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Small Is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas Hardcover – 17 Aug 2006
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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
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From the Back Cover
"Godin's collection is arranged alphabetically and was compiled mostly from his short, snappy blog, Fast Company column and e-books.... His riffs jump wildly, from the strategy of coming up with a cool name for your business to thoughts on polka music playing on elevators.... If you're looking for a jump-start, this is a good place to begin."
"Godin's keen insights on the nature of business in this early part of the 21st century are extremely practical and relatable. Though he's a big thinker, there's nothing eggheaded or esoteric in his writing.... He riffs on various factors affecting modern business: the Internet, time deficits, scarcity, the power of stories, the value of authenticity, the death of mass marketing, excellence, incompetence and how these things create challenges and opportunities for people and companies. For all Godin's savvy, the one thing he rarely gets credit for is his writing. The simplicity and clarity with which he conveys his ideas is assumed, but it's not easy to do, believe me."
"Read this book a few pages at a time. Why? The book contains statements and ideas that make you think. You need time to mull them over. Time to think about how you might apply them. Take away what you need. Make copies of what you found interesting and give them to your coworkers. Repeat every few days."
"Godin's writings are generally inspirational - the book is a huge bowl of ideas that you can gobble in one sitting or dip into at any time."
"Seth's real gift is his ability to think big, to challenge the status quo, and to inspire your own big ideas in return. In other words, you won't leave the table hungry."
"Business and marketing ideas from one of the genre's most original thinkers.... Godin writes with humor and infectious energy, and there are plenty of engaging stories and ideas here to get you out of a rut and help jump-start your creativity.... Godin's inspired worldview - in which the most mundane experiences trigger great business ideas - makes for an educational and enjoyable read."
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
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.
I'd suggest keeping notes of your thoughts as you read this collection of blog postings, and please don't try to read it all at once. Your brain will hurt! That being said, I highly recommend this book if you're someone who enjoys stretching your mind and considering various perspectives.
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.
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.