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Worthy Reads and Worthless Reads III

I had free time over the summer and filled it with books … lots of books. The last time I read as many books over the summertime as I did this past summer, I was in the fourth grade and competing in the Fretz Park Public Library Summer Reading contest.

While I didn’t receive any Gold Stars for reading books this summer, I did receive golden business insight which will hopefully serve me well in the days, months, and years to come.

I’m not including all the books I read this summer in this Worthy Reads Worthless Reads (WRWR) post, just the most noteworthy of the bunch. As with my WRWR I and WRWR II, I’m rating recent reads on a five point-scale based upon the following three categories:

IDEATION – helps me generate new ideas
INTELLECTION – gives me a new perspective on a business topic
MAXIMIZE – increases my current understanding of a business topic

I am also including my Dog-Ear Score for most of the books.
[For those needing a primer on the Brand Autopsy Dog-Ear Scoring System, click here.]

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Rules of the Red Rubber Ball (Kevin Carroll)
Kevin is a Katalyst helping others turn personal creativity into reality. He is also a sought-after speaker inspiring folks to find excitement, passion, and purpose in their lives. Paul wrote about Rules of the Red Rubber Ball on Brand Autopsy last August and was kind enough to send me a copy. I’m glad he did. Having not been fortunate to see Kevin speak, his book reads like a pocket-sized version of what I would image his keynote presentations to be like. It’s an engaging and inspiring read.

IDEATION – 3/5
INTELLECTION – 3/5
MAXIMIZE – 4/5
Dog-Ear Score – n/a

WORTHY READ

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Writing the Breakthrough Business Book (Tom Gorman)
If you are a business-minded blogger who aspires to write a business book … GET THIS BOOK. I’ve read a few books on writing book proposals and I derived the most from Tom’s insider perspective on the business of getting a business book published. He shares tips on the ins/outs of being a business book author and on what publishers look for in business book proposals that get the green light.

IDEATION – 5/5
INTELLECTION – 5/5
MAXIMIZE – 5/5
Dog-Ear Score – 12.9% (32:248)

WORTHY READ

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MBA in a Box (edited by Joel Kurtzman)
The title “MBA in a Box” promises far more than it delivers. Sure, the contemporary business essays from experts and academics compiled in this book address timely topics, but the knowledge expressed is “too fleeting” and “too now” to be considered strong enough for lasting MBA-like lessons. MBA in a Box is built for now and not built to last. Furthermore, MBA in a Box over-promises and woefully under-delivers.

IDEATION – 2/5
INTELLECTION – 2/5
MAXIMIZE – 2/5
Dog-Ear Score – n/a

WORTHLESS READ

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Wordcraft: The Art of Turning Little Words into Big Business (Alex Frankel)
It is obvious Alex Frankel aspired to write as compelling a book on the naming business as Malcolm Gladwell did with explaining how word-of-mouth works in The Tipping Point. While not as compelling a read as The Tipping Point, Wordcraft succeeds in personalizing the game of how brands get named. His breakdown of how BlackBerry and Porsche’s Cayenne were named is bound to be fodder for college marketing classes for years to come. Good stuff.

IDEATION – 2/5
INTELLECTION – 4/5
MAXIMIZE – 4/5
Dog-Ear Score – 10.5% (23:218)

WORTHY READ

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Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brand (Kevin Roberts)
Lovemarks was a much discussed book on marketing blogs during the summer. Johnnie Moore (UK) had a whole lotta hot marketing opinions on it as did Chris Lawer. I added my two cents on Lovemarks with my book review on the 800 CEO READ Blog and with a “Peace, Lovemarks, and Misunderstanding” blog on Brand Autopsy.

IDEATION – 0/5
INTELLECTION – 3/5
MAXIMIZE – 2/5
Dog-Ear Score – n/a

WORTHLESS READ

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Secret Service: Hidden Systems That Deliver Unforgettable Customer Service (John Dijulius)
If you are a small business owner … BUY THIS BOOK. Dijulius is much better small business owner than he is a writer. However, he shares great real-world tactical ideas for imprinting a customer-first culture in a small business. Dijulius also gives actionable insight on how to empower front-line employees, how to turn infrequent customers into frequent customers, and how to deliver remarkable customer experiences. It’s a great read for small business aspiring to get bigger and for big businesses needing to act smaller.

IDEATION – 4/5
INTELLECTION – 3/5
MAXIMIZE – 4/5
Dog-Ear Score – n/a

WORTHY READ

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Clued In: How to Keep Customers Coming Back Again and Again (Lou Carbone)
If you are an executive who has been hiding out in a Tibetan monastery for the last ten years, then you are the target audience for this book. Seriously … this is a book in search of an audience. Who needs to be convinced that delivering a great customer experience is something a business needs to do? And yet, that is just what the author, Lou Carbone, does in the first six chapters. (Ahem … didn’t Pine & Gilmore clearly make the case for “the experience” with “The Experience Economy” published in 1999? Hello Lou … it’s 2004. Wake up and drink a Red Bull.) The book is horrible. Don’t bother reading it. Complete waste of my time. Don’t even bother picking it up off the shelf to look at the dust cover.

