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Martin Lindstrom, a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, harnesses the power of “small data” in his quest to discover the next big thing Hired by the world's leading brands to find out what makes their customers tick, Martin Lindstrom spends 300 nights a year in strangers’ homes, carefully observing every detail in order to uncover their hidden desires, and, ultimately, the clues to Martin Lindstrom, a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, harnesses the power of “small data” in his quest to discover the next big thing Hired by the world's leading brands to find out what makes their customers tick, Martin Lindstrom spends 300 nights a year in strangers’ homes, carefully observing every detail in order to uncover their hidden desires, and, ultimately, the clues to a multi-million dollar product. Lindstrom connects the dots in this globetrotting narrative that will enthrall enterprising marketers, as well as anyone with a curiosity about the endless variations of human behavior. You’ll learn… • How a noise reduction headset at 35,000 feet led to the creation of Pepsi’s new trademarked signature sound. • How a worn down sneaker discovered in the home of an 11-year-old German boy led to LEGO’s incredible turnaround. • How a magnet found on a fridge in Siberia resulted in a U.S. supermarket revolution. • How a toy stuffed bear in a girl’s bedroom helped revolutionize a fashion retailer’s 1,000 stores in 20 different countries. • How an ordinary bracelet helped Jenny Craig increase customer loyalty by 159% in less than a year. • How the ergonomic layout of a car dashboard led to the redesign of the Roomba vacuum.


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Martin Lindstrom, a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, harnesses the power of “small data” in his quest to discover the next big thing Hired by the world's leading brands to find out what makes their customers tick, Martin Lindstrom spends 300 nights a year in strangers’ homes, carefully observing every detail in order to uncover their hidden desires, and, ultimately, the clues to Martin Lindstrom, a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, harnesses the power of “small data” in his quest to discover the next big thing Hired by the world's leading brands to find out what makes their customers tick, Martin Lindstrom spends 300 nights a year in strangers’ homes, carefully observing every detail in order to uncover their hidden desires, and, ultimately, the clues to a multi-million dollar product. Lindstrom connects the dots in this globetrotting narrative that will enthrall enterprising marketers, as well as anyone with a curiosity about the endless variations of human behavior. You’ll learn… • How a noise reduction headset at 35,000 feet led to the creation of Pepsi’s new trademarked signature sound. • How a worn down sneaker discovered in the home of an 11-year-old German boy led to LEGO’s incredible turnaround. • How a magnet found on a fridge in Siberia resulted in a U.S. supermarket revolution. • How a toy stuffed bear in a girl’s bedroom helped revolutionize a fashion retailer’s 1,000 stores in 20 different countries. • How an ordinary bracelet helped Jenny Craig increase customer loyalty by 159% in less than a year. • How the ergonomic layout of a car dashboard led to the redesign of the Roomba vacuum.

