Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard Hardcover by Chip Heath (Author) , Dan Heath (Author)

415V1QUNH1L._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?

The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people—employees and managers, parents and nurses—have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results:
●      The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients.
●      The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping.
●      The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service

In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.

From Publishers Weekly

The Heath brothers (coauthors of Made to Stick) address motivating employees, family members, and ourselves in their analysis of why we too often fear change. Change is not inherently frightening, but our ability to alter our habits can be complicated by the disjunction between our rational and irrational minds: the self that wants to be swimsuit-season ready and the self that acquiesces to another slice of cake anyway. The trick is to find the balance between our powerful drives and our reason. The authors’ lessons are backed up by anecdotes that deal with such things as new methods used to reform abusive parents, the revitalization of a dying South Dakota town, and the rebranding of megastore Target. Through these lively examples, the Heaths speak energetically and encouragingly on how to modify our behaviors and businesses. This clever discussion is an entertaining and educational must-read for executives and for ordinary citizens looking to get out of a rut. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

 “Witty and instructive…The Heath brothers think that the sciences of human behavior can provide us with tools for making changes in our lives—tools that are more effective than ‘willpower,’ ‘leadership’ and other easier-said-than-done solutions. …For any effort at change to succeed, the Heaths argue, you have to ‘shape the path.’ With Switch they have shaped a path that leads in a most promising direction.”
–The Wall Street Journal

“’Your brain is not of one mind,’” say the brothers Heath, co-authors of the bestseller Made to Stick. Using the terminology of University of Virginia psychologist Jonathan Haidt, the Heaths designate the emotional side of the mind as the Elephant and the rational side as the Rider…Switch is crammed with stories…covering a number of fields to drive home the importance of using the strengths of both the Rider and the Elephant to make change happen. This could be a valuable read for the would-be change-makers of the Obama administration.”
–Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Whether you’re a manager, a parent or a civic leader, getting people to change can be tricky business. In Switch, brothers Chip and Dan Heath–authors of the best-selling Made to Stick–survey efforts to shape human behavior in search of what works…Even when change isn’t easy, it’s often worth making.”
–Time

“Dan and Chip Heath have done it again…Any leader looking to create change in his organization need not look beyond this little book. It is packed with examples and hands-on tools that will get you moving right away. And it is really a fun read.”
–BusinessWeek.com

“No one likes change. Trouble is, of course, that everyone probably needs at least some of it. Here, the authors of the bestselling Made to Stickreturn with a book that looks at all aspects of change in human lives, from dieting to spending, from corporations to governments…a readable, entertaining and thought-provoking book. “
–Smartmoney.com

About the Author

Chip Heath is the Thrive Foundation for Youth Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Dan Heath is a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University. Together, they are the authors of the national bestseller Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. They write a regular column in Fast Company magazine, and have appeared on Today, NPR’s Morning Edition, MSNBC, CNBC, and have been featured in TimePeople and US News and World Report.

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work Hardcover by Chip Heath (Author) , Dan Heath (Author)

41Dma69iHnL._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_Chip and Dan Heath, the bestselling authors of Switch andMade to Stick, tackle one of the most critical topics in our work and personal lives: how to make better decisions.

Research in psychology has revealed that our decisions are disrupted by an array of biases and irrationalities: We’re overconfident. We seek out information that supports us and downplay information that doesn’t. We get distracted by short-term emotions. When it comes to making choices, it seems, our brains are flawed instruments. Unfortunately, merely being aware of these shortcomings doesn’t fix the problem, any more than knowing that we are nearsighted helps us to see. The real question is: How can we do better?

In Decisive, the Heaths, based on an exhaustive study of the decision-making literature, introduce a four-step process designed to counteract these biases. Written in an engaging and compulsively readable style, Decisive takes readers on an unforgettable journey, from a rock star’s ingenious decision-making trick to a CEO’s disastrous acquisition, to a single question that can often resolve thorny personal decisions.

Along the way, we learn the answers to critical questions like these: How can we stop the cycle of agonizing over our decisions? How can we make group decisions without destructive politics? And how can we ensure that we don’t overlook precious opportunities to change our course?

   Decisive is the Heath brothers’ most powerful—and important—book yet, offering fresh strategies and practical tools enabling us to make better choices. Because the right decision, at the right moment, can make all the difference.

