BR 93: The Purple Cow by Seth Godin


Category: 3 – SHELF it (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: I love Seth’s daily blogs more than I do his books – for some reason. I think the daily dose of “Seth-spiration” is something that just doesn’t come off as much in his book.

Top 3 Learnings:

1. Innovation is the only way forward. We have to create an offering that’s a ‘purple cow’ i.e. extremely special!

2. Companies often lose focus after creating a purple cow. They sacrifice uniqueness for profits. E.g.: Starbucks

3. Many memorable examples of companies that have created such incredible products. One that comes to mind is Schindler Elevators which ask you to type in the floor you’d like to get to first and then directs you to the list that would take you there fastest – thereby saving valuable lift space. (now commonplace)

BR 92: Switch by Chip and Dan Heath

Category: 1 – Read ASAP! (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: Another masterclass by the Heath brothers. This book is a gold mine of learnings, stories and inspiration – under the excuse of ‘Change’. Switch aims to describe how to drive change when change is hard.

Top 3 Learnings:

If I went down the learnings path, I would go on forever.  At the time of writing, I have already featured 2 book learnings here , here and here. And many more to come. Rest assured, this book is top class.

2 lines that have stuck..

1. What looks like a people problem is often a situation problem.

2. What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity.

And of course, the learning on Elephants and Riders is a paradigm shifter!

BR 91: The Lessons of History by Will Durant

Category: 2 – BUY it! (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)

Comments: A truly fascinating read. I was debating whether or not to put this into Category 1. It just missed the cut.

The most fascinating thing about this book, for me, is that this is literally historian Will Durant’s thesis – a thesis of his life. Will and Ariel Durant try to put together the lessons they have learnt from all their studies and bring it all together brilliantly.

Top 3 Learnings:

1. Competition is a natural order. We only collaborate to compete better. The world is Darwinian. Character only arises once basic needs are met.

2. What was a great trait in the past is likely to be a weakness in the present. For example, a very virile brute of a man would have been THE asset in earlier times when physical survival and passing on your sperm mattered most. In today’s world however, he would just be a dumb mannerless brute.

3. Resources (like intelligence) are always scattered unfairly. As a result, a small proportion of the world will always control it. There is no such thing as equality in nature.

4. As a result, religion matters greatly because it is what ensures the masses keep faith. (Will Durant predicts a period of social unrest within decades because of falling faith in Christianity in the 1960s when this is written and my jaw dropped as I thought of the period of social unrest we are having right now)

5. Respect for tradition is something he feels he would take more seriously if he had to ‘do it all over again.’ It is the tension between youth and old age that advances our civilization after all and he acknowledges that as he’s getting older, he has increased respect for traditions.

Some of his observations and predictions are truly amazing. And as you can see from the extra 2 learnings, this was a fantastic book!


PS: It’s been a while since I’ve updated this. Lots of exciting books but a lack of time. More to follow..