30 review for Small Data: The Tiny Clues that Uncover Huge Trends

  1. 4 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣

    An entirely interesting and readable book on behaviouristic developments. Though I had some issues with how the author perceives Russia. It's like he went to a country entirely different from the one I reside in. Take this extract: Q: Russia’s biggest downside, for me at least, is its lack of color. Being in Russia is like breathing different oxygen, and I can feel a gray shade pulling down over me the moment I board a plane to fly there. No one is animated. No one smiles, or laughs. Ask most Russia An entirely interesting and readable book on behaviouristic developments. Though I had some issues with how the author perceives Russia. It's like he went to a country entirely different from the one I reside in. Take this extract: Q: Russia’s biggest downside, for me at least, is its lack of color. Being in Russia is like breathing different oxygen, and I can feel a gray shade pulling down over me the moment I board a plane to fly there. No one is animated. No one smiles, or laughs. Ask most Russians what they like most about visiting other countries and they’ll say it’s the sight of other people having fun. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Russian women weren’t “allowed” to wear cosmetics. It wasn’t a law, but more an unspoken protocol. This all changed in the late 1980s when the Berlin Wall fell, and cosmetics companies like Mary Kay and Maybelline entered Russia for the first time alongside nightclubs, discos, restaurants, gaming companies, car dealerships and high-end stores like Versace. Russia was awash with cash. From the airport all the way into Moscow, the billboards and flashing neon plastering the highway made it look like a colorized Russian version of Pottersville in It’s a Wonderful Life. It ended abruptly in 2006. Announcing that gambling was no different from alcohol and drug addiction, as well as a magnet for organized crime, Vladimir Putin exiled casinos and slot machine parlors to distant regions, including Armenia, Belarus, Georgia and Crimea. Overnight, Moscow’s color went away, as if the capital had woken up from a short, garish dream. Nothing was left but new hues of the old gray. In short order, Russia was more or less back to its old self.  (c) Like, really? Gambling has never been an important entertainment in Russia, anyway. It was more of a money-laundering instrument here. And getting gambling business out was a pretty bright move against the organised crime. As for the cosmetics forbidden in 1970s, that's BS. And trust me, the BS here doesn't stand for the Balance Sheet, either. Yes, it was considered unnecessary and therefore was costly, but it was there. I know my mom and aunt started using cosmetics in their 20s. And everyone did it, though it wasn't considered obligatory for young women to be using 'war paint'.  Like it is now, when many Russian women would be feeling 'naked' without some advanced make-up on. Which even happens to be a very commonly criticised throughout Europe feature common to many of the female expats from Russia. Colours? Frankly speaking, my recent trip to a small NJ town showed me there were less colours where I lived there than in the Moscow suburbs. So probably, apples should be compared to apples, i.e. there is no need to compare Tver suburbs to Paris casinos. If one does compare stuff like it should be, slums to slums, business centers to business centers, skyscrapers to skyscrapers, clubs to clubs, only then the results would be meaningful. And speaking that Russia lost colour because casinos have been dismantled, now, that's called extremely stretching the truth to the point of unbelievable. One has to understand that there is NO and has never been ANY Las-Vegas in Russia.  Another crazy tidbit I learned from this book is that obviously, there are no mirrors in my home.  Q:  ... Russian homes have no mirrors, ...  (c) Uh-huh, I'll have to remember that the next time I look in a mirror :)  Actually, there is a Slavic countries tradition rooting in religion based belief that in a home where someone recently died, all mirrors should be hidden or covered. This is supposed to prevent the soul of the dearly departed from looking into any of the mirrors and getting stuck between this world and its reflection in the mirror. This would bring bad luck to living and suffering to this lost soul. So for up to 9 or 40 days the mirrors have to be out of the way so the dead would be able to say goodbye without any hindrance. That's it. There is no other predesposition towards using or not using mirrors in Russia. Q: Decades before Julian Assange and Edward Snowden made headlines, Russians knew their phone lines were being tapped.  (c) Now, that's weirdly formulated. 1. Around the world, long before Mr. Snowden, the phones were being tapped. It is not a prerogative of Russia. It's a worldwide practice. If people elsewhere didn't know that, then it would only show how poorly educated in the ways of the world they were. And 2. In Russia we really like our privacy. Ok, now I am downgrading this book to 4 stars. I do realise the culture would seem foreign and the language troubles would be there but still a marketeer could better research a country where he supposedly works A LOT.  Q: There’s an iconic film in Russia wherein the protagonist comes home after work only to find he’s in the wrong apartment, and the wrong building, and the wrong city, but since everything in Russia looks the same, he doesn’t realize it, and now he has no idea how to get back home. (c)  Ok, that's a very good point. Kudos for that one. The film is named 'The Irony of Destiny' (Ирония судьбы). The reason for the twist is that most of the cities in USSR were built, locks, furniture created, etc... after the same-type state-wide planning. So no matter where you go, you are still at home (almost a direct quote from the aforementioned film). Q: If Russian apartment dwellers took the time to make their buildings’ exteriors neat, or beautiful, they might be seen as vulnerable. Better to appear not to care. (c) Or be seen as a better choice for career robbers or other criminals. Imagine you want to steal something. Which would be your target? One of the 10 beautifuly, recently renovated houses or the rest 1108 houses in the town, all in various stages of needing a repair? The Paretto princible might be applicable even here. The same might apply to slums in Latin America, US, Canada, China, etc... The most obvious exclusion to this rule would be Japan, where it's not particularly socially acceptable to show off your wealth.  Q: The clocks in practically every home, as well as most of the watches on women’s wrists, were five minutes ahead of time. In Arabic culture, there is no “good luck” number, but there are five pillars of Islam, suggesting to me that Saudi natives were compensating for some as-yet-undefined terror by creating a halo effect in their homes—a way of warding off bad luck or misfortune. (c) An interesting tidbit! Overall interesting analysis of the thinking process behind building a supermall in Saudi Arabia. Q: Russia had Vladimir Putin and the KGB’s current incarnation, the FSB. Saudi Arabia had Islam and Sharia law. (c)  LMAO, seriously, is that propaganda or something? Q: Alcohol in Russia is an escape. Cannabis in Holland is an escape. Prescription pills in the United States are an escape.  (c) +1 Q: One man I spoke with told me that since the Russian government had limited any and all personal initiative, or entrepreneurship, “freedom” had no choice but to find its way online. It was the only place Russian citizens could express themselves without the fear of reprisal. (c) Now, that IS propaganda of the worst sort. Myself, I started a business without any kind of harassment. A lot of people I know did the same and fared even better. Russia is a country of opportunities. It's a Klondike. And the bunches of expats from around the world who I routinely work with are illustrative to that. Yes, in Russia people love to decry all and any authorities we have. Even Saint Terese couldn't have been popular here. This happens because everyone in Russia knows everything political so much better than anyone else. The sheer number of closet politians in Russia is staggering. And all of them are sure that had they been presidents, they would have done so much better than what is being done. But somehow little of them actually do anything to participate in politics, start businesses, be active socially, etc. Of course, complaining is so much more easy than actually doing stuff. BTW, had the author not had his eyes closed by preconceptions about Russia, he could have stumbled upon the incredible topic of WHY Russians have so many issues with authority. Authority of all kind. Bosses at work, policemen, presidents, investors... It could have been a discussion of how the prolonged slavery rights (dismantled only in 1861), Revolution, 'raskulachivaniya', NEP, political witch hunts and Сivil War, 2 World Wars and the following regime - how it all has lead to the Russian mentality we can see now. It could have been a discussion of what it had to have been like to rebuild the country from ashes, not once but TWICE in the course of half a century. The Civil War left everything in shambles. Then the 2nd World War, 20 to 50 mln dead, depending on how you count civilian losses, death tolls under bombardments and from deseases and malnourishment and the like. And each time the country was rebuilt.  And instead of actually doing the research the author says 'One man I spoke with told me that since the Russian government had limited any and all personal initiative... ' How the hell did they manage to do just that? Was there some law passed on 'limiting all personal initiative' that locals know nothing of? Q: Alexey Navalny, the anticorruption foe... (с) Yep, the guy is definitely the foe of anticorruption, considering his personal offshore experience. And who finances the guy, anyway? Does anyone audit his accounts? Q: A longtime proponent of freedom of expression, Durov made it clear that VK had been taken over by the Russian government. (c) Another ill-advised plain lie. Durov sold his share in VK. Sold to Mail.ru Group. And the last time I checked, Mail.ru Group is not the 'Russian government'. It's a public company with lots of shareholders, main of which are Naspers, Mr. Usmanov and Tencent. Q: Up until the point Mamagazin ran up against 2015’s sanctions on imports, and was temporarily “frozen,” the website—as well as our Mamafest projects—was the fastest-growing, most user-friendly e-commerce site aimed at parents in all of Russia (c) Yeah, right, it was so wildly growing and outrageouly popular that the first time I hear about its existence is from this misguided book.  Q: Consider Russia, or China, where online media is controlled and monitored. The Russians and Chinese have no concept of a “perfect marriage,” nor can they easily access the films and television shows responsible for creating impossible expectations of happiness. (c) More BS. I don't know about China, but in Russia there are no such restrictions. Even if some site is considered a host of pirate stuff or terrorist information and as such blocked for some locales, there are anonimisers you can use to access even that stuff. Q: From what I could tell, most Americans were so accustomed to their regulated, rule-bound status they barely noticed the restrictions to their freedom. Whenever I fly into New York, I stay in the same Midtown hotel. One of the amenities provided by the management is a package containing four cotton ear swabs. The instructions on the side seem to be addressed to a not-very-bright three-year-old: Place the cotton squab in your ear. Do not insert completely. These instructions are for your own safety. When I showed the package to an American visitor, he gazed at me without comprehension. “What’s so interesting about this?” he said. As a native, he couldn’t see what I saw as an outsider—that most people who know what a cotton swab is can also be counted on to know how to use one, and what’s more, in no other country in the world would you ever see instructions printed out for its correct use. (c) No idea on which Earth the author lives, but crazily detailed instructions have permeated the whole world, not just US. Probably thanks to crazy litigations by some geniuses, like 'I washed my cat in the washing mashine and it died, oh poor me' or 'I dried my dog in a microwave and got a fried dog, how was I supposed to know it would happen?'. Q: Across India, the mummyji I met shared a similar, even classic appearance. Most were physically small, in their 50s and 60s, though they looked much older. (c) I'm not sure how true-to-life this piece is. Indian women are often rather on the large side. Yes, they wear it extremely well, often with utmost grace and beauty but still... Either the selection wasn't representative or I have a misconception about India :) Q: The Twin Self has two elements, both of which are linked to desire: what we had once, but lost, and what we once dreamed about having but never possessed. Males across the world not only have a younger person inside them, they also have a third party, which any number of superheroes and action stars reflect. What is the fundamental appeal of books and films such as The Godfather and the Bourne and Matrix franchises? What explains the popularity of Batman, or Superman, or Spider-Man, or the X-Men films, or the success of the American television series Breaking Bad? The answer: they all feature as their protagonist a normal, everyday, even somewhat mild male who evolves into an animal or, at the very least, a powerful, menacing, occasionally cold-blooded killer who plays by his own rules. It was this aspect—the driver with a Twin Self, who is also in possession of a masterful, powerful alter ego—that I recommended we incorporate into the overall design of our “Made in China” car. Another element we incorporated into the car’s design was a transformation zone. Alongside a team of designers, we created a special internal ambience akin to the change in acoustics you hear when entering a sound studio. We used ambient light that snapped on when the doors opened and snapped off when the doors shut. The result: amplified masculine symbols, including a deep resonance to the sounds the doors made when slamming shut. We also made it a point to elevate the car seat, to give the driver a sense of omniscience and control. Knowing that Chinese children had a say about car buying, and were equally stimulated by power and mastery (and cuteness), we created a dashboard that resembled a flight deck. From watching ESPN, I’d learned about the power of information bombardment. ESPN strafes its viewers with an almost hysterical amount of data and details. Scrolling boxes. Panels. Bars. Graphics. Multi-angle camera perspectives. When exposed to a surfeit of data, men tend to feel more masculine and in command. Do most men bother to decipher these boxes, panels, bars and graphics? No—but that’s not really the point. My mission was for Chinese drivers to perceive their cars as fast, powerful and male, even if they weren’t. More to the point, the doors opened and closed quickly, in a fast, straight line, and the same went for the electronic windows. My mission was to appeal to the child inside the driver, the driver himself, and his children. (c) Q: In 1981, a collection of elderly New England men disembarked from a van and made their way inside a former New Hampshire monastery that had been retrofitted for the experiment that was about to take place—what its creator, Harvard psychology professor Ellen Langer, called the “Counterclockwise Test.” All of them were males in their 70s and early 80s, with many suffering from the physical indignities endemic to that age. But once they passed through the doors, a radically different scene, and even year, greeted them. It was 1959 all over again. Nat King Cole and Perry Como serenaded them from a vintage radio. A black-and-white TV screened variety shows and even commercials from 1959. There were no mirrors. The men had been given explicit instructions: They were not only encouraged to exchange reminiscences about this era, but as much as possible, to become the same age they were nearly two decades earlier. They were urged to refer to events that took place in 1959 in the present tense. A week later, a second group of males the same age were asked to duplicate this same experiment. This second group was asked only to think and speak nostalgically about the experience, as opposed to literally impersonating their younger selves. Before entering the monastery, both sample groups agreed to have their vital signs, including vision, hearing, memory and flexibility, assessed by a medical team. This “psychological intervention,” as the New York Times called it,9 was conjured by Langer who, over the course of a brilliant academic career, believed that in order to improve their health, older people needed a jolt, or a trigger, that would fool their own minds and bodies into healing themselves. Five days later, both groups of men had their vital signs retested. In every case, their posture and gaits showed signs of improvement. Their eyesight and hearing were both better. Physically, both groups were more agile and flexible. They even scored higher on IQ tests. But the men who had been asked to pretend they were the same age they’d been in 1959 showed markedly more improvement than the group who’d been asked to simply swap reminiscences. As Langer told the New York Times, the men had “‘put their mind in an earlier time,’ and their bodies went along for the ride.” (c) WOW! Actually, there are some really sophisticated psychologists who use this effect to great results. Overall, the marketing and behavioristic analytic processes described here are incredible. Worthy of 10 stars. But (and it's a very strong BUT) I don't like my books to come in peppered through with propaganda, subtle or not. My strong belief is that you can't parrot everything you might hear or read. There has to be some professional scepticism. And the author is not exercising a shred of it here. Instead he's repeating enormous volumes of propagandistic stuff. And this makes this, an otherwise compulsively readable book, worthy of 1 star. So overall I'll give it 4 stars. Gosh! If I want propaganda, I can find it elsewhere.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Supratim

