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The stories of acclaimed entrepreneurs like John Peterman (J. Peterman) and Gert Boyle (Columbia Sportswear), whose brands generate a cult-like loyalty from consumers, give this book a lively flavor that goes down better than any list of dry strategies. Author Vinjamuri-a marketing professor at New York University and the founder of a marketing training company-reports that "every brand I wanted to write about started with some fortuitous accident" visited upon perfectionists who "sweat every detail." Gary Erickson, creator of the Clif Bar, is one such perfectionist; a long-distance cyclist disgusted with foul-tasting energy bars, he invented his own bar, more delicious and nutritious than any of its competitors. Another example is Roxanne Quimby, who was living in a tent in Maine with her five-year-old twin daughters when Burt Shavitz, a beekeeper, picked her up hitchhiking and inspired her Burt's Bees brand. Luck and good timing played a role for these businesspeople, but their success ultimately stemmed from an "ability to think like their own consumer." Despite a tendency to digress, Vinjamuri has a similar understanding of his readers. The chapter he dedicates to his own conclusions is thoughtful enough, but not nearly as compelling as the stories of the entrepreneurs themselves. (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.