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I learned so much about him!
If only I was able to meet him!
Everyone should read it!
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As Zac once Said: "'Peace, Love, Happiness, and Bullet-Proof Marshmellows!!"
P.S. This book rocked!!!! It also had funny stories about Zac and his bros!
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I think the book's best chapters are the ones that cover what happened in Selma. I've read a half-dozen histories of the civil rights movement and none of them have recounted the Selma story better than Lewis does here.
Lewis also gives us insight into several other movement leaders. Not even Taylor Branch (the Pulitzer-winning historian and journalist) tells us about Jim Bevel with this much color. Lewis tells fascinating stories about Diane Nash, Stokely Carmichael and the relations between SNCC and the other movement-leading groups. It's the kind of inside baseball a good memoir delivers.
I'm thrilled that I read this book. It has greatly contributed to my understanding of the civil rights movement.
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I literally read Theophany in one (very, very long) sitting because I just couldn't nail it. It was extremely interesting but it kept me totally off balance through the the entire experience. It is a rollercoaster ride of emotions toward the characters, from a fascinated adoration of Sarah, the heroine (an awkward, inadequate term here) and her family, to an intense hatred of the villain, whom I will let you meet for yourself. Michael Vines, the author, ignores the usual limits by allowing things to happen to his characters that just aren't allowed to happen elsewhere. The plot never goes where expected and the ending is not what you allow yourself to anticipate. One thing you cannot do while reading this book is relax. Or forget it after. I will be rereading it some day so I am keeping my copy. I strongly recommend it, but you will have to buy your own.
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DeRosa knows his stuff and his research is exhaustive. I would have to liked to have seen more storyboard to script comparisons and comments from other writers and directors but that probably would have changed the scope of the book (and the focus). Without tarnishing Hitch's reputation, Writing With Hitchcock makes a strong case for the importance of Hayes contribution to Hitch's film.
After they had a falling out Hitch would frequently dismiss Hayes contributions to his films in print( such as in Truffaut's interview with Hitchcock. Hitch was generally pretty good about recognizing the importance of his collaborators)
Luckily that bitterness can't color the fine work of these well matched collaborators. This book along (with the inteviews Hayes granted for the DVD editions of their four films) finally puts it all into perspective. It also allows one to celebrate the great art and entertainment of Hitch and Hayes.
The jumping off point for this story is when Hitchcock was getting ready to film "Torn Curtain", one of his less successful spy adventures. Hitchcock ignored pleas from those close to him to call on John Michael Hayes for a rewrite. The resulting film was a disaster.
The author then brings us back ten years to when Hitchcock himself called on Hayes to pen "Rear Window" The results were so successful, the director kept Hayes on board for the next three films, which include: "To Catch a Thief," "The Trouble with Harry," and "The Man Who Knew Too Much."
The author describes the making of each film, with particular attention to the writing, as suggested by the title, while always providing a sense of the ever-changing dynamic between a powerful producer-director and a young Hollywood writer, courtesy of interviews with Hayes himself, as well as other surviving crew members. The story of their breakup is sad, but typical of Hollywood, where many make the mistake of beginning to believe their own press.
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If you want to learn about today's brand-building challenges, other books handle that subject much better. If you want to learn about how the Wedgwood, H.J. Heinz, Marshall Field, Estee Lauder, Starbucks, and Dell businesses got started, this is your book. The material is handled much like historical fiction (except the facts are meticulously gathered and documented), and you will find the going easy and pleasant.
If you like Horatio Alger stories, you will find those here as well. I suspect that exhausted entrepreneurs on long plane trips where their computer batteries have run out will find this book helpful in recharging their personal batteries. As Winston Churchill once said, "Never give up." That's the key lesson here. Through trial and error, these entrepreneurs kept trying until they found formulas that worked.
The choice of examples is a little flawed. Five are consumer branding examples and only one is a business example (Dell). Of the consumer branding examples, you will find that most are about selling to the higher income people. That gets a little repetitive.
The explanation of the examples is also incomplete. Considering that this is a business book, there is relatively little financial information other than annual sales and occasional asset turnover ratios. Qualitative example are helpful, but they are more helpful with more pinning down. For example, when you see the profit margins that Wedgwood had, that explains a lot about why the company could afford such lavish promotions. Without similar information on Heinz, you wonder why he was so successful in making sales but went bankrupt. Presumably, he had low margins.
The photographs and maps in the book are a plus, and I enjoyed them very much. The book was printed on such high quality paper (similar to that used for diplomas) that the images are on the same paper as the text. This permits the book to have many more illustrations than similar-sized business books.
