What Tom’s Reading

Tom’s new book, Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age, is in bookstores now. Naturally, he’s filled it with quotes from a lot of books that he’s read since we last posted What Tom’s Reading, or that he’s gone back to for some of his favorite quoteables. Herewith a list of recommendations (and an overview of the themes in Re-imagine!):

From Chapter 4, Infotech Changes Everything: “On the Bus” or … “Off the Bus.”

Real Time: Preparing for the Age of the Never Satisfied Customer, by Regis McKenna.
What Tom says: Regis McKenna, the Silicon Valley marketing guru, wrote an entire book on the topic [of the Never Satisfied Customer]. I love the title (as well as the innards).


From Chapter 5, From “Cost Center” to Stardom: The PSF Transformation.

Managing the Professional Service Firm, by David Maister.
What Tom says: Professional Service Firms. Nobody takes them seriously. They do “sissy work” … compared to “real men” who toil in “steel mills.” (Oops, the latter are about gone.) Almost nobody studies PSFs. Exception: David Maister.


From Chapter 8, Beyond Solutions: Providing Memorable “Experiences.”
Pour Your Heart into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time, by Howard Schultz.
What Tom says: They have transformed an “innocent cup of java” into a “Starbucks way of life” that, wittingly or not, many of us subscribe to.


From Chapter 9, Experiences Plus: Embracing the “Dream Business.”
Selling Dreams: How to Make Any Product Irresistible, by Gian Luigi Longinotti-Buitoni and his wife, Kip Longinotti-Buitoni.
Quote: “A dream is a complete moment in the life of a client. Important experiences that tempt the client to commit substantial resources. The essence of the desires of the consumer. The opportunity to help clients become what they want to be.”

Also from Chapter 9.

The Synonym Finder, by J.I. Rodale, et al.
Even Tom doesn’t read a thesaurus. But, in researching the meanings of words, he always refers to Rodale’s The Synonym Finder. In Re-imagine! he offers us entries from this book for “dream” and “experience,” important words in Tom’s approach to business excellence in a disruptive age.

From Chapter 10, Design: The “Soul” of New Enterprise.

The Design of Everyday Things, “courtesy design observer and curmudgeon Donald Norman.”
Quote, though not from this book: “STOP BLAMING YOURSELF.”
Tom says: Norman insists that one of the Primary Problems that we have in … Paying Attention to Design … is assuming … whenever there is a screw-up … that it’s because … we are such klutzes.

Don Norman partners with Jakob Nielsen in the Nielsen Norman Group. Their website has many resources for people who strive for simplicity in Web design, www.nngroup.com.

From Chapter 11, Design’s Long Coattails: Beautiful Systems.
The One Page Business Plan, by Jim Horan.
What Tom says: On a single page, Mr. Horan claimed, we could travel all the way from the over-arching vision to tactical details of execution. … An absurd idea at face value. … Putting together a 70-page business plan—replete with charts and graphs and spreadsheets—is a walk in the park. Getting it all right—exactly right—on a single page. Whoa! … The results … beautiful.

Also from Chapter 11.

Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution, Michael Hammer and Jim Champy.
What Tom says: The Bible on re-engineering. … (Champy) keeps executive audiences enthralled as he recounts tale after tale … of critical business processes gone to flab. Consider a process for verifying an insurance claim. It takes 22 working days. Yet when Champy looks inside with an electron microscope, he discovers that, literally, 17 minutes of actual work are performed.

About Michael Hammer and Reengineering.

From Chapter 12, The Ultimate Value Proposition: The Heart of Branding.
Corporate Identity: Making Business Strategies Visible through Design, Wally Olins.
Quote: “Products from the major competing companies around the world will become increasingly similar. Inevitably, this means that the whole of the company’s personality, its identity, will become the most significant factor in making a choice between one company and its products and another.”


Also from Chapter 12.
Unique Now … or Never, by Jesper Kunde.

Interview with Jesper Kunde on tompeters.com.

And again from Chapter 12.
A New Brand World: 8 Principles for Achieving Brand Leadership in the 21st Century, by Scott Bedbury, who “had a hand in the branding of both Nike and Starbucks (Wow!).”
Quote: “A Great Brand taps into emotions. Emotions drive most, if not all, of our decisions. … A brand reaches out with a powerful connecting experience. It’s an emotional connection point that transcends the product. … A great brand is a story that’s never completely told.”

