To many of us, Timothy Ferriss is living the dream life. Touting himself as a “serial entrepreneur” and “ultra-vagabond”, the author of the uber bestseller “The 4-Hour Workweek” works from anywhere around the world, pursuing activities as varied as skiing in the Andes, tango dancing in Buenos Aires, or racing motorcycles in Europe.
Serial entrepreneur and billionaire Lynda Resnick’s book “Rubies in the Orchard” provides a fascinating glimpse into the marketing strategies behind brands like POM Wonderful, FIJI Water, Teleflora and the Franklin Mint. Part autobiography and part business book, the highly readable tome chronicled how Lynda rose from rags to riches and deployed her marketing smarts to seed and grow four highly successful businesses.
Written in a witty and conversational fashion, Rubies in the Orchard presents an in-depth glimpse into four very different industries. In the section on Teleflora, Lynda described how marketing is “all about listening. You want to be the equivalent of a good friend”. She then described how an attribute can be a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) based on the following:
Beleaguered employees can now leverage on a “cheat code” to streamline work and increase their productivity – without getting into trouble.
With the subtitle “Breaking Stupid Rules For Smart Results”, Hacking Work by Bill Jensen and Josh Klein encourages workers of all stripes to utilise “benevolent” hacking to get their jobs done more effectively and efficiently.
Written in a light-hearted, jargon-free prose, Predictably Irrational takes us through several themes. They include the fallacy of supply and demand (ie why pricing can be so arbitrary in certain markets), the overwhelming power of FREE, the danger of turning social norms into market norms (or why you shouldn’t pay your mother-in-law for cooking a delicious family dinner), the effects of expectations (what you visualise is what you get), and two chapters on honesty and dishonesty in humans, among others.
Icon, innovator, brilliant entrepreneur and creator of “insanely great” products, Jobs was the founder and CEO of Apple.
Creator of legendary products like the Macintosh computer, iPod, iTunes Store, iPhone and iPad, Jobs founded the Disney beating Pixar Animations (which was later sold to the behemoth), and opened the much lauded Apple Store.
“Undercover Economist” Tim Harford’s latest book Adapt – Why Success Always Starts with Failure blends economics, psychology, evolutionary biology, and anthropology to explain why trial and error is preferred over grand strategic plans. Touted as “Britain’s Malcolm Gladwell”, Harford’s central thesis is that countries, companies and individuals should embrace an evolutionary and empirical approach in determining what works and what doesn’t.
Using analogies from evolution such as variation, selection and adaptation, Adapt uses far flung examples ranging from the Iraq War, Global Warming, 2007’s Financial Meltdown, to 3rd World Development efforts to prove its point. Some of its stories – such as the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg – date all the way back to the middle ages. Others, such as the almost accidental success of Google (which purportedly has no corporate strategy) are more recent.