The Big Moo

September 28, 2005 in 4 out of 5 stars, A book

What is it?

The Big Moo: A book of business parables and riffs written by an all-star cast of business authors and thinkers.

Who makes it?

Seth Godin and 32 other super star authors like my favorites Malcom Gladwell (of Tipping Point and Blink), Tom Peters (of Re-Imagine) and Jackie Huba (of Creating Customer Evangelists).

Why is it the killerest?

I really did love this book. Like anything Seth touches, this book provides lots of inspiration for how you can make decisions with your company/life that will help take you to the next level and not only survive, but define the future.

Seth's original idea is to become remarkable (as outlined in Purple Cow, read my mini-review at right). Remarkable = people talk about you. For an entrepreneur, this is a very good thing if they're talking about how cool/new/fast/fun/creative/clever etc. you are. This book is billed as the next level above Purple Cow. The Big Moo is about becoming super-remarkable. I'm not sure we can keep upping the ante like this without diminishing the original Purple Cow idea (which is so good) so I think it's probably more like a companion book to Purple Cow and not so much a big improvement on it.


But that's not a bad thing. I love how the book is literally a collection of disconnected, but thematically similar stories or riffs. 1-3 pages each, quick and easy to read. Like most books of this ilk I dog-eared some favorites, scribbled notes in the back, underlined, circled and starred the stuff I thought was particularly relevant and interesting to me and my businesses. (My book now looks kinda like I let my 2yr old play with it.)

I think I'd describe this book as a collection of the very best blog posts from the very best authors on business. Pithy, inspiring and fun.

Some of my favorites:

1.  Explaining how the Berlin Wall fell because of the actions of a few that started something. Ends with this:

This was the biggest change any of us will probably ever see in our lifetime. It took a month, it cost nothing, and it started with a handful of people in a town no one would ever have pegged as the birthplace of a revolution.

Remember that the next time someone says, "It can't be done."

2. The story of Brian Comelio who, in the face of freely downloaded music started where fans can get much more than just the music from an artist. They can also get a snapshot of the rest of the creative process. For example, music scores, videos of rehearsal sessions, interviews, and tutorials.  This story was awesome because instead of crying in his beer about the inevitable, he did something quite remarkable indeed. Rare in the music industry.

3. A riff on the bell curve applied to business that I didn't think would be interesting but turned out awesome. It starts with the thesis that companies occupy a spot on the bell curve regardless of where the industry goes, then it ends with this:

The trick, is not to wait for your industry to change before changing where you are on the curve. The trick is to change your organization's instinctual location on the curve. If you get used to being exceptional, you'll probably stay there.

4. "Ten Things Smart Start-Ups Know" which riffs briefly on the following points, all of them great stuff (had to be written by the brilliant Guy Kawasaki):

  1. Failure is an Option
  2. Bravery is Contagious
  3. Invent the Market
  4. Customers are Last (and First)
  5. Rule Books are Dispensable
  6. Lose the Slackers
  7. Grind Coffee Not People
  8. Test for Kool-Aid
  9. Always On
  10. Fire the CEO

And then there's one by Tom Peters, that is unmistakably him, and it rocks!

And finally, another thing that's killer, all proceeds from this book sale go to charity.

What could be improved?

The riffs are not credited to their authors. Seth thought this would be remarkable and less distracting, and I guess I'm remarking about it, but for me it was actually more distracting and annoying. I kept trying to divine the author! (And I actually think I did pretty well). I think more info is almost always better but that might just be me.

Also, I think pithy is good, but if you're looking for a well developed, hard hitting, in depth business tome, this isn't it.

How much does it cost?

You can pre-order now on Amazon for $13.57


Reviewed by Carson McComas

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Looks like a good read.

Posted by: Cashmore | Sep 29, 2005 2:51:18 PM

Just received the Big Moo and have read through it. What I find astonishing about it is that 33 people provided the material and as readers we have no way of knowing who wrote what. Some of the articles are ridiculous and some are interesting, but who's responsible for the ludricous suggestions and who's responsiblle for the nuggets of insight is a mystery. Why?

Seth Godin gets credit for a book he did not write. It's a sneaky way for him to promote himself and I regret plonking down my cash.

Posted by: Noel Guinane | Nov 1, 2005 12:29:10 PM

Hi Noel, wow. Well I was frustrated too that I didn't know who wrote what (as stated in my review), but I thought the overall content of the book was pithy, inspiring and good. Some absurd, sure -- but I welcome a challenge like that to my normal way of thinking. Sorry you didn't like it.

Posted by: Carson McComas | Nov 1, 2005 12:39:24 PM

Carson, why are you apologizing? You didn't write it ... but then neither did Seth.

Posted by: Noel Guinane | Nov 1, 2005 1:18:21 PM

Hah, well, because presumably you bought it on my recommendation.

Posted by: Carson McComas | Nov 1, 2005 1:25:21 PM