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Karaoke Capitalism: Managing for Mankind [Perfect Paperback]

Kjell Nordstrom , Jonas Ridderstrale
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: 19.99
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Book Description

8 Jan 2004

"If you loved Funky Business as much as I did, you'll love Karaoke Capitalism. Weird? Most certainly. Different? Most definitely. But, if you want to re-imagine your organization and your career it's a thought-provoking place to start."

                                                                                         Tom Peters

The creators will thrive at the expense of the copycats. Express yourself.

In the long-awaited follow up to their internationally acclaimed Funky Business, Kjell Nordström and Jonas RidderstrSle have delivered a thought-provoking, workout for the wits in Karaoke Capitalism. A book that challenges individuals, businesses and nations to create originals rather than cover versions. Management guru Tom Peters said "If you loved Funky Business as much as I did, you’ll love Karaoke Capitalism."

The karaoke economy is dominated by individuals with endless choice. The trouble for business is that the karaoke club is also home to institutionalized imitation. Copy-cats abound. Only imagination and innovation place societies, organizations and individuals center-stage.

Karaoke Capitalism is a call to arms. Kjell and Jonas are rebels with a cause. With their unorthodox combination of academic rigor, forceful logic and funky free-thinking they once again re-write the rules for revolutionaries. This is a true work-out for the wits.

The book teaches us how to successfully compete on competencies, create capitalism with character, and how to have a great life while also making a living. It is required reading for all those wanting to be a first-rate version of themselves rather than a second-rate version of someone else.

Karaoke Capitalism - create or cover?

Karaoke Capitalism is a hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxies of business. and practice is that business schools, benchmarking and best practice have transformed the entire world of commerce into a super-group of karaoke copying companies. And imitating someone else will never get you to the top – merely to the middle.

Our societies are shaped by the glorious trio of technologies, institutions and galaxies of commerce. It is a book about people – management for mankind – the individuals prepared to grasp the microphone and express themselves. You have the rights. Now, you must learn to live them.

The karaoke reality is a cosmopolitan club with endless individual choice but also a paltry place for institutionalized imitation. The dirty little secret of management theory values. Changes have now made abnormal the new normal. The bubble economy has given way to the double economy. Forget about appealing to the average. Success is a question of exploring the extremes.

Corporations are no longer in control. Modern companies are facing the prospects of a two-front war: held hostage by talent and under siege by consumers. The winners know that wealth is created with wisdom, but to remain competitive they are forced

to create knowledge networks that pose new and fundamentally different demands on the organization.

In a world of economic Darwinism, survival is a question of being fit or sexy – competing on models and moods. Fitness boils down to using market imperfections to your advantage. Masters of mood exploit the imperfections of man by seducing or sedating consumer. Excellent companies re-invent innovation and re-energize the corporation.

To develop the character of capitalism we have to accept individual responsibility. Look inside. Do you want to be a first-rate version of yourself or a second-rate version of someone else?

"The Swedish economists, who shot to the top of the management guru charts in 2001 with their era-defining book, Funky Business, are back"   Director magazine


Kjell Nordstrom & Jonas RidderstraleDr. Jonas Ridderstrale and Dr. Kjell A Nordström are at the forefront of the new generation of business gurus. They cut through the madness and hyperbole surrounding the economy and their appeal is truly global. Jonas and Kjell have been featured on CNN and CNBC. They have appeared in Fortune, Fast Company, Time Magazine, Financial Times, Paris Match, and many other publications worldwide. The 2003 Thinkers 50, the bi-annual ranking of management thinkers, ranked Nordström and RidderstrSle at number 21.

Kjell’s and Jonas’ uncompromising and decidedly fresh take on contemporary business life makes them two of the world’s most sought after speakers. They also practice what they so persuasively preach. From their Stockholm base, Jonas and Kjell act as advisors and consultants to a number of multi- national corporations and are on the board of several companies.

They both hold PhDs in international business from the Stockholm School of Economics and have been recognized as Sweden’s outstanding young academics of the year.

Their previous book, Funky Business: Talent makes capital dance quickly became an international bestseller, selling more than 250,000 copies. The book was recently ranked at number 16 in a survey of the greatest business books of all time.

Praise for Funky Business

"Funky Business is the antidote to bland writing and bland thinking." Tom Peters

"It's the best un-businesslike business book I have ever read ....Funky Business is less of a business handbook and more of a religion. It should be treated like a chain letter - read it and pass it onto 10 other people." (or even better, tell 10 other people to buy it) . - Human Resources

"Funky Business is a better book than most novels but it is not for bedtime. It will jerk you out of your complacency and make you question your very existence. It will transform your brain." - Customer Management

"Funky Business is rigorously researched, witty and intelligent, and overflows with provocative ideas." Business Voice

"Funky Business - the groovy bible of modern business philosophy" - Red magazine


Frequently Bought Together

Karaoke Capitalism: Managing for Mankind + Funky Business Forever: How to Enjoy Capitalism (Financial Times Series)
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Product details

  • Perfect Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Financial Times/ Prentice Hall; 1 edition (8 Jan 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0273687476
  • ISBN-13: 978-0273687474
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 671,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"The Swedish economists, who shot to the top of the management guru charts in 2001 with their era-defining book, Funky Business, are back"   Director magazine

From the Inside Flap

Whether we like it or not, we are citizens of a world dominated by markets. We are surrounded by market mania and live on a planet where money is meaning. In this world where markets rule, Karaoke Capitalism is a book about people, management for mankind, the individuals prepared to grasp the microphone and express themselves.

