10.18.2005

The Big Moo

In his latest book, The Big Moo, author Seth Godin revisits the notion that success in business comes from being remarkable. He last addressed this in his book, The Purple Cow, in which he wrote that the ordinary just doesn't cut it. Regular cows are boring, for example. A purple cow would be remarkable.

This then, is the next step. To be remarkable, you need "the big moo." To help you find it, Mr. Godin rounded up 32 fellow big thinkers from around the country to contribute pithy stories, advice and anecdotes with the purpose of making the reader think about ways to be remarkable. If The Purple Cow was a movie, The Big Moo would be the second disc of the collector's edition DVD, chock full of extras.

All 33 people contributing to the book did so for free; proceeds will benefit three charities. Mr. Godin has relentlessly marketed the book in the hope that business owners and managers will buy multiple copies, get them into the hands of employees and help everyone start being remarkable.

Plausible? Well, that depends on how suggestible you are. The book is easy to get through in a sitting or two, its short, anonymous bits from the likes of Malcolm Gladwell, Tom Peters and Mark Cuban easily digested. Some will move you; others, such as the one that begins "Play is tactile... play is active... play is experiential..." and goes on like that for two pages, will not. But over the course of the entire book, certain messages are beaten into your head enough, in enough different ways, that they become mantra-like. Be different. Dare to fail. Push the envelope. Listen. Any and all of these suggestions are worth remembering, and these stories are convincing, engaging ways to put them across.

You will learn about the organic wave of protests that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. You'll hear about Shaun Considine, who literally pulled the song "Like a Rolling Stone" from the dustbin of history. You'll read about Giorgio, a glassware maker who learned about cultural differences that were hampering his sales because he talked to his customers.

The book even handily highlights key phrases in italics: "It had never been done before," “Those who fit in now won't stand out later" and "Once you make the standard, you've created a commodity" being just the first few.

Overall, the book's 73 short entries say one thing: Take a risk. As the cover copy reads, "Stop trying to be perfect and start being remarkable." Easier said than done, of course, but with The Big Moo as inspiration, you're off to a good start.

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