    Martin Lindstrom, the author of this book, is a brand consultant who travels the world interviewing and observing people in their homes, shops and other places. His job is to understand what makes consumers tick and come up with ideas that help brands grow, reinvent themselves and even avoid bankruptcy. His clientele includes brands such as Lego, Walt Disney, Pepsi among others. If you have any interest in business, marketing or technology you must have come across the term “Big Data”. Big Data r Martin Lindstrom, the author of this book, is a brand consultant who travels the world interviewing and observing people in their homes, shops and other places. His job is to understand what makes consumers tick and come up with ideas that help brands grow, reinvent themselves and even avoid bankruptcy. His clientele includes brands such as Lego, Walt Disney, Pepsi among others. If you have any interest in business, marketing or technology you must have come across the term “Big Data”. Big Data refers to mammoth volume of data which is analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions. Companies across diverse industries rely upon Big Data to take strategic decisions. The premise of the book is that Big Data is not enough to spark insights. Big Data can provide valuable information but cannot capture the emotions of human beings; rather it is the triangulation of Small Data – data obtained by observing human behavior which leads to generation of great insights. The book also asserts that a foreigner is in a better position to truly detect cultural nuances or quirks, while the local will miss these things. The book contains interesting case studies wherein the author had travelled to different countries – Russia, USA, India, Brazil, China among others, and studied the local people, their cultural norms while trying to help his clients accomplish a specific objective. I am not going into the details of his assignments, but I will say that I enjoyed reading how his observations and experience gleaned from diverse cultures helped him create insights. I liked the opportunity to get a glimpse into the lives of people hailing from very diverse cultures. What I found was people across the world, despite their nationality or cultural differences, yearn for a sense of community, of belonging; they want to escape their mundane existence once in a while and connect with their inner child, show the world their different self and feel truly “liberated”; feel the desire to win the approval of their peers, blend in and yet be subtly different. However, please keep in mind that you need to take some of his observations with a pinch of salt. I agree that a foreigner can be objective and identify the nuances and quirks of a culture, but his/her observations can be superficial and the resultant inference far-fetched or totally wrong. I can say that some of his observations about India were a bit off the mark. The author himself admits that he is not a social scientist and Goodreads reviews by other readers also show that some of his observations about other countries were superficial or even wrong. Chip Heath, the author of the foreword cautions that “the book should not be read as a work of social science.” He goes as far as to say – “And while Martin is clearly a careful observer, he often extrapolates to grand conclusions that I suspect are bogus.” Nevertheless, Heath also admits that Lindstrom does manage to “provoke his clients in new directions that are clearly better.” As a person interested in marketing, I did enjoy reading the book. What I found helpful was the innovative ways of thinking and triangulating different data points to create an idea. If the content of the book piques your interest, then you can give this book a try.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kris Zeller

    I had a hard time with this book because it relies mostly on the authors observations, and I disagreed with nearly of all his observations about America. For example, he states that "In the United States, almost no public rooms are rectangular or sharply cornered". I would argue that nearly all public spaces ARE rectangular AND sharply cornered, if for no other reason than that it's easier to build things that way. He also claims that most Americans feel the need to chit-chat in elevators, which I had a hard time with this book because it relies mostly on the authors observations, and I disagreed with nearly of all his observations about America. For example, he states that "In the United States, almost no public rooms are rectangular or sharply cornered". I would argue that nearly all public spaces ARE rectangular AND sharply cornered, if for no other reason than that it's easier to build things that way. He also claims that most Americans feel the need to chit-chat in elevators, which again I find very untrue. Maybe a non-verbal cue like a nod or a smile, but having spent my whole life in places where elevators are common, I have never felt the need to chit-chat nor have I seen many others do so. I would say this is the case only if you happen to get into an elevator and find an acquaintance already in it. In any case, once I realized his observations about America were not particularly true, I lost interested in understanding his observations about other cultures, since I have no reason to believe those are accurate either. Would be very interested to discuss this book with a German, Saudi, Japanese or Brazilian native, to see if his other observations are on point so I could reconsider.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Paromjit

