Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

| April 19, 2009 – 8:24 pm | comment No Comments

Purple CowFor years, marketers have talked and continue to talk about the “five Ps” (in fact, there are more than five, but everyone picks their favorite ones): product, pricing, promotion, positioning, publicity, packaging, pass along, permission…etc.

With time these became the components of a basic marketing checklist, a formula that people followed time and again to make sure they’ve done their job, and hopefully create success.

Seth Godin argues that it’s time to add an exceptionally important new P to the list: Purple Cow.

In his book “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable“, he makes the point that cows, after you’ve seen one, or two, or ten, are boring. A Purple Cow, though…now that would be something, that would definitely stand out and grab your attention.

Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat out unbelievable. Every day, consumers come face to face with a lot of boring stuff-a lot of brown cows-but you can bet they won’t forget a Purple Cow. And he argues that it’s not a marketing function that you can slap on to your product or service; Purple Cow is inherent, It’s built right into the product from the beginning, or it’s not there.

In Purple Cow, Seth Godin urges everyone to put a Purple Cow into everything they build, and everything they do, to create something truly noticeable, that basically markets itself and makes people want to talk about it and spread it.

Purple Cow is a fun and really interesting book to read for anyone involved in building new products and launching them, offering an exciting way of looking at things and approaching product definition, development and marketing.

[Amazon: Purple Cow (Seth Godin)]

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

| November 14, 2008 – 12:10 pm | comment No Comments

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)The Dip is a great little book by Seth Godin, that tackles a simple idea, which is simply that winners do quit, and quitters do win.

The book talks about how every project (or job, hobby, or company) starts out exciting and fun, but then gets harder and less fun, until it hits a low point—really hard, and not much fun at all.

At points like this you find yourself asking if the goal is even worth the hassle. Maybe you’re in a Dip—a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing. But maybe it’s really a Cul-de-Sac, which will never get better, no matter how hard you try.

The book argues that what really sets superstars apart from everyone else is the ability to escape dead ends quickly, while staying focused and motivated when it really counts.

Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt—until they commit to beating the right Dip for the right reasons. In fact, winners seek out the Dip. They realize that the bigger the barrier, the bigger the reward for getting past it. If you can become number one in your niche, you’ll get more than your fair share of profits, glory, and long-term security.

Losers, on the other hand, fall into two basic traps. Either they fail to stick out the Dip—they get to the moment of truth and then give up—or they never even find the right Dip to conquer.

This is a well written little book that should come in handy for everyone, and provide pointers on how to figure out if you’re in a Dip that’s worthy of your time, effort, and talents; or if you should quit, so you can be number one at something else.

[Amazon: The Dip - Seth Godin]

Winning (Jack Welch)

| July 25, 2008 – 10:08 pm | comment 1 Comment

One of the really interesting books I read about management is “Winning” by Jack Welch, Chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001, who transformed the industrial giant from a sleepy “Old Economy” company with a market capitalization of $4 billion to a dynamic new one worth nearly half a trillion dollars.

“Winning” describes the management wisdom that Welch built up through his four and a half decades of work at GE, focusing on actual management techniques. And even thought GE is a giant company, the basic lessons that a person can take away from this book are applicable in companies of all sizes.

The book is divided into five major sections that cover management from all sides:

Underneath It All: Here he talks about missions and cultural values, as well as candor, differentiation among employees, and inclusion of all voices in decision-making.
Your Company: Here he covers issues around one’s own company or organization: things like leadership, hiring, letting go of people, the people management in between, as well as crisis management.
Your Competition: This discusses competition, and the external factors that can influence a company’s success: strategy, budgeting, growth, mergers and acquisitions, and the implementation of Six Sigma.
Your Career: This takes it a bit more personal with a focus on individual career issues; how to find the right job, get promoted, deal with a bad boss and go about work-life balance.
Tying Up Loose Ends: Here he answers some general interesting questions that don’t fit into any of the previous categories and that he’s received in the last several years while traveling the globe addressing audiences of executives and business-school students.

“Winning” is a great management book based on the true and successful experience of one of the best managers of our time. It’s a very worthwhile addition to any manager’s bookshelf and really enjoyable read.

