An informed, Amazon-centric study of brand loyalty that’s heavy on smart strategies but a little light on concrete how tos.

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BRAND CURRENCY

An ex-Amazon executive with a background in advertising discusses his former employer’s business success.

In this debut business book, Susi describes the practices that have made Amazon a leader in e-commerce and other fields, “the one brand I believe has earned the highest honors in the disciplines of money, information, loyalty, and time.” The book’s angle is a brand-focused approach, evaluating all activities from the perspective of developing a customer’s relationship with the brand, which Susi defines as “a story written mentally by the customer at every touchpoint.” Although the book’s primary emphasis is on Amazon, there are also discussions of other successes, like mattress company Casper and Dollar Shave Club. But the reader will be left with no doubt that Amazon, according to Susi, is the one company doing nearly everything right and winning over customers at all levels. The book’s focus is more philosophical than practical, though Susi does leave the reader with several concrete recommendations; e.g., collect as much information as possible, but make the customer’s privacy paramount. Other recommendations include frugality, strong hiring practices, and asking “why?” repeatedly to determine the root cause of mistakes. The book is less concerned with the mechanics of running a customer-focused brand than with explaining to the reader the importance of doing so, making it a good fit for readers who already have a strong understanding of business operations. Susi opens many of the book’s chapters with historical or biblical accounts related to the concepts covered here, including metal seals from Bronze Age India, an Aztec human sacrifice, and Jacob’s theft of Esau’s identity. (Citing Robert E. Lee as a case study in loyalty strikes a rare discordant note.) These examples are interesting, illustrating a strong, engaging prose style, but they add little substance. Readers will find the book a good source of thought-provoking one-liners (“Saving your customer time is the ultimate sign of respect”) and inspiration for rethinking brand strategy.

An informed, Amazon-centric study of brand loyalty that’s heavy on smart strategies but a little light on concrete how tos.

Pub Date: April 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5445-1402-4

Page Count: 260

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2019

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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