    An interesting study of behaviouralism within the field of marketing. The author identifies techniques in understanding underlying trends in marketing data. I am interested in reading about human behaviour from a psychological perspective so found this an engaging read. Thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for an ARC.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Angie Reisetter

    Mr. Lindstrom has a terribly interesting job, and this account of the things he's seen and learned is an intriguing and easy read. He travels the world as a branding consultant, studying the cultures companies wish to advertise in and then offering the companies advice on how to get people to buy there. There's a really positive way of looking at his job. On the other hand, he travels the world asking women and girls if they can see their bedrooms and kitchens, and using what he observes to repl Mr. Lindstrom has a terribly interesting job, and this account of the things he's seen and learned is an intriguing and easy read. He travels the world as a branding consultant, studying the cultures companies wish to advertise in and then offering the companies advice on how to get people to buy there. There's a really positive way of looking at his job. On the other hand, he travels the world asking women and girls if they can see their bedrooms and kitchens, and using what he observes to replace religion with product, a goal he sees as benign and even beneficial. He often says that what he does is address people's deep-down desires, and talks about how he fills a niche that religion used to fill. So there's a creepy side to this, too. But if that doesn't phase you, go for it. You'll probably learn something interesting you didn't know. I want to speak to the author's main thesis. The book blurb calls small data the post-big data trend, but the book doesn't hold that up. Small data is what he collects -- anecdotal evidence collected from conversations and home visits. The observation step before we know what data it is we even want to collect. It is useful but not rigorous. Big data is the data we collect from online activity or after we already know what we want to ask. We need both these things. Lindstrom makes the mistake of overselling small data, something a lot of experts do when they have an important but incomplete part of a puzzle. The fact that his data is anecdotal frees him from trying to be careful or analyze how widespread his observations are, and that is fine, but then he makes the mistake of seeing and portraying his findings as universal within a culture. He often uses words like "always" and "without exception", which, of course, cannot be true. He is, to put it mildly, painting with a broad brush. He goes in looking for generalizations and then makes them quickly. Nuance is not his area of expertise, but I would be more understanding if he at least acknowledged that it exists. Lindstrom also has some self-awareness problems, inconsistencies in his story of which he seems blissfully unaware. In talking about how he livened up a local grocery store chain in the south, he talked about how the key was freedom. He's giving people freedom to be who they want to be, to act like children, to be comfortable. The employees therefore are required to do a "chicken dance" whenever the song comes on over the PA system. If they don't feel like dancing, they don't belong there. Because that is freedom. You can be who you want to be, as long as you want to be who he wants you to be. Later on, in the middle of one of his rants about how small data is so much better than big data, he gains a significant insight from looking at the Facebook activities of teenage girls. Um. That's big data. So there are inconsistencies. And overstatement and oversimplification. And I don't like some of his ideas. But the book is worth reading because it will make you observe the world around you more carefully and be aware of what advertisers are trying to do, and that's valuable. This just wasn't a slam-dunk wow book for me. I got a free copy of this from Net Galley.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Yousif Al Zeera

    The book is simply terrific. It talks about the significance of "Small Data", which is getting "data" directly through observation, chatting with people and viewing things at its "nature-mode". It minimizes the room of manipulation and unmatching pieces of information that "Big Data" may encounter. He is a key opponent for relying on "Big Data" only and, instead, calls for having "Small Data" complementing "Big Data" in order to better understand clients and people and, hence, make better decisio The book is simply terrific. It talks about the significance of "Small Data", which is getting "data" directly through observation, chatting with people and viewing things at its "nature-mode". It minimizes the room of manipulation and unmatching pieces of information that "Big Data" may encounter. He is a key opponent for relying on "Big Data" only and, instead, calls for having "Small Data" complementing "Big Data" in order to better understand clients and people and, hence, make better decisions. His work may be more inclined to benefiting large corporates but his insights are universally valuable to all of us at the personal level. Martin Lindstrom is a true branding guru. He was recognized by Time magazine as one of the (top 100 "Most Influential People in the World" in 2009 and then named the world's #18 business thinker by Thinkers50 in 2015. In my opinion, he is more than a branding expert. He observes things in a way that is flatly unthinkable. The guy not only redefines but revolutionizes the concept of observation. He is on travel for 300 days a year and observers everything you can think of in people, culture, environment, possessions (he even analyzes your fridge magnets, your selfies, your emojis, your Facebook statuses, your closets, your toothbrush, how frequent you look at people when you do shopping, how quick Middleasterns move their fingers around their beads when they buy popcorn vs water, how quick doors are closed in subways worldwide, the effect of a special religious Chinese day on the speed of walking of Chinese citizens and whether this effect is carried over, why Chinese don't use bedspreads, why Americans must greet each other or say something in elevators while Europeans are not expected to do so, why Google searches for "horse" has dropped 28% from 2005 and 2013 and what is the impact of this on his client "Hong Kong Jockey Club" where the horse had been the most recognizable icon since its foundation in 1884 ... The list is just endless). His clientele includes giant companies of the likes of Walt Disney, LEGO, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Red Bull among others. Highly recommended because it will shoot up your "observation-sense".

  7. 5 out of 5

    Monnie

    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 c 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.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Angie Boyter

    Some interesting field trips and interesting observations, but ultimately I aborted about 1/3 through for numerous reasons: 1. Very self-aggrandizing presentation of his work, despite giving no supporting evidence for the validity of the technique 2. He took small observations and over-interpreted them tremendously with no justification 3. In several areas, he was factually incorrect. For example, he said only in the US did he find hotels where you couldn't open the windows, which reminded me immed Some interesting field trips and interesting observations, but ultimately I aborted about 1/3 through for numerous reasons: 1. Very self-aggrandizing presentation of his work, despite giving no supporting evidence for the validity of the technique 2. He took small observations and over-interpreted them tremendously with no justification 3. In several areas, he was factually incorrect. For example, he said only in the US did he find hotels where you couldn't open the windows, which reminded me immediately of an otherwise delightful trip through England in the middle of a heat wave where none of the windows could be opened and there was practically never any air conditioning. He also spends Chapter 2 on Winston-Salem, NC, where I have family, and he describes it as full of affluent gated communities. This is not at all an accurate portrayal of the town. So how much could I believe what he said about places I do NOT know? In sum, he lost pretty much all of his credibility, so I moved on.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

