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This truly is a tour de force that deserves the potent descriptors of "groundbreaking" and "defining a management discipline."
This may be a challenging read, not due to the writing per se, but because of the newness and depth of the subject. Gilmore and Pine's take on authenticity is novel enough that the reader may not have the mental hooks in their management theory framework to immediately hang the new ideas. But this is exactly what I would expect from the definition of a new management discipline.
The book builds the case for authenticity as a dominate consumer sensibility. From there, the construct framing the realness and fakeness of economic offerings forms the foundation for all that follows. Rendering authenticity takes authenticity out of the realm of ambiguity and into the realm of explicit definition. This process addresses the essence of business-organization identity and the underpinnings of the value of its offerings. The author's approach to rendering authenticity is a uniquely substantive approach to 1) exploring and defining your identity, what it is "you will be true to", 2) defining your total offering "to be what it says it is," and 3) the possibility of joining these two together for greater synergy, forming a more powerful authentic offering.
The book culminates with an approach to acting into the future. This approach employs the authenticity framework and the juxtaposition process used to understand and render authenticity, but extends it to explore an unlimited number of dimensions to spur the creation of novel value.
This book is a `must read' for those responsible for strategy and creating unique value in businesses of all types.
Having read and marked up their first book multiple times, what I've come to appreciate is the depth of thinking by Pine and Gilmore. Their view takes time to absorb and apply and is much richer than the typical business text. This one's a far cry from books like "Who Moved My Cheese?"
Written much like a textbook, "Authenticity" is full of insights and pearls that will take us a long time to unpack. The journey picks up right where EE left off and takes us down the path of understanding how consumers make decisions in the Experience Economy. I've already dog-eared and marked up many pages and am finding that the footnotes themselves are like a book within a book.
The authors aren't afraid to cite other experts in their effort to bring a new language to the discussion on authenticity. In my own attempts to explain this concept to others, I have found truly helpful the concept of "I like that. I'm like that," which they attribute to Virginia Postrel (pp. 93-94 and chapter 5 footnotes 65-66).
Like its predecessor, this new text is one to savor and think about. It's value to those of you engaged in the Experience Economy will only increase over time.
According to this book, today consumers want authentic experiences in memorable events that engage them in an inherently personal way such as being real, original, genuine, sincere, and deliberately and sensationally staged experiences. I really liked the ideas of authentic experiences in this book.
This book is an amazing parody of the genre of marketing books -- you know, the kind that create simple, persuasive theories and then extrapolate them to ridiculous lengths. For most of the book, I wasn't sure exactly where they were going. While their persistent trumpeting of Starbucks, the Hard Rock Cafe, and the Geek Squad as paragons of authenticity was certainly humorous, it wasn't until their laugh-out-loud masterstroke in the concluding chapter that I realized what was going on. I won't give it all away, but as an example, here are there suggestions for making the Winter Olympics more "authentic" -- (a) making checking illegal in Olympic hockey games, (b) make Olympic hockey mandatorily co-ed, and (c) judge Olympic speedskating on style as well as speed. Pretty Onion-worthy, and praise doesn't get higher than that in the world of parody.