Selects Newsletter, please visit the Newsletters area of our website. Then, sign in and check the boxes of the newsletters that interest you.
Jack Covert Selects--Become Who You Were Born to be
Posted April 25, 2005 5:19 a.m. by jack
Become Who You Were Born to be by Brian Souza, Paragon Holdings, 290 Pages, $19.95 Hardcover, March 2005, ISBN 0975352202
As I am sure you all know, I get lots of books and it seems more and more good books are being self published. Seth Godin published Purple Cow and sold tons before Portfolio brought out the book we all know and love. I have a built-in bias against self published books, but I expect if I continue to get books like this, my bias will evaporate over time.
This is about the best packaged self published book I have seen since Seths. No milk carton but it is a well written and very professionally designed book.
The subject of the book is time tested, and written about often before. But this book takes a unique perspective. Usually books like these are either motivational or spiritually driven. Souza has quite a different take on the matter. As he state:
Just as musicians must make music, poets must write, and artists must paint, we all have a unique gift designed for a specific vocation that will bring both meaning and purpose to our lives. True joy and happiness will continue to elude us until we use that gift to become who we were born to be.
He breaks the process to find and utilize your talent into a five part process:
1. Discover it
2. Develop it
3. Appreciate it
4. Use it
5. Give it away
The book is then broken down into those five sections with chapters relating to the specific process; each featuring people we all know. From Lance Armstrong to Mother Theresa. The author ties in these people's issues with the point he is making. The value of this book lies in the analysis and take-aways the author puts at the end of each of these chapters. This is a surprisingly well done book that has helped me tremendously, and could help you too. It will do more than motivate you; it will challenge you too.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE MONTHLY BOOK REVIEWS, PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO JACK AT 800-CEO-READ.COM.
Free Prize Inside (Jack Covert Selects)
Posted May 10, 2004 9:30 a.m. by jack
Free Prize Inside: The Next Big Marketing Idea by Seth Godin, Portfolio,
256 pages, Hardcover, May 2004, ISBN 1591840414
Last year, Seth Godin published a wildly popular book called Purple Cow. You may have heard of it (I'm kidding). The book was all about creating remarkable products and services. It really answered the question of "what is a remarkable product?" Seth is back and he is going to show you how to make a remarkable product with his new book Free Prize Inside.
Free Prize Inside focuses on who within an organization or workplace should be doing the work of being remarkable. The idea is not to throw more money at R&D or advertising, but to come up with what he calls "soft innovation." It is as simple as coming up with a remarkable idea (think Tupperware parties and frequent flier miles). The Free Prize is the thing that makes you or your product remarkable. A Free Prize is about satisfying wants versus needs. Don't give your customers more, give them something extra.
It is a fresh look at not only coming up with remarkable ideas but also implementing them. It is not the marketing folks' job to introduce new products and services. Every person in an organization can come up with these ideas. Getting people in your organization to go along with your idea is key and he has nifty tactics for getting others to co-champion an idea with you. No more brainstorming. No, instead try "edgecrafting." Products and services have lots of edges and he spends thirty pages talking about how you can find yours.
And just to prove his point of the importance of a Free Prize, the first print run is packaged in a cereal box (remember the milk cartons?). The other "free prize" included is a spoof copy of the Wall Street Journal called titled "THIS IS NOT THE JOURNAL". It is loaded with quirky bits about the book.
The thing about Seth Godin is this: he doesn't beat around the bush. He tells it like it is. And he puts his money where his mouth is on how to do it: Free Prize Inside includes an actual free prize and is a remarkable Purple Cow.
Jack Covert Selects - Purple Cow
Posted May 22, 2003 6:02 a.m. by katie
Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin, Portfolio. 140 Pages, $19.95 Hardcover, May 2003, ISBN 159184021X
The one and only time I offered a money-back guarantee was with Lou Gerstners story of the IBM turnaround, Who Said Elephants Cant Dance? However, I just finished a book that is so powerful, it is compelling me to offer the same money-back guarantee again! The book is Seth Godins latest, Purple Cow. It is absolutely laser-focused on a subject that is near and dear to all of us: how to sell/market our products. The title comes from a story Seth tells about when his family was traveling in France and marveling at the pretty cows. After awhile, there were so many cows that they became boring. This brought to Seth this idea: A purple cow, though. Now that would be interesting. (For a while.) The essence of the Purple Cow is that it must be remarkable. To help you understand what he means by remarkable, he states that the opposite of remarkable is very good. Not bad or mediocre, but very good. He states that he doesnt think that there is a shortage of remarkable ideas; he thinks that what is missing is the will to execute the ideas. He says:
My goal in Purple Cow is to make it clear that its safer to be riskyto fortify your desire to do truly remarkable things. Once you see that the old ways have nowhere to go but down, it becomes imperative to create things worth talking about.
The case studies used in the book are perfectly selected. Although I had heard some of the stories before, many were new to me. At the end of each case study/story he has a takeaway which is a group of questions that should be used to stimulate discussion or idea generation. The case studies range in length from a couple of paragraphs to a few pages and are written in a breezy, casual style that draws you into the book and makes you want to keep turning the pages. I dont think I have ever used the term page-turner to describe a business book, but this book is special and deserves the designation.