Shrewd advice any marketer would be wise to heed.



A marketing veteran preaches about differentiation in this guide.

McGhie, author of BRAND Is a Four Letter Word (2012) and founder of several marketing agencies, is highly qualified to write about marketing difference. In this book targeting marketers, the author first validates with research the need to be different, then discusses several forces that impede the process, and finally explores the wide variety of ways to achieve this goal in the business world. While the notion of difference is not unique, McGhie’s in-depth knowledge of the topic enables him to refer to his own considerable experience as well as cite examples accompanied by expert commentary. In Part I, the author strongly asserts that successfully creating a difference “can influence, even lead culture.” He discusses difference in a way that broadens its context. For example, he introduces the term “difference quotient” or “DQ” to characterize individuals who have a deep understanding of the importance of the quality. He also legitimately contrasts “smart difference” with “dumb difference,” noting that “any idiot can be different” when employing “difference for its own sake.” Part II is an amalgamation of “dampeners,” those people, institutions, and organizations that can kill difference. Among them, according to McGhie, are parents, educational institutions, large companies, and even marketers—“Sometimes,” writes the author, “we ourselves are the biggest dampeners of our difference.” His argument supporting this perspective is creatively intriguing. Part III is likely the most useful portion; here, McGhie illustrates three specific business scenarios for finding difference, provides a five-step process for creating a differentiated advantage, and lists 10 considerations in pursuing the strategy. This section should be particularly relevant to any manager who takes the message about differentiation to heart. The author’s marketing chops pervade the book; his observations are insightful; his experience is germane; and the examples he uses are pertinent. McGhie’s writing style is conversational yet professional, and his passion for the subject is infectious. His viewpoint on difference is all-encompassing. In the end, he writes, difference isn’t just for marketing, but also for “creating change in the larger systems, customs and ideologies that govern our lives.”

Shrewd advice any marketer would be wise to heed.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73587-313-8

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Silicon Valley Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...


A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.


“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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