    It was largely a waste of time. I read this while working a contract that revolved around small data thinking that it might help, but Lindstrom supposes that only he can make sense of it because he's able to tie back to hundreds of trips to a variety of countries and cultures. So, um yeah... not super replicatable. Don't pick this one up expecting any magic bullets you can use. There aren't any. And some of the "consumer insights" he posits are stretches at best. Consider this one, about what he It was largely a waste of time. I read this while working a contract that revolved around small data thinking that it might help, but Lindstrom supposes that only he can make sense of it because he's able to tie back to hundreds of trips to a variety of countries and cultures. So, um yeah... not super replicatable. Don't pick this one up expecting any magic bullets you can use. There aren't any. And some of the "consumer insights" he posits are stretches at best. Consider this one, about what he and garbage collectors know about you: "If someone crushes a tube of toothpaste and tosses it away capless, experience tells me they are prudent about saving money, though at the end of the day they will spend money on themselves, as if to compensate for their earlier inattention." Buh? Similarly, he states that the decline of sales of Nescafé is due to people's kitchens getting sleeker with more cabinet space to hide the coffee, which means the signature glass Nescafé container is no longer on the counter to elicit questions. I feel sorry to have missed out on those conversations, as they must have been quite scintillating to keep sales up. "I see you drink Nescafé," he said. "Yes," she replied. Then, a flatline on the rest of the chatter because ONLY BORING PEOPLE WOULD TALK ABOUT NESCAFÉ. The anecdote that most disturbed me was about his interviews with teenaged girls who shop at Tally Weijl. He asked them about their teddy bears. "Describe your teddy bear", and "What was the first moment you really felt close to your teddy bear", and this gem, "Can you describe a moment when your teddy disappointed you?" What an utter load. If I had a creepy man asking me those questions, I can't even imagine the look of confusion and horror on my face. Or maybe I can. It's the one I had while reading this.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kate Puleo Unger

    This book was not exactly what I was expecting. It's less of a business book about small data and more of an anthropological look at the very personal trends and behaviors of various cultures around the world. After the introduction the book is broken down into chapters that are essentially case studies. Lindstrom recounts his research and recommendations for various companies. He's helping with product branding or marketing in almost all instances, but this book goes beyond being a resource for This book was not exactly what I was expecting. It's less of a business book about small data and more of an anthropological look at the very personal trends and behaviors of various cultures around the world. After the introduction the book is broken down into chapters that are essentially case studies. Lindstrom recounts his research and recommendations for various companies. He's helping with product branding or marketing in almost all instances, but this book goes beyond being a resource for business or marketing people. It's truly fascinating to read. It reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell's books: The Tipping Point and Outliers. I especially loved the chapter about the United States. Lindstrom is from Denmark, so he has an outsider's view of Americans that was spot on, but also amusing to read. And he mentioned the game Cards Against Humanity, which I love, so that was an added bonus. My only complaint about the book is that there are quite a few tangents in each chapter, which made some of the case studies seem long and a bit hard to follow. I understand that it would have been hard to explain his recommendations without the backstory, and the additional cultures explored were interesting, but it made a number of the case studies somewhat tedious to get through. http://www.momsradius.com/2016/02/boo...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    This suggests that instead of mining big data, marketers should dig in to the details of people's daily lives to pull trends. Study microeconomics not macroeconomics. It's fun in a move or TV show when we get to witness the great detective pouring out his genius to solve a mystery in vivid detail. It's the quick culmination of the plot including numerous details you couldn't possibly see coming. There's a satisfying "Ah ha" moment when you give the detective credit for his genius. You briefly de This suggests that instead of mining big data, marketers should dig in to the details of people's daily lives to pull trends. Study microeconomics not macroeconomics. It's fun in a move or TV show when we get to witness the great detective pouring out his genius to solve a mystery in vivid detail. It's the quick culmination of the plot including numerous details you couldn't possibly see coming. There's a satisfying "Ah ha" moment when you give the detective credit for his genius. You briefly defer and go back to see if you can outwit the genius next time. While I'm sure the author is a genius trend hunter, this is not a fun read. It's 200 pages of meandering unraveling monologue. There's no down time and there's no chance you'll unravel anything first. You are simply subjected to a monologue where the only point is that we should tease trends out of individuals rather than the collective. If you happen to be a trend spotting genius and have access to every detail of a population's private lives you might be able to follow this path. This book will be as useful to you as it was to me, but at least you'll have a new lucrative career. Best of luck.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heather Flaigg

    I received this book as a goodreads give away! What really amazed me about the book is how much it opened my eyes to behaviors around me that I see every day and never actually "noticed". Don't know how much I believe to be true but it was a very interesting book. You won't be disappointed! I received this book as a goodreads give away! What really amazed me about the book is how much it opened my eyes to behaviors around me that I see every day and never actually "noticed". Don't know how much I believe to be true but it was a very interesting book. You won't be disappointed!

  13. 5 out of 5

    William Aicher

    So ridiculously fascinating. And a great reminder of that aggregates of data do not explain who people are, what drives them and what is important to them. Absolute must-read for any marketer - and anyone who's just interested in human behavior. So ridiculously fascinating. And a great reminder of that aggregates of data do not explain who people are, what drives them and what is important to them. Absolute must-read for any marketer - and anyone who's just interested in human behavior.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Blom

    This book was so not what I had expected. When you read a title like 'Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends' it's clear that this book is about making sense of data you gather for marketing purposes. So what I was expecting was a bot of a how-to approach where the author showed how to translate big data (meaning cold hard figures and statistics) into small data (conclusions). Wrong. Martin Lindstrom calls himself a 'forensic investigator of small data', which he describes as emotiona This book was so not what I had expected. When you read a title like 'Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends' it's clear that this book is about making sense of data you gather for marketing purposes. So what I was expecting was a bot of a how-to approach where the author showed how to translate big data (meaning cold hard figures and statistics) into small data (conclusions). Wrong. Martin Lindstrom calls himself a 'forensic investigator of small data', which he describes as emotional DNA or desire. After reading this book, I consider him more of a Sherlock Holmes on people's deepest desires and what makes them tick. Truly, this man's job is one of the most fascinating ever, although it doesn't make for a healthy personal life (something he admits by the way). He travels around the world to study people, contracted by brands or businesses that ask him to discover how they can improve their product or brand or store. He's worked for supermarkets, car manufacturers, retail chains, you name it. Small Data is one captivating, fascinating account of how he discovers the core problem these businesses have. I loved the example of Roomba for instance, the famous vacuum robot. Sales were declining and they couldn't figure out why. You know what Lindstrom discovered? Changes in the models had caused the Roomba to lose its 'cuteness'. At first, people loved their Roomba, treated it like a pet even. It had a high cuteness factor, which included the sounds it made (kind of like R2D2). Newer models had lost the sounds and the cuteness, causing people to lose the emotional connection with it. In sharing his stories, Lindstrom takes you with him as he travels all over the world. We learn about the Chinese affinity for speed, the deeper meaning of refrigerator magnets, French supermarkets and how to attract teenage girls to a brick-and-mortar store. Lindstrom is a master at recognizing the tiny clues that signify a deep desire, that elusive emotional DNA. It's an entertaining ride for sure, one that leaves you shaking your head at times, going like 'how on earth did he figure that out?' For me personally, a nice bonus was his analysis of different cultures, including the American culture. Lindstrom is Danish of origin, which is much closer in culture to The Netherlands (my home country) than the US. It was interesting to see the world through his eyes and see him note some of the same discrepancies in American culture as I have discovered myself. Not until the very last chapter does he share anything practical and how-to, which is both the strength and the weakness of the book. Based on that one chapter, there's no way you could ever learn to do what he does. It would be ludicrous to even try. So the strength of the book is not the how-to, it's the anthropological analysis that show us how good people are at hiding what they really want, but that they leave clues nonetheless. I feel like I truly understand people better after reading this book and I'm definitely more attuned to the concept of 'emotional DNA'. If you're a fan of highly informational, practical books, skip this one. You won't get much out of it But if stories are your thing and you want to learn what makes people tick, dig in. Even if you don't particularly care for marketing, you'll learn tons. You don't even need to read the whole thing at once, or even in order. The book is perfect for reading a chapter every now and then...if you can stop reading after just one, that is!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Natalia

