Go Luck Yourself: 40 Ways to Stack the Odds in Your Brand’s Favour

Go Luck Yourself: 40 Ways to Stack the Odds in Your Brand’s Favour

by Andy Nairn

“After almost 30 years in advertising, I’ve often been struck by the pivotal role that chance plays… Luck remains a dirty secret because it’s seen to undermine the virtues of hard work, talent, and intelligence that are at the heart of any successful business culture… I believe that luck exists—and also that you can improve it.”

Andy Nairn is co-founder of Lucky Generals, a creative agency in the UK whose clients include Yorkshire Tea and the Co-op. His book consists of 40 bite-sized chapters divided into to four sections:

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Discover Your True North

Discover Your True North

by Bill George

The term True North refers to “the internal compass that guides you successfully through life… It is derived from your most deeply held beliefs, your values, and the principles you lead by.” Quoting Warren Bennis, “Leadership is character.”

Everybody develops their own True North. “Today authenticity is seen as the gold standard for leadership… The reality is that no one can be authentic by trying to be like someone else. You can learn from others’ experiences, but you cannot be successful trying to be like them. People will only trust you when you are genuine and authentic.”

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The Book of Joy

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams 

To celebrate the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday, Archbishop Desmond Tutu spent five days in Dharamsala, India discussing the theme of joy with his friend. “Together they explored how we can transform joy from an ephemeral state into an enduring trait, from a fleeting feeling into a lasting way of being.”

What really comes through in this book is that these two have a fun and authentic rapport. The discussion was facilitated by their co-author Douglas Abrams and Thupten Jinpa, who translates for the Dalai Lama when needed.

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Media Planning from Recency to Engagement

Media Planning from Recency to Engagement

by Erwin Ephron (1934-2013)    

Erwin Ephron was a media executive at several ad agencies. He was a proponent of the recency model of media planning, which aims to be present when people are most receptive to the advertising. Recency attempts “to intercept the next purchase with a brand message.”

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Hillstrom’s Pricing

Hillstrom’s Pricing: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Optimizing Customer Behavior via Prices

by Kevin Hillstrom

This fascinating booklet is about how the mix of price levels a retailer offers in its selection of merchandise affects customer behavior. In his 30-year career in retail, Kevin Hillstrom worked for Nordstrom, Eddie Bauer, and Land’s End as well as 225 clients in his consulting practice.

The author examines sales data by price range, merchandise category, channel, and customer life cycle (new customers vs. repeat customers) over a span of five years. Most pages include a spreadsheet or graph showing data from a hypothetical company with declining sales, along with commentary on how the author analyzes the numbers to figure out what’s going on. The target audience for the booklet appears to be catalog and ecommerce retailers. Continue reading “Hillstrom’s Pricing”

2021 Castlin Manifesto: Strategy in Polemy

2021 Castlin Manifesto: Strategy in Polemy

by JP Castlin

JP Castlin is a strategic thinker and consultant based in Sweden. Major themes in his Manifesto are complexity and emergent strategy. In the chapter on marketing, he is not shy about challenging prominent figures. The paper is 71 pages including an impressive 9-page bibliography with academic papers, articles, and books cited throughout the text. Continue reading “2021 Castlin Manifesto: Strategy in Polemy”

Small Business Finance and Valuation

Small Business Finance and Valuation

by Rick Nason and Dan Nordqvist

A finance professor and a CPA have teamed up to explain finance and risk management concepts specifically for small business, defined as assets under $5 million. They acknowledge that the objectives of small business owners often differ from those of a Fortune 500 CFO, whose focus is typically maximizing shareholder value. Freedom, peace of mind, and other quality of life issues may be more important to a small business owner. Continue reading “Small Business Finance and Valuation”

How to Build a Better Business Plan

How to Build a Better Business Plan: A Hands-On Action Guide for Business Owners

by Alastair Thomson

One of the primary benefits of a business plan is “finding a business model that works.” Alastair Thomson, an accountant and experienced C-level executive, guides you to think from a lender’s or investor’s perspective, whether or not you are seeking outside financing. From their side of the table, would you find your business compelling?

The completed plan becomes your “roadmap” for execution. “With the right business plan, you do your thinking up-front. You know how to take advantage when new opportunities come your way and you know exactly what problem needs solving if performance veers off-course.” Thomson encourages planning for three scenarios: best-case, worst-case, and likely outcome. “The biggest danger for a pessimist is under-resourcing their business.” Continue reading “How to Build a Better Business Plan”

Making Art Work

Making Art Work: How Cold War Engineers and Artists Forged a New Creative Culture

by W. Patrick McCray

This book picks up where C.P. Snow left off in his 1959 book The Two Cultures. Snow was a British chemist turned novelist who had scientist friends and literary friends, but he observed that these groups were two separate cultures who rarely communicated with each other. Patrick McCray is a history professor at UC Santa Barbara. In Making Art Work, he studies several endeavors to bridge this divide, primarily in the 1960s, but also more recently. Specifically the book is about collaborations between artists and engineers.  Continue reading “Making Art Work”