Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Enchantment: A Book Review
Keen to change the world? Want to transform your "caterpillars" into "butterflies"?
Well, former Apple chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki's Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions may show you a trick or two.
Authored by the bestselling author of "The Art of the Start", Enchantment is a multi-layered book. It begins with a core of likability and trustworthiness before covering other topics. These include preparing and launching one's business/product, overcoming resistance, using push/pull technology, and managing stakeholders (employees and bosses).
Each chapter is written like an assembly of different blog posts on management and entrepreneurial topics. They include numerous "To Do" lists compiled from Kawasaki himself as well as various management thinkers.
Examples include Kawasaki's rules on presentations such as the 10-20-30 rule (make a 10 slide presentation in 20 minutes with no font smaller than 30 points), qualities of a great product (deep, intelligent, complete, empowering and elegant), and providing a MAP (Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose) rather than money to motivate employees.
Spanning a wide range of disciplines - personal effectiveness, behavioural economics, psychology, product development, marketing, HR and social technology - the book's central thesis is that enchantment is a new form of competitive advantage. Due to the breadth of its range (it is ambitious!), one probably needs to reread the book several times to internalise its teachings.
So how can we be truly enchanting? Here are some tips:
1) Be extremely ethical, honest, open and sincere in one's dealings with others, giving them the benefit of the doubt as much as possible;
2) Plant many seeds when launching one's product (instead of focusing on a few major influencers), immersing one's customers through stories and realistic sensorial experiences;
3) Build a robust ecosystem and community of believers through push (emails, twitter, presentations) and pull (websites, Facebook, blogs) technologies;
4) Be an enchanting manager who empowers employees, celebrate successes, address one's own shortcomings first, and doesn't tell others to do what one wouldn't do;
5) Resist the enchantment efforts of others by avoiding tempting situations, looking far ahead into the future. Be wary of pseudo salience (facts masked as truths), data, and experts.
My favourite parts of the book were the personal stories of enchantment. They include Presentation Zen's Garr Reynolds, who moved to Japan to immerse himself in Japanese aesthetics, design and the art of Zen, as well as a sweet story by Kathy Parsanko on the love story between two geriatrics who has been married for 65 years in an assisted living home.
Written from the perspective of a venture capitalist, evangelist and marketer, Enchantment is probably more suitable for start-ups and small businesses rather than large corporations. Some of its ideas appear contradictory (eg should one's product be ubiquitous or scarce since both are cited as possible strategies) and may require some thoughtful reflection before they can be applied.
Having said that, the book is a good read to anybody in the business of marketing, managing and leading a business. Its precepts are richly illustrated with stirring stories written in a direct and engaging narrative. As a "first read", Enchantment may be useful to anybody keen to be exposed to the latest ideas in the world of social businesses.