    As the author notes in the concluding remarks, he's one lucky individual. Lucky as with little method stemming from vague notions of ethnography he managed to get certain brands out of a jam. All the fine packaging of the cherry-picked cases meant to support the author's clairvoyant skills, does nothing but infuriate someone who travelled the world with actual curiosity/open-mindedness for surroundings. The square, highly generalized, no room for doubt manner of conveying info - the man is absol As the author notes in the concluding remarks, he's one lucky individual. Lucky as with little method stemming from vague notions of ethnography he managed to get certain brands out of a jam. All the fine packaging of the cherry-picked cases meant to support the author's clairvoyant skills, does nothing but infuriate someone who travelled the world with actual curiosity/open-mindedness for surroundings. The square, highly generalized, no room for doubt manner of conveying info - the man is absolute in his absolutes-makes numb3rs ppl look unprofessionally coy. For your amusement: women all around the world are constantly in morning over some emotional event: unfulfilled childhood dreams/motherhood milestones; (US) american architecture favors round spaces; (US) americans are chatty in elevators while europeans are not ( see what I did there? Compared a country to a continent), Russia lacks color and Russians dont have mirrors in their homes, all Brazilians & every Italian waiter raise the bottle really high when pouring. There's a itsy bitsy mention of bringing small and big data together, but one will never find out from this book how that love affair works out. All is all, save your money and just buy any intro to ethnography/ anthropology/ qualitative research methods in social sciences book. You'll get both structure and solid case studies. The only reason I gave it one star is because some of the referenced articles are worth checking. But I guess props should go to Bobby 7- the author's minion in this respect. PS: wish I could take 1/2 star back for the failed attempt to individuality via coining new terms.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kateryna

    So bad, it's (occasionally) good. The author takes outrageously wrong premises and draws weird conclusions that (sometimes) work. As long as people are paying him money for it, well... good for him! So bad, it's (occasionally) good. The author takes outrageously wrong premises and draws weird conclusions that (sometimes) work. As long as people are paying him money for it, well... good for him!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Holly Evans

    This book is taking my people-watching to a whole new level. And making me more aware of how I act and the choices I make.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Denis Vasilev

    Interesting insights about human behaviour, desire, habits. Should be at least twice shorter with same usefulness.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gupte Pratiksha

    Martin Lindstrom, one of the top most branding consultant, a columist for Harvard business review and the one who calls himself a business transformer, tells us about the emotions that are connected with the simple act of buying. A brilliantly written,  well researched, book which pin points the power of small observations in the world of big data. If you are from the field of marketing or computer science and information technology you know that big data is the hot selling cake of the 21st cent Martin Lindstrom, one of the top most branding consultant, a columist for Harvard business review and the one who calls himself a business transformer, tells us about the emotions that are connected with the simple act of buying. A brilliantly written,  well researched, book which pin points the power of small observations in the world of big data. If you are from the field of marketing or computer science and information technology you know that big data is the hot selling cake of the 21st century. The use of permutations and combinations along with numbers to find patterns in buying behaviour is something many top notch companies today are relying upon. However Martin here reinforces how consumers are after all humans. And the substraction of emotions from the entire equation of human action is impossible. This book is a brilliant amalgamation of psychology and marketing. And if you are someone from a science background studying management, this book would be the homecoming you need. It tells you how Martin Lindstrom became who he was. And the effect a childhood disorder had on his observations. Martin Lindstrom, who travels more than 300 nights a year shares his experiences in various countries and what he observed as an outsider.  However said that, it is necessary to give a disclaimer. Some of the observations made by Lindstrom might feel obnoxious and far from truth. His observations for example about India are not the same I have made as an Indian and found them contradictory to the reality. Similar observations have been made by reviewers from countries like Russia amongst other.  But the forward of the book written by 'Chip Heath', clearly mentions that this is not a work of sociology and should not be perceived as such. The observations made in the book are Martin's and should be considered just that. Another point that should be mentioned here is that Martin Lindstrom is not a novel writer. If you are into reading fast paced novels as I am, this book can be a relatively heavy read. Although it is interesting the author has diverted from the main topic on many instances. There are too many details explained at length, a list of too many observations made. In the end of each chapter however all these observations do fall in place, but you have to make yourself turn pages till the end. Overall it is a book full of tiny clues as the author rightfully says and changes the way you think about Marketing. It might be a difficult book for beginners and fiction lovers but it provides you with many insights on consumer buying behaviour. If you are thinking about reading it, I suggest you give it a go. 

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kariuki Njiru

    This book probably deserves 4 stars but it gets three for two reasons. 1. The misleading title that makes you expect some well researched and well thought out ideas. 2. The use of pseudo science to make points. Case in point: When toothbrushes stand in a holder or cup or jar, their owners tend to be less sexually active than not. However, if you are able to overlook these misgivings, what you get are bankable insights from a leading marketing consultant. Plus there are tonnes of anecdotes that wi This book probably deserves 4 stars but it gets three for two reasons. 1. The misleading title that makes you expect some well researched and well thought out ideas. 2. The use of pseudo science to make points. Case in point: When toothbrushes stand in a holder or cup or jar, their owners tend to be less sexually active than not. However, if you are able to overlook these misgivings, what you get are bankable insights from a leading marketing consultant. Plus there are tonnes of anecdotes that will make the book worth the while.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Darren