Interview with Scott Bedbury on tompeters.com.

From Chapter 14, Trends Worth Trillion$$$: Boomer Bonanza.
Marketing to the Mindset of Boomers and Their Elders, Carol Morgan and Doran Levy.
Quote: “Households headed by someone 40 and older enjoy 91 percent [$9.7 trillion] of our population’s net worth.” And: “The mature market is the dominant market in the U.S. economy, making the majority of expenditures in virtually every category.” … Key words: EVERY. CATEGORY.

From Chapter 19, Re-imagining the Individual: Life in a Brand You World.
Mastery, George Leonard.
What Tom says: For a profound discussion of the “tradecraft” ethos, go buy George Leonard’s slender gem of a book on that topic. The title (what else?): Mastery.


Also from Chapter 19.
Thriving in 24/7: Six Strategies for Taming the New World of Work, by Sally Helgesen.
What Tom says: Sally Helgesen, author of The Female Advantage and several other great books, provides a list of key attitudinal attributes in her most recent book, Thriving in 24/7. She and I arrived at our ideas separately, but not surprisingly, her approach to 24/7 World matches my approach to … Brand You World:

About Sally Helgesen.
Interview on tompeters.com.

And another from Chapter 19.
The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life, Richard Florida.
What Tom says: The Age of Creation Intensification is no chimera. It’s here. In his extraordinary The Rise of the Creative Class, Carnegie-Mellon Professor Richard Florida claims that the “creative class” in the U.S. already encompasses 38 million people, or 30 percent of the work force. … “The Creative Class,” Florida writes, “derives its identity from its members’ roles as purveyors of creativity. Because creativity is the driving force of economic growth, in terms of influence the Creative Class has become the dominant class in society.”

About Richard Florida.

From Chapter 20, Boss Job One: The Talent25.
The War for Talent, Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, Beth Axelrod.
Quote: “Talented people are less likely to wait their turn. We used to view young people as ‘trainees’; now they are authorities. Arguably this is the first time the older generation can—and must—leverage the younger generation very early in their careers.”

Interview with Ed Michaels on tompeters.com.

From Chapter 21, Meet the New Boss: Women Rule.
I Don’t Know How She Does It, by Allison Pearson.
What Tom says: Not “must read.” But … MUST DAMN WELL READ. NOW. … It’s a great read; but also a profound one, especially on this topic … E.g.: When a woman (“businessperson”) skips a meeting to go to a kid’s soccer game, she gets points off for doing “the Softie Mom Thing.” When a guy takes off to do the same, he scores a bushel of points for “having the guts to do the family thing.” It is that bad!

Book review.

From Chapter 22, Getting It Right at the Start: Education for a Creative & Self-reliant Age.
Aha!: 10 Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit and Find Your Great Ideas, by Jordan Ayan.
Quote: “My wife and I went to a [kindergarten] parent-teacher conference, and were informed that our budding refrigerator artist [Christopher] would be receiving a grade of Unsatisfactory in art. We were shocked. How could any child—let alone our child—receive a poor grade in art at such a young age? His teacher informed us that he had refused to color within the lines, which was a state requirement for demonstrating ‘grade-level motor skills.'”

Interview with Jordan Ayan on tompeters.com.

Also from Chapter 22.
Socrates Café: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy, by Christopher Phillips.
What Tom says: If “learning” is more about “good questions” than “correct answers,” consider this from Christopher Phillips … “Questions, questions, questions. They disturb. They provoke. They exhilarate. They intimidate. They make you feel a little bit like you’ve at least temporarily lost your marbles. So much so that at times I’m positive that the ground is shaking and shifting under our feet … Welcome to Socrates Café

Review of the book.

From Chapter 25, Pursuing Excellence in a Disruptive Age: The Leadership50.
Cold Calling: Business the Nokia Way, Trevor Merriden.
What Tom says: Jorma Ollila has a secret. Ollila transformed a hodgepodge “conglomerate” into a focused, ferocious global power. Ollila is CEO of an … Invention Machine … called … Nokia. And in Cold Calling: Business the Nokia Way, author Trevor Merriden attributes much of Nokia’s success to a purposefully blame-free, go-ahead-and-try-it corporate culture.

That’s it. We hope you enjoy some of what Tom’s reading!