The Pursuit of Wow!: every person’s guide to topsy-turvy times

Tom Peters’ 1994 book, The Pursuit of Wow!, is very much a product of its time, geared towards the contemporary and future marketplace and concentrating its energies upon the Internet, the open-plan office and the happy workforce.

Professionally, the author conducts management seminars and the book is clearly trying as much to motivate as to instruct. Indeed, much of the time Peters takes things the reader knows they should be doing and gives the encouragement to actually do them: master the details, be polite and helpful to customers, give people credit for success. By doing so, he argues, the reader and their company will stand out and make those around say ‘wow’.

Why is it worth reading?
If readers can get over the rather over-excitable style and excessive chirpiness (this book is definitely not for the cynical) then The Pursuit of Wow! gives an ordered list of the things they should be doing and a standard by which to measure their progress. As Peters points out at the beginning, doing something perfectly is easy, the hard part is having the determination to always do things perfectly.

Talking points
The big debate in management today is this: does success come down to motivation, relaxation and customer relations, or is it in the time-worn values of making the best product for the cheapest price and firing anyone who fails you? This book makes a strong case for the former position.

‘70% of lost customers hit the road not because of price or quality issues but because they didn’t like the human side of doing business with the prior provider of the product or service.’

‘It’s a race with no finish line. The blueberry pancake is always cooking and never done.’

Tom Peters is a consultant who writes and lectures on business management theory and practice. He co-authored In Search of Excellence and A Passion for Excellence, and is the author Thriving on Chaos, Liberation Management and The Tom Peters Seminar. He founded the Tom Peters Group and writes a syndicated business column.

The Pursuit of Wow!: every person’s guide to topsy-turvy times,by Tom Peters, is published by Vintage. ISBN 0 679 75555 1.

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