Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Book Review: Collapse of Distinction by Scott McKain

I recently signed on as a book review blogger for Thomas Nelson. Basically how it works is, if you have a blog, they will send you books for free in exchange for you later posting a review. It's a pretty cool deal that I found out from my sister-in-law, and I thought I'd give it a try! So, here is my first book review!

For my first book I chose "Collapse of Distinction: Stand out and move up while your competition fails," by Scott McKain. I chose this book because I am a small business owner (three of them, to be exact), and thought it may provide some new ideas to help grow my businesses. I figure we could all use a little boost to our businesses in this economy, and this is certainly one way to start! It took me a little while to get through, being a full time at-home Mommy and business owner, as I pretty much only read in the bath tub! But, this book was a very easy read and Scott kept my attention throughout.

One thing I liked about this book is that it contains advice and strategies that will apply to your business, whether you are the CEO of a major corporation, a low man on the totem pole, or a small business owner like myself. Scott uses great stories and business examples ranging from his own father's small town grocery store to large corporations like Starbucks and Apple.

Scott starts out by explaining the phenomenon of a sea of "sameness" that so many companies today are getting swallowed up in. He explains three things that destroy differentiation, and goes on to talk about what does NOT work to differentiate. I was surprised to find that the things that first came to my own mind for ways to differentiate from the competition were among his list of things that don't work!

There are three levels of differentiation according to Scott. Level one, sameness, is when you are indistinguishable from your competition. When a company reaches level two, "differentiation," they have traits that separate them from their competition. But, it is when a business reaches level three, "Distinction," when you become #1 in your field. Scott goes on to explain the four cornerstones of distinction, and how you can build these cornerstones for your own business.

Every chapter ends with an "executive summary," or outline of what you've just read, which not only makes it easy to retain the information, but super simple to go back and look something up afterward. He also ends each summary with a list of action steps, questions, and ideas, which help to apply his principles to your own business.

Overall I thought this was a great book. For me personally, it reinforced that I have been doing many things right all along, but helped me understand why those things are working. It also made me think about my business and my customers in a new way, which I feel will impact my business in a positive way!

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