Scott Donald Carper-Purple Cow

Author of Book: Seth Godin
Date Read: March 25, 2023

Book Report

Why have I read this book?

Changing things up a bit.  Switching to what is supposed to be one of best books on business development.  So how I came to read this is kind of cool.  I finished 75 Hard (a weight loss/life lessons book). I thought that book was quite clever.  That author recommended several books in different areas.  I wrote them down and asked Papa Carps to send them to me here.  I am making my way through the list.  What I liked about his recommendations was that he talked about books on different subjects.  So far all of them have been very educational and well written.  This book is supposed to be very popular. I can see why.  Very creative with fascinating examples of companies that thought outside of the box (and excelled in their own way).  

What have I learned?

What was interesting about this book is it started very slowly.  I almost gave up on it and switched back to another leadership book.  Very glad I didn’t…. about 40 pages in it starts to show its strengths.  

This book focuses on showing that the traditional “P’s” are not working as well as they used to (Products, promotion, publicity, packaging). These marketing tools need a new infusion of creativity to break through 21st century clutter.  They need what Godin calls a “purple cow,” …Godin defines a purple cow as anything phenomenal, counterintuitive, exciting…. or his favorite word…REMARKABLE.  Emulating companies that are consistently remarkable in everything they do will help drive the next level of growth for your company.

This book gives you the blueprint to create products and services that are worth marketing.  There is no shortage of remarkable people who can come up with remarkable ideas.  What’s missing isn’t the ideas.  It is the will to execute them. Maybe you are afraid of change or pushing the limits…. or maybe you don’t want to mess with the money…. alienate your existing customers.  Godin argues playing it safe is the biggest risk.  

If your product or service is likely to be unremarkable…If you can’t imagine a future in which people are fascinated by your product, it is time to realize that the game has changed.  Instead of investing in a dying product (or service) take profits and reinvest them in building something new.  

You can’t know if your “Purple cow,” is guaranteed to work.  You can’t know if it is remarkable enough or too risky.  That is the point.  It is the very unpredictability of the outcome that makes it work.  The lesson is simple…Boring leads to failure. 

There are countless interesting stories in this book that illustrate his point about companies doing innovative things to make the company special.  One of them I particularly liked was about Walmart.  When Walmart was frantically trying to catch up with…what did they have plastered on a banner in their offices?  “You can’t out amazon, amazon.” Love this insight.  Even this mega giant realized that copying amazons’ strengths wouldn’t be sufficient.  Once someone stakes out a limit, you’re foolish to try to beat them.  Know your strengths and play to them.  

“The democrats will never be able to Out-Republican the Republicans, Reebok can’t out-Nike Nike.”  


You must go where the competition is not.     

How will I apply what I have learned?

I am trying to stay as busy as possible….it makes the time fly by.  Lots of people here are coming to me to get my perspective on things. Whether it is legal/business advice/reading a script…I am game if I am interested.  If I’m interested, I sit down with that person and go over whatever it, is they want to discuss.  It is super fun.  I am keeping busy by working on all sorts of projects (from reading scripts, autobiographies, business plans, Legal info) to my RDAP work/newsletters.

One of the core questions we are all asking ourselves here is “what are we going to do when we get out.”  Helping others figure out ways to reinvent themselves or their businesses is something I am very good at.  So that is what I am doing.  This book inspired me to work with some of the people I am closer with here…. helping them reinvent their businesses or themselves.  I am helping write up some business plans using the ideas in this book as part of the equation.  I love creativity which this book has in spades…  So, I am really trying to think outside of the box and help others in the process.