"Leadership Mantra #1: It all depends." Tom Peters
Is that millennial itch finally getting scratched or is it just a back-to-school-for-new-economy-managers kind of urgency?
We here at tompeters.com have been looking through a lot of magazines recently. (What we do instead of working, actually, and where we steal our best ideas...) And someone said, "Cripes, Tom's popping up everywhere!" And it's true. Go to your local newsstand right now and you can pick up (though why you're not subscribing to Fast Company and Red Herring is beyond us) three different mags.
Check out the September issue of Fast Company (see p. 106 of the paper version) or get it here. Tom is featured in a one pager as a voice of the new economy. But what's the message: there's more to life, folks, than making tons of money in an IPO. Of course not many folks are raking in so many gold coins just now...but there's still that smell in the air. you know everyone's waiting for the whole dot-com thing to flare up again, just like one of those smoldering forest fires that gets a second wind and decides to incinerate three million more acres before finally calling it quits. So yes, take advantage of wild opportunities for change...but don't forget that there's more to life than business.
On another front Tom has written a piece for Business Week titled "The New Wired World of Work." See it on page 172 of the August 21-28 paper issue. This is an edited version of a piece we posted at tompeters.com a while ago titled "New Work SurvivalGuide2000." [Tom's got Ten skills in his original. BW has decided that Six will do.] Tom details must-have skills for the 21st Century worker: Mastery (do something really well...better than anyone you know...); Who Do You Know? (rolodex like crazy...and speaking of which, we just saw an article this morning in which two authors suggest that it's no longer enough to network; now you must networldinstead. So there!); Entrepreneurial Instinct (think and act like an entrepreneur even if you're employed by someone else...); Love of Technology (embrace technology; don't just endure it...); Marketing (you gotta let the world know that you exist...); Passion for Renewal (change change change...improve improve improve...yourself).
And then we find Tom being written about in Red Herring (September 2000). Article starts on page 456. (No online link as of this writing.) But now things really get fun because the subtitle of this article is "When you weren't looking, the guru formerly known as TOM PETERS [their caps] became tompeters!" So what's news here? Didn't everyone already know this? Tom is so easy to pick on. This is a guy who in his own seminars says he's full of crap and will say in the afternoon at least 10 things that directly contradict what he said that morning. So what? My favorite paragraph reads: "Consider this Tom Peters's dinosaur act. Like any aging rock star, he's updating his image, a move most marketers would say is to his credit. Just as that other '80s icon, Madonna, morphed from material girl to Indian mystic, Tom Peters has transformed into a hip, Web-savvy new economist called tompeters! (his exclamation point, not ours)." Tom and Madonna together in the same paragraph...not bad!
But there's some good Tom bashing here, and from one of our friends, too. Stuart Crainer is the author, of among other things,
The Tom Peters Phenomenon: Corporate Man to Corporate Skunk. We liked that book and would recommend it to anyone. Tom likes the book. Stuart also puts out an entertaining, lively, and smart monthly newsletter called Exec-express. By way of full disclosure, he and his partner Des Dearlove have also done some of the Cool Friend interviews at www.tompeters.com. Crainer is quoted in the Red Herring article saying that Tom "should be arrested for offenses against the English language." He's referring to the writing style found in the Reinventing Work series. Oh, those Brits! Won't they ever learn? The colonists won because they DIDN'T play by the rules. Oh well.
And speaking of the Brits, Dorling Kindersley Publishing has published Business Masterminds: Tom Peters. It's one in a series that includes bios of Peter Drucker, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett, all authored by Robert Heller, founding editor of Management Today. Hey, Tom's honored to be part of that group. It's a good overview of Tom's oeuvre, though Heller's analysis of Tom's work ends with Pursuit of Wow!, published in 1994. It's a good looking, book, though, as are all of the D-K books. One hundred and nine pages, $12.95. Entirely legible. No offenses against anything or anyone here.
Books I'm reading this summer:
(1) Banker to the Poor: Micro-lending and the Battle Against World Poverty, Muhammad Yunus, founder of THE GRAMEEN BANK. Companion book: The Price of a Dream: The Story of the Grameen Bank, David Bornstein]
(2) BOBOS in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There, David Brooks
(3) The Global Me: New Cosmopolitans and the Competitive Edge, G. Pascal Zachary
(4) Selling Is a Woman's Game: 15 Powerful Reasons Why Women Can Outsell Men, Nicki Joy & Susan Kane-Benson
(5) The Bottom Line of Green Is Black: Strategies for Creating Profitable and Environmentally Sound Businesses, Tedd Saunders & Loretta McGovern
FUN STUFF: (1) NON-FICTION. Nathaniel's Nutmeg, or The True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader Who Changed the Course of History, Giles Milton
(2) FICTION. Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates
And ... of course ... Harry Potter IV.
These slides are in Microsoft PowerPoint format. If you don't have PowerPoint, you can download the free PowerPoint Viewer.
Before blogging became all the rage, Tom was posting book reviews and Observations (essentially early blog posts) to this site. You can find the archives below.