Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Book Review: Collapse of Distinction--Actual Review

Ok, so yesterday I mentioned that I was going be reading Scott McKain's Collapse of Distinction. Today, I'm writing the review.

So, what does that mean?

I devoured this book. First of all, Collapse of Distinction is not an exceedingly large book. 271 pages, counting index, acknowledgments, contents, forewords, and summaries. So, for someone with a mind to read and a few hours to block out, it's an easy hill to climb. However, don't judge a book by its size. There are some very good points to be found.
Second reason I consumed this book with haste: The book is ripe with examples of companies, large and small, detailing their successes and failures, and demonstrating the why issues of distinction.
Then comes the third reason: McKain offers practical steps to develop your own distinctives in your business and professional life. He does not give a blatant how-to, which would be counterproductive (if he had, 50% of readers would simply cut and paste the info, thus taking a book about distinction and, well, mushing it like a fine steak in a blender).
As a former manager in the business world and now a pastor, I see great value in the points McKain brings home. Each business, each person, will be successful primarily because of their individuality, the things that make them distinct. How do you get there? There's wisdom to be found here. Use it.

McKain's writing style is easy to follow. The book would make an excellent balance to those who think that price matching and copycatting are the only ways to business success. This is not, though, the be-all and end-all. Certainly businesses must consider price within their planning, although as he points out, sometimes that means high pricing as part of your distinctive approach. Also, there are defining similarities between competitors. After all, if you're being distinct by being a tire store without tires, that would be dumb, right? Likewise, don't read this book as a leap into freakish novelty. Find your high concept and hold your business behaviors to that standard.

Likewise, there is a good critique of the 'best practices' trend. Something that businesses need to remember is that people and regions bear their own distinctives. Something that is successful in big cities may not be a best practice in small towns. (For example, when I was in sales, I learned quickly that many fledgling small businesses will pay more to the banks and providers that they know and started with. Larger and older businesses will often consider new providers. You can't sell to both with the same method.) Also, when leading people, different groups respond different ways, so a 'best practice' in Chicago is not guaranteed to work at all in Little Rock. McKain points out that your business should adopt its own methods rather than copying an industry-wide, bland 'best practices' concept.

I also think this book should be marketed with a package of Post-it flags, or better yet, one of the combo-highligher/post-it flag dispensers. That would signal that there are many things here worth notating.

Now, since the book is not yet released, I couldn't put a review up on Amazon.com like I prefer. Instead, I had to review on chrbook.com. (In case you're wondering, I get free books as a book review blogger for Thomas Nelson, I have to review on the blog and a book store website) Since I did CBD, they have a limit of 2000 characters on reviews, so you got the short form above. However, here's a much longer take on Collapse of Distinction and my thoughts not just about the book, but also the implications of it.

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Sermon Recap for June 9 2024

 Good morning! Here is yesterday's sermon from Mt. Olive Baptist Church