If you have never read any of Tom Peters' books, you can skip the earlier ones and just read this one.
If you have read all of his earlier books, you can skip this one.
If you have read some of the earlier books, you can just read the topics in this one that are skipped in the earlier ones you have read. I suspect that that won't be too many.
Tom Peters is our most passionate management guru. He explodes all over his audience in anger, annoyance, passion and rapture. It's a marvelous show . . . and I highly recommend it.
He's also open to new ideas. This book, for instance, gratefully acknowledges contributions from dozens of other authors, CEOs, business thinkers and members of his own family (especially his wife). If you don't read very many business books, I was impressed to see that he cited a very high percentage of the best management books of the last dozen years or so. So if you have read very little on the subject, this book will serve you well.
As intriguing as the book is, it has important limitations. First, the format can be all but impossible to read (especially where text is printed over grey images) in places.
Second, he has blind spots in several areas that make the advice come out somewhat jaundiced. For instance, he hates anything to do with eliminating errors (such as the quality movement and Six Sigma) as though using those methods destroy any chance for innovation in any other area. In my research, I've seen innovation in every dimension of a company exist just fine side-by-side with efforts to eliminate errors and improve quality, whenever different people worked on different aspects of innovation from those working on quality improvement and error elimination.
He correctly points out that women are underestimated and under-served as customers. But in big companies, men still run the show (except at a few bellwethers like Avon Products) . . . and he just ignores the question of how to market to influential men as though it were irrelevant.
Finally, he's been traveling in the exalted circles of the biggest, most influential people and companies for so long that he doesn't have any new examples from the top up-and-coming performers or any new guidance for start-ups. So he's unfortunately dated in his illustrations. That makes the message one that seems to be tame . . . because it is aimed at those who can feel safe in ignoring it as they sit in their palatial suites in the largest companies.
The story is amazingly redundant in the book. There's a microcosm of virtually the whole message of the book in almost every chapter. The repetition is primarily helpful for persuasiveness. It is annoying though if you already get the message.
You can boil the book down to this message: Innovation rules. You need to get off-beat people to work on innovation to have a chance. Everyone's job is innovation. Passion drives successful innovation by creating beautiful, simple systems and wonderful emotional experiences for customers and employees. The leader's job is to create an environment for such innovation. Be ready to fall down, pick yourself up, and try again. Focus your innovation as much as possible on those areas where few others are looking.