Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Book Review: Collapse of Distinction

Book Review: Collapse of Distinction by Scott McKain

Collapse of Distinction is a business manifesto - a call to action challenging readers that in an economy that is not doing well making your business distinct is one of the best ways to survive and thrive. The author, Scott McKain makes a compelling case.

The book begins (and ends) with the story of two restaurants in a small town. When McDonald's moves into the area, both restaurants try to react. One adapts and does well, the other dies. McKain shows how differentiating one's service, product, etc. will aid your business in growing and doing well and that simply following the crowd is the lazy businessman's route to mediocrity and eventually bankruptcy. The wisdom of the author is that he approaches the need to be distinct from a customer's perspective and shows you why simply trying to match and make incremental improvements on one's product/service is not enough to differentiate your business from your competition. It struck me that everything he was saying was common sense but that many (most) businesses would be too afraid to take the kind of risks that are necessary for success. But his case studies and stories illustrate the truth - one must differentiate or one will not succeed.

McCain manages to mix easily applied concepts (with a plan on how to achieve them) with stories and illustrations in a way that the reader is not bored or lost. Although there were certain areas where I wish he had gone into more detail, overall he seemed to cover his topic and achieve the aims of the book. While I don't think that differentiation is the only aspect necessary to have a successful business I do think it is one that is often put on the back burner. I was encouraged as an entrepreneur and recommend this book highly to anyone in business or thinking of starting one. 4 ninja stars out of 5.

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