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Originally published on Monday, July 18, 2005 in The Miami Herald

Author heeds call to re-imagine his book.
Business guru Tom Peters re-imagines the presentation of his wisdom in a new series of books.

Tom Peters Essentials (four volumes: Design, Leadership, Talent and Trends). Tom Peters. Dorling Kindersley Limited. 160 pages (each).
Buy Leadership

Did Tom Peters, the veteran business visionary, guru, exalted author extraordinaire and consultant to the stars actually heed my advice?

Probably not. No way. Impossible. Not a chance.

But, maybe . . .

When Peters' last full-length opus was released back in November 2003, I was dazzled, literally and figuratively. It was packed tightly with terrific insights and information, but actually reading it was another matter entirely. In my review , I wrote: ``The book employs a dizzying array of styles and layouts meant, perhaps, to evoke the disjointed, disparate experience of Web surfing. Peters is clearly [well, maybe not clearly] attempting to present his writing in a new and exciting style, and while it is fun to look at, a more linear, less chaotic approach might have served the material better.''

A few weeks ago -- and a year-and-a-half after the book's release -- I discovered that Peters, perhaps of his own volition or maybe at the urging of his agent or publisher, had reduced and redacted elements of Re-Imagine into more digestible and comprehensible units.


The four ''re-imagined'' volumes are slick, slender and won't make you seasick. They are also very nicely presented, but not just as decorative works. Like many (if not all) great products, the design complements and enhances their functionality.

Peters didn't merely reconfigure and repackage existing material. It's obvious that he gave each subject a ''checkup from the neck-up,'' as an old boss of mine used to say. But he freely re-purposed ample material from Re-Imagine, which is quite wise. There was just too much worthwhile stuff therein to abandon to the previous book's challenging format.

The selection of topics -- Design, Leadership, Talent and Trends -- was no accident. Peters' emphasis on these aspects of business reflects his belief that they are the defining forces for sustainable growth and success.

Trends includes a heavy helping of new material by Martha Barletta and focuses on women as an underserved market segment. It's very good -- but rather obvious, at least to an enlightened pro-feminist such as myself. But for the determinedly clueless, Peters and Barletta provide ample reasons for marketing to this lucrative segment. They also go after the ''boomer-geezers,'' citing David Wolfe's Ageless Marketing, an excellent study of another underserved, active and affluent demographic.

Overall, Peters' new-ish books are worthwhile and much more useful than the earlier, larger work. Good idea, Tom, wherever it came from!

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