IDEATION – 0/5
INTELLECTION – 0/5
MAXIMIZE – 0/5
Dog-Ear Score – 0.0%

The most WORTHLESS business book I have ever read!

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Creative Company: How St. Luke’s Became “the Ad Agency” to End All Ad Agencies” (Andy Law)
Good book … albeit dated … nevertheless, a good book. Andy tells the story of how and why the Chiat/Day London office mutinied when Jay Chiat sold the Chiat/Day Ad Agency to TBWA in the late 90s. Following the mutiny, the London office of Chiat/Day morphed into a new kind of advertising agency … an agency in St. Lukes that has an interdependent trusting culture and is owned not by a megalithic entity, but owned fully by its employees. The book really shines when Andy recounts the fantastic story of a remote office standing up for its beliefs and refusing to sell out and join a merger with a company that didn’t share the values the London office held so true.

IDEATION – 4/5
INTELLECTION – 3/5
MAXIMIZE – 4/5
Dog-Ear Score – 8.3% (21:252)

WORTHY READ

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Mass Affluence: 7 New Rules of Marketing to Today’s Consumer (Brian Nunes, Brian Johnson)
The authors have written an academic take on how marketers can appeal to customers willing to pay extra for products that are more special and more remarkable. My biggest gripe with the book is that it lacks soul. The authors are content with recommending marketing strategies that are more about finding ways to gouge consumers than to appeal to consumers. Instead of reading this book … read Trading Up (to learn about the “new luxury” consumer) and Purple Cow (to learn how to make products more remarkable).

IDEATION – 2/5
INTELLECTION – 3/5
MAXIMIZE – 2/5
Dog-Ear Score – 5.5% (13:234)

WORTHLESS READ

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We the Media: Grassroots Journalism, By the People for the People (Dan Gillmor)
We the Media is THE most important book of 2004. Yes. You read that right – THE MOST IMPORTANT BOOK OF 2004. Open-source has revolutionized software (Linux). Open-source is revolutionizing journalism (blogging). Open-source will revolutionize marketing. We the Media is a must-read for mavens. Read it today or risk being a laggard tomorrow. Folks … I ain’t kidding … this is an important read. Do not pass go and do not collect $200 until you read this book.

IDEATION – 6/5
INTELLECTION – 6/5
MAXIMIZE – 6/5
Dog-Ear Score – 14.8% (38:257)

WORTHY READ … WAY WORTHY

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Confronting Reality: Doing What Matters to Get Things Right (Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan)
Too academic. Too irrelevant. Too many pages. Too much like a bad Hollywood sequel. Too bad … because their first book, Execution, was too dang good. For more comments, you can read my review on the 800 CEO READ BLOG.

IDEATION – 1/5
INTELLECTION – 3/5
MAXIMIZE – 2/5
Dog-Ear Score – 6.6% (15:226)

WORTHLESS READ

9 Comments

  • Jack Hayhow says:

    And I thought it was just me. Clued In is profoundly worthless. Not enough content to fill a white paper, poorly and pretentiously written.

  • Didn’t you love that Lou Carbone littered his book with 65 or so ‘trademark’ words to puff up his company’s credentials as an “experience expert.”I just laughed at all the ClueGridTM, Experience MetricsTM, Experience Value ManagementTM, CoatCamTM, ClueScanTM, ClueScan DiaryTM, Experience AuditTM …Come on Lou … stop hiding behind the trademarks.

  • Secret Service: Hidden Systems That Deliver Unforgettable Customer ServiceJohn Moore: “If you are a small business owner … BUY THIS BOOK. Dijulius (the author) is much better small business owner than he is a writer. However, he shares great real-world tactical ideas for imprinting a customer-first culture…

  • aleah sato says:

    Wow. I have been wanting to read We the Media – your review is convincing. (smile)

  • Robb Hecht says:

    Along with reading your blog, I highly recommend Lovemarks.

  • Robb … I’m curious, what was your biggest ‘A-Ha’ moment from Lovemarks?Overall, I felt the book was more style than substance.However, I agree with the author (Kevin Roberts) that there is a revered place where love trumps respect in terms of how a consumer relates to a brand and a brand relates to a consumer. Roberts expertly articulates this sweet spot through his simplistically brilliant Love/Respect two-by-two axis.

  • Worth* ReadsThe coroners at Brand Autopsy have posted their 3rd edition of the Worthy and Worthless Reads. Regardless of their review, here is a list of what they reviewed if you need help finding them: The Rules of the Red Rubber…

  • I really enjoyed Creative Company as well. It really opened my eyes to the idea that company structure doesn’t have to be so…er…structured.

  • travis says:

    Lovemarks is good also recommended.travishttp://www.sit-stay-fetch.com