Sunday, March 22, 2009
Thomas Nelson Publishers. 2009. 250p. photog. illus. bibliog.. index. ISBN: 978-1-5955-5185-6. $24.99.
In this reasonably- concise and masterfully- presented publication consisting of nine chapters, all but the last of which include an Executive Summary, McKain (Vice Chairman, Obsidian Enterprises; Vice Chairman, Durham Capital Corporation; Chairman, McKain Performance Group, Inc; Cofounder and Principal, The Value Added Institute; author of ALL Business is Show Business and What Customers REALLY Want) identifies the ubiquitous phenomenon which he terms the “collapse of distinction,” its causes, and ways individuals and organizations can differentiate, stand out, and get ahead while their competitors fail. According to McKain, the “collapse of distinction,” copycat uniformity, or overwhelming sameness is a product of capitalism, affecting individuals and organizations to the extent that it results from incremental advancements, new competitors, and familiarity that breeds complacency and boredom in an individual’s and/or organization’s customers. When customers are faced with a plethora of choices that all look the same or similar they inevitably choose the ones that are different, perceiving them to be better because they are different. This causes individuals and businesses to eventually fail, if they can not distinguish themselves. While in the first part of his book, McKain outlines the phenomenon, its causes, and how customers respond to it, in chapters 5, 6, 7, and 8, the author outlines differentiation and the 4 cornerstones for achieving distinction: clarity, creativity, communication, and customer- experience focus. Engagingly written from the gut but also based upon the author’s lifetime experiences and knowledge of the business world and business theory, this text by an expert will prove to be a “must read” classic with significant content. It also is well-documented with endnotes and several value-added features, not limited to diagrams and sections at the end of each of each chapter providing action steps, questions, and ideas, a selected bibliography including outstanding business and professional development books as well as pertinent blogs, and a reference to the website created by the author to accompany this publication and disseminate cutting-edge information. As a “Nelsonfree” product, purchasers get three formats for the price of the printed one. A free ebook and the mp3 audio version may be obtained by downloading them from the publisher’s website after entering some data and answering a simple security question. Well worth its cost, it is enthusiastically and highly recommended for general and specialized audiences as well as for many library collections not limited to those of public libraries--C. A. Lajos