Q&A with Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Chip and Dan Heath

Q. People often feel overwhelmed by “Decisions, decisions, decisions …” What makes us so indecisive?

A. If you’re feeling indecisive, chances are you don’t have the right options yet. In the book we describe four key “villains” of decision-making—common traps and biases that psychologists have identified. One of them is called “narrow framing,” meaning that we tend to get stuck in one way of thinking about a dilemma, or we ignore alternatives that are available to us. With a little effort, we can break out of a narrow frame and widen our options. For instance, one expert we interviewed had a great quote: “Any time in life you’re tempted to think, ‘Should I do this OR that?,’ instead, ask yourself, ‘Is there a way I can do this AND that?’ It’s surprisingly frequent that it’s feasible to do both things.”

Q. You show that the same decision process can be applied to many domains—health decisions, career decisions, business decisions—but doesn’t a decision “process” take way too much time?

A. Not necessarily. In this book, we’re not interested in complex decision models or elaborate decision trees. Often the best advice is the simplest, for instance, the suggestion to “sleep on it.” That’s great advice—it helps to quiet short-term emotion that can disrupt our choices. But it still takes 8 hours, and it doesn’t always resolve our dilemmas. Many other decision aids require only a simple shift in attention. Doctors leaning toward a diagnosis are taught to check themselves by asking, “What else could this be?” And colleagues making a difficult group decision can ask, “What would convince us, six months down the road, to change our minds about this?”

Q. Why did you call the book Decisive?

A. Being decisive isn’t about making the perfect decision every time. That isn’t possible. Rather, it’s about being confident that we’ve considered the right things, that we’ve used a smart process. The two of us have met a lot of people who tell us they agonize endlessly about their decisions. They get stuck in a cycle where they just keep spinning their wheels. To escape that cycle, we often need a shift in perspective. We describe a simple technique used by former Intel chief Andy Grove to resolve one of the toughest business decisions he ever faced, one that he and his colleagues had debated for over a year. And what was this profound technique? Nothing fancier than a single, provocative question! In the book we also highlight a second question, inspired by Grove’s technique, that can often resolve personal decisions quickly and easily.

Q. So how do I help my teenage son not to make a bad choice?

A. Unfortunately, no one has solved that problem. But we offer some simple tools that help people give better decision advice. (Often it’s easier to spot the flaws in other people’s thinking than in our own.) As an example, the phrase “whether or not” is often a warning flag that someone is trapped in a narrow frame. So if your son is debating “whether or not to go to the party tonight,” that’s your cue to widen the options he’s considering. (Horror movie? School basketball game? A head-start on trigonometry coursework?) For important decisions, even a little improvement can pay big dividends.

Review

“A leader’s most important job is to make good decisions, which—minus perfect knowledge of the future—is tough to do consistently…The Heath brothers explain how to navigate the land mines laid by our irrational brains and improve our chances of good outcomes.” -Inc.

About the Author

CHIP HEATH is a professor at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. He lives in Los Gatos, California. DAN HEATH is a senior fellow at Duke University’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE). He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Heath brothers are the bestselling authors of Made to Stick and Switch.

Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success Hardcover by Adam M. Grant Ph.D. (Author)

412CiF429xL._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_A groundbreaking New York Times and Wall Street Journalbestseller that is captivating readers of Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink, The Power of Habit, and Quiet

For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.

Using his own pioneering research as Wharton’s youngest tenured professor, Grant shows that these styles have a surprising impact on success. Although some givers get exploited and burn out, the rest achieve extraordinary results across a wide range of industries. Combining cutting-edge evidence with captivating stories, this landmark book shows how one of America’s best networkers developed his connections, why the creative genius behind one of the most popular shows in television history toiled for years in anonymity, how a basketball executive responsible for multiple draft busts transformed his franchise into a winner, and how we could have anticipated Enron’s demise four years before the company collapsed-without ever looking at a single number.

Praised by bestselling authors such as Dan Pink, Tony Hsieh, Dan Ariely, Susan Cain, Dan Gilbert, Gretchen Rubin, Bob Sutton, David Allen, Robert Cialdini, and Seth Godin-as well as senior leaders from Google, McKinsey, Merck, Estee Lauder, Nike, and NASA-Give and Take highlights what effective networking, collaboration, influence, negotiation, and leadership skills have in common. This landmark book opens up an approach to success that has the power to transform not just individuals and groups, but entire organizations and communities.

