It’s not often that I enjoy a book so much that I feel compelled to write a book review. In fact, if you look back across my blog, I’ve just realized, you’ll find exactly zero book reviews (all I’ve done up to now is make a list of my favorite books). That’s about to change. From now on, I’ll be sharing my favorite books with you and telling you exactly why I like them so much, plus I’ll be interviewing many of the authors in the upcoming, revamped Business in Blue Jeans Radio show (more on that in another blog post).
One of the things you should know before ever reading this book is that Mitch Joel is smart. He doesn’t just think about the now; he thinks about where things are going and where disparate concepts and ideas and movements will converge. In fact, that’s what Ctrl-Alt-Delete talks about, at least in part.
And that’s why Ctrl-Alt-Delete is a must-read. Whether you’re in business for yourself or work for a company, this book has information you need to know to remain relevant and indispensable in the current and future economy. And when you’re looking around you, seeing businesses closing their doors and people losing jobs, that’s crazy powerful data that can make all the difference to your future.
Section One: Reboot: Business
In this section, Joel covers five key movements:
- Building direct relationships with “nonlinear,” and “squiggly” customers
- Utilitarianism marketing
- The convergence of passive and active media
- The shift from analytics and data to “brand-consumer marriage”
- The evolution from multiple screens down to one screen
Joel not only explains each movement and what it means for business, how we think about our clienteles, and how we market, but he also includes several lessons that are very practical and applicable to business at any scale.
This section is superbly useful for entrepreneurs and business owners who are looking to continue to be relevant and to serve clientele more effectively in the future. It’s not precisely that Joel tells you what to do in this section (or any other), so much as he enlightens you and opens the door to how you should think. And that, my friends, is how you figure out what to do.
Section Two: Reboot: You
In this section, Joel starts with a reboot of your thinking by recommending a “digital-first posture.” Meaning, of course, that you understand that “the first place consumers go when making a business decision is to their computers, smartphones, and/or tablets.”
But it’s not just about being digital, it’s also about simplicity, kindness, and our very humanity. That’s the thing that makes this book great. Joel successfully merges life lessons with good business in a way that makes it clear that being a good human being who’s enlightened about where we’re heading can yield a much better chance of success…and that’s just a good way to show up in the world anyway.
(My favorite part, of course, is the last part of Chapter 6, called “Leaning Into It,” in which it becomes abundantly clear that Joel and I agree completely on my “Leaning Into Your Marketing” concept. Yay, Mitch!)
Joel also talks about careers and how, as an employee, you’re going to have to become a lot more “squiggly” (you’ll have to read the book to understand what that means), entrepreneurial, mobile, and indispensable. Good news: Joel tells you how to do just that.
And if you’re on the verge of losing your job (and if you listen to Joel, you probably are), there’s a whole chapter just on “startup mode,” and moving from a job to “the work that you were meant to do.”
Just as with the first section, in the second section, each chapter comes with several lessons that are extremely practical and actionable. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say it’s a blueprint for what to do—Joel’s a bit too cerebral for that, so you do have to take the next steps yourself—but it’s not far from that, if you’re a person who can take lessons and put them into action.
If you’re already savvy to everything in the first two sections (but really, who among us has embraced all of the lessons in this book? I’d wager…few to none) and curious about what’s coming next, then the last chapter will be of great interest. And in fact, if you want to start thinking deep and planning for the future, then you won’t want to miss that chapter.
The fact is, I’ll be studying this book for a long time to come. It’s a great book. I do, however, think that there’s a need for balance…sort of like…after reading this book for a couple of hours, I felt like I needed to go outside to my garden, smell the tomato plants, and get my hands in the dirt. Joel’s ideas are brilliant and worth way, way more than the price of admission…but while I believe that he’s right about our digital future, I can’t help but also think that we’ll see an increase in the need for more and more tactile and real experiences in certain segments of our population. Because as much as digital is now and in the future, fundamentally, we’re still human beings who need contact and tangible connection in the real world, too. It’s the merging of digital and real that we have to come to terms with, so that, as businesspeople, we leverage the power of technology without losing our humanity. That, I think, is the real takeaway from Ctrl-Alt-Delete.
P.S. Thank you, Mitch, for including one of my tweets on the last page of this book. I’m FAMOUS! 🙂