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Best New Thinking Winner 2010

Bookshop – Classic Business Books

Are classics because when you read them they change the way you think


The Long Tail, Chris Anderson Random House 2006
The book has been out for a year now. So I should have reviewed it a long time ago. In mititigation I read it when it first came out and have reread it now - so I hope the review will be better. Also there may be a bit more perspective. The book was hyped massively when it came out. Which irritated me because it is supposed to be promoting long tails and not hits. So why try so hard to market it as a hit. So when I first read it I really didn't want to like it. But its a great piece of work. It is very accessible - once you've read the first few chapters you will have got the idea. The bricks and mortar economy has been built on hits. But online businesses are profiting from the aggregated sales of hundreds of thousands of products at very low individual quantities. To make this work you need producers who produce content which can be sold in very low quantities. You need distributors and retailers who can make the products available. And you need indexers why make it possible to find where these individual producs are. Through search engines, lists and recommendations. That's it in a nutshell. But then Anderson walks around the idea and explores it from a lot of different angles. By the end I'm not convinced you will know that much more. But you will understand the concept extremely well. The Long Tail is a seminal book. Because it explains how 3 different kinds of activity work on the internet and how they can make money. It is the closest thing to a unified economic theory of how the web works. If you haven't read it then you need to. It won't take you that long. But its well written and full of examples of internet brands you know.
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Eating the Big Fish, Adam Morgan 1999 Orion Publishing
Read this at the same time as New Marketing Manifesto so it suffers a little by comparison. Which is a shame because it is packed with good stuff about how to set about creating challenger brands that carve up the established ones. Lots of juicy case studies too with instructions for a 3 day breakthrough course.Very good. It gets referenced a little in my interview with Adam Morgan about his subsequent book The Pirate Inside. Which you can find on the relevant page in In their own words.
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The New Marketing Manifesto, John Grant 1999 Orion Business
I love this book - I've read it twice and look at the publication date. 3 years old now and I think it deserves to be moved into the classics section. Its packed with ideas about "new marketing" and right now they're still bang up to date. John Grant has now moved on from St Lukes where he was planning director. Buy it and read it. Lots.
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Permission Marketing, Seth Godin 1998 Simon and Shuster
Permission marketing took over where Don Peppers and Martha Rogers left off with One to One marketing. You can get a tape set of this too if you haven't time to read it. Godin is the guru of Permission marketing which is emerging as the predominant paradigm for internet marketing and e-commerce. He claims that advertising is finished because the more you interupt people the less attention they give you. Permission marketing is about incentivising people to give you their attention and gradually securing their trust and loyalty so they are willing to give you not only their attention but their money. Again and again. If Godin's right it's a whole new way of doing business. If he's wrong he just helped a load of people go bust. If you don't know about permission marketing you shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a website at the trigger end.
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The Goal, Eliyahu Goldratt 1989 Gower
Is a fantastic book. Look - it's a novel so read it next time you're on the beach. Its all about improving productivity by using constraints rather than bitching about them
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The Empty Raincoat, Charles Handy Arrow 1995
Look out. People who read Handy's books usually end up selling up and moving to Cornwall. The inventor of the portfolio lifestyle, Charles Handy sees himself as a social philosopher. He's rather better than that. Big thinking about life and how to live it better. I interviewed him once. Maybe I'll post the transcript on this site soon. Excellent!
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The mind of the strategist, Kenichi Ohmae 1982 Penguin
I think I've read this 3 times. Written by an ex McKinsey man, this is a fantastic introduction to value engineering, one of the most powerful tools the Japanese corporations have used to take over whole markets. Not a quick read but not a heavy read either. Brilliant
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Competitive Strategy, Michael Porter 1980 FP Press
Which I read once. Very solid. Reads like a bunch of lecture notes - highly structured introduction to how to take on competitors and come out tops. Loads of examples. I'm glad I wasn't his researcher. I also have Competitive Advantage the follow up all about constructing the value chain, but lacked the energy to do another 600 pages!
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