Monday, March 21, 2011

Five things I like about Enchantment

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reading Guy Kawasaki’s new book Enchantment, but now that I want to write about it, I can’t find it anywhere. I may have left it on a flight or in a hotel. Maybe it’s somewhere around the house. Anyway, it occurred to me that reviewing a book from memory might actually be a good test of the book (and of my brain). The bottom line is that I like it, and here are five specific reasons:

1. Guy knows what he’s talking about. This is a book about influence, motivation and engagement, all concepts that are difficult to put under a microscope. What gives this book extra credibility is the fact that Guy Kawasaki has always had a nice following and knows how to engage and motivate people. He did it when the tools were relatively primitive (newsgroups, etc.) and he does it today using Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools. It’s not a coincidence that Enchantment went on several best seller lists in the first week.

2. Lots of lists. Guy is a great believer in lists, and he has a point. Checklists make it easy for readers to find out what’s relevant and manage their time. As long as you don’t lose your copy, Guy’s checklists make Enchantment perfect for travel. I’m sure you’re busy and chances are that you’re familiar with some of the ideas in the book. Lists allow you to focus on the new stuff, which you will surely find.

3. Research + Common sense. Guy cites lots of research but he doesn’t adopt it blindly. For example, he discusses the famous jam study (at Draeger’s here in Menlo Park) that suggested that giving people fewer choices can increase sales. But he also points out to real-life examples where giving people lots of choices can help sales (e.g. at Miyo, one of my favorite frozen yogurt stores). For a possible explanation of this, see discussion by Leilei Gao and Itamar Simonson here.

4. Clear like a bell. Guy writes well. He’s personal, conversational and sometimes funny (I remember something about him using Cialdini’s books as a source for bedtime stories for his kids. There’s also a section where he teaches you how to swear!) This accessible style makes Enchantment perfect for people with a short attention span (like me).

5. Good stories. The one with Richard Branson polishing Guy’s shoes stuck in my mind, probably because it comes with a picture. (I have to admit that I don’t recall the point he was trying to make, but it’s still a great story). Another good story is how Guy motivated a bunch of kids to recycle by providing a trash can with a hole the size of a bottle. Here the message is clear: make it easy for people to follow your guide and provide visual cues.

P.S. Good news. I found the book in my car. It has lots of notes and underlines. I could add some stuff, but I probably covered my main points. Enchantment is certainly worth checking out. Enjoy!

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