[Amazon: Winning - Jack Welch]

The Long Tail, Why The Future Of Business Is Selling Less Of More (Chris Anderson)

| July 3, 2008 – 1:41 pm | comment 6 Comments

Chris Anderson’s book The Long Tail, is one of the business books that I found really interesting and worthy of reading, in how it explains and advocates why the future of business is selling less of more, as it’s title clearly puts it.

It all started with an article Chris Anderson, who is editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, wrote in Wired that was called “The Long Tail” and that became quite popular and famous; after that he started a blog about it and then expanded his thoughts into a book.

In short the phrase “The Long Tail” is to describe certain business and economic models where products that are in low demand or have low sales volume can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few current bestsellers and blockbusters, if the store or distribution channel is large enough and the necessary filters are available to drive people to find these products. Examples of companies using such a model are Amazon, Netflix, iTunes and Google.

The book and the concept are very interesting, and with the evolution of the internet it’s easier than ever to cater to all tastes and provide all products: general best-sellers and niche products, increasing the scope of products available for sale, and obviously the opportunities to make more revenue.

If you’re selling products, marketing them or just interested in business: I recommend you read the article as well as the book; they’re really interesting and provide several examples and rich insight into how the business world and markets are changing.

# Amazon: The Long Tail

Blue Ocean Strategy (W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne)

| June 13, 2008 – 5:14 pm | comment 4 Comments

Blue Ocean STrategyOne of the really interesting business books I’ve read and that I think are really useful for entrepreneurs and business people is “Blue Ocean Strategy (How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant)” by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.

The book explores the authors’ vision of the kind of expanding, competitor-free markets that innovative companies can navigate. Unlike “red oceans,” which are well explored and crowded with competitors, “blue oceans” represent “untapped market space” and the “opportunity for highly profitable growth.

Using dozens of examples, from Southwest Airlines and the Cirque du Soleil to Curves and Starbucks, they present the approaches these companies took to open new doors for their businesses and reach out to satisfy untapped demand.

The key to create these “blue oceans” and navigate away from the fierce competition and into very profitable waters is through what they call “value innovation”, that focuses on utility, price, and cost positions, to create and capture new demand and to focus on the big picture, not the numbers.

The book isn’t just talk and theory, it actually provides a set of tools and frameworks businesses can use to develop their own “blue ocean” strategies. It’s more of a guidebook and action plan.

I personally found it to be a really great business book and very thought inspiring. A must-read for everyone involved in running a business.

# Amazon: Blue Ocean Strategy

Rules For Revolutionaries (Guy Kawasaki)

| May 16, 2008 – 12:49 pm | comment 2 Comments

Rules For Revolutionaries (Guy Kawasaki)One of the very good books I recommend for entrepreneurs aiming to launch the next big product or service, is Rules For Revolutionaries: The Capitalist Manifesto for Creating and Marketing New Products and Services by Guy Kawasaki in collaboration with previous coauthor Michele Moreno.

Guy Kawasaki was former chief evangelist at Apple Computer, is currently Managing Director of Venture Capital firm Garage Technology Ventures and founder of;

This was the first book I read by Guy Kawasaki, and I truly enjoyed it; His writing style is really light and entertaining; yet precise, clear and straight to the point.

The book is divided into three parts, whose titles alone show the book’s style and tone:

1. Create Like a God: This part discusses the way that radical new products and services must really be found, thought of, developed and updated.

2. Command Like a King: This one explains what kind of leaders are truly necessary in order for such revolutionary products and developments to succeed, the best way to market them and how to avoid the usual big mistakes.

3. Work Like a Slave: This last part focuses on the kind of commitment that is actually required to beat the odds and change the world, and how clients should be dealth with and treated.

A concluding section presents a bunch of entertaining and inspirational quotes on topics like technology, transportation, politics, entertainment, and medicine that illustrate how even some of history’s most successful ideas and people have prevailed despite the scoffing of naysayers.

This book is a very interesting read that I recommend for everyone looking to create a new product or service; it really provides a bunch of very useful advice and tips and gives you pointers on how you should go about it all.