1
Good Returns

The Dangers and Rewards of Giving More Than You Get The principle of give and take; that is diplomacy—give one and take ten.
—Mark Twain, author and humorist

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in Silicon Valley, two proud fathers stood on the sidelines of a soccer field. They were watching their young daughters play together, and it was only a matter of time before they struck up a conversation about work. The taller of the two men was Danny Shader, a serial entrepreneur who had spent time at Netscape, Motorola, and Amazon. Intense, dark-haired, and capable of talking about business forever, Shader was in his late thirties by the time he launched his first company, and he liked to call himself the “old man of the Internet.” He loved building companies, and he was just getting his fourth start-up off the ground.

Shader had instantly taken a liking to the other father, a man named David Hornik who invests in companies for a living. At 5’4″, with dark hair, glasses, and a goatee, Hornik is a man of eclectic interests: he collects Alice in Wonderland books, and in college he created his own major in computer music. He went on to earn a master’s in criminology and a law degree, and after burning the midnight oil at a law firm, he accepted a job offer to join a venture capital firm, where he spent the next decade listening to pitches from entrepreneurs and deciding whether or not to fund them.

During a break between soccer games, Shader turned to Hornik and said, “I’m working on something—do you want to see a pitch?” Hornik specialized in Internet companies, so he seemed like an ideal investor to Shader. The interest was mutual. Most people who pitch ideas are first-time entrepreneurs, with no track record of success. In contrast, Shader was a blue-chip entrepreneur who had hit the jackpot not once, but twice. In 1999, his first start-up, Accept.com, was acquired by Amazon for $175 million. In 2007, his next company, Good Technology, was acquired by Motorola for $500 million. Given Shader’s history, Hornik was eager to hear what he was up to next.

A few days after the soccer game, Shader drove to Hornik’s office and pitched his newest idea. Nearly a quarter of Americans have trouble making online purchases because they don’t have a bank account or credit card, and Shader was proposing an innovative solution to this problem. Hornik was one of the first venture capitalists to hear the pitch, and right off the bat, he loved it. Within a week, he put Shader in front of his partners and offered him a term sheet: he wanted to fund Shader’s company.

Although Hornik had moved fast, Shader was in a strong position. Given Shader’s reputation, and the quality of his idea, Hornik knew plenty of investors would be clamoring to work with Shader. “You’re rarely the only investor giving an entrepreneur a term sheet,” Hornik explains. “You’re competing with the best venture capital firms in the country, and trying to convince the entrepreneur to take your money instead of theirs.” The best way for Hornik to land the investment was to set a deadline for Shader to make his decision. If Hornik made a compelling offer with a short fuse, Shader might sign it before he had the chance to pitch to other investors. This is what many venture capitalists do to stack the odds in their favor.

But Hornik didn’t give Shader a deadline. In fact, he practically invited Shader to shop his offer around to other investors. Hornik believed that entrepreneurs need time to evaluate their options, so as a matter of principle, he refused to present exploding offers. “Take as much time as you need to make the right decision,” he said. Although Hornik hoped Shader would conclude that the right decision was to sign with him, he put Shader’s best interests ahead of his own, giving Shader space to explore other options.

Shader did just that: he spent the next few weeks pitching his idea to other investors. In the meantime, Hornik wanted to make sure he was still a strong contender, so he sent Shader his most valuable resource: a list of forty references who could attest to Hornik’s caliber as an investor. Hornik knew that entrepreneurs look for the same attributes in investors that we all seek in financial advisers: competence and trustworthiness. When entrepreneurs sign with an investor, the investor joins their board of directors and provides expert advice. Hornik’s list of references reflected the blood, sweat, and tears that he had devoted to entrepreneurs over the course of more than a decade in the venture business. He knew they would vouch for his skill and his character.

A few weeks later, Hornik’s phone rang. It was Shader, ready to announce his decision.

“I’m sorry,” Shader said, “but I’m signing with another investor.” The financial terms of the offer from Hornik and the other investor were virtually identical, so Hornik’s list of forty references should have given him an advantage. And after speaking with the references, it was clear to Shader that Hornik was a great guy.

But it was this very same spirit of generosity that doomed Hornik’s case. Shader worried that Hornik would spend more time encouraging him than challenging him. Hornik might not be tough enough to help Shader start a successful business, and the other investor had a reputation for being a brilliant adviser who questioned and pushed entrepreneurs. Shader walked away thinking, “I should probably add somebody to the board who will challenge me more. Hornik is so affable that I don’t know what he’ll be like in the boardroom.” When he called Hornik, he explained, “My heart said to go with you, but my head said to go with them. I decided to go with my head instead of my heart.”

Hornik was devastated, and he began to second-guess himself. “Am I a dope? If I had applied pressure to take the term sheet, maybe he would have taken it. But I’ve spent a decade building my reputation so this wouldn’t happen. How did this happen?”