    Looking deep into things that others might consider irrelevant or not even worthy of consideration to get an idea about a much bigger thing is what the author has done for a living, travelling the world and focussing on the small things, the small questions and the small details. Small data in other words. This book is the author’s story, evangelising why it is important to be like a detective, hoovering up clues here, there and everywhere. This approach has seemingly worked for the author, with Looking deep into things that others might consider irrelevant or not even worthy of consideration to get an idea about a much bigger thing is what the author has done for a living, travelling the world and focussing on the small things, the small questions and the small details. Small data in other words. This book is the author’s story, evangelising why it is important to be like a detective, hoovering up clues here, there and everywhere. This approach has seemingly worked for the author, with him uncovering the secret desires, values, thoughts and needs of customers worldwide that can be transformed into breakthrough product or new business directions for some of the world’s leading brands. Some of the revelations seem very hard to believe. How a teddy bear in a Swiss teenage girl’s bedroom led to a thousand fashion stores in 20 countries being transformed or how the look of a car’s dashboard led to the design of the Roomba automatic vacuum cleaner. Obsessing about the small details certainly has its rewards. This was an enjoyable book that deceptively hides its power behind a series of engaging, gripping stories. You don’t have to have an interest in business to enjoy it, yet for those who do it could be one of those unexpected books that can be the most beneficial and revealing. Just approach it with an open mind. Clearly not every observation or interaction can lead to the next big thing, yet you may still find a lot of marginal, beneficial and appreciable changes in any case. The author notes that the business world is obsessed with ‘big data’ presently, yet as important as it can be, it pays not to ignore the small stuff since big data studies repeatedly said that LEGO would be a declining business due to future generations losing interest in the toy. A reflection by an 11-year-old German boy about an old pair of sports shoes set a chain of thought processes in action that later saw the company change its entire business direction and focus and as we see today, LEGO’s fortunes are going from strength-to-strength instead of declining. All from a chat about a pair of old, scruffy sports shoes… Small things, small data. It is fair to say that there was an initial degree of scepticism towards this book, based on its publicity material and the first few pages, yet this soon dissipated away and it became too hard to put down. It may even encourage you to put down your cell phone or book and just look around sometimes! It is a highly recommended read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Me

    I won this book through FirstReads in exchange for an honest review. I’d rate the book as 4 stars. The only thing lacking was a more detailed account of how the other became world renowned for “small data”. However, the book is a must read as you’ll learn about yourself, others, how products are marketed to us, and how we as consumers determine a product’s final use. Follow along with Martin Lindstrom as he rummages through strangers’ houses, interviews them, and makes countless observations. Th I won this book through FirstReads in exchange for an honest review. I’d rate the book as 4 stars. The only thing lacking was a more detailed account of how the other became world renowned for “small data”. However, the book is a must read as you’ll learn about yourself, others, how products are marketed to us, and how we as consumers determine a product’s final use. Follow along with Martin Lindstrom as he rummages through strangers’ houses, interviews them, and makes countless observations. These observations compose “small data” which he uses to assist companies as they try to target new, current and future customers. The reader not only learns much about small data and how it can be successfully used by companies, but also a great deal about other cultures. The author takes us into homes in China, Japan, Russia, Germany, Denmark, the US, and Dubai. The book is divided into chapters that highlight his past successes with small data and specific companies. For example, from interviewing a 12 year-old German boy, he learns that his most prized possession is a worn down sneaker. Why is that? The sneaker shows, by way of its wear and tear that it was worn by an avid skateboarder. This then leads Lindstrom to suggest to the Lego company that 12 year-olds desire a product that displays their achievement and skill. Lego, who had considered concentrating on larger blocks, instead developed more complex kits, with even smaller blocks. Lego, saw their profits soar among the older kids as they could build and brag about their complex models. The author then takes us on several other “mysteries” where he discovers through small data, what is missing in a particular culture and/or how a product gains and loses customers. Interesting tidbits abound. For example, interviewing Roomba owners, he found that many young males owned Roombas and kept them so that they were visible to company. Later, through interviews, the men listed the Roomba as the top 5 things in their apartments that impressed female visitors. LOL

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kumar Anshul

    In the world of Big Data, Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence, Martin Lindstorm pulls off a convincing case for 'Small Data'- tiny but indispensable clues in consumer behavior that can only be unearthed with careful observation, one-to-one interaction and nuanced deep-diving exercises. Lindstorm has been hired by world's leading brands (Kellogs, Lowes, Lego etc) to turn around their businesses and hence he definitely carries a huge amount of credibility in his suggested methods. He has be In the world of Big Data, Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence, Martin Lindstorm pulls off a convincing case for 'Small Data'- tiny but indispensable clues in consumer behavior that can only be unearthed with careful observation, one-to-one interaction and nuanced deep-diving exercises. Lindstorm has been hired by world's leading brands (Kellogs, Lowes, Lego etc) to turn around their businesses and hence he definitely carries a huge amount of credibility in his suggested methods. He has been a Globetrotter, spending time at consumers' households, shopping malls, supermarkets & so on to uncover people's hidden desires, unmet needs and different facets of their personalities. The cases have been described in extreme detail and there are many 'Wow' moments in the book. You might find some of his methods (where he uses extremely unconventional analogies & inferences to put forward a hypothesis) a bit unconvincing & too far-fetched, but for most of the cases, the book is an absolute delight & a huge learning resource. A must read for marketeers, psychologists & anyone who is interested in consumer behavior. For more reviews, follow my blog on www thebooktrack.wordpress.com

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sukhamaya Swain

    Its the most interesting book that I have come across in recent times. The experience of the writer which spans continents, cities and the rustic, the rich and the poor, the cultural and the scientific temperament, the habitual and the imbibed, lives and livelihood, life and lifestyle, the DNAs and the modified makes it a really interesting read. Whats more important was the ease with which the author shifts from an individual perspective to that of an organisation while narrating the experience Its the most interesting book that I have come across in recent times. The experience of the writer which spans continents, cities and the rustic, the rich and the poor, the cultural and the scientific temperament, the habitual and the imbibed, lives and livelihood, life and lifestyle, the DNAs and the modified makes it a really interesting read. Whats more important was the ease with which the author shifts from an individual perspective to that of an organisation while narrating the experiences. I paused at many places to corroborate the observations in my life and lifestyle. Actually, only if one pauses to observe, one would find that there are billions of small things, small clues, small takes and small picks everywhere and all around us. It is strongly recommended also from sheer knowledge sharing point of view. I not only strongly recommend the same, I also recommend it to be completed in a single sitting.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nadya Zdravkova

