The commercial application of Greatest Hits

How Greatest Hits training can transform your business.

  • I take 15 minutes to explain what is in a book
  • We discuss the content and its implications
  • Attendees have to work out how they can apply the thinking to their business, customers, clients, or staff
  • This generates a minimum of 10 ideas per book
  • Repeat 6-10 times and you have 60-100 ideas to stimulate the business
  • Over 250 books to choose from


    THE BEST 14 FROM 2014

    number of view: 0


    12 2012

    Hacker Maker Teacher Thief – Fiandaca, Andjelic & Kay

    The one sentence summary

    Modern creative people need to ignore the conventions of advertising, generate broad-ranging ideas, and prototype them fast.


    • This is a compendium of essays by members of Creative Social, a forum claiming to represent advertising’s next generation.
    • It is loosely grouped into sections on advertising, creativity, culture, education, innovation and the future.
    • Taking the title at face value, modern creative people need to generate a wide range of ideas fast, prototype them as often as possible, not be afraid to take ideas from one place to another, and then pass on the good work.
    • As a broad theme, most of the authors seem dissatisfied with the industry in which they work (but not dissatisfied enough to leave it, it would seem).
    • Themes include:
    • Close the commercial gap: the industry remains too self-seeking.
    • Put real people at the heart of things: there’s too much art for art’s sake.
    • Experiment more: too many agencies just resort to TV ads.
    • Rediscover a healthy disregard for advertising: look to other media.
    • Think of a small budget as a blessing, not a constraint.
    • Use small guerrilla teams and move fast.
    • Don’t be afraid to copy, so long as you move to a more interesting place.
    • You can be afraid and confident at the same time.
    • Punch procrastination in the face: get on with it.
    • Embrace your area of incompetence: in the interests of learning something new.
    • Make things people want and make people want things.


    • Author themes coalesce quite well in the Room 101 appendix. Things they would like to get rid of include:
    • Advertising itself
    • The distinction between ATL and BTL (above and below the line)
    • Ego
    • The word consumer (try people instead)
    • Storytelling
    • The words brand, innovation and ideation
    • The provocateur label
    • Testing and focus groups
    • Real time marketing
    • Bad internships


    • Diversity in a collection of essays can be both a strength and weakness. It’s stimulating overall, but there is no central point.
    • The title is apparently a play on Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the 1974 novel by John Le Carre, but it wasn’t obvious to me.
    number of view: 121

    Big Bang Disruption – Downes & Nunes

    The one sentence summary

    Compete on all fronts at the same time, market to everyone immediately, and constantly recombine the efforts of low cost experiments to create improved products.


    • It used to take years for new products and services to dethrone industry leaders. Now any business can be instantly devastated by something better and cheaper.
    • Start-ups can unravel your strategy before you even begin to grasp what’s happening, and they may not even see you as competition – you could simply be collateral damage.
    • The authors are part of the Accenture Institute for High Performance, and map out a process by which you can take control of your company’s future.
    • Big Bang Disruption happens when undisciplined strategy, unconstrained growth and unencumbered development all come together. They are now all possible because of the declining costs of creation, information, and experimentation.
    • Conventional wisdom suggests you focus on just one discipline, target a small group of early adopters, and eventually innovate to meet the needs of underserved segments. Big Bang Wisdom competes on all fronts at the same time, markets to everyone immediately, and constantly recombines the efforts of low cost experiments to create improved products.
    • The old Rogers bell curve of innovators, early adopters, early & late majority, and laggards is now out of date. It has been replaced by a steep shark’s fin of trial users and everyone else. This has four components:

    1. The singularity – an early and long flat phase punctuated by a few market experiments

    2. The Big Bang – in which a new product or service totally disrupts the old order, very fast

    3. The Big Crunch – the disruptor enters a mature state, and things unravel

    4. Entropy – the last phase of a dying industry (the last elements may recombine to generate the next singularity)


    • The authors map out 12 rules to cope with all this – three per stage:

    1. Consult your truth tellers.

    2. Pinpoint market entry.

    3. Launch seemingly random experiments.

    4. Survive catastrophic success (when something takes off ‘unexpectedly’).

    5. Capture winner-takes-all markets.

    6. Create bullet time (the slowed down bullet dodging phenomenon in The Matrix).

    7. Anticipate saturation.

    8. Shed assets before they become liabilities.

    9. Quit while you’re ahead.

    10. Escape your own black hole.

    11. Become someone else’s components.

    12. Move to a new singularity.


    • Not much. The creation of the universe metaphor is perhaps a little overplayed.

      number of view: 197


      09 2015

      Stuffocation – James Wallman

      The one sentence summary

      To avoid stuffocation we have to transform what we value, and focus less on possessions and more on experiences.


