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Sunday, December 6, 2015


5 stars out of 5

Utterly, positively, fascinating! As a student of human behavior with a big interest in marketing (and the interaction between the two), I devoured this book from Page 1 right through to the end. And boy, did I ever learn a lot.

The author, who has written several other books on this and similar topics, calls himself a "forensic investigator of emotional DNA." His professional consulting assignments, should he decide to accept them, involve figuring out what humans really want (or "desire") and coming up with ways the companies can provide it. The revelation that humans tend to see the world in different ways even though they're almost unimaginably similar, he says, is what the book is about.

Rather than focusing on so-called Big Data (is there anyone out there who hasn't learned what Baby Boomers, or "Tweens" are like as a group, for instance?), he zeroes in on the little things: Rituals, habits, gestures and preferences of individuals. Those things identified, the resulting "small data" can be compiled, projected to larger populations and - sometimes in combination with Big Data - used to generate a plan of action.

Using examples from consulting jobs at a number of well-known and diverse companies all over the world - names like Lego, Euro Disney, Pepsi and Jenny Craig - he provides explicit details of the investigative process, what he found, what he concluded and how the resulting plan worked out. The chapter dealing with we Americans' "political correctness" was, BTW, especially intriguing (not to mention spot-on). 

If you have anything to do with marketing, advertising, revving up flagging sales (or getting them going as a new business) or, like me, you just want to learn more about people, I highly recommend this book. Special thanks to the publisher (via NetGalley) for providing me with an advance copy for review. 

Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends by Martin Lindstrom (St. Martin's Press, February 2016); 256 pp.

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