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BOOK REVIEW

Likeable Business
Why Today’s Consumers Demand more &
How Leaders Can Deliver
By Dave Kerpen

Submitted by

KIM ROMMEL E. PANAGUITON


MMBM II

College of Management
University of the Philippines Visayas

25 November 2018

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INTRODUCTION

The advent of the 21st century bought about significant changes on how business
is done in virtually all parts of the globe. The business environment today is in a state of
continuous change, constantly changing both in forms and methods, and going towards
different directions.

Today’s managers are learning to run a business in a highly competitive economic


environment that places much emphasis on the fundamental principles of agility,
responsiveness, productivity, cost reduction, technological innovation, customer service,
quality, and sustainability. Firms of all types and sizes are constantly grappling as they try
to make a mark in a marketplace of fierce competition, fueled by globalization,
technological advancements, and social awareness. The specific methods used by
managers to deal with these challenges differ from one firm to another, but the timeless,
fundamental principles of management remain the same. The end goal is still the same, as
it was in the olden days—to deliver products and services to customers, delighting them,
and thereby delivering profits to the business.
According to Sir Richard Branson, an English business magnate, “focus on your
business strengths and keep its weaknesses away from the competition or public.” Indeed,
many of the world’s most successful CEOs believe that competition is a great opportunity
to focus on one’s competitive advantages to win ground against competitors. In this
regard, foremost attention must be devoted to analyze and understand the various facets
of customer demand, and available resources must be channeled efficiently and effectively
to meet such demand.

To survive today’s competition, what must 21st century managers and employees
do? Should innovation be a primary focus? Are the fundamental principles of management
written in old academic texts still relevant today? Should they focus on marketing, or
operations, or finance? Of these questions, one thing is certain—managers and employees
alike need to understand the customers and business competition better, and maximize
the use of available resources and technologies to further serve stakeholder needs.

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OVERVIEW OF THE BOOK

Likeable Business: Why Today’s Consumers Demand more and How


Leaders Can Deliver is a book written by Dave Kerpen, a New York Times bestselling
author and a company executive, in collaboration with Theresa Braun, a marketing
communications specialist, and Valerie Pritchard, a public relations practitioner. The
books was published in 2013 by McGraw Hill Education Publishing, and is over 200 pages
in length.
Likeable business is a book on business management in general, operations
management, human resource management, and competitive strategy formulation. The
book gives much emphasis on how important it is for today’s business to be liked—by the
customers, its employees, and stakeholders in general. Likeable Business lays out a
number of competitive strategies for a business to increase its sales, earn profits, expand
its operations, and attain overall success. In more specific terms, Dave Kerpen and his
team laid out eleven (11) key business strategies that will make a business more “likeable”
in the 21st century business environment. These strategies are encapsulated in the following
key principles: (1) Listening, (2) Storytelling, (3) Authenticity, (4) Transparency, (5) Team
Playing, (6) Responsiveness, (7) Adaptability, (8) Passion, (9) Surprise and Delight, (10)
Simplicity, and (11) Gratefulness. According to the authors, these eleven strategies
together make for “more likeable leaders, and better, more customer-centric
organizations.” Furthermore, a special emphasis is placed on how social media platforms
such as Facebook® may be utilized to help the business grow and improve on the various
aspects of its operations.
Over the years from its initial publication, the book has received numerous praises
from literary critics and practitioners in the field of management. For one, J. Fields,
another NY Times bestselling author, has this to say:

“Likeability matters. It opens doors and minds and makes everything easier.
But, bow do you ‘build’ a likeable business? In Likeable Business, Kerpen
shares a validated step-be-step path to likeability. A great read for
entrepreneurs and executive alike!”

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BOOK CONTENT, TECHNICALS & ‘READABILITY’

The book starts with an Introduction which blends the some of the author’s real-
life experiences in dealing with business organization, along with some management
basics. The topics discussed in the introduction are very relatable to an ordinary reader
(with or without formal training in business studies), especially to the so-called
“millennials.” The authors goes on to discuss the role of social media in today’s society,
what must be on center stage for every business, the role of consumers in creating a more
likeable world. The authors likewise gives a summary of the eleven principles (strategies)
of a “likeable” business. Interestingly, the introduction presents a “bird’s eye view” of the
whole content of the book, for each of the eleven principles is accompanied by a brief
discussion and some figures/photographs.
The book proper is divided into eleven chapters, where each chapter is dedicated
to each principle. Every principle has a catchy title, and followed with a quote/saying.
Perhaps this is the authors’ way of telling the readers that the book is not very technical
and full of management jargons, and the same promotes a “friendly, light atmosphere.”
For example, Chapter four on Transparency has this as catchy title: “The Truth Shall Set
You Free”; while Chapter five on Team Playing is accompanied by this quote: “There’s no
“I” in Team (or Culture).”
Each chapter has an opening story—a real life story—which illustrates or
exemplifies the importance of the management principle to be discussed. Each chapter
then is divided into eight to ten sub-parts (3 to 5 pages per part), and full of illustrations
and photos. Also, each chapter has a special discussion on the impact of technology on
the firm’s operations, which is a good read for the usual tech-savvy 21st century manager.
Towards the end, each chapter has experiential exercises, “to-do lists” or “action items”
which serve as some sort of a synthesis, and illustrates how the basic principles and
concepts may be applied in real life. This is a good thing, for it allows the reader to take a
self-evaluation of the topics discussed, and this part may also serve as a good material in a
classroom (academic) setting. Lastly, each chapter concludes with some key points to
ponder and internalize. For example, the chapter on Team Playing has a brief closing
discussion titled “There’s no “I” in team, but there’s “I” in Leadership.”

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“How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be
remarkable?” The book ends with a formal Conclusion, where the authors give a wrap-up
discussion of the management principles discussed throughout the main text. Similar to
the introduction and the main content, the conclusion brings in a blend of real-life stories
and on how management principles were applied in specific scenarios. The authors also
gives a futuristic outlook, and leave very personal remarks to the readers, such as “choose
you own likeable adventure” and “this is actually the beginning.”
The book has an Appendix which presents a list of “further readings” for each of
the eleven principles. This part has over eighty reference books for the avid readers to
choose from. Also, each of the specific topics and company names mentioned in the main
text are alphabetically arranged in the Index to help the readers quickly locate the
information they're trying to find.

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SUGGESTED READERS

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