David Hornik learned his lesson the hard way: good guys finish last.

Or do they?

According to conventional wisdom, highly successful people have three things in common: motivation, ability, and opportunity. If we want to succeed, we need a combination of hard work, talent, and luck. The story of Danny Shader and David Hornik highlights a fourth ingredient, one that’s critical but often neglected: success depends heavily on how we approach our interactions with other people. Every time we interact with another person at work, we have a choice to make: do we try to claim as much value as we can, or contribute value without worrying about what we receive in return?

As an organizational psychologist and Wharton professor, I’ve dedicated more than ten years of my professional life to studying these choices at organizations ranging from Google to the U.S. Air Force, and it turns out that they have staggering consequences for success. Over the past three decades, in a series of groundbreaking studies, social scientists have discovered that people differ dramatically in their preferences for reciprocity— their desired mix of taking and giving. To shed some light on these preferences, let me introduce you to two kinds of people who fall at opposite ends of the reciprocity spectrum at work. I call them takers and givers. Takers have a distinctive signature: they like to get more than they give.

They tilt reciprocity in their own favor, putting their own interests ahead of others’ needs. Takers believe that the world is a competitive, dog-eat-dog place. They feel that to succeed, they need to be better than others. To prove their competence, they self-promote and make sure they get plenty of credit for their efforts. Garden-variety takers aren’t cruel or cutthroat; they’re just cautious and self-protective. “If I don’t look out for myself first,” takers think, “no one will.” Had David Hornik been more of a taker, he would have given Danny Shader a deadline, putting his goal of landing the investment ahead of Shader’s desire for a flexible timeline.

But Hornik is the opposite of a taker; he’s a giver. In the workplace, givers are a relatively rare breed. They tilt reciprocity in the other direction, preferring to give more than they get. Whereas takers tend to be self-focused, evaluating what other people can offer them, givers are other-focused, paying more attention to what other people need from them. These preferences aren’t about money: givers and takers aren’t distinguished by how much they donate to charity or the compensation that they command from their employers. Rather, givers and takers differ in their attitudes and actions toward other people. If you’re a taker, you help others strategically, when the benefits to you outweigh the personal costs. If you’re a giver, you might use a different cost-benefit analysis: you help whenever the benefits to others exceed the personal costs. Alternatively, you might not think about the personal costs at all, helping others without expecting anything in return. If you’re a giver at work, you simply strive to be generous in sharing your time, energy, knowledge, skills, ideas, and connections with other people who can benefit from them.

It’s tempting to reserve the giver label for larger-than-life heroes such as Mother Teresa or Mahatma Gandhi, but being a giver doesn’t require extraordinary acts of sacrifice. It just involves a focus on acting in the interests of others, such as by giving help, providing mentoring, sharing credit, or making connections for others. Outside the workplace, this type of behavior is quite common. According to research led by Yale psychologist Margaret Cla…

Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works (Lean Series) Hardcover by Ash Maurya (Author

51tCIG3jMzL._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_We live in an age of unparalleled opportunity for innovation. We’re building more products than ever before, but most of them fail–not because we can’t complete what we set out to build, but because we waste time, money, and effort building the wrong product.
What we need is a systematic process for quickly vetting product ideas and raising our odds of success. That’s the promise ofRunning Lean.

In this inspiring book, Ash Maurya takes you through an exacting strategy for achieving a “product/market fit” for your fledgling venture, based on his own experience in building a wide array of products from high-tech to no-tech. Throughout, he builds on the ideas and concepts of several innovative methodologies, including the Lean Startup, Customer Development, and bootstrapping.

Running Lean is an ideal tool for business managers, CEOs, small business owners, developers and programmers, and anyone who’s interested in starting a business project.

  • Find a problem worth solving, then define a solution
  • Engage your customers throughout the development cycle
  • Continually test your product with smaller, faster iterations
  • Build a feature, measure customer response, and verify/refute the idea
  • Know when to “pivot” by changing your plan’s course
  • Maximize your efforts for speed, learning, and focus
  • Learn the ideal time to raise your “big round” of funding

 

“If you are starting a company, or want to adopt the Lean Startup approach, Running Lean is a must read.”

 

– Brad Feld, Managing Director, Foundary Group

Review

“Ash has put together a book I wish I’d read before pursuing my own startup. The level of detail, including case studies and practical applications, make this book a resource worthy of sitting on every aspiring entrepreneur’s shelf.”

