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The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage
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The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  1,106 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Future economic growth lies in the value of experiences and transformations--good and services are no longer enough. We are on the threshold, say authors Pine and Gilmore, of the Experience Economy, a new economic era in which all businesses must orchestrate memorable events for their customers. The Experience Economy offers a creative, highly original, and yet eminently ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 1st 1999 by Harvard Business Review Press
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Community Reviews

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Jun 22, 2013 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book helped stretch my thinking on how businesses can differentiate themselves. Some notes:

Mass customizing - efficiently serving customers uniquely - means producing only and exactly what individual customers want.

Mass customizing any good automatically turns it into a service. Mass customizing any service automatically turns it into an experience.

Embrace theatre as a model for performance.

What would you do differently if you charged for admission?

When a customer buys an experience, he
Apr 26, 2013 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this. It made me think about, not only what I was doing for other people, but what I actually experience when I go to a restaurant or store. The Experience Economy will stick with me for a long time.
Lamech Mariita
Jan 06, 2013 Lamech Mariita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book will stretch your head in new dimensions. It takes a very logical and reasoned approach towards the theoretical next steps of economic expansion. The concept of the book is simple and the logic is understandable. If you're looking for a lesson on the difference between commodities, goods, services and experiences, then this book will provide it. It's a nice book to read.
Jan 21, 2016 Christine rated it really liked it
Slow starting, but profound insights into business strategy and market prospects with tools for engagement that extend well beyond the realm of business. Highly recommend.
Sarah Stewart
Jul 16, 2016 Sarah Stewart rated it really liked it
Shelves: business-books
As a theater person (at least in the past and randomly in the present at times) and an event designer/planner, this was the perfect metaphor for me. Making business "theater" by carefully crafting an experience for people resonated deeply with me. I was especially impressed with the sheer volume of good examples.

I use to joke that I was going to buy the website to try to help people break out of the monotony of the speaker/food/mingle cycle, but if any planner (or business fo
Marian Deegan
Aug 29, 2014 Marian Deegan rated it really liked it
These smart HBR guys crafted a hard-to-find, dense, and not-so-easy-to-wade-through but definitive analysis of the sea-change that occurred in the business world fifteen years ago.

Reading this book then revolutionized the way I thought about marketing and selling. At the forefront of the new horde of business Paul Reveres trumpeting the transformation from "commodity" to "service" to "experience", Pine and Gilmore present a carefully researched and supported analysis.

As you chart a business co
Eka Guledani
The main idea is very clear at the beginning and can be expressed in two phrases, the rest of the book is just blah-blah and annoying examples. Three stars because, still, the main thought of this book is strong and useful.
Wade M
Jan 26, 2009 Wade M rated it liked it
Good book, but highly repetitive
Brad Needham
Oct 16, 2016 Brad Needham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Experience Economy clearly articulates one seemingly-simple thesis: that Experiences are a new type of economic value, distinct from commodities, goods, and services. In a way, they expand the trite saying "You aren't in business if you aren't in Show Business" into a deep, detailed analysis of experience as literally (not metaphorically) an act of theatre rather than simply idle entertainment.

I could pick at the length of the book, the number of untested, speculative examples of possible bu
Bett Correa-Bollhoefer
This book is barely worth reading, but it was a good reminder to think about product design.
Sep 21, 2011 Jonathan rated it liked it
A good concept, but as it is 1999, far from ground breaking now. The economic concept of the value of "an experience" (as opposed to a "commodity"; or a "good"; or a "service") is novel and the many ways your business can move towards the "experience economy" is thought provoking. However I became bored when the discussion changed to "work AS theatre" - performing your many "roles" dependant upon your audience; wearing the appropriate "costumes" with the appropriate "props". OK, OK, I get it; ...more
Scott Wozniak
Jul 21, 2014 Scott Wozniak rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked the first version of this book but I was hesitant to read an updated version--I doubted the updated version had much more new things to say. I was wrong. There are a lot of new ideas here and they are profound.

The authors continue to do a great job explaining the emergence of the experience economy--selling the experience not just the product. (Think Starbucks and how it's more than just a cup of coffee.) That section only has updated examples. Then they add some extra insights on how t
Sep 02, 2008 Bruce rated it it was ok
This book is an odd grab bag of ideas: many that are interesting and some that are downright bizarre. The heart of the book is “Chapter 8 Now Act Your Part,” which tells how to run your enterprise like improvised street theater or the Commedia dell’arte. I found the why you should do it a little harder to swallow. It seemed to be how to be a success in business by being so entertaining that people should want to pay you an admission price just to browse in your store. Eventually you’ll build you ...more
Aug 05, 2014 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An inspiring read in my mind that calls to attention the changing landscape of what business offerings. It's quickly coming to pass that companies can just offer a commodity at a lowest price and be successful. Joseph Pine offers that more and more, people are looking for experiences and transformations. While he offers up a lot of background, examples, and frameworks for businesses moving to the experience economy, he didn't sell me on everything. The "work-is-theater" argument left me feeling ...more
"Экономика впечатлений" возможно ода из лучших книг в которой для читателей раскрывается реалии нового подхода в продаже товаров и услуг.

В наше время покупателям уже недостаточно просто хорошего качества за приемлемую цену. Новое время диктует новый подход. Сейчас впечатление от процесса ознакомление с продуктом, его покупкой и непосредственно пользование им уже немыслимо без получаемых впечатлений на каждом их этих этапов.

