Title: Becoming a category of one
Author: Joe Calloway
Tag-line: How extraordinary companies transcend commodity and defy comparison
At first glance you'd be forgiven for calling this book "Purple Cow for the rest of them/us". It's true that in part both books are working towards the same end, however they've taken fairly different paths to get there.
Unlike Godin's somewhat wacky approach, Calloway takes a more grounded look at how, and why, you should differentiate your business. I find that the case studies he uses are easy for the average business owner to relate to, and it's not all the usual suspects too, which is a good thing. There were also enough notable bits to keep my highlighter working overtime.
The book reads extremely well, and I often found myself exceeding my usual business book diet of a chapter-a-day. Calloway draws richly on his personal experiences which I found both enlightening, and enjoyable to read. If there is one downfall this book has, it's that it runs one chapter too many. The final chapter is a bit of a re-hash and I found it to be quite tedious and unnecessary.
I personally like to engage the authors of books I read, asking questions, and making comments. Joe Calloway replied to my mail within 24-hours and I found his comments helped clarify the few issues I had.
All being said and done, I highly recommend this to anyone frustrated with the rut their business is in. While those that have read Godin may feel that Calloway is often preaching to the converted, there is more than enough new stuff to keep you thinking.
Last word: Underrated...!
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.