thoughtful observations on titles worth a look
Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create
and Making a Difference
Uncontested Market Space and Make
the Competition Irrelevant
(harvard Business school press 2005)
By W. chan Kim, renée Mauborgne
Speakers face two critical areas of competition: oth-
er speakers and other speakers’ products. Seth Godin
talks about “purple cows,” but W. Chan Kim and Renée
Mauborgne look at it from a different perspective in
Blue Ocean Strategy.
Blue Ocean Strategy is an easy-to-understand instruction
book that carefully explains how to avoid the highly com-
petitive red ocean, which is the space filled with sharks rap-
idly devouring whatever comes their way—hence, its red-
ness. A blue ocean is clear, serene and uncomplicated—it is
not filled with competitors.
As speakers, we not only sell ourselves and our services,
but we also frequently offer various products for sale. In con-
sidering what products to develop and offer, understanding
the competitive landscape and the blue oceans can be criti-
cal. It is self-defeating to launch a product into a red ocean,
where the space is full and there is a lot of competition.
This book can help us do a better job selecting which
products to develop. For the many public speakers who as-
pire to earn money through speaking and products, you will
never again have to answer what sets you apart from the
competition. It will be obvious to your blue oceans.
After failing to
summit K2, m oun-
taineer Greg Mortenson
found refuge in a poor Pakistan
village. The village chief and his family took
him into their home so that he could regain his health.
Impressed with their graciousness, Mortenson made a
commitment to return and build a school for the village.
His initial pledge evolved into a foundation that has built
more than 50 schools in Pakistan’s poorest and most re-
mote mountain regions.
Three Cups of
Tea: One Man’s
Mission to Promote
Peace ... One School
at a Time
By Greg Mortenson and
David oliver relin
Three Cups of Tea recounts one man’s charitable efforts in
a part of the world that most people don’t even know exists.
Mortenson continues to give to a region where he was kid-
napped and held captive for one week, caught in an Afghani-
stan firefight, had two fatwas handed down against him, and
where the Taliban destroyed one of his schools. He strongly
believes that a solution to Islamic hatred of the West is to im-
prove access to education, especially for girls for whom edu-
cation has been condemed by the region’s religious extremists.
Mortenson and co-author David Oliver Relin illustrate
how one person can make a difference—an important mes-
sage to professional speakers. When your message is deliv-
ered with passion, audiences are more likely to open their
ears, minds and, hopefully, their hearts. From the stage, you
have a unique opportunity to influence others. Greg Morten-
son’s stage just happens to be in Pakistan’s mountain regions.
—Jeffrey Rowe, www.jeffreyrowe.com, Knoxville, Tenn.