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Re-Imagine!: Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age
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Re-Imagine!: Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age

by Tom Peters

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More than just a how-to book for the 21st Century, Re-imagine! is a call to arms — a passionate wake-up call for the business world, educators, and society as a whole. Focusing on how the business climate has changed, this inspirational book outlines how the new world of business works, explores radical ways of overcoming outdated, traditional company values, and


More than just a how-to book for the 21st Century, Re-imagine! is a call to arms — a passionate wake-up call for the business world, educators, and society as a whole. Focusing on how the business climate has changed, this inspirational book outlines how the new world of business works, explores radical ways of overcoming outdated, traditional company values, and embraces an aggressive strategy that empowers talent and brand-driven organizations where everyone has a voice.

Author Biography: Author, provocateur, and business visionary Tom Peters is recognized around the globe as one of the most influential and revolutionary management gurus of the last century. The author of more than 10 best-selling books on innovative business practices, including the groundbreaking In Search of Excellence, Peters gives more than 100 major seminars each year and serves as the chairman of Tom Peters Company.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After decades with Knopf, influential management guru Peters switches to DK in an effort to "reinvent the business book," and while the results don't quite live up to the hyperbole, the new publisher allows for a looser design strategy that complements the author's increasingly stream-of-consciousness writing. Gray dotted lines lead from the main text to sidebars topped with category-identifying icons, and words' size, color and even typeface refuse to stay stable within a single sentence. (Design is clearly on his mind; one of the book's best passages is a rant against the poor ergonomics of the desk chairs in hotel suites.) The book's themes are mostly the same ones Peters has been developing since 1997's The Circle of Innovation and its follow-ups: small professional service firms are the wave of the future, successful companies sell dreams instead of products, and so on. Some of his ideas, like the unlimited potential of the Internet, have begun to wear a bit thin, while others need overhauling thanks to the recession. There are strong chapters on the spending power of women and the need to restructure the American education system, but not all the new twists are as satisfying. He takes on the 9/11 attacks in two business analogies: while the first interpretation of 9/11-small improvisational teams succeed against bloated infrastructures-rings true, many readers may find the second conclusion ("the Age of Large Numbers of Human Beings Crammed into Tall Towers is over") a bit tactless. But give Peters credit for being willing to stick his neck out, and expect loyal readers to follow him down this path once again. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age
Tom Peters is on a mission to reinvent the modern business. As the internationally bestselling author of In Search of Excellence and many other books, Peters has made a name for himself as a world-renowned innovative management guru who continues to create better ways for executives to succeed through change and reap the benefits of pursuing "the (Increasingly Possible) Impossible Dream."

Peters explains that he was inspired to write Re-Imagine! because he is "madder than hell." Throughout his book, he rants about the organizational barriers and the egos of "petty tyrants" thwarting the good intentions of enterprising people in numerous ways. After each rant, which appear at the beginning of each chapter, he sets out to reinstall the will, passion and know-how into every executive and employee who is ready to take on a renewed sense of individual responsibility.

Exciting Services and Opportunities
Peters explains that business is at its best when it aims to foster growth and deliver exciting services to customers and exciting opportunities to employees. In an effort to empower organizations and the people who can use their instinctive curiosity and creativity to drive them forward, he shows them how to add value in a meaningful way using invention, service, creativity, vision and innovation.

To drive readers toward the colorful light he envisions, Peters launches a full-scale assault on the opportunities lurking beneath the surface of complacent bureaucracies that are slowly becoming obsolete in their old-fashioned ways. Peters believes in the idea that we are "on the verge of the biggest and most profound wave of economic change in a thousand years," and writes that clinging to ideals like order and efficiency is not going to help organizations create the true innovation they need to survive in this new environment. His vision for better business includes a new breed of enterprise that is flexible, empowered, innovative and entrepreneurial. He touts Wal-Mart, Microsoft and Charles Schwab as examples of businesses that have embraced change and left deeply-imbedded competitors in the dust. He explains that organizations must train themselves to embrace an entirely new set of rules. Cunning, speed and surprise are the roads to competitive advantage these days, he writes, and hypercompetition is the only competition that is left.

