New Releases

A Beautiful Constraint

February 10, 2015


explains how “constraints can be fertile, enabling, desirable"—how they can free us rather than limit us.

We live in remarkable times, full of abundance of choice and opportunity as never seen before, yet confronted just as often with scarcity. A facility to embrace constraints has never been more necessary, not just by the innovators on the front page of the business press, but by all of us. In order to thrive, we cannot merely become comfortable with constraints; we must learn how to revel in the opportunities they present. A Beautiful Constraint, a new book by Adam Morgan and Mark Barden, explains how to do just that.

Morgan and Barden are experts at converting constraints into advantages. Their company, eatbigfish, is a brand consultancy that specializes in the thinking and behavior of "challenger brands." A challenger brand is a company or product brand in an industry that is not the category leader, but has ambition beyond its resources and a willingness to embrace the implications of that gap. The term was made popular by Morgan's first book, Eating the Big Fish: How Challenger Brands Can Compete Against Brand Leaders, which was an international bestseller.

The authors present case studies based on their interviews with high-profile individuals and teams in disciplines as varied as marketing, supply chain, race car engineering, design, agronomy, and education, all of whom had turned apparent constraints into sources of possibility and advantage. The book transforms this vital information into a tool kit to help the reader make more from less, describing the mindset, method, and motivation required to make constraints beautiful. By reading this book, learn how:

  • Nike's response to the accusations of unhealthy working conditions resulted in product improvements for the brand.
  • Craft beer company, BrewDog, dealt with a bank loan rejection by starting an effective crowd-funding effort, "Equity for Punks."
  • Audi used diesel technology to save time and win the Le Mans race in 2006.
  • Losing tobacco sponsorship was the best thing to happen to McLaren Formula One.
  • Rent the Runway proved to fashion designers that allowing them to rent out their clothes could be wildly profitable.
  • Sailor Jerry fought Captain Morgan and won.
  • Dr. Louise Waters at Leadership Public Schools created ExitTicket, an app that effectively tracks students' progress.
  • Juntas Finanzas' text-based financial management tool made its customers feel more financially educated and powerful than they had ever felt before.
  • Warby Parker's internal annual report became marketing gold.

The teachings in this book will be just as valuable to exceling in your personal life as they will to transforming your business. It has received rave reviews from notable thought leaders, such as: Dan Wieden, Co-Founder & Chairmen, Wieden + Kennedy, and Scott Rohde, SVP Product Development, Sony PlayStation Worldwide Studios America.


Adam Morgan is the author of Eating the Big Fish: How Challenger Brands Can Compete Against Brand Leaders, the international best seller that introduced the concept of challenger brands to the world of marketing. His ideas have been widely cited as a key influence by a new generation of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders around the world. He is founder of eatbigfish, a renowned marketing consultancy that works with clients to develop their own breakthrough strategies, from Helsinki to Hanoi.

Mark Barden runs the west coast business for eatbigfish in the US. Over his career he's won the Platinum Award for direct response marketing, taken a dot com public, warmed up a crowd for Ellen De Generes, and played a Buddhist monk in a Kleenex commercial. His advice on how to create breakthrough thinking with outsize results is much sought after. He is a popular speaker, world-class facilitator, and occasional coach.

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