A few weeks back I confessed my addiction to business books, and promised to let you know about some of my faves. I’m not a critic, so instead of giving you a traditional review, I’m going to tell you which pages I believe are must-reads, and why. Plus, I was big on Cliff Notes in the high school days, so I thought, “Why not do the same thing for time-strapped entrepreneurs?”
How Books Are Selected For Review
Before I get started, I want to remind you that I only do “must-read” reviews for books I discover on my own. If a publisher asks me to do a review, it’s out. An author mails me a copy to “check it out,” and you won’t see it here. Bribes (while often effective if you want to borrow my lawnmower or get me to the ballet) won’t get a book mentioned here either. This review and all my posts under “The Entrepreneur’s Must Read Pages” feature books I found on my own and read cover to cover. If I highlighted the living crap out of it, I’ll tell you about it on this blog.
Brand Like A Rock Star by Steve Jones
First up is Brand Like a Rock Star, a book you can only find on Amazon.com, or in my case, at Newark airport, stuck behind a Malcolm Gladwell book The author, Steve Jones, uses the stories behind rock bands and pop stars to show how entrepreneurs can “build a brand that rocks.” I really enjoyed this book (that’s about all my inner critic has to say). First, it’s about the music I grew up with. Also, the book is relatable, and the storytelling concept is fresh – a successful band is a successful business.
The Must Read Pages
As the folded-over pages, underlined passages, and scribbled notes on the back page attest, this book offered up a lot of insight and value.
Here are a few standout pages:
Page 17, second paragraph: “Keeping things brilliantly simple wasn’t accident.”
(My thoughts on this: Making things hard is, in fact, easy. It is the lazy way. Making things easy is hard, but so, so necessary for explosive growth.)
Page 44: “He (Bob Marley) stayed true to his Reggae music niche, and that’s part of the reason he became so iconic. You become successful by appealing passionately to a small group of people for very specific reasons.”
(My thoughts on this: If you serve a very small group of people, it’s MUCH easier for you to become their go-to person/company. Whereas, if you serve a larger group, you become second fiddle – and all you get are sloppy seconds.)
Page 57: “What makes (Jimmy) Buffet unusual is that he embraced the idea of giving up some control of his brand, allowing his fans to run with the idea.”
(My thoughts on this: Empower your community. It is NOT about you. It’s about them.)
And this follow up:
Page 59: “The result? His (Jimmy Buffet) fans are possessed!”
Page 100: “Part of the reason of Justin Bieber’s success is not just the millions of passionate starts, (it’s the) millions of others who cannot stomach a note of his music.”
(My thoughts on this: Conflict cultivates awareness.)
Page 101: (slight paraphrase) “Love and hate aren’t really opposites in the branding world. They go hand in hand.”
(My thoughts on this: Bieber. ‘Nuff said.)
Page 122: (re: bands that overhype themselves, including Sammy Hagar’s band Chickenfoot, and Axel Rose’s release of the G&R album Chinese Democracy). “Rock star brands understand that communicating with a sense of humility and honesty will win over more fans than empty, boastful hype. Rock star brands know how to under promise and over deliver.”
(My thoughts on this: Customers are overjoyed when they experience more then they expected. If you want to build loyal fans, don’t just serve them well – every one of your competitors does that; blow them away.)
(My thoughts on this: When we offer up something that is incomplete, people feel the need to complete it for us. For example, giving a title to the “White” album. Oh, and one more thought. Did you know that. . . .)
Pages 223-229: I read this section about the story of the Grateful Dead (marketing geniuses) over and over again. And again.
(My thoughts on this: They may have been the ultimate business machine. In my opinion the Grateful Dead can stick it’s tongue out at Google.)
Page 238: The very last sentence, picking up in the middle “…. Never forget that when it comes to consumer’s purchasing decisions, the heart always trumps the mind.”
(My thoughts on this: so true. So true.)
What Are Your Best Finds?
Have you read Brand Like a Rock Star? If so, post your favorite pages (and why) in the comments section. Or, tell me about one of your favorite business books and give me your favorite page number (and why). I eat this stuff up – you can’t give me too much of it. Send me more, more, more.