It's Not the BIG that Eat the SMALLit's the FAST that Eat the SLOW; How to use speed as a competitive tool in business
by Jason Jennings & Laurence Houghton, HarperBusiness, 280 Pages, $26.00 Hardcover, December 2000, ISBN 0066620538
When my kids were little, one of their favorite expressions was "No Duh, Dad!" Well, that's the way I felt about this book when I first glanced at the title. I thought: "Yeah you've got a clever title, but there's no way you can carry the title forward and supply actual valuable information throughout the book." Once again (as was often proven to me by my children), I was wrong. I have read many business books - seeing as they are the focus of my life - , and this book ranks as one of the most fun, loaded with innovative thoughts and ideas that make perfect sense. When I read a book for JCS, I use paperclips to mark the pages where I find something notable that I want to tell you about. "It's Not the BIG that Eat the SMALL" is my most 'papercliped' manuscript yet.
One of the things I've learned as a business owner and founder is that innovation is all well and good, but if it takes a year for your ideas to reach fruition, you are probably a year too late. This book understands this, and as you can tell from the four section titles - "Fast Thinking","Fast Decisions"; "Get to Market Faster"; "Sustaining Speed" - it is your backseat driver down the speedway of change. The chapters are short, fun and full of understandable examples. After stating the premise of the chapter, the authors offer illustrative 'one-liners', which are then expounded upon. Then, at the end of each chapter, they include a "A 60-Second Heads-Up", which is a synopsis of the past chapter. My favorite chapter is called Spot Trends, where the authors tell us we must 'Understand the Drivers of Change', 'Get a 'Clue'', 'Look for New Combinations', and 'Develop a Sense of Taste' in order to pounce on the richest new opportunities. The book may be over 250 pages, but the book has a huge amount of 'white space' making it organized and readable.
I also love the examples included within the chapters. You can open the book anywhere and find something stunning. Just sitting here, I opened the book to manuscript page, 132, and found the following: "When famous jazz violinist Stefan Grapelli was asked why, after sixty years as a successful musician, he didn't take a break, he replied that he frequently had the urge, but was afraid, saying, 'If I ever stopped I might not get started again.' Obvious, yes, but surprisingly wise - just like the title, and this book.
"It's Not the BIG that Eat the SMALL" is the featured book of the December "JCS". You will hear a lot about this book, but, remember, you heard it here first.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.