Against Zero Defects
Throughout Re-Imagine!, Peters challenges and lays to waste many of the management practices that have been flaunted as the answers to every organizational problem known to the business world, and replaces them with a new way of thinking about succeeding in the current marketplace. When he states that he is "100% Against Zero Defects," he explains that zero defects is great in an environment that is known, but says it is "Death Itself ... in Ambiguous Surroundings."

Peters writes that it is time to destroy the myths of business and get to the act of reinvention. While quoting as well as challenging hundreds of business leaders and their books, he is able to shatter age-old hype and replace it with the wisdom of the people who have gotten it right and succeeded by challenging the business status quo.

Why We Like This Book
Re-Imagine! has the look and feel of a text book from a more dazzling, not-too-distant future, designed for forward-looking executives who are ready to embrace change and grow from venturing into uncharted territories of innovation and imagination. Peters' ability to transform lofty lessons in people management, customer satisfaction, dream marketing, and dozens of other business essentials makes Re-Imagine! an important reference guide for any organization that is ready and willing to embrace change and build a brighter future. Along the way, he also reinvents the modern business book by embracing a bombastic design and writing style that offers readers more information, punch and zoom than anything else in the field. Copyright © 2004 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

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Think again about that Ferrari. That Rolex. Even that iMac. These are iconic triumphs of design, right? And they're not only lumps-they're pretty expensive lumps at that. But design is not restricted to $79,000 objects. Or even to funky $1,000 computers. If ever we needed evidence of the latter, then the startling ascent-in the face of Wal*Mart's extraordinary prowess-of US retailer Target/Tar-jay is proof positive of design's potentially Transforming Role. Time magazine called Target "the champion of America's new design democracy." Advertising Age awarded Target the coveted "Marketer of the Year" award in the millennium year… 2000. I love Target. I Truly Love the fact that Target has not changed its strategy in the slightest. Target was a discounter. Target is a discounter. Target plans to be a discounter from now until hell freezes over. Nonetheless, Target has gone, hammer and tongs, after design-as-exceptional-differentiator… and in doing so, has proven once and for all (I hope) that "discounter" and "inexpensive crap" do not have to be synonymous.

Gillette is another leader in demonstrating that Awesome Design can be applied to relatively inexpensive/"common" items. Consider the Sensor. It redefined women's shaving. And when we thought we'd seen the last word for men, the Mach III turned out to be very special, very different-and, not so incidentally, cost Gillette about three quarters of a billion dollars to develop. (I didn't say design was a… Free Good.) The OralB CrossAction toothbrush-also from Gillette-is another Prime Time Design Example. It changed the brushing of teeth! And it cost $70 million to develop. Intriguing factoid: Gillette took out 23 patents on this "mere" toothbrush-including 6 patents for the packaging alone. Design. About services as much as lumps. About the HR and IS departments as much as about new product development. And about $0.79 items as much as $79,000 items. Those are the terms-of-reference with which I approach this Very Big Idea.

And Now for Something TOTALLY Controversial… Message: Men cannot design for women's needs! Oh, boy, did that ever stir the pot (and bring it to an instant boil) at a design conference I recently attended. Fact is, I'm not at all sure of myself on this one. But, I'm also not at all sure I'm wrong, either. A woman friend, an architect, told me about a friend of hers (female) who was shopping for a relatively expensive house. One day she looked at half a dozen prospects. Only one of the half dozen had a laundry room on the second floor-where the kids' bedrooms were.
Guess what?
The house was the only one of the bunch that was designed by a woman. The fact is… no Guy would ever think-not in a million years-to put a laundry room on the second floor, near the kids' bedrooms. Is a "second-floor laundry room" a Big Deal worthy of an Oceanic Generalization? Of course not. But it is… INDICATIVE. Indicative of 100 similar stories… from the mundane to the profound… from residential housing to financial services, that have the exact same bottom line. Namely… when it comes to design, Guys Are Impaired… Relative to Women. They lack the ability (mostly) to deal with women's issues. Women and men are different. Very different. So damn different that I believe, most of the time, that we have virtually nothing in common. Design is Important. Damned Important.

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