May 24th 2016

Launch Tomorrow. From Product Idea to Launch in A Day. Luke Szyrmer

Figure 3: New Product Launch process-data model

Launch Tomorrow. From Product Idea to Launch in A Day. Luke Szyrmer. This concise and clearly written book is firmly in the Agile marketing camp.  If you  are looking for a book to get you started on effective landing pages this is a good one.  Yet it goes one better. The basic premise is that you want to create effective landing pages to test out product ideas where you do not have a product yet.   Brilliant. Test the prospects reaction before you blow the dollars on a product that is likely to fail.  Now this may not happen in every market , but the idea has great merit.  For years our firm has advocated testing the market to help you build what prospects need/want/will buy rather than having the product come first.   Very good book and I recommend if you are in product management/development/marketing you get it!

May 23rd 2016

The Reluctant Jesus. Duncan Whitehead.

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

The Reluctant Jesus. Duncan Whitehead. 2014.   What if The Messiah was actually here?  But God had not told him for 30 years who he was, what he was going to do and what was involved?  That is the core of this tongue in cheek, amusing story.   Clearly written and fun  to read, this is a good “summer’ escape book.   It should be taken as a bit of fun and not more.

May 16th 2016

It Doesn’t Take a Hero. The autobiography of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf. cw Peter Petre.

General Norman Schwarzkopf.

It Doesn’t Take a Hero. The autobiography of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf.  cw Peter Petre. 1992. ISBN 9780307764997.  Partially a book on Middle East  history ,  military strategy , geopolitics and a view into the mind of a singular leader.  It is compelling stuff to see how events in the authors life shaped him toward becoming the Commander in Chief of Desert Storm.  His personal details of home are often missing from sanitized autobiographies.  This book rings true. It is concise and too the point.  It also points to the ongoing ability of the US forces to get a job done when asked.  Good book for a cross country flight as it moves right along.

May 9th 2016

Finders & Keepers. How the world’s most powerful customer is changing everything. Rob Schlyecher.

Trader Joe's interior in Union Square in New Y...

Finders & Keepers. How the world’s most powerful customer is changing everything. Rob Schlyecher.2015. ISBN 9780994059307. The book is an application of work by Christopher Norton and the authors company Spring Advertising on the market vertical called the New Economic Order, or as the author calls it Finders. Finders are less than half the population, yet control 75% of the discretionary spending.  Keepers (bargain hunters, sit on their wallets and thus have a very small part of the spending).  If your product is too often all about the price ( Cars, real estate, commodities) then you are talking ot the Keepers. In other word, a race to the bottom.  Finders are foodies, love the artisan, look for out of the way shops,  love the authentic experience. Finders will often pay full retail as they respect the product value. Eg Lululemon, Subaru, iPhone, Trader Joe’s, Brew pubs, Vinyl records.  Keepers love WalMart. The premise is very easy to grasp, but the application can be difficult if your company is not Finder friendly or oriented.  Worthwhile book to read, and clearly written ( They must write good copy at Spring) . Every marketer should read this one., if only for the fascinating case studies.

May 2nd 2016

Thieves of State. Why corruption threatens global security. Sarah Chayes.

Seal of the C.I.A. - Central Intelligence Agen...

Thieves of State. Why corruption threatens global security. Sarah Chayes.2015. ISBN 9780393246537.  This is quite the book. It was suggested to me by David Mouton and I am glad he did.  The author details how various corrupt governments today ( Afghanistan, Egypt, Tunisia, Nigeria for eg)  have been seized by kleptocracies so that the national revenue flows into the hands of the ruling few. She also shows how the individual living in these places gets caught between the religious right and the corrupt administration to the point that uprising seems the only option. Especially galling is that the Western powers and NGOs seem to always align with the corrupt administration, so the West is seen as part of the problem.   She makes a very good case ( and worked in several of these countries on this) , the the West should be very concerned about dealing with corrupt administration/systems that are in all intents criminal in nature..  That is if thee West is interested in helping these populations have any alternatives to violence.  She has some pretty good dirt on the CIA and US State department as well.  Of course she also shows how the control of the US govt by Wall Street interest was not that short of being criminal.