# Rules For Revolutionaries (Guy Kawasaki)

The Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell)

| May 3, 2008 – 4:06 pm | comment No Comments

The Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell)Every entrepreneur’s dream is to see their new product or service catch on, break into the mainstream and reach widespread adoption. Malcolm Gladwell’s book ‘The Tipping Point‘, published in 2002, talks about just that: the point where products, services, messages or ideas tip over and become a big success.

The book explores the concept of “epidemics” and how ideas, products, messages and behaviors spread just like viruses do, and what it is that makes them tip over and become an epidemic; starting from the influential kinds of people who can spread the message, to the stickiness of the message itself and the context in which it came to exist.

The book also discusses the three pivotal types of personalities that trigger “word-of-mouth epidemics” and help spread the message: Connectors, sociable personalities who bring people together; Mavens, who like to pass along knowledge; and Salesmen, adept at persuading the unenlightened.

It’s a very interesting read and provides a new way of thinking for how to handle promoting a product, idea or message; and how to eventually make it a success.

The book is very well written, in a really simple style, explaining the different concepts and ideas and giving a number of examples to illustrate everything, making the discussed points even clearer.

This book is recommended to every entrepreneur looking to build an effective marketing strategy for their new business; it really gives you a new perspective and line of thought that is very interesting and could help enormously in generating the required buzz around your ideas and creating a hype around your products, which should eventually result in more sales and success.

# The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell

The Art Of The Start (Guy Kawasaki)

| April 21, 2008 – 7:08 pm | comment No Comments

The Art Of The StartMany books have been published, walking new entrepreneurs through their first steps of setting up and running their business, but not all of them come from someone like Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist at Apple Computer, current Venture Capitalist and successful entrepreneur who has been involved with several startups over the years.

In his book “The Art Of The Start“, as its name suggests, Guy talks about the art of starting a business and how each and every task at hand should be handled; from identifying your customer base and writing a business plan to raising capital and bootstrapping to recruiting, establishing partnerships and building brand identity.

‘The Art of the Start’ shares all the essential steps to launch great products, services, and companies, as well as the ways you can unleash the entrepreneurial thinking and creativity that can keep you ahead of the pack.

Kawasaki provides readers with GIST, Great Ideas for Starting Things, that include his field-tested insider techniques for bootstrapping, branding, networking, recruiting, pitching, rainmaking, and buzz building.

The book is a very handy resource for anyone starting a business, giving them a checklist of points they have to focus on and consider to get their startup off the ground, up and running.

At different points, it does feel like the book is targeting technology startups seeking venture capital a bit more than others, but for entrepreneurs in the Arab world who don’t have as much access to venture capital for the time being, the focus should be more on the lessons and less on the specific details in these parts of the book.

#Amazon : The Art Of The Start (Guy Kawasaki)

Common Sense Business (Steve Gottry)

| April 9, 2008 – 9:53 am | comment No Comments

Common Sense Business (Steve Gottry)As a small business that’s still making its first steps in the world, every startup needs as much advice and assistance as possible on how to move forward, what to expect, how to grow the business and what problems to avoid.

Steve Gottry’s book “Common Sense Business : Starting, Operating, and Growing Your Small Business–In Any Economy” is one of those books that does just what its title says, guiding any budding entrepreneur through the different stages of his startup’s life.

The book is a pretty light and very interesting read; in it the author pulls from his business experience and the ups and downs he’s been through to share the knowledge he accumulated and the different lessons he learned with the reader.

Gottry guides the reader through the six stages of the small-business “life cycle,” from dreaming and planning through the practical stages of implementation and growth. He advises on how to capitalize on your own personal strengths in relation to employees, customers, and vendors. He also shows how to structure your day, remain sane, and keep your business alive without drowning in it and becoming a workaholic.

In clear, direct writing style with quite an inspirational tone, Gottry’s advice is well organized and sincere; From implementation to growth, to preservation and evolution, to downsizing, he includes specific how-to’s, which explain the different aspects of running a business day in, day out.

It’s a really good read and practical guide based on real personal experience, which makes it very useful for any person planning to launch a business or already running one.

It would’ve been an even better book, in my opinion, if it got into a bit more detail on the initial phases of business concept creation and the launch details, but it still is worth the read.

# Amazon: Common Sense Business (Steve Gottry).

Sign up for StartUpArabia news sent to your inbox:
Subscribe: Feed

Recent Comments