Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On, and Others Don't

Kevin Maney, Author, Jim Collins, Foreword by Broadway Books $23 (217p) ISBN 978-0-385-52594-7
Joining the nonfiction tradition of redefining simple concepts in terms of more complicated ones, technology journalist Maney presents theories of fidelity (consumer experience) and convenience (ease of getting/using products) to explain the success or failure of marketable goods. Terms like ""fidelity swap"" and ""fidelity belly"" are rife, but Maney's explanations boil down to the conflict between ego gratification and straight-up laziness: visit McDonalds, and you get an easy (cheap) meal while impressing nobody; attend Harvard and you'll impress people, but at an inconvenience cost of hard work and big money. Maney's plethora of examples range from Wal-Mart and Starbucks to newspapers and fashion labels: ""A big part of fidelity is derived from a product's aura and identity... thus, $20,000 for a Hermes bag."" Some honest insights do crop up-""High convenience is not about love, but about need... about habit""; ""Mass is about convenience, and luxury is about fidelity. They can't coexist""-which might clue in general readers to the forces behind their shopping choices, but should prove old hat for experienced business readers.
Reviewed on: 09/14/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 217 pages - 978-0-385-52595-4
Open Ebook - 121 pages - 978-0-307-58946-0
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