Sep 5 2006

Book Shorts: One Up, One Down

Book Shorts:  One Up, One Down

I read new books by two of my favorite authors today:  Geoffrey Moore and Seth Godin.  Moore’s was his best book in years; Godin’s was his worst.

Geoffrey Moore’s latest book, Dealing with Darwin:  How Great Companies Innovate at Every Phase of their Evolution, is Moore’s best book in a while. While I loved Crossing the Chasm and thought Inside the Tornado was a close second, both The Gorilla Game and Living on the Fault Line didn’t do it for me — they both felt like a pile of Silicon Valley buzzwords as opposed to the insightful and groundbreaking market definition in his first two books.

But Darwin is a gem. It goes back to Moore’s strengths in analyzing leading companies and creating a powerful framework for innovation that transcends industry and stage of company. And even better, the book has a few very useful “how to” lists to help readers interpret the content and adapt it to their own environments.

So whether you’re a Geoffrey Moore fan or not — assuming you are a fan of innovation and kicking your competitors’ collective butts — this book’s for you.

By contrast, Seth Godin’s Small Is the New Big is old news if you are a Seth Godin fan. It is literally a repackaging of essays, articles, and blog postings he’s written over the years. He’s trended down lately in his writing, like Moore (and most authors who have a single theme or two, it should be said), but unlike Moore, this book isn’t his recovery. The book is a must-have if you (a) love Seth’s writing and want a hard copy archive of his soft-copy stuff, (b) you don’t read Seth’s blog and want to see what you’ve been missing, or (c) you have his other books and are compulsive enough that you can’t stand incomplete collections.

Otherwise, wait for his next book, which hopefully will have some more of the original thinking and writing and ideas that made books like Permission Marketing, Unleashing the Ideavirus, and Purple Cow such new business classics.  I have to say, the thing that disappointed me most here is that I felt like Seth totally sold out with this book — as a regular reader of his, I just felt duped by the Godin Marketing Machine, which is precisely the kind of thing he rants against.  There was definitely NO Free Prize Inside this one.