-Rand Fishkin, CEO and Cofounder, SEOmoz; Coauthor, The Art of SEO
“Ash has laid out a clear compass for anyone to validate their ideas, solve real problems and create a successful business. I’d encourage this book to anyone trying to get a business off the ground.”
– Noah Kagan, Chief Sumo of AppSumo.com
“Lean concepts are exciting but it’s hard to know what to actually do. Ash not only gives advice but makes it practicable–this is the first comprehensive guidebook for how to execute a Lean Startup.”
– Jason Cohen, founder of WP Engine & Smart Bear.
“Ash provides compelling, actionable guidance for applying lean principles to a startup. His startup canvas changed the way I think about my own startup. This book is a valuable guide whether you are a serial entrepreneur or a first time founder.”
– Sean Ellis, Founder & CEO of CatchFree
“Easily one of the best technical books on Lean Startup ever written. Period. End of point. Done.”
– Dan Martell, Founder of Clarity.fm & Angel Investor

About the Author

Ash Maurya (@ashmaurya) is the founder of USERcycle. Since bootstrapping his last company seven years ago, he has launched five products and one peer-to-web application framework. Throughout this time he has been in search of better, faster ways for building successful products. Ash has more recently been rigorously applying Customer Development and Lean Startup techniques to his products, which he frequently writes about on his blog and turned into a book: Running Lean.

Ash resides in Austin, Texas, with his wife, two children and two dogs.

 

The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise? Hardcover by Chris Brogan (Author) , Julien Smith (Author)

51JkJqrNYBL._SY346_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_

“Anyone can write a blog post, but not everyone can get it liked thirty-five thousand times, and not everyone can get seventy-five thousand subscribers. But the reason we’ve done these things isn’t because we’re special. It’s because we tried and failed, the same way you learn to ride a bike. We tried again and again, and now we have an idea how to get from point A to point B faster because of it.”

 

 

Three short years ago, when Chris Brogan and Julien Smith wrote their bestseller, Trust Agents, being interesting and human on the Web was enough to build a significant audience. But now, everybody has a platform. The problem is that most of them are just making noise.

 

 

In The Impact Equation, Brogan and Smith show that to make people truly care about what you have to say, you need more than just a good idea, trust among your audience, or a certain number of fol­lowers. You need a potent mix of all of the above and more.

 

 

Use the Impact Equation to figure out what you’re doing right and wrong. Apply it to a blog, a tweet, a video, or a mainstream-media advertising cam­paign. Use it to explain why a feature in a national newspaper that reaches millions might have less impact than a blog post that reaches a thousand passionate subscribers.

 

 

Consider the phenomenally successful British singer Adele. For most musicians, onstage banter basically consists of yelling “Hello, Cleveland!” But Adele connects with her audience, pausing between songs to discuss a falling-out with her friends, or the drama of a break up. Each of these moments comes off as if she were talking directly with you, and you can easily relate. Adele has Impact.

 

 

As the traditional channels for marketing, selling, and influencing disappear and more people inter­act mainly online, the very nature of attention is changing. The Impact Equation will give you the tools and metrics that guarantee your message will be heard.

 

 

From Booklist

Brogan and Smith explain to entrepreneurs how to build ideas, how to move them through a platform so they will be seen and discussed, and then how to build a strong human element around those ideas so that people will know their participation is appreciated. They lead us to consider the source of our market as we combine the passion of those who matter to us with our passion so that all of us can leave our marks on the world. The book is designed around the equation IMPACT = C x (R + E + A + T + E). C represents being seen; R, whom you connect to; E, how often you connect; A, being understood instantly; T, why we trust someone; and E, the feeling of connection conveyed to our audience.The authors note, Build everything you do while understanding that things will permanently be changing. Excellent, thought-provoking book for entrepreneurs and other library patrons wanting to learn about Internet opportunities in the twenty-first century. –Mary Whaley

Review

Their advice on the importance of being able to write to make a splash online is solid…when it comes to building a brand online Brogan and Smith have been there and done that. The Financial Times –This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

CHRIS BROGAN and JULIEN SMITH are consultants and speakers who have worked with Fortune 500 companies, including PepsiCo, General Motors, American Express, and Microsoft. They have been involved in online communities and blogging for more than fifteen years. Their first book, Trust Agents, was a New York Times bestseller.
Visit chrisbrogan.com/impact
Visit inoveryourhead.net
Follow us on Twitter @chrisbrogan, @julien

 

The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue EXCELLENCE Hardcover – March 9, 2010 by Thomas J. Peters

