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CXOs: Have you discovered the 55-Minute Guide Series yet?

By Dan Gray

It’s official. Short is the new long (unlike this post perhaps!).

A few years ago, Kevin Keohane and I had the heretical notion that the answer to getting c-suite types to open their minds to the business value of brand and business communications was to merrily swim in the opposite direction to most of our brethren.

Where they tried to persuade people with pseudo-academic tomes full of detailed case studies and examples, we decided to take the path less travelled – short, unapologetically opinionated and no-holds barred synopses of critical insights and what to do about them.

So the 55-Minute Guide series was born, and a long-overdue scan of the books’ pages on Amazon would seem to suggest we were bang on.

If there’s a golden rule of branding, it’s to be authentic – to ensure that the gap between what you promise and what you deliver is as small as humanly possible.

So, even more than the recognition our authors have rightly received for the quality of their insights, what’s really great to see from customer reviews is that we’ve also clearly lived up to the challenging promise of delivering them in a way that people can consume the lot in under an hour – not through dumbing down, mind you, but through ruthlessly weeding out tangential and superfluous elements and focusing on what really matters.

Both are no doubt to thank for 34 amazing customer reviews across the series on Amazon US and UK sites, more than three-quarters of which are 5-star (the rest all 4-star). Here are just a few…

On Indy Neogy’s 55-Minute Guide to better cross-cultural communications:

“True to its title, it’s a brisk one-hour read. Neogy’s new book is a treasure of clarity, brevity, and useful tools to bridge the cultural communication divide. This should be required reading for any Chief Marketing Officer.”

On Mike Klein’s 55-Minute Guide to social communication:

“Mike neatly and cleverly combines some astute systems thinking, with provocative behavioural theory in this very digestible book… The highest accolade I can pay him is that he practices what he preaches. It will take you less than 55 mins to read [and] I bet you’ll keep coming back to it.”

On Geoff Barbaro’s 55-Minute guide to leadership communication:

“The Leader’s Beacon goes a long way to filling an ever widening gap of knowledge. It is easy to read, easy to understand and makes sense. The best bit is that you don’t need to wade through pages of heavy theory… I’ve been able to share it with clients during leadership coaching sessions without any concern about egos. Their response to it was also fantastic.”

On Ro Gorell’s 55-Minute guide to talent management:

“This is a book that can be read in one sitting, and it’s got a good deal of practical information that you can implement right away… If you’re a manager tasked with coming up with a policy to retain valuable specialists in your organisation, you could do a lot worse than spend a Saturday evening reading this from cover to cover.”

On Kevin Keohane’s 55-Minute guide to employee communication:

“The cover of this book is deceptively simple, and it is obviously a short read. But don’t be fooled – this book is chock-full of information. Not a single page is wasted. Anyone in human resources, management, communications, marketing… heck, anyone from any department of a business with more than one employee could benefit from the information in this concise little volume.”

And lastly on my own 55-minute guide to building sustainable brands:

“Distil down all the critical points you might hear from a well-informed sustainable business consultant, using everyday language grounded in practical business fundamentals rather than emotive arguments, and deliver it in a form that even a slow reader can squeeze into an hour (with time left over to make a cup of tea), and you’ll end up with something like this.”

All in all, not a bad body of work. And if you haven’t yet picked up your copies, well then maybe it’s time you should (see the links at the bottom of this page). They could well be the most insightful 55-minutes you ever spend.

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More new titles coming soon!

To the five 55-Minute Guides already on the virtual shelves (attracting nothing but four- and five-star reviews on Amazon, btw), we’re hoping to be able to add the same again by Spring 2012.

Forthcoming titles include…

  • Lighting the Road Ahead: The 55-Minute Guide to User Centred Design by William Hudson
  • Who… Oh… Wow! The 55-Minute Guide to Corporate Branding by Dave Allen
  • Why Culture Matters: The 55-Minute Guide to Better Cross-Cultural Communication by Indy Neogy
  • Brand and Talent: The 55-Minute Guide to Employer Branding by Kevin Keohane and Dan Gray

…and even more are planned, so watch this space!

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