Sunday, May 5, 2019

Books: On Business Strategy

There are two new books out that will change the way you think about business: Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life by Rory Sutherland, and Leadershift: 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace by John C. Maxwell.

Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life
By Rory Sutherland
William Morrow; hardcover; $27.99; available Tuesday, May 7

Rory Sutherland, the Vice Chairman of Ogilvy, is an advertising legend whose TED Talks have millions of views, decodes the intangible elements that successfully sell products and ideas, and shows readers how they can devise their own alchemical strategies.
As an advertising trainee, Sutherland noticed that very small design changes to direct mail campaigns could vastly increase the number of consumer responses, but nobody he worked with new why or cared to investigate further. Sutherland then began taking stock of each effective-yet-nebulous trick himself, and in the process, learned a lot about human behavior and successful messaging.
Like classic behavioral economists Daniel Kahneman and Richard Thaler, who are both interviewed in Alchemy, Sutherland approaches his craft with the understanding that humans are irrational and that successful decisions are often made by looking beyond the data points and throwing logic out the window.
Sutherland feels that marketing "magic" is often counterintuitive, and decodes these memorable examples in the book: How Red Bull became the only drink to challenge Coca-Cola in sales despite the fact that everyone hates how it tastes; how budget airlines can show us how to better market a healthcare system; how the data-driven strategies of political campaigns (Hillary Clinton's presidential run and the UK's Remain campaign) got it wrong and how Donald Trump got it right; and why we think orange juice is healthy, and how that same principle guides our feelings about nuclear reactors.
Using leading-edge scientific research, very entertaining storytelling, deep psychological insight, and practical case studies from his storied career working on campaigns for American Express, Microsoft, and others, Sutherland's book is brilliant, eye-opening, and a whole lot of fun to read.

Leadershift: 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace
By John C. Maxwell
HarperCollins Leadership; hardcover; $27.99

John C. Maxwell, #1 New York Times bestselling author, coach, speaker, and internationally recognized leadership expert, has established himself as the #1 leader in business by the American Management Association and the most influential leadership expert in the world by Business Insider and Inc. magazines.
In his new book Leadershift: 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace, Maxwell shares the secrets he’s learned over the course of his professional career, which will help others become successful and effective leaders in today’s fast-paced world.
“Change is so rapid today that leaders must do much more than stay the course to be successful,” says Maxwell. “If they aren’t nimble and ready to adapt, they won’t survive. The key is to learn how to leadershift.”
In Leadershift, Maxwell helps leaders gain the ability and willingness to make leadership changes that will positively enhance their organizational and personal development. He does this by sharing the 11 shifts he’s made over the course of his long and successful career. Each shift changed his trajectory and set him up for new and exciting achievements, strengthening and sustaining his leadership abilities, making Maxwell the admired leadership expert he is today.
Drawing on his own experiences, Maxwell provides specific guidance about how others can make these essential shifts in their own lives. By presenting the reader with challenges and thought-provoking questions, Leadershift equips leaders with tools to move them to greater growth and achievement, and ultimately to becoming a better leader.
Some of the leadershifts Maxwell unpacks include the Relational Shift, Production Shift, Communication Shift, Influence Shift, Impact Shift, and Focus Shift, among others. Each one requires leaders to change the way they think, act, and lead, so they can succeed in a world that never remains the same.
“The reason for ‘Leadershift’ is to help people make fast changes and take advantage of all the things that leaders need to know and do, to build themselves and the organization in the way they truly want to grow,” says Maxwell.
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