Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book Review: Small is the New Big



Are you feeling the entrepreneurial (or intrapreneurial) itch lately? If so, Small is the New Big may be the right up your alley.

With 184 "riffs, rants, and remarkable business ideas", Small is the New Big by uber marketing blogger Seth Godin is a collection of management mantras for entrepreneurs. Written in his usual snappy style, the book isn't organised into sequential chapters. Instead, entries are written in an alphabetical manner without following any particular logic.

Reading like a series of blog posts, with more than a few longer several page articles, Small is the New Big is a compilation of "fireworks" by Seth Godin. Many of the sections follow a common theme of thrashing mediocrity, upsetting the status quo, eliminating poor customer service, and embracing change. In a section on socks, for instance, Godin praises a website LittleMissmatched.com for daring to sell mismatched socks.

Like most of his other volumes, the book apppears dead set against the "evil" big corporation. Godin takes great pleasure in disembowelling big business, calling the manipulative Scion campaign nothing more than prostituion and advising companies not to "grow unless it gives you joy". Oh yes, managers, especially incompetent ones, also get short shrift from Godin.

With relish - or so it reads - Godin also dishes out advice using catchy headlines like "Yak Shaving", "Soda (They Even Make Mashed-Potato Flavor)", "Free Prize" and more. Being irreverent seems far better than being irrelevant, at least in his rules of the game.

As I was reading through the book halfway, I decided to skip around to the sections which caught my eye. Admittedly, some of the sections are better than others, and certain belaboured points (like bad service) does get a little weary after a while. Those unused to Godin's style may even find it jarring to hop from one section to another.

Fortunately, Godin writes well and wields a wicked pen. The fast pace of the prose, peppered with witty anecdotes, helps one to move quickly from one idea to another.

If you're looking for a "How To" book, this isn't quite the volume for you. If however, you're thirsting for some inspiration, stimulation and food to feed your entrepreneurial DNA, Small is the New Big might just be the right book for you.


Seth Godin (source of image)

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