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“It is [Tom] Peters—as consultant, writer, columnist, seminar lecturer, and stage performer—whose energy, style, influence, and ideas have [most] shaped new management thinking.” —Movers and Shakers: The 100 Most Influential Figures in Modern Business

 

“We live in a Tom Peters world.” —Fortune Magazine

 

Business uber-guru Tom Peters is back with his first book in a decade, The Little Big Things. In this age of economic recession and financial uncertainty, the patented Peters approach to business and management—no-nonsense, witty, down-to-earth, insightful—is more pertinent now than ever. As essential for small-business owners as it is for the heads of major corporations, The Little Big Things is a rousing call-to-arms to American business to get “back to the basics” of running a successful enterprise.

Review

“Those who want to improve their business, whether a boss or an employee, will find great ideas in this compelling and very browsable book.” (Library Journal )

“If you truly believe ‘excellence’ is what Tom Peters is all about, then you will buy this book, read it, learn from it and go away confirmed in your belief. Tom’s 163 tips are validated through experience again and again.” (Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Leader in Me )

“The single best management book I’ve ever read.” (Warren Bennis )

From the Back Cover

#131 The Case of the Two-Cent Candy

Years ago, I wrote about a retail store in the Palo Alto environs—a good one, which had a box of two-cent candies at the checkout. I subsequently remember that “little” parting gesture of the two-cent candy as a symbol of all that is Excellent at that store. Dozens of people who have attended seminars of mine—from retailers to bankers to plumbing-supply-house owners—have come up to remind me, sometimes 15 or 20 years later, of “the two-cent candy story,” and to tell me how it had a sizable impact on how they did business, metaphorically and in fact.

Well, the Two-Cent Candy Phenomenon has struck again—with oomph and in the most unlikely of places.

For years Singapore’s “brand” has more or less been Southeast Asia’s “place that works.” Its legendary operational efficiency in all it does has attracted businesses of all sorts to set up shop there. But as “the rest” in the geographic neighborhood closed the efficiency gap, and China continued to rise-race-soar, Singapore decided a couple of years ago to “rebrand” itself as not only a place that works but also as an exciting, “with it” city. (I was a participant in an early rebranding conference that also featured the likes of the late Anita Roddick, Deepak Chopra, and Infosys founder and superman N. R. Narayana Murthy.)

Singapore’s fabled operating efficiency starts, as indeed it should, at ports of entry—the airport being a prime example. From immigration to baggage claim to transportation downtown, the services are unmatched anywhere in the world for speed and efficiency.

Saga . . .

Immigration services in Thailand, three days before a trip to Singapore, were a pain. (“Memorable.”) And entering Russia some months ago was hardly a walk in the park, either. To be sure, and especially after 9/11, entry to the United States has not been a process you’d mistake for arriving at Disneyland, nor marked by an attitude that shouted “Welcome, honored guest.”

Singapore immigration services, on the other hand:

The entry form was a marvel of simplicity.

The lines were short, very short, with more than adequate staffing.

The process was simple and unobtrusive.

And:

The immigration officer could have easily gotten work at Starbucks; she was all smiles and courtesy.

And:

Yes!

Yes!

And . . . yes!

There was a little candy jar at each Immigration portal!

The “candy jar message” in a dozen ways:

“Welcome to Singapore, Tom!! We are absolutely beside ourselves with delight that you have decided to come here!”

Wow!

Wow!

Wow!

Ask yourself . . . now:

What is my (personal, department, project, restaurant, law firm) “Two-Cent Candy”?

Does every part of the process of working with us/me include two-cent candies?

Do we, as a group, “think two-cent candies”?

Operationalizing: Make “two-centing it” part and parcel of “the way we do business around here.” Don’t go light on the so-called substance—but do remember that . . . perception is reality . . . and perception is shaped by two-cent candies as much as by that so-called hard substance.

Start: Have your staff collect “two-cent candy stories” for the next two weeks in their routine “life” transactions. Share those stories. Translate into “our world.” And implement.

Repeat regularly.

Forever.

(Recession or no recession—you can afford two cents.)

(In fact, it is a particularly Brilliant Idea for a recession—you doubtless don’t maximize Two-Cent Opportunities. And what opportunities they are.)

About the Author

Thomas J. Peters, “uber-guru of business” (Fortune and The Economist), is the author of many international bestsellers, including A Passion for Excellence and Thriving on Chaos. Peters, “the father of the post-modern corporation” (Los Angeles Times), is the chairman of Tom Peters Company and lives in Vermont.