Shrewd advice any marketer would be wise to heed.

FIND YOUR DIFFERENCE

CHALLENGING CONFORMITY IN BUSINESS AND IN LIFE

A marketing veteran preaches about differentiation in this guide.

McGhie, author of BRAND Is a Four Letter Word (2012) and founder of several marketing agencies, is highly qualified to write about marketing difference. In this book targeting marketers, the author first validates with research the need to be different, then discusses several forces that impede the process, and finally explores the wide variety of ways to achieve this goal in the business world. While the notion of difference is not unique, McGhie’s in-depth knowledge of the topic enables him to refer to his own considerable experience as well as cite examples accompanied by expert commentary. In Part I, the author strongly asserts that successfully creating a difference “can influence, even lead culture.” He discusses difference in a way that broadens its context. For example, he introduces the term “difference quotient” or “DQ” to characterize individuals who have a deep understanding of the importance of the quality. He also legitimately contrasts “smart difference” with “dumb difference,” noting that “any idiot can be different” when employing “difference for its own sake.” Part II is an amalgamation of “dampeners,” those people, institutions, and organizations that can kill difference. Among them, according to McGhie, are parents, educational institutions, large companies, and even marketers—“Sometimes,” writes the author, “we ourselves are the biggest dampeners of our difference.” His argument supporting this perspective is creatively intriguing. Part III is likely the most useful portion; here, McGhie illustrates three specific business scenarios for finding difference, provides a five-step process for creating a differentiated advantage, and lists 10 considerations in pursuing the strategy. This section should be particularly relevant to any manager who takes the message about differentiation to heart. The author’s marketing chops pervade the book; his observations are insightful; his experience is germane; and the examples he uses are pertinent. McGhie’s writing style is conversational yet professional, and his passion for the subject is infectious. His viewpoint on difference is all-encompassing. In the end, he writes, difference isn’t just for marketing, but also for “creating change in the larger systems, customs and ideologies that govern our lives.”

Shrewd advice any marketer would be wise to heed.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73587-313-8

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Silicon Valley Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A satisfyingly heartfelt tribute to a thoroughly remarkable man.

A WILD IDEA

Investigative reporter Franklin recounts the life of the free-spirited millionaire entrepreneur who used his fabulous wealth in the fight to save nature.

One constant in the epic life of North Face founder Doug Tompkins (1943-2015) was his enduring love of the outdoors. The son of a successful antiques dealer, he grew up in the countryside of Millbrook, New York (Timothy Leary was a neighbor), where he cultivated his love of the natural world. His contrarian ways eventually led to his expulsion from high school just weeks before graduation. Tompkins headed West, where he baled hay in Montana, raced Olympic skiers in the Rockies, and took up rock climbing in California. He also “hitchhiked by airplane throughout South America.” Tompkins ended up in San Francisco, where, by the mid-1960s, the skiing and climbing supplies business he started with the help of Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard suddenly began to boom. He was a charismatic businessman, and every one of his ventures after that—from his wife’s Plain Jane dress company to his own Esprit clothing brand—was successful. But his Midas touch never changed his passion for travel and adventure—e.g., flying his Cessna, sometimes with his family, but often, to the detriment of his marriage, solo. In the early 1990s, Tompkins bought property in southern Chile and fell in love with its pristine beauty. His outrage over the resource extraction–based nature of the Chilean government’s policies fueled his desire to protect the land. In the years that followed, he became an outspoken, sometimes reviled conservationist dedicated to using his fortune to transform thousands of acres of Patagonia into national parks. The great strengths of this timely, well-researched book lie not just in the author’s detailed characterization of Tompkins’ complex personality, but also in the celebration of his singularly dynamic crusade to save the environment.

A satisfyingly heartfelt tribute to a thoroughly remarkable man.

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-296412-0

Page Count: 336

Publisher: HarperOne

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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