summer school (part 1 of 2)

Anderson / Godin / Li and Bernoff

At the house where the dude abides, we are in the heat of the mow-ment. Yesterday’s bush-whacking welcomed me with 100+ degrees of love and affection.

As I’ve said before, I learn a lot from lawn care. It’s definitely not the pacing back and forth that molds my mind, it is the company that I keep on this journey to and fro. Summer school is back in session for the dude. …

More to the point, the first semester of Briggs and Stratton University’s summer term has wrapped. The recently completed course work focused on my current major: Commercial Persuasion. There were 21 hours of lecture in all, and for the most part, that time flew by.

The first eight hours were dedicated to Chris Anderson’s “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More.” I’ll admit, that I’m about two years late to the Long Tail party, but I’m glad that I finally journeyed down this trail blazed by Wired’s Anderson. Much like Freakonomics and Blink, The Long Tail is a book that is not easily categorized. It could easily find itself at home in the Cultural Anthropology or Business/Marketing section of your local Barnes and Noble.

There are many things that I could say about this book, but this is what resonated with me the most: This book provides a lens that allows the reader to see markets and societies as complex inter-woven independent tribes that are brought together by common interests and values. These tribes are born out of “and” not “or”, meaning there are significant amounts of overlap among these indie, affinity-based groups. I think “mainstream” is becoming no more. I highly recommend The Long Tail.

The next five hours of enlightenment were guided by Seth Godin and his “Meatball Sundae.” Seth was the first author with whom I identified when I became a marketer. Here’s why: Seth is smart, and he thinks that people are smart, too. He’s against black hat marketing (lying about bad products so that suckers will be duped into buying junk) and he serves as a great advocate for authentic storytelling.

Meatball Sundae is an excellent primer on the “new” marketing. Very early on in this book Seth clarifies life Before, During and After advertising. To be clear, we now live in a time After Advertising. To read free samples of this book, follow this link.

The final eight hours of lecture were delivered by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff via “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies.” Admittedly, ownership of this book puts me in a very small circle of friends… a circle with a lot of pocket-protectors and red, Swingline staplers.

Over the last three months, I have given away more than a dozen copies of Groundswell. Way more. For me, this book is like cheating. Case studies, practical applications and road-tested theories are the backbone of this book. There is jargon, and considering that the book was published by Harvard Business School Press, it can leave some folks behind, but for the most part this book will open the eyes of business leaders to the opportunities that are bouncing all over the internets.

Following an hour long tour of Audible’s library, I have chosen the next 18 hours of lecture for my second semester: “Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You” by Sam Gosling and “Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are” by Rob Walker. Both of these books are fresh releases, May and June 2008 respectively, and after a few more miles across my yard, hopefully I’ll be able to share some of their insights.

Finally… I’m out of words now…


3 responses to “summer school (part 1 of 2)

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