Sometimes It’s Worth Going the Extra Mile (Lessons from Tom Peters)

By • Feb 19th, 2010 • Category: 26th Story, Books

It was about a year ago that Susan Danziger, the brilliant founder of, turned me on to the “success tips” that Tom Peters had been posting on his blog. Reading them was like eating popcorn; once I started I couldn’t stop. But unlike popcorn, Tom’s tips made me want to make something happen.

It was in that spirit that I wrote to Tom on his site, saying that I thought his success tips should be published as a book. To my amazement, Tom actually wrote back, inviting me to visit him at his farm in Vermont. A few days later, after driving through the snow and spending the day with Tom (and his colleague, Erik Hansen, and his wife, Susan Sargent, who provided us with the world’s most delicious sandwiches), my head was spinning with provocative thoughts about business, and books…and we had agreed to give it a try.

I suppose I should have realized that a guy who writes about excellence (“If not excellence, what?”) would push me and the staff of HarperStudio to question all of our book-making assumptions. Why not make the book bright orange instead? Why not do two-color endpapers so “The 19 E’s of Excellence” would have 19 red “E”s? Why not re-write the existing success tips and add new ones, and then re-arrange the whole thing thematically? Why not, indeed?

Tom pushed us to go the extra mile, and now we’re grateful. Because now we’re holding his new, bright orange, chock-full-of-inspiration book, THE LITTLE BIG THINGS, in our hands, and damn if he wasn’t right: a book that tells businesspeople that they should over-deliver should be a book that overdelivers. And this one certainly does so.

Thanks, Tom!!!

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  • Dan Schawbel

    Bob, I've read an early copy and love Tom's new book, although I must express a huge bias because he's my hero and his words inspire me. I think it's interesting that a lot more publishers are putting out books that have several blog posts in them that have already been published. I know Wiley has done this as well. I used to think books were only good if they were linear and that was the differentiator from blogs, which were organized by keyword and date, but random. Tom's works really well because the content is incredible and since all the ideas are around much broader themes.

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  • Bob Miller

    Hey Dan, I'm so glad you liked the book!

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