“I’m 60 years old as I write. I have been doing my thing for well over a quarter of a century. I have achieved some degree of acclaim. At this point, I don’t have to write a book. My speaking and consulting gigs keep me busy to the breaking point and beyond. So why am I sitting inside, scrunched over a makeshift writing desk on a gorgeous July day on Martha’s Vineyard cranking out Book Number 11? Because I am pissed off. I happen to believe that all innovation comes, not from market research or carefully crafted focus groups, but from pissed-off people. People who just cannot stand the opacity of current financial reports. People who throw their hands up in frustration at the little slips of paper that fall out of their hymnals (and who then proceed to invent Post-it Notes).” — Tom Peters
Fortune magazine called Tom Peters the “Ur-guru” of management – comparing him to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and H.L. Mencken. Without any doubt, Peters – along with fellow uber-guru Peter Drucker – helped shape the idea of modern management over the last six decades. Peters led the way in preparing management for the current era of staggering change, starting in the 1970s and accelerating to this day.
Re-Imagine! is an unusual book, not only for its message, but also for its layout and design. The main text is interspersed with illustrations and bullet-pointed lists. It’s often more reading like a PowerPoint presentation than a business book. Yet, its non-linearity is part of its charm because it feels like a book you can grab for a few minutes to get business inspiration and learn something new. It’s a business book that’s creative in more ways than one.
Focusing on how the business climate in the new millennium has changed, Re-Imagine! outlines how business works in the age of hyper competition. It was originally written years before the mobile revolution, but it feels like it was written tomorrow.
The message of the book in two words: Innovation rules. You need to hire off-beat people to work on innovation to have a chance. In the world of hyper competition, everyone’s job is innovation.
Passion drives successful innovation by creating beautiful, simple systems and wonderful sustainable experiences for customers and employees. The leader’s job is to create an environment for such innovation. If you hope to prevail in this environment, be ready to fail, pick yourself up, and start all over again. Then focus your innovation as much as possible on those areas where few others are looking.
This is not a recommended read. It’s a required read. No one sums it up better than Peters:
“If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.”