Our 6th Hit of the (Very Short) Year
Second Life Author Event

Get Back in the Box, by Douglas Rushkoff

Get_back_in_the_boxI'll admit, it took me awhile to really get into this book.  Once I got through the first couple of chapters of Get Back in the Box though, I couldn't wait to read more of it.

The author, Douglas Rushkoff, feels that we're in the midst of a renaissance in creativity and collaboration.  As he puts it, "genuine creativity is a result not of out-of-the-box thinking, but of true expertise."  Here's a great example he used partway through the book: The person that decided (years ago) to put a VCR and TV into one device wasn't really innovating.  The person who came up with TiVo, on the other hand, was a genius and someone who truly had a handle on people's viewing habits.

He's got an entire chapter on what he refers to as "social currency."  The retailers featured as noteworthy examples in this chapter include B&N ("the store is a social hub"), Guitar Center ("it's a place to try out pretty much any piece of musical instrument there is--and to play on it for hours") and the Apple Store (described as "a little cathedral").  I tend to think Starbucks fits the mold as well.  In fact, this chapter got me wondering about what would happen if Starbucks and Apple ever decided to create some co-branded shops...

Here are a few of the other interesting tidbits I highlighted throughout this book:

...customers don't want to communicate with brands anymore...they want to communicate through them...

Although we claim we want more leisure time, we are much more likely to find an opportunity for genuinely fulfilling engagement and learning at work.

It's about learning to tinker, to tweak, and to test the most basic, underlying assumptions of one's core business or technology.

(Regarding focus groups...)  In the vast majority of the dozens of groups I've observed or led, the purpose was less to glean new insights than to confirm the insights already held.

This turned out to be a very enjoyable book with all sorts of great observations.  As I was writing my summary this afternoon, I visited the HarperCollins website and noticed a new widget they're promoting.  If you're familiar with the LibraryThing widget (also featured on my blog), think of the HarperCollins one as a single-title widget.  It gives you the ability to showcase a single book on your blog/website and offers "browse inside the book" functionality, similar to Amazon's.  To test it out, I grabbed the code off their site and plugged it into my blog.  You'll find it in the right panel, just above the "Recent Posts" heading.  Great idea, and kudos to HarperCollins for creating these title-specific widgets.

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