Книга поможет понять как надо преобразоваться компании для всё больших за
Barbara Ish
For people and businesses who operate in increasingly-intangible spaces like the creative and social sectors, this book is a godsend. The authors posit a class of businesses--indeed, an entire emerging economic sector--based on *experience*, which resembles services in the way services resemble goods. Obvious examples of experience-based businesses include travel, Disneyworld and its ilk, and tourist destinations. But less obvious examples abound, and considering how these theories apply to ...more
Margaret Lozano
May 14, 2016 Margaret Lozano rated it liked it
It's a good premise: we went from a commodity based economy, to a services economy and we are living in an experience economy. The chapters concerning performance and work are fantastic (please read Erving Goffman if you are interested in this!!). The last portion talks about the "transformation economy".

The book is pretty good, but I feel like it ought to have been an article. The numerous examples are often extremely weak, and the suggestions made by the authors are terrible on the whole. The
Aug 22, 2010 Stacy rated it really liked it
Several people have made fun of me for my "light" summer reading.... From a marketing perspective, this book is very interesting, I just wish the delivery of the information was a bit more stimulating. The authors talk about the service industry, and how to truly stand out, you need to be in the experience business (a unique experience vs. your competitors) and/or the transformation business (think of "transforming" someone by helping them to lose weight or become a singer). So, if you are ...more
Nov 17, 2008 BJ rated it really liked it
The last chapters are the best part of this provacative business/marketing book from Pine and Gilmore. The book is primarily an argument for how we as a economy have moved from deriving economic value from services to experiences, and then unto transformations. The customer is the product, and the transformation of the individual is the mission of the business. There is much insight here from an economic/ business/marketing perspective and for sociological/psychological/philosophical ...more
Paco Nathan
Oct 30, 2015 Paco Nathan rated it it was ok
Shelves: workplace
Reading The Experience Economy feels like being trapped inside a Ronald Reagan theme park, hand-cuffed to the "John Ehrlichman featured talks" ride, narrative by Jeff Bezos. Abjectly aristotelian, a pornography of rampant consumerism and corporatism -- rendered all the more absurd in the context of quoting my friends John Perry Barlow and Brenda Laurel. The first few chapters provide good points, all the same. Just don't bother to read past chapter 8: their hagiography of Corrections Corporation ...more
May 16, 2016 Brandice rated it liked it
The book was worth reading - I know the premise was making the work environment a stage for performing, but I felt like this theme was a littleee over the top at some parts and had some unrealistic ideas/suggestions. That being said, there were many good suggestions for improvements in the customer experience, such as collaboration & customization recommendations, how to improve in customer service, and how to identify your differentiators. In general, I liked it.
Jun 08, 2016 Alfred rated it it was amazing
This book was very useful. In essence people value experiences more than physical goods. Goods can easily become commodities and demand a lower value and have higher competition. However by delivering an experience along with your good you can demand a higher price and makes yourself unique in the market. Book teaches to make everything a theatre by making our business a stage, employees the actors, and customers the audience. Great book.
Blaine Strickland
I've read this book twice in the last three years. I read it because it was recommended to me by a time share developer who understood that he competed on 'experiences' provided to his clientele. My first reading was revelatory - I immediately began trying to translate the implications of this message into my business. The second time I read it was as a discussion leader trying to help others integrate the principles into their environments. Very valuable both times!
Maria Kramer
I probably would have done better with this if I were reading it, instead of listening to it. I couldn't skim through the parts that were less relevant to me, so the book got very tedious. The content was...mixed. I understand and appreciate the main idea, but, while some of the applications sounded right on to me, others sounded horrendously tacky. I will try to incorporate the idea of "work as theater" into conversations with my employees, though.
Nov 04, 2015 Challen rated it liked it
Really great discussion about the importance of experience in business. Some good, fact-based examples help to promote practical application. Started to lose interest with overly in-the-weeds, derived vocabulary to apply different theories. I think this could be shorter and offer business owners some valuable ways to improve on building a strong business that really understands customer experience. I gave up after chapter 10, simply lost interest and felt I had enough to go on to take action.
Matthew Brookes
Feb 18, 2013 Matthew Brookes rated it really liked it
This book should be a must read for anyone that has a brand or service and needs to fight commoditisation and declining prices. It is more theoretical than directly practical but in a way that allows you to apply the concepts to a wide range of businesses. It takes its concepts a bit far towards the end trying to predict the future but still more than worth a read.
Feb 23, 2016 Daniel rated it it was amazing
This is a must read. One of my all time favorites. Pine and Gilmore understood and understand the customer experience. From the basic birthday experience (once there was a cake baked by mom, then a cake mix, then a sheet cake, then a themed party where the cake is free) to the merging of goods into services and finally transformations, this is a must read. Period.
Aug 16, 2009 Mike rated it it was ok
I enjoyed this book, but it very easily could have been condensed by 50%. The book is far too long, and labors endlessly establishing some of the metaphors between work and theater. This is a book worth reading, and keeping as a reference tool as many of the examples presented are very interesting, but it gets very repetitive towards the end.
Doug Mitchell
Jul 07, 2012 Doug Mitchell rated it it was amazing
Great book to get one thinking about the future of business. The experience economy concept makes sense especially with the level of noise in the market place today. If you aren't creating a complete experience for your customers/audience...then expect trouble as you begin descending into commodity.
Steve Dragoo
May 07, 2013 Steve Dragoo rated it it was amazing
Ground-breaking ideas! Provides a vocabulary for individuals and businesses seeking to move from selling goods or delivering services to the next level of economic offering...Staging Experiences! Have almost worn out my original copy of this book--having re-read so many times. I highly and heartily recommend.
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“Twelve years ago we characterized the scene as poor service, no service, or self-service. Unfortunately, little has changed. As a result, customers understandably hesitate to pay any premium. Profitability therefore suffers, wages stagnate, and workers disengage—creating a downward spiral to yet more miserable service.” 1 likes
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