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THE BUSINESS OF BUSINESS: REVIEW OF PURPLE COW

It was one chilly, winter afternoon. With the breeze blowing outside, rattling the branches against the windowpanes, we sat inside with our laptops warming our legs.

What? Too dramatic?

Ok, yea, well maybe. Fact is, if I explain it simply it doesn’t sound all that exciting. Remember how I mentioned that conversation where Tina, April, and I decided to start the Hindsight is 20/20 Series? Well, we decided something else that day. Amongst conversation, we realized that we all had stacks of business books at our houses a mile high. As if that coincidence wasn’t enough… all of us were in the same boat: we couldn’t bring ourselves around to reading them. So we enlisted ourselves in the best form of self-help: accountability. We picked out our top 12 picks for the year and assigned one to each month to get ourselves on the reading bandwagon and cranking through some of this valuable literature. Which means…. you get to hear about it. LUCKY YOU!

But wait! There’s more! (Please tell me you just read that in your head in “infomercial voice” – if you didn’t, go try it again.) For those of you with no interest whatsoever in business/entrepreneurship/etc., I will even be giving my personal reviews of the other books I’m loving. You know, because one can never have too many good book recommendations. And, not to worry, you can count on me to tell it like it is; I won’t dance around the subject if I think a book was mediocre. Nonetheless, our first pick (which was for January, by the way): Purple Cow by Seth Godin.

Rating: 3/5

Review:

It is no secret that Seth Godin is considered to be the master of all things business. So, I was pretty pumped to get his recommendation on how to, as the book subtitle says, “transform your business by being remarkable.” Unfortunately, I felt like he spent most of the book talking about what makes businesses remarkable than how to become remarkable. His main point is that in order for businesses to succeed in their industry, they must set themselves apart in distinct and perhaps even unusual ways. Additionally, businesses must capitalize on the people who already love what they do and use those people to tell others about their new, “remarkable” services. Ultimately though, what Tina mentioned in her review, was exactly what resonated most deeply with me as well – he points out that you cannot be scared of pushing clients away by holding true to yourself or your product – because in doing so you are only pulling in more of the customer that you actually seek.

Favorite Quotes:

  • “Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing right into your product or service.” (3)
  • “…it’s cheaper to keep an old customer than it is to get a new one…” (7)
  • “If the goal of marketing is to create a Purple Cow, and the nature of the Cow is to be extreme in some attribute, it’s inevitable that compromise can only diminish your chances of success.” (107)
  • “While we can’t predict what’s going to be remarkable next time, we can realize that there aren’t too many unexplored areas of innovation–just unexplored combinations.” (143)

Recommend?

Meh. Does that count? While I thought that the book was decent, I wouldn’t by any means say it was a “must read” nor did I walk away feeling like it had changed my life (or business mentality, for that matter). It certainly encouraged me to try to think of new things, but I didn’t feel it really provided any suggestions or much guidance as to how to go about doing so. If you’re into business literature, I’d say you’re better off skimming this one at the bookstore or borrowing a copy from a friend than investing in it as a resource. On the plus side, however, it’s a very quick read. So for what it’s worth, it may be worth a flip through if you’re in a rut.

Be sure to check out Tina and April’s posts on it too – here and here.

What about you – have you read any great business books lately or have any recommendations we should add to our list?

ETC - I love the citations! English freak. 😉March 25, 2013 – 5:04 PM

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