Reading List: Small Data

Martin Lindstrom is not only the author of perceptive (and cleverly titled) books such as Buyology and Brandwashed , he’s also a branding consultant for many of the biggest and most famous brands in the world. His new book, Small Data , is filled with evidence from Lindstrom’s branding work proving that Big Data—masses of online consumer information—is not enough. The up-close, personal research Lindstrom calls small data is needed, too.

Small Data opens with the turnaround of Lego, a company so successful today that it’s a shock to discover it was in danger of crashing in the early 2000s. Big Data analysis always reached a dismal conclusion: “Future generations would completely lose interest in Lego.” But Lindstrom, in one of his small data studies, noticed a boy’s scuffed sneaker, the result of the boy’s passion for skateboarding. This led Lindstrom to conclude that kids would not abandon traditional toys and inspired Lego to reject Big Data analysis, focusing on its core products instead. By 2014, Lego passed Mattel as the world’s top toy maker.

By Martin Lindstrom
February; St. Martin’s; $26

 

This article appears in the February 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.

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Chauncey Mabe is a freelance writer, book critic, and blogger in Miami, Fla. For 23 years he served as Book Editor and Senior Entertainment Writer at the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. He was Book Blogger for the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, the parent organization of Miami Book Fair International, from 2009 to 2012. He also blogs for the Betsy Hotel South Beach hotel, which sponsors literary events year round. His reviews and feature stories have appeared in publications such as the Toronto Globe & Mail, the Serving House Journal, Inspicio, the Palm Beach Arts Paper, the Baltimore Sun, the Juneau Empire, and the Chicago Tribune.

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