      • This is all about living more with less. We have all the stuff we could ever need, but it isn’t making us happier. It’s cluttering up our homes, it’s bad for the planet, and it makes us feel stuffocated.
      • We have to transform what we value, focus less on possessions and more on experiences such as holidays and time with friends.
      • A rising number of people are turning their backs on all-you-can-get consumption. These are experientialists - sometimes called hippies with calculators.
      • In the 1920s, the USA was producing far more than people could ever consume, so they had a choice: to reduce production, or increase consumption. They chose the latter and embarked on a massive advertising drive combined with cheaper production methods with built-in obsolescence.
      • This was the origin of the Throwaway Culture.
      • Many modern products however attempt to declutter through remanufacturing – 50% of the components in a mobile phone, for example, can be reused.
      • To work out whether innovations are likely to catch on, they should be subjected to five crucial questions:

      1. Is it actually better?

      2. Is it compatible with how we live today? (Is it easy to use?)

      3. Is it simple and easy to understand?

      4. Is it easy to try and easily available?

      5. If one person tries it, will others notice? (Is it observable?)


      • The consumption statistics are disturbing.
      • The amount spent by the average Briton on clothing doubled between 1990 and 2004.
      • The average UK woman now buys 58 clothing items a year.
      • There are twice as many things in her wardrobe than in 1980.
      • 22 things in that wardrobe have never been worn.
      • American women buy 67 items a year – something every 4-5 days.
      • GDP may be measuring the wrong thing. Just because it goes up doesn’t mean we are any better off in many senses.
      • If you want to follow this advice, know your stuff, concentrate on being fully present now, spend well, and put people and experiences first.
      • “Meaning is the new money.”


      • Nothing. This is what I advocate in Tick Achieve and other books.
      number of view: 432


      09 2015

      Essentialism – Greg McKeown

      The one sentence summary

      Most things aren’t worth doing, so learn to decide what really matters and just devote your energy to that


      • This is all about the disciplined pursuit of less, and is a systematic discipline you can apply every time you are faced with a decision.
      • By applying more selective criteria to what is truly essential, we can regain control of our choices so we can make the best possible contribution to the things that really matter.
      • The core of the approach is less but better. Essentialists devote their energy to one or two carefully selected tasks, rather than dissipating it across far too many (see diagram). In both cases the same amount of energy is exerted. “A millimetre of progress in a million directions” v. “Significant progress in what matters most.”
      • Determine your essence, by choosing what matters to you and discerning the unimportance of practically everything.
      • Eliminate everything that has no bearing on the essential task.
      • When we have a reputation for being good, we are given more and more to do, so we get spread too thinly. We then become distracted from what would otherwise be our highest level of contribution.
      • An essential intent needs to be both inspirational and concrete. A vision can be inspirational, but not concrete. Quarterly objectives are concrete but rarely inspirational. Values are neither, and so are usually bland.
      • In a reverse pilot, you test whether removing an initiative or activity will have any negative consequences. Doing this regularly reduces workload.
      • Minimal viable progress is the smallest amount useful to the essential task. Do no more than this.
      • WIN stands for What’s Important Now. Just do this, and nothing else.


      • It’s ideal for anyone who has too much to do, and particularly team leaders.
      • The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular, and meant the very first or prior thing. Only in the 1900s did we turn it into a plural and start talking about priorities. Now we have too many of them.
      • It’s not just information overload – it’s opinion overload.
      • “If you don’t prioritise your life, someone else will.”
      • A non-essentialist avoids saying no to avoid feeling awkwardness and pressure. An essentialist dares to say no firmly, resolutely and gracefully, saying yes only to the things that really matter. Saying no gracefully doesn’t have to mean using the word no.


      • Nothing. This is precisely what I advocate in Tick Achieve.

        number of view: 278


        09 2015

        How Google Works – Schmidt & Rosenberg

        The one sentence summary

        Smart creatives hold the key to success for companies.


        • Smart creatives hold the key to success for companies. They are a new breed of employee capable of creating superior products.
        • The internet, mobile and cloud computing have shifted the balance of power from companies to consumers.
        • There are many pearls of advice here, including:

        ~ Your plan is wrong: keep adjusting and iterating.

        ~ Keep them crowded: people in close proximity work more effectively.

        ~ Messiness is a virtue: creative people need to generate stuff and have it around them.

        ~ Passionate people don’t use the word: they live it.

        ~ Don’t listen to the HIPPOs: that’s the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion. A tenurocracy is where length of tenure gets you promoted, rather than merit.

        ~ Do all reorgs in one day: forget the 100-day plan and get on with it.

        ~ Bet on technical insights, not market research: engineers and smart creatives can tell you what is possible; customers probably can’t.

        ~ Default to open not closed: let people outside the company help to improve your products.

        ~ Urgency of the role isn’t sufficiently important to compromise quality when hiring: if they are not right, keep looking.

        ~ Decide with data: “You’re both right” may be true in opinion-based (overly diplomatic?) companies, but the data should rule decision making.

        ~ Be a damn good router: good leaders keep information and communications flowing regularly through the company.

        ~ 70/20/10 time allocation: 70% of resources dedicated to the core business, 20% on emerging, and 10% on new (speculative) work.


        Climb, confess, comply is a good management approach. When pilots get in trouble, this is their approach:

        1. Climb: get yourself out of danger.
        2. Confess: talk to the tower, explain that you screwed up and how.
        3. Comply: when traffic controllers tell you how to do it better next time, do it.

        “I leave out the parts that people skip.” Elmore Leonard, writer.

        Good advice for emails.

        “If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.”

        Mario Andretti, racing driver.


        • It’s debatable whether much of this advice could help any company other than a fast-moving tech one.

        number of view: 435