    I have now idea why is this guy famous. First of all his "discoveries" are just a firm grasp of the obvious ("Visiting Brazil, I quickly found out that the nation is preoccupied with football and religion"...hello), second his conclusions are so far-fetched and unconvincing ("Roomba customers found the product a way to fill a vacuum of loneliness and insecurity"...really?) and what he does through months of small data collection in a foreign market should be well known facts and insights that ev I have now idea why is this guy famous. First of all his "discoveries" are just a firm grasp of the obvious ("Visiting Brazil, I quickly found out that the nation is preoccupied with football and religion"...hello), second his conclusions are so far-fetched and unconvincing ("Roomba customers found the product a way to fill a vacuum of loneliness and insecurity"...really?) and what he does through months of small data collection in a foreign market should be well known facts and insights that every respectable local creative agency should know and share with their clients. Anyway, if you are in advertising, you should know better about brands, product, consumer experience, consumer insights, etc. If you are not in advertising but need to know more about how to come up with relevant ideas to your customers, there are much better books on the topics and much more impressive case studies than the ones Martin Lindstrom describes in this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    The author is apparently a highly successful consultant /advisor to a number of prominent (or want to be) companies that produce products or services for the retail markets. His task: sniff and snuff around in the opaque cultural muck and uncover discreet clues revealing hidden desires that can be harnessed and exploited for the purpose of marketing products and services. This, he claims, is small data mining, as opposed to the big data mining, which often misses the mark since the elusive clues The author is apparently a highly successful consultant /advisor to a number of prominent (or want to be) companies that produce products or services for the retail markets. His task: sniff and snuff around in the opaque cultural muck and uncover discreet clues revealing hidden desires that can be harnessed and exploited for the purpose of marketing products and services. This, he claims, is small data mining, as opposed to the big data mining, which often misses the mark since the elusive clues are cached in the cloudy chaos of our unconscious, and seemingly irrelevant daily rituals. So far, so good. Big data is the thing these days, it can tell those who collect it what people actually do (and buy, since that’s the main gist here) and not, say, what they really want. This “retro” approach reminded me of some of the brainstorming episodes of “Mad Men” where the ad team members scour their brains and every other available resource to find the right angle for the campaign, this before the advent of The Internet and its endless supply of data. They had to try to get into the heads of their target demographic by other means: personalized research, guile, intuition and of course, the perceptive genius delivered by Don and Peggy. Lindstrom’s approach is similar in a way. The difference is that he tends to rely on a certain cultural dissonance; as a foreigner and outsider, he has the advantage of being able to spot seemingly insignificant behavioral details that insiders overlook. This claim has some validity, although in practice the next problem that arises is how to sift through those details and translate them into unfulfilled desires (and big bucks for his clients). Don’t worry; he has something resembling a method, the 7C Framework , which includes Collecting, Clues, Connecting, Causation, Correlation, Compensation, and Concept. (don’t know if that’s a registered trademark method, but he uses proper noun caps, so…) Now, here is where I have some problems with the content of the book. (Oh, I’ll get to the form later). His collecting is done everywhere, but tends to concentrate in peoples’ homes, especially those tantalizingly intimate places: bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. It seems a valid choice and a good place to start. But what clues does he collect? He readily concedes that it’s often like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack, so he pretty much notes everything, from the color and position of toothbrushes to arrangement of clothes in the closet to fridge magnet displays and themes, and onward. Well, why not? Now comes the connecting, causation, correlation and compensation and voilà, if you do your job right, you can come up with a fabulous Concept that will take off like wildfire and sell, sell, sell. But what are the end concepts he comes up with? (Spoilers ahead!) (view spoiler)[- an upscale shopping center in Saudi Arabia that features waterfalls, canals, birdsong and calm, cool landscape images -a website in Siberia devoted to Russian mothers and children called Mamagazin (Mom’s store) that sells toys -a redo of the faded Lowe’s supermarket chain in the US, featuring Chicken Kitchen and Sausage Works kiosks that stage fake “perpetual bickering” between employees of each, and “chicken dances” whenever a rotisserie chicken is sold -a beachy vibe and a signature ritual (“extra flavor” shot glasses rimmed with flavored powder) for Devassa beer seaside bars in Brazil. -a new, more challenging and labor-intensive Lego building block experience to offset the drop in sales following the boom in console games -etc. So these are some of the ideas/concepts that Lindstrom came up with after amassing his data and connecting the dots, correlating etc. and finally determining compensation for the consumer desire. The Lego example, which was a bold counter-intuitive marketing move, was inspired by a “clue” gleaned from an 11-year-old skateboarder and Lego aficionado. A pair of worn sneakers , the boy’s proudest possession; evidence of his intense, dogged practice and perfection of his board skills, revealed the (hidden) desire of kids to show off mastery of complex challenges. The brilliant take was to use that to Lego’s advantage and create products that required even more time and skill to build, rather than trying to simplify them to capture short attention spans. Honestly, though, aside from the Lego example, the other “Concepts” seem much more prosaic, and I wonder why anyone would have to go data (small or big) mining in the first place to come up with them. Water is alluring to desert dwellers? No kidding. Supermarkets attracting customers with corny spectacles? See it all the time, unfortunately. Gimmicky flavor shots with your beer? Sure, that’s probably fun the first few times. Moms taking pleasure in buying toys for their kids? Mama mia, what a trend. (hide spoiler)] There are more examples, anecdotes, data interpretations (some are silly speculations) and brand analyses; I did find a few interesting or even pertinent bits floating around here and there in the purposefully messy and roundabout way the author chose to present his information. Each chapter begins with a marketing problem, then flies around the world a few times offering related and unrelated anecdotes, points out a few clues or observations, rounds back to another brand experience, then maybe, just maybe, a concept will pop out that is meant to be the point of it all. Swimming in data, I suppose is the effect he was going for, but I found the whole hop, skip, and jump format annoying. I don’t have any particular professional or personal interest in marketing or branding, but I am interested in cultural differences and behavior patterns so I thought this book might be worth reading. It was just an OK read, a kind of pop business/sociology book that did give me some insight into the amount of time and effort companies are willing to spend in order to tap into the consumer’s desires (or exploit their weaknesses) and sell their brands.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bharti Manchanda

    Taking the statistics and examples the author quotes with a pinch of salt, it does make for a fascinating weekend read. There's a clear message at the end of each chapter as you delve into it. The tips may be a bit out of the blue to follow in the current scenarios, the conclusion however is something we have known for a while. Big Data and Small Data need to go hand in hand to make up a call to action for the way ahead. To survive, you need to have both the arrows in your kitty. Relying on one Taking the statistics and examples the author quotes with a pinch of salt, it does make for a fascinating weekend read. There's a clear message at the end of each chapter as you delve into it. The tips may be a bit out of the blue to follow in the current scenarios, the conclusion however is something we have known for a while. Big Data and Small Data need to go hand in hand to make up a call to action for the way ahead. To survive, you need to have both the arrows in your kitty. Relying on one might just leave you blind-sided as someone swoops in to make the most of opportunity you just missed out on.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hakan Jackson

    I came into this book thinking it was a social science book on data. As I read I started to get more and more upset with the lack of scientific standards in this book. Then in accord to me that this book is more of a memoir of Martin Lindstrom traveling the world as a mix of Sherlock Holmes and Don Draper. It was really enjoyable to travel the world vicariously and solve Martin Lindstrom's well teased mysteries. Forget small things like confirmation bias, the rule of small numbers, random sampli I came into this book thinking it was a social science book on data. As I read I started to get more and more upset with the lack of scientific standards in this book. Then in accord to me that this book is more of a memoir of Martin Lindstrom traveling the world as a mix of Sherlock Holmes and Don Draper. It was really enjoyable to travel the world vicariously and solve Martin Lindstrom's well teased mysteries. Forget small things like confirmation bias, the rule of small numbers, random sampling and proper citations. Simply get wrapped up in the adventure!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    A book brimming with titbits of insight and intuition. Lindstrom is like the rain man of data, and lines such as "When I started my first advertising agency at age 12..." only underline his exceptional nature. Read it and make like a modern-day anthropologist. A book brimming with titbits of insight and intuition. Lindstrom is like the rain man of data, and lines such as "When I started my first advertising agency at age 12..." only underline his exceptional nature. Read it and make like a modern-day anthropologist.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Vassilena

    Based on my previous experience with Lindstrom, I truly expected more. It's rather a personal account of interesting events (some of them - very interesting, indeed) than something you can take marketing value out of. But it's cool to see in just how many ways people are weird :) Based on my previous experience with Lindstrom, I truly expected more. It's rather a personal account of interesting events (some of them - very interesting, indeed) than something you can take marketing value out of. But it's cool to see in just how many ways people are weird :)

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