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on 20 February 2014
I am a huge fan of Bernadette's blog. As a small business owner with lots to do and very little time, it provides me with quick reminders a few times a week of what really matters in marketing and has changed my mindset enormously.
This book is really a recap of many of the blog posts, a bit more fleshed out and in order so it makes sense. It is really easy to read and will quickly get you to the point of thinking the right way about presenting your business. I would highly recommend it to anyone with a small business starting to find their feet with their marketing activities.
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According to Bernadette Jiwa, Steve Jobs was a "difference thinker," one who had a highly developed talent for connecting dots. In fact, it involves much more than that. "It's about seeing the truth, recognising the opportunity in that truth and [begin italics] then [end italics] acting on it. You need to learn how to see the dots and understanding the significance of connecting them before you can begin. And you can do that only identifying with and understanding somebody else's feelings and frustrations. That's what Steve Jobs did intuitively; he had the ability to stand in a potential user's shoes and understand the impact that an innovation and its design might have on that person's life (and thus in the market). This is something you can train yourself to do."

The Japanese term "kaizen" means continuous improvement and is a never-ending process, a philosophy, a business way-of-life, rather than a destination or specific project. The title of one of Marshall Goldsmith's recent books suggests that "what got you here won't get you there." In fact, I presume to add, what got you here won't even keep you here, wherever and what "here" may be. One of the most difficult challenges for business leaders is to make certain that their organization is significantly different (i.e. significantly better) from its competition but also from what it may be now. In fact, what has been a strength (size, scope, diversification of products, etc.) can become a weakness or vulnerability.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Jiwa's coverage.

o Thinking Difference (Pages 1-3)
o The Lost Art of Marketing (11-14)
o The Secret if Disruptive Innovations (18-19)
o The Elephant in the Marketing Room: The Power of Emotions (20-22)
o What You Measure Matters, But What's Hard to Measure Might Matter More (31-32)
o Rethink Groupthink (35-36)
o The Currency of the Future: Deeper Connections (39-41)
o Difference Core Principles (44-46)
o Using the Difference Map: Eleven mini-Case Studies (53-72)
o Using the Difference Map: The Template (74-75)
o How You Create Difference (77-79)

In essence, Jiwa suggests this approach: Creating difference "is about seeing things in a whole new light. It's about re-imagining what the problem or the need might be, and then deciding that you [and your associates] will do whatever it takes to be the one to solve the problem for people. This approach leads to the creation of innovations and solutions that redefine the rules of the game, that reinvent a category or experience."

I agree while suggesting that, when abandoning traditional mindsets, questioning long-held assumptions, and killing sacred cows, business leaders would be well-advised to keep in mind this observation by Richard Dawkins: "Yesterday's dangerous idea is today's orthodoxy and tomorrow's cliché."
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on 9 November 2014
Well written and short but 'difference' is not particularly differentiating from a number of other books ... if your time is precious, and you're looking for novelty but already have a good idea of the type of blurp this purports to sell then give it a miss
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on 17 February 2014
Small book,big impact. Read it and reread it. Great case stories, a common sense approach and revealing insights. Highly recommended.
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on 11 February 2014
I'm sure that all Godin fans (like me) will enjoy this book. It is not particularly new stuff. It is full of stripped back important reminders of where marketing has now moved to - which is away from the advertising model of old. This book's one thing, it's own 'Difference', is that it delivers on it's promise in less than a few hours reading and culminates in a one page model that you can immediately go and apply to your projects. And that's the stuff I love. I wish more marketing and business books got to the point quickly and delivered practical take-aways.
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on 7 June 2014
Every product or service needs to be differentiated in some way - to stand out in the crowd. This book tries to offer a new perspective on how to achieve this. The premise on which it's based is so weak I cannot even recall it having read the book a few weeks ago, in a couple of hours, and having been unimpressed by it. It left me feeling that it lacks substance; just another flimsy idea being peddled.
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on 23 June 2014
"This book is a generous work of genius" so says Seth Godin on the cover. "Huh? What? I don't agree" I say in this review.
The first thing you notice about "the book" is that it is quite thin - 79 pages in total with over 20 pages given to case study examples - more of a paper than a book. It starts bright with a nice pre-amble and yet another regurgitation of silicon valley folklore story and then continues to do the same by re-spinning what marketers have known for a long time - you need to put yourself in the shoes of your customer, speak their language, understand your value from their perspective.
The book is light on evidence and heavy on anecdotes - I am always wary of authors who use quotes from TV shows in a bid to support an argument; that's not evidence, it's just laziness. I had a wry smile on my face when the author criticizes the 4 P's classic model then introduces her own "Difference Map" model with 6 P's.
Genius it is not - I'll be wary of anything Seth Godin endorses from here on - I feel I have been duped!
On the plus side, it's a very light read - anyone new to marketing will find it a good introduction to the basic concepts. I've given it 2 stars because I like the style of Bernadette and I suspect she is well regarded (how did this get on the TED recommeded book list???). If I were using it as a study text it would only receive 1 star - although the concept is sound the content is largely anecdotal and post rationalised.
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on 7 June 2015
This book was bought for me as a present.

There was something bugging me about how I have been setting up my business and Bernadette nailed it. Without giving spoilers in my review this easy to read book has given me the opportunity to rethink how I'm coming at my business.

With real life examples mapped onto the mindset Bernadette recommends I have not got some real life ideas and the beginning of a new direction. Thank you.
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on 18 May 2014
I really love this book. I think that the author has such a warm and likeable style. For me (an artist) and a beginner in the world of business and marketing this book bridged a gap beautifully. I recommend it to people who like a simple, empathic and engaging style as well as good information. Good luck!
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on 11 March 2014
I read quite a few business books, especially those concerned with marketing. This is one of the better ones. Although many of the ideas and concepts have previously been expressed elsewhere it was helpful to have them brought together in a coherent way in a single book.
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