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October 6, 2006

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects: Mavericks at Work

By: Jack @ 6:21 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win by William C. Taylor and Polly G. LaBarre, William Morrow, 336 Pages, $26.95, Hardcover, October 2006, ISBN 0060779616
Back in 1996, I got a call from a couple of guys telling me they were launching a new business magazine. They had some ad pages to fill in the inaugural issue and asked me if 800-CEO-READ would like to use some of the space. The magazine was Fast Company and one of those guys was Bill Taylor. Well, our ad got bumped by a paying customer (IBM), but I have stayed in touch with Bill ever since.
Now, Bill is teaming up with former Fast Company colleague, Polly Labarre, on the release of Mavericks at Work: Why The Most Original Minds in Business Win. Anyone who loved the passion and energy of the magazine during its glory years is going to want to read this book.
Bill is the kind of guy who wants to go "kick the tires" at companies and see if they are really everything they (and others) say they are. That is exactly what he and Polly have done in Mavericks. The four major themes in the book are competition, innovation, customers, and the workplace. And with each case study, they discuss what their favorite maverick companies do that stretches beyond conventional ways of doing business.
They lead the book with ING Direct USA. This Delaware-based financial services company believes it is their purpose to help people save money instead of spend money. The products they offer support that approach (no credit cards). Their marketing activities (aka PR stunts) reinforce that approach (they covered the costs of all Boston subway rides for a day). And their customer service acts on that approach (they fire 3500 customers every year who ask for too many exceptions). It is this kind of on-the-ground reporting that make the book so great.
Taylor and LaBarre also offer a chapter on applying open sources ideas to business, using Proctor + Gamble as an example. And when they discuss connecting with customers, they feature the success of the Apple Store Genius Bars and Commerce Bank's Penny Arcades. To illustrate a maverick workplace, they take us inside Pixar Animation Studios.
This book is explosive, one of those books that ignites your creativity and give you a boost of energy to go out and do something new. Start reading, so you too can be a maverick.
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Bill Taylor will be in Milwaukee to share his maverick ideas on October 12th. Want to join us? Learn more here.

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