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The first thing that I enjoyed about Collapse of Distinction was it’s availability in several formats. Yes, many books are available in different formats, but what sets this one apart is that it is part of Nelsonfree, you get the e-book, the book, and the audio version all for the price of the book. Kudos Nelson publishing, you made reviewing this book much easier.
McKain’s book begins strong discussing what makes an organization different from their competitors and how they can leverage that difference. He writes that the problem that most businesses have is that they aren’t different because they want to play it safe. As a result, many businesses make minor changes or changes based on what their competition is doing. Their focus is on their competitor, not their customer.
He gives several stories of how this plays out and each shows how difficult it is to "out-original" the initial player. As the book progresses, Scott goes into what he calls the four cornerstones of making sure your business remains unique: Clarity, Creativity, Communication, and Customer-Experience Focus. The last 4 chapters are each dedicated to one of these cornerstones and this is where the book bogs down and seems to go on and on.
As a church leader, I gave a lot of thought to how this book fits into what we do. While our competition isn’t (or shouldn’t be) the church down the street we still compete for peoples interest and are best served not by trying to "out original" Disney or Nickelodeon but rather being who we are.
In one of Scott’s illustrations, he congratulated Starbucks™ for refocusing on their main product to help them re-secure their position as a top coffee chain. Unfortunately, the same things that he mentions in other places as brand dilution or focusing on competitors is the same thing that they have done lately.
Lastly, I greatly enjoyed his discussion of the "Ebert principle" and found that alone was worth the price of the book. Essentially, the Ebert Principle shows how something that is simply different is seen as good. Be it foreign films or Presidential candidates, different is often equated with something that is worth checking out.


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