The point about earning trust in the book is easily explained. At the time when these entrepreneurs were getting started, their largest competitors usually provided poor quality products, sometimes had inappropriate brand images, often failed to offer decent guarantees, and typically acted in self-serving ways. Earning trust isn't too hard if others are scoundrels or incompetent. Above all, these entrepreneurs stood for decent human values, and got that point across in one-to-one situations. I'm not sure that point comes out clearly enough, even though it is certainly present in each example.
Those who think the Internet age is unique will find the comparisons to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in England and the transportation improvements in the United States to be valuable contrasts. But each age brings its unique changes. Entrepreneurs should seek to grasp those changes, but also see what others have missed. I think that the Starbucks concept could have been successfully innovated in the late 1950s. It's just that no one did it then.
After you finish enjoying these stories, I suggest that you think about the values that your organization stands for. Are those values presented and delivered in ways that make your organization more trustworthy than any other? How else do you have to be superior in order to establish a burnished brand image?
Be serious about giving people the best you can possibly provide!
Wedgwood improved the quality of earthenware, and changed the way that the products were used by the wealthy and the aspiring. He courted the visible elites and royalty to inspire emulation by those who could afford the products.
H.J. Heinz offered quality and convenience at a time when most preserved food products were shoddy and women did most of their own preserving.
Marshall Field courted the carriage trade who could afford to pay top dollar for top quality goods and service.
Estee Lauder provided high quality cosmetics at more affordable prices.
Howard Schultz introduced most Americans to the latte, taking coffee from being a source of caffeine to a tasteful experience.
Michael Dell changed the business model for how corporations got their computing equipment, customizing for each one just-in-time.
Having been educated in both history and in business, it is clear that Professor Koehn comes at the problem more from the historical discipline than from the business one. As a result, the book will be most appealing to those who are interested in the origins of one or more of these brands, companies, or entrepreneurs. At this level, the book is five-star entertainment.
Business readers will find that relevant details are often missing. For example, Wedgwood staged very expensive exhibitions of his wares. You wonder how he could afford to do this, and finally learn near the end of the study that the company had enormous profit margins. H.J. Heinz is described as being very successful in a predecessor company, yet he goes bankrupt. Some information about his margins would probably have revealed that he had low margins. The information is not included. There are bits and pieces of ratios and annual revenue numbers, but the financial side of these examples is clearly underdeveloped. That's a shame, since they all built up important enterprises on a shoestring.
The choice of cases seems flawed from a business perspective. Five of the six are consumer products and services. Of the five, all appealed initially to high income people when good products and services were largely unavailable. Forming brands in such an environment is no great trick. Readers would have learned more about brand building from cases where the competition was fierce from people who were providing exactly the same choices.
As a result, from a business perspective, this is a three star book. I averaged the five and the three star ratings out to reach my four star conclusion.
After you read this book, you should think about how you decide which brands to trust, and how you go about establishing the trustworthiness of brands that you represent. What else is important before trust can be earned? In particular, pay attention to the significance of establishing improved business models (something that all six entrepreneurs had in common).
Make your brand stand alone in its desirability in the eyes of all who see it!
Koehn is a perceptive historian and biographer as well as an astute analyst of brand creation, entrepreneurship, and organization-building. She explains how the entrepreneurs in her book were able to understand the economic and social change of their times and anticipate and respond to demand-side shifts. This understanding, she argues convincingly, enabled these entrepreneurs to bring to market products that consumers needed and wanted and to create meaningful, lasting connections with consumers through their brands. Koehn also focuses on the importance of these entrepreneurs as organization builders who understood that their success depended on developing organizational capabilities that supported their products and brands. Her book is very well-researched throughout, and uses primary archival documents extensively in the historical chapters on Josiah Wedgwood, H. J. Heinz, and Marshall Field. Koehn also brings her entrepreneurs and the stories of how each built his or her company and brand to life with her talent as a biographer and historian.
The book's emphasis on drawing lessons from both past and present offers many valuable insights for those interested in coming to a better understanding of brand creation, entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial management, and organization-building. Koehn's emphasis on the demand side of the economy and on entrepreneurs and companies making connections with consumers through the brand distinguishes her book as an important work of business scholarship on brands and entrepreneurship. A lively, interesting, and engaging read, Brand New is also valuable reading for anyone interested in business, economic, or social history or biography of business leaders. I highly recommend it!