April 25th 2016

Content Inc. How entrepreneurs use content to build massive audiences and create radically successful businesses. Joe Pulizzi

Content rottweiler

Content Inc. How entrepreneurs use content to build massive audiences and create radically successful businesses. Joe Pulizzi. 2016 ISBN 9781259589669.   This could be called the Content Bible on building any content based business.  The author is a successful  pioneer in this field and he knows how to make it work.  The book is full of get to the point quickly content and a plethora of case studies and examples of how others have done or are doing it.  With this book and the requisite hard work you are more than 3/4 of the way to a successful business.  Having read his other books  I am a fan, but you will find it a very worthwhile use of your time to get this book.

April 18th 2016

The Circle. Dave Eggers

Dave Eggers at the 2007 Brooklyn Book Festival.

The Circle. Dave Eggers. 2013.  This book is part of a small but growing stream of  writings about how AI /computer technology  could evolve.  Eggers envisions a creeping malevolence about what could happen if  something like FANG  ( FacebookAmazonNetflixGoogle ) moved to become one  incredibly huge wealthy company that would slowly take over pretty well everything so that no one person  or action was anonymous. A good writer,  the author does draw you in and strikes the right balance between today and what could happen.  I appreciate that all the “innovations” mentioned started with the best of intentions, which through being monetized and proselytized  could become The Circle.   Good read for a cross country flight.

April 11th 2016

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. George R.R. Martin

English: George R.R. Martin signing books in a...

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. George  R.R. Martin. 2015.  ISBN 9780345533487.  Martin has placed this story about 100 years before A Game of Thrones.  So it has all the royal families and famous names the predate his bigger story. It revolved around the misadventures and adventures of a hedge knight Ser Duncan (Dunk ) and Egg (Prince Aegbert) his squire.  Full of tournaments, fighting, and various Lord s and Ladies, it is a tale well up to Martins skills.  We are   given a bit of a foreshadowing at the  end of perhaps many more tales to come of Ser Duncan and Egg.  Easy rollicking read.

April 4th 2016

The Power of No. Because one little word can bring, health, abundance and happiness. James Altucher & Claudia Azula Altucher

English: Chart of Micro-cosmos in Stoicism

The Power of No. Because one little word can bring, health, abundance and happiness.  James Altucher & Claudia Azula Altucher . 2014. ISBN 9781401945879.  This book was referenced on one of the Timothy Ferriss podcasts.  The two authors are well suited, he is a tech guy and she is a yoga instructor.  Not surprisingly there is bit of Zen and some Stoicism in this book -= as it should be all truths being cross cultural.   Good book for people who are stuck and or at across roads. I also thought it relevant to give to your angst ridden teenagers.  Worth the read and despite having two authors , quite readable.

March 28th 2016

A Guide to the Good Life. The ancient art of Stoic joy. William B. Irvine.

Cover of "A Guide to the Good Life: The A...

A Guide to the Good Life.  The ancient art of Stoic joy. William B. Irvine. 2009.  ISBN 9780195374612.   Tim Ferriss often talks about the Stoics and how it has given him a different view on life.  Irvine, a college philosophy instructor believes that one needs a philosophy of life to thread your way through our changing world.   He picked Stoicism and in this book,   goes through various other Greek  & Roman based philosophy.  Then he leads you through the most well known Stoics such as Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and others.   His choices are based on there still being records of their writings and stories for you to read.  For me this was an interesting area to learn about.   I kept hearing the words of my Father in the life lessons of the Stoics.  Not surprising as my Northern Scandinavian roots are bound up in working on what you can change or affect and not being too upset over things that you have little to no control over.  If this topic is interesting to you, this book is a good start.  Clearly written it can speak directly to you.  Stoic joy is achieving tranquility and we could all use some of that.