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Zagging is not a new concept. If you like business and performance management readings, probably you are familiar with it already, especially if you've read books by authors like Jim Collins (hedgehog concept), Chan Kim (blue ocean) or Seth Godin (purple cow).
This book provides a unique approach from a marketer's point of view to the concept of real differentiation in the marketplace. "When everybody zigs, zag". Stop being a follower, an imitator, and start being different, start zagging.
You can't stop reading this book, once you get started. It will take you one or two hours, which doesn't mean the author is not providing details and deep insights. In fact, he gives what it takes to make his points clear, captivating, and consistent.
David Aaker says in the back cover of this book: "The presentation alone is worth the price of the book". He is absolutely right. This book zags.
My husband and I are wrapping up our 3rd month of the Fast Metabolism Diet. We were searching for a path to good health and weight loss, and this has fit our bill. He is 71, and while in excellent health, weighed 290 pounds 3 months ago. I am 59, was moderately overweight, but battling high cholesterol. When the medication made me lose an excess of my hair, it was time to get down to the business of our nutrition. He was always afraid he would have to be hungry on a "diet", and I did not want to eat weird things, not to mention I just did not know what to cook everyday. I've always known someday I would have to address my cravings for sweets, and I would be lying if I told you I was past that, though I am happy they are quite manageable now.
Three months later, he has lost 40 pounds and I have lost 20 (right at my original goal) with cholesterol numbers all well-within normal ranges. Both of us are elated to be eating plenty of delicious--real--food, and enjoying shopping for smaller clothes (I am a size 4 pant now, down from size 10). We have learned to concoct our own recipes and meals, and try to stay within the 3-phase structure of the diet. However, we no longer stress if we mess up or have to stray due to an unusual event. We just pick right up with the next meal.
Admittedly this eating plan intimidated me at first. I was afraid of all the cooking, and honestly, it was a bit confusing. Before we embarked on it (partly due to extensive summer travel plans), it took me about 6 weeks to summarize it and internalize what was going on. Looking back, I believe that was fear of the unknown because it seems second nature now. Knowing the effort leads to success is worth it beyond measure.
Imagine someone coming to your door. They're dressed in a well cut suit and tie, looking official. You can tell by their air of authority that they are a government man. Behind that government man stands a young boy spouting the same joke you taught your child, the boy who drowned decades ago. The voice sounds the same and when you get a gander at him you see that it is your son, returned by some miracle from the dead. That's what happens to Harold Hargrave and thus starts "The Returned" and from the very first page I was hooked.
Lucille and Harold Hargrave are in their seventies now. They are good, decent people who know right from wrong and act accordingly, so when the government locates a concentration camp in their small town of Arcadia to contain the "returned", dead people who have mysteriously started showing up all over the world, they are forced to reconcile their beliefs with reality. They know the boy Agent Bellamy brought them is their son, but what does mean? They grapple with that question as more and more of the "returned" are relocated in Arcadia. Pressure builds between the living and the returned as soldiers transport truck loads of the living dead into Arcadia and stay to guard them. When Harold and his son, Jacob, end up in the camp, Lucille Hargrave decides to take action but not before the tension has built to a boiling point between the town's people, the soldiers, and the thousands of returned that now inhabit the town. I read with great anticipation to find how this was all going to play out.
Mott's characters are alive and vibrant. When Harold's smoker's hack becomes uncontrollable, my lungs burned. When Lucille chastises Harold for one of his many faults, I could hear my wife chastising me. When both try to keep Jacob close and protect him from the chaos and violence, they did what any parent would do despite their misgivings about Jacob. When Agent Bellamy and Harold played horseshoes, I could hear the ring of the shoe as it hit the stake and feel the comradery of two people playing a friendly game as they discussed what was going on. I was there and now I'm not and I'll miss these people.
Mott's writing is superb. The story flows and the plot develops with elegant images and sensory perceptions. As a reader, I propelled myself through the book with wonderment and awe and hated to reach the end of such fine writing. The book is a nice respite from the mundane. Mott, is that all you've got?