Karaoke Capitalism shows that expressing your individuality, being different, lies at the heart of the modern enterprise and modern life. We are all individuals now. The choices are ours. The music of chance has become the music of choice.

The riff of our times is the gloriously eclectic sound of individualism. The riff pulls us in improbable directions – Bollywood via the Buena Vista Social Club to Britney Spears. It is as individual as we are. After the collapse of communism, the rise and fall of dot-communism and the sometimes violent questioning of capitalism, the only ism left on earth is individualism.

Individualism means that more and more people throughout the world can shape their lives. Choice rules. Those with cash or competence have the freedom to know, go, do, and be whoever they want to be.

The world of Karaoke Capitalism is being shaped by the glorious trio of technology, institutions and values.

This trio is creating an abnormal society of extremes, a double economy of graft and grief, misery and opportunity. The winners are talented individuals and customers. Friction-free commerce is a shopper’s paradise.

All this provides companies with formidable challenges. They are held hostage by competent individuals and under siege from demanding customers. To thrive, they must learn to master the art of capitalizing on competencies and customer creation.

Karaoke companies look different, feel differently and behave differently. They possess a seductive story, are diversified and decentralized, possess purpose, persistence and passion and are engaged in a constant process of dialog and discovery. Join the karaoke world or perish.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars All dramatics and very little content 14 Dec 2009
This book is about newer developments in the world that are often quite different from what we have been taught. The book's title means that for the authors, "karaoke" is a synonym for "loserism". They stress that in the modern world, you will get nowhere imitating others. You have to create something unique if you want to really make it big. Although they admit that if you are satisfied with being just successful rather than the next Bill Gates, you can make it by imitating the others too. (And, as I should add: isn't Microsoft nicknamed "the second mouse who gets the cheese"?)

The biggest flaw of this book is the ueberbombastical writing style. The authors have apparently difficulties realising that writing a book is different from writing sensation stories for the yellow press. Where a normal person would say "The distance between the Earth and the Moon is 380 000 km", Mr. Nordstrom and Mr. Ridderstrale would probably say something like this: "Hey, folks, you probably don't know how far the Moon is from the Earth. Amazingly, most people have absolutely no idea how far it is. Some would say 1000 km, some would say 1 000 000 km. They just don't have a clue. What do you think, how much it is? Believe it or not, it's 380 000 km. Wow, imagine that! You would have never guessed it, would you?"
When the entire book is written like that, it gets really, really annoying. Especially when the book's expressiveness greatly exceeds it's usefulness.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Empty 25 May 2004
The influences here are clear: European manifesto agit-prop, youth television, glossy magazines and the web. The result is a book full of short zippy paragraphs, clever terminology and which, like a surfer, jumps from wave to wave, link to link. The effect however, is one of emptiness. The ideas expressed seem second hand (not that much different from the strat texts of the dot com boom or Tom Peters), and the authors have trouble making he world fit their terminology. Anecdotes rather than eveidence is bought out to justify theories, a trait of pop-journalism, not of business theory. The effect is that it seems the authors are not fully explaining, or worse not fully understanding their subject. The books agressive enthusiasm is tiring and after a while, almost bland, its superficiality overwhelming. A bit like watching music videos for 8hours non-stop.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, fresh and realistic 3 May 2004
As Tom Peters, I highly appreciate their previous work - Funky Business. Funky Business was a brilliant book.
But it seems to me, that during the development of this book, professors of Stockholm School of Economics or also known as "Funksters" came to even more deep and revolutionary findings, which they show in thos book. This are not dull words - REVOLUTIONARY findings.
You may not spend several pounds on this book, but then you will not know where this world is heading. Maybe Funksters are wrong, maybe they are very wrong, but at least they know the world better than most other people do.
It is an interesting read, it's better than Viagra, it's better than drugs.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The land of the free 5 Aug 2010
By KYMitch - Published on
Only four reviews of this remarkable book (with mine). Strikes me as strange that no other Americans have reacted to it. I suppose that says something. It confirmed for me more than it revealed, but for that I'm also grateful. If it's a premise you can understand and follow, it's a gratifying read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Individualism knows neither immitations nor limitations !!! 17 Mar 2008
By Franco Arda - Published on
Again, a wonderful written business book from those two super authors. While the book title might be a bit misleading, it's all about INDIVIDUALITY. It's about experiencing and expressing our individuality in life (mostly through the context of business). Business if floaded with copy-cats. This book is a manifesto against copy-cat business (or karaoke capitalism).

Understanding this is like understanding outsourcing. Executives used to believe that 2+2=5. Now it is 5-2=7 because the more non-core activities you place outside the firm the higher the value you can generate. Funky :-)
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Europe Premier Business Thinker write again after FUNKY BUSINESS 19 Oct 2005
By T SANTOSO - Published on
I love the writers' different "accent" in the writings, and if you are bored with the many similarity among American Gurus' writing, try this one.

Funky Business is thier first book and i love the book very much. This long awaited sequel has been in Asia ( i bought in spore twice) for sometime and i strangely could not find it in Amazon (untill i check today).... and why it is listed for 50USD is beyond me. (Should be about 15 USD for the soft cover).

The book has nothing to do with Karaoke (singing to the tune of music which is popular in Asia), and this is about business, the rise of the individual, and a host of other things.

I am biased, I love Tom Peters, Seth Godin, and both writers of this book.
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