A tale of two business books

Two business books I’m reading: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath and Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin.

It’s a bit unfair to compare the two, because Purple Cow was published in 2002 and Godin has gone on to create other new ideas since then. But I am still struck by how little value I’m getting from Purple Cow compared to how much I’m getting from Made to Stick.

Purple Cow is full of case studies and examples, and questions from Godin. The goal seems to be to get a business person to ask why he is doing things the old way, and to try to shake up his company to create new value. And the overall sense is that the person reading the book hasn’t quite bought into the idea that being remarkable is the path to success, doesn’t quite get it.

All well and good.

Made to Stick is full of case studies too, but the authors have taken the examples and created frameworks and guides to help a business person apply the lessons of the case studies. The overall sense is that the reader understands that sticky = good (at least, after the first chapter’s persuasive argument), so the bulk of the book is devoted to figuring out how to make ideas sticky.

I read Seth Godin’s blog, but sometimes I kind of hate it. I feel scolded by it, although I think I do "get it." I keep reading because I think he offers good ideas on creating value through community — and because I worry that I’ll miss something of value.

I’m pleased though to add the Made to Stick blog to my feedreader. Seems both friendly and informative.

2 replies on “A tale of two business books”

  1. Made to Stick is a great book… and those guys have a lot to teach. I’m really glad the frameworks they’re giving you are helping.

    I think my job is to provoke people to seek out the tactics, to make people uncomfortable until they take the action that wil get them where they want to go. If that feels like scolding, I apologize. That’s not my plan.

  2. Seth: Thanks for your kind response.

    I can see that you’re working to spur people to action, and people seem to find that they need it.I suppose that one person’s provocation is another’s scolding. My feeling scolded may reflect more on me than on your posts themselves.

    Also, I was remiss in not pointing out any posts from your site that I’ve found really valuable. “Marketing lessons from the U.S. election” in particular offers unique and useful analysis.

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