May 22, 2003

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Purple Cow

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 4:02 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin, Portfolio. 140 Pages, $19.95 Hardcover, May 2003, ISBN 159184021X
The one and only time I offered a money-back guarantee was with Lou Gerstners story of the IBM turnaround, Who Said Elephants Cant Dance? However, I just finished a book that is so powerful, it is compelling me to offer the same money-back guarantee again! The book is Seth Godins latest, Purple Cow. It is absolutely laser-focused on a subject that is near and dear to all of us: how to sell/market our products. The title comes from a story Seth tells about when his family was traveling in France and marveling at the pretty cows. After awhile, there were so many cows that they became boring. This brought to Seth this idea: A purple cow, though. Now that would be interesting. (For a while.) The essence of the Purple Cow is that it must be remarkable. To help you understand what he means by remarkable, he states that the opposite of remarkable is very good. Not bad or mediocre, but very good. He states that he doesnt think that there is a shortage of remarkable ideas; he thinks that what is missing is the will to execute the ideas. He says:
My goal in Purple Cow is to make it clear that its safer to be riskyto fortify your desire to do truly remarkable things. Once you see that the old ways have nowhere to go but down, it becomes imperative to create things worth talking about.
The case studies used in the book are perfectly selected. Although I had heard some of the stories before, many were new to me. At the end of each case study/story he has a takeaway which is a group of questions that should be used to stimulate discussion or idea generation. The case studies range in length from a couple of paragraphs to a few pages and are written in a breezy, casual style that draws you into the book and makes you want to keep turning the pages. I dont think I have ever used the term page-turner to describe a business book, but this book is special and deserves the designation.

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.