Book Giveaways

BETTER AND FASTER by Jeremy Gutshce

March 17, 2015


Jeremy Gutsche's Better and Faster teaches us to leave the farmer mindset behind and enter the marketplace as a hunter.

Jeremy Gutsche's first book, Exploiting Chaos, really impressed us all when it hit in 2009. It was a largely under-the-radar, unexpected favorite, and our founder and former president Jack Covert was its biggest champion.

So when Gutsche's new book, Better and Faster, hit this month, we knew we wanted to give it that Jack Covert Selects tag again. It's the highest honor we can give a book each month, and Ryan wrote a great review last week for that section.

I can't do the book any better justice than Ryan already has, so here is a piece of that review:

Exploiting Chaos was an important book for an important time because it taught us how to use uncertainty to our advantage. And even though 2009 was only six short years ago, it seems like an entirely different century in some respects. The economy has stabilized and for the most part workers are back to working. It's this stability, however, that is at the root of Jeremy Gutsche's new book, Better and Faster. More precisely, it is stability, and the comfort, routine, and repetition that stability breeds that too often dooms companies by holding back new ideas.

Using the hunter versus farmer metaphor to draw his line in the sand, Gutsche makes it clear that if business leaders operate like farmers, repeating with precision the same process year-in and year-out, those company's leaders will simply no longer have a company to lead; business will dry up and someone else will move in. When discussing companies who have had success, Gutsche writes:

"They tend to celebrate past successes and focus on optimizing tried-and-true strategies. That sense of confidence suppresses the feeling of urgency, inhibiting adaptation."

We hear a lot about disruption, to a degree that it seems people are disrupting for the sake of disrupting, which can be just as harmful as complacency. But there is no denying how quickly the business world is moving and changing, and this requires us all to continue looking for what's next, even if it means blowing up what we have and starting over. This isn't a new idea, and if the book ended there, we wouldn't be writing this review. It's what comes after Gutsche sets this all up that makes Better and Faster worth your reading time.

Gutsche spends the next 200 pages teaching us how to hunt ... to find new ideas and create new opportunities. We find new ideas through: Convergence: our ability to combine various trends, ideas, products, etc.; Divergence: seeing what exists and doing/making the opposite; Cyclicality: finding opportunities that are likely to predictably reoccur; Redirection: taking advantage of trends in new ways; Reduction: breaking and idea down to its core and true value, and; Acceleration: finding and identifying what does work and putting all our efforts into that.

Head over to the review for more, including a touching story about his sister studying Yakuza gangsters, prison yard tattooers, and sixteenth century artist Titian to find a solution to post chemotherapy eyebrows for herself and others.

We'll have more on and from the book over the next three days, including a Q&A with the author in our Thinker in Residence series, and a manifesto on ChangeThis, so stay tuned.

We have 20 copies of the book itself to give away here to those that would like the full meal after all these delectable appetizers.

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