David's Reviews > The Big Moo: Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable

The Big Moo by The Group of 33
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sweet lord Mother of God, what was I thinking? Hard to imagine that there's a worse insult to the intelligence out there than the 'Who Moved my Cheese?' scam, but this book may just qualify.

I may actually burn this book, in some kind of ritual immolation sacrifice.

Updated Feb 15th. I posted the following, more detailed review on Amazon.com. Only to receive a creepy e-mail from Seth Godin, the editor, offering me a refund of the purchase price. I declined.

I don't know what came over me in the bookstore. Mysteriously, when I got home, this book was at the bottom of the bag. It's an embarrassment.

I would have thought it impossible to come up with something more stupid, more openly contemptuous of the very managers purportedly being 'helped', than the horrendous "Who Moved My Cheese?" of a few years back. You remember, the one which portrayed employees as mildly retarded rodents. But one shouldn't underestimate the intellectual arrogance of the consultant class, nor the gullibility of corporate management.

This book is infinitely worse. It turns out that there is no apparent limit to the degree of atrocity of the rubbish that can be generated (and printed) in an "unprecedented collaboration of the world's smartest business thinkers". Despite the separation of material in this book into separate chapters, there is no individual attribution of responsibility for the individual chapters. This is not a good sign.

Seth Godin, the nominal 'editor', obviously sees no problem in publishing a book which, for any concrete piece of strategic advice that is included, hedges its bets by also advising the diametrically opposing strategy. Thus, to succeed companies should:

1a. Stick with what they know and do it well. (Focusing on your specialty is key).
1b. Not get stuck in the rut of what they know, they should branch out. (Focusing on your specialty is fatal)
2a. (page 23) "ignore your customers" (the customer is ignorant and wrong).
2b. (page 64) the customer is always right.
3a. (page 31) "Every organization that gets into trouble falters because it waited too long to change...". (urgency is crucial)
3b. (page 136) "Remarkable doesn't always mean right now" (urgency is detrimental).

And so on. Because chapter authors are not individually identified, should your coin toss happen to choose the wrong option between 1a and 1b, 2a and 2b, 3a and 3b, there can be no assignable blame.

However, at least the examples above have the virtue of giving concrete, specific advice. If that makes you nervous, there is also plenty of this kind of gibberish:

Plant rocks.
Embrace the power of storytelling.
Ignore the regulations. (I'm trying to imagine how this would play out in, say, the pharmaceutical or biotech industries).
Imagine there's a tiger loose in your office. Breathe the fear. Fear is good.
You are not a cog. You are not ordinary. In fact, you are remarkable.

But if you're dumb enough to buy this book, you're a complete moron. Even by the extraordinarily lax standards for business advice books, it sets a new low.

Zero stars.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Books Ring Mah Bell so I'll guess you really like "the secret" as well?!?!
HA! Utter Dreck for sure!

message 2: by Charissa (new)

Charissa Teaching the Ape to Write Poems
by James Tate

They didn't have much trouble
teaching the ape to write poems:
first they strapped him into the chair,
then tied the pencil around his hand
(the paper had already been nailed down).
Then Dr. Bluespire leaned over his shoulder
and whispered into his ear:
"You look like a god sitting there.
Why don't you try writing something?"

message 3: by Christina (new)

Christina hi david,
i was poking around on here and came across some of your reviews. they are sickeningly funny. thank you!

message 4: by Yulia (new)

Yulia Ah, but the book says I'm remarkable. How wonderful. I feel so much better about myself. If only there weren't a tiger loose in my apartment.

message 5: by Ginette (new)

Ginette Well, at least I got to read a great review about the book! Hilarious.

message 6: by Manny (new)

Manny I hate to say this, but aren't you missing the point? I thought everyone knew that business advice books were a Dadaist post-ironic genre.

There's a book a friend of mine and I have been meaning to write for years, called Tuesday is the Day of Achievement. We intend to argue that the difference between success and failure is the extent to which one manages to optimize performance on Tuesdays. Please let me know if you write it for us.

message 7: by Rose (new)

Rose Loved the list of contradictory pieces of advice.

message 8: by BLACK (new)

BLACK CAT I did not read you review but I find funny your selves :)

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