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May 5, 2004

News & Opinion: Karaoke Capitalism

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 1:47 AM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Jack and I were both huge fans of Funky Business. The authors, Jonas Ridderstr and Kjell Nordstrre the European version of Tom Peters. You'll find a lot of "the world is a different place" and "businesses need to change". I loved the book. Here was the A Penny For... review I wrote back in January about Funky Business. The duo has a new book called Karaoke Capitalism. And speaking of Tom Peters, Jonas and Kjell are featured in Tom Peters Times this week. It is a lengthy interview, but let me give you a piece that is classic thought for these two:
tompeters.com: And you say early on in the book that experiencing and expressing your individuality, being different, lie at the heart of the modern enterprise and modern life. Can you elaborate on that? KJELL: Anything we do, whether we philosophize, build companies, establish political parties, whatever we do, we usually have an assumption, somewhere in what we do, about who the human being is, our character, so to speak. Now, industrialization also had an underlying assumption. The underlying assumption was that, well, human beings are primarily cogs in the machinery. Furthermore, they are rather similar, look rather similar, can be rewarded in a similar way, etc., etc., etc., a kind of homogeneity, which was reasonable at the time in a way. Because what you needed was to be rather similar, at least at the macro level. But at the micro level, when it comes to our fingerprints, our eyes and, of course, our intellect, we are rather colorful and extremely different. The more micro you go, the more different we become. The closer to the intellect and brain power we come, the more different we become. Jonas and I are basically changing the underlying assumption. Let's assume that we are different, which we happen to believe, we are very different, and start from there. What happens then? Everything changes. Contracts, marketing, reward systems, organizational structures, what have you, they all change when you alter that underlying assumption. And it's reasonable to do that, we believe, in our time. In 1910, maybe homogeneity was a reasonable approximation or assumption. Today --
You can find the entire interview here. I have had a hard time finding the new book in the U.S. It turns out that it has not been released here. Well, Jack has fixed that. Karaoke Capitalism is now available from 800-CEO-READ. The price is $33.95. They are bringing them in from England which explains the slightly higher price and the seven day lead time needed for orders. I am getting a copy. If you need more convincing read the interview. If you need more convincing, find a copy of Funky Business. Then come back and get the book.

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.