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December 19, 2006

2006 Brand Autopsy Marketing Book Awards

For some unknown reason, I skipped doing a 2005 Marketing Books of the Year posting. Not sure why/how that happened. I did one in 2003 and 2004, but not 2005. Hmm … oh well … I’m not skipping it this year.

If you’re a regular reader of Brand Autopsy then you know I’m addicted to reading business books. Can’t help it. I learned long ago that by reading someone’s passion and wisdom, I could become a smarter and more passionate marketer. That’s why my addiction began and continues to this day ... as well a factor in why I decided to write a business book.

With that said, here is my end-of-the-year posting announcing the 2006 BRAND AUTOPSY Marketing Book Awards.

Best Book Title
** THE HUMMER and the MINI ** (Robyn Waters)

This is a book on trends where the author, Robyn Waters (former trendmeister at Target), contends consumer trends emerge from discovering trend/countertrend paradoxes such as … luxurious commodities, less is more, and healthy indulgences. Smart stuff. Smart title.

Golden Raspberry Award for Over-Promising and Under-Delivering
** OUTSIDE INNOVATION ** (Patricia Seybold)

Co-creation is a hot marketing topic these days and OUTSIDE INNOVATION promises to show us how to harness customer innovation to design better products and programs from the outside in. Unfortunately, the book under-delivered on its promise. I struggled to read through this chunky 400-page book and when I did finish it, I was left uninspired and uninformed on how to exactly weave customer innovation into the company creation process.

Best Marketing Strategy Book
** TREASURE HUNT ** (Michael Silverstein with John Butman)

Michael Silverstein first co-authored TRADING UP, which profiled the reasons why consumers choose to pay a premium for luxuries. This time around in TREASURE HUNT, Silverstein profiles the middle market consumer and the reasons why they sometimes choose to trade-up and most times, deliberately trade-down to purchase less expensive goods. He also distills sound marketing strategy on how businesses can better appeal to the middle-market consumer at the lower-end of a market.

Surprise Book of the Year
** THE STARFISH AND THE SPIDER ** (Ori Brafman & Rod Beckstrom)

I judge the quality of a business book by how it helps me to generate new ideas, gain new perspectives, and to increase my understanding of a business topic. THE STARFISH AND THE SPIDER did all three. I’m intrigued by how to apply decentralization (i.e. bottom-up) strategies in business and this book opened my eyes to how decentralization strategies can be used to elicit powerful results. The authors tell unexpected stories showcasing how leaderless organizations have triumphed throughout history and today. The book shares valuable business lessons from disparate decentralized organizations such as Kazaa, the Apaches, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Al Qaeda. A VERY WORTHWHILE READ!

The Philip Kotler Vanguard Lifetime Achievement Award
** ADRIAN ZACKHEIM ** | founder of the PORTFOLIO imprint

The best brands are the ones that imbue the greatest trust. And in the business book game, Portfolio is the publishing brand I trust the most.

Adrian Zackheim, a legend in the business book genre, began the Portfolio imprint in the fall of 2001. And since then, Adrian and Portfolio have published a steady stream of worthwhile business books. My business book library is littered with Portfolio-branded books ranging from PUPLE COW to ART OF THE START to SMALL GIANTS to UNSTUCK to THE STARFISH AND THE SPIDER. When I see the Portfolio logo on the spine of a book, I trust it’s gonna be a worthwhile read.

It is with utmost respect that I present the Philip Kotler Vanguard Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding achievement in business book publishing to Portfolio’s founder … ADRIAN ZACKHEIM

[NOTE: Adrian joins past Philip Kotler Vanguard Lifetime Achievement Award winners Ai Ries & Jack Trout (2003) and Sergio Zyman (2004).]

Best Business Strategy Book
** THE 12 ELEMENTS ** (Rodd Wagner & James Harter)

There’s a line in this book that’s simply profound. It says the biggest need of a great manager IS a great manager. In 12 ELEMENTS, the authors outline the pathway to becoming a Great Manager.

Is there a more important strategic need in business than the need for Great Managers? I doubt it.

I’ve read lots of books on managing people but none as actionable and meaningful as 12 ELEMENTS. I encourage everyone to read 12 ELEMENTS and become inspired to reach Great Manager status. After all, every one of us plays a role in the virtuous cycle where one great manager begets another great manager and so on. (For more of my gushing over 12 ELEMENTS, read this post.)

Best Marketing Book of the Year
** ZAG ** (Marty Neumeier)

I gave ZAG lots of digital ink in October (here, here, here, here, and here). And for good reason … it’s a GREAT BUSINESS BOOK. But ZAG is much more than another business book riffing on the business differentiation strategy of when everyone zigs, your business should ZAG. On every page of ZAG is a knowledge nugget worthy of much mental gestation. ZAG has inspired this marketer to think differently and exponentially smarter on every aspect of business/marketing strategy.


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John Moore announced his 2006 Brand Autopsy Marketing Book Awards today. Treasure Hunt won for Best Marketing Strategy Book, ZAG won for Best Marketing Book of the Year, and Adrian Zackheim of Portfolio (Penguin) was awarded The Phillip Kolter... [Read More]


Thanks for that great post. As an addict for business books myself you give me new reading food. Have you seen and read: "the lovemarks effect" by Kevin Roberts? I just got it from Amazon, I think its brand new. I love it, besides great content it's also beautifully designed.

Hey SLY ... thanks for the comment. I haven't read Roberts' follow-up to Lovemarks. My copy is coming soon though. There's a lot of HMOs (hot marketing opinions) on Lovermark from a cadre of marketing bloggers. Some love it, others loath it. I loved the ideology of Lovemarks more than I loved the book. I'm interested to see where Roberts has taken the Lovemarks ideology in THE LOVEMARKS EFFECT.

(Bonus points for ANYONE who can tell me which funklord said "Hey Sly" on record. Hint .. think Astrodome and Bigfoot.)

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