The Little Big Things

The Little Big Things : 163 Ways to Pursue EXCELLENCE

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"It is [Tom] Peters-as consultant, writer, columnist, seminar lecturer, and stage performer-whose energy, style, influence, and ideas have [most] shaped new management thinking." -Movers and Shakers: The 100 Most Influential Figures in Modern Business "We live in a Tom Peters world." -Fortune Magazine Business uber-guru Tom Peters is back with his first book in a decade, The Little Big Things. In this age of economic recession and financial uncertainty, the patented Peters approach to business and management-no-nonsense, witty, down-to-earth, insightful-is more pertinent now than ever. As essential for small-business owners as it is for the heads of major corporations, The Little Big Things is a rousing call-to-arms to American business to get "back to the basics" of running a successful enterprise.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 576 pages
  • 149.86 x 213.36 x 43.18mm | 703.06g
  • HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • HarperBusiness
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0061894087
  • 9780061894084
  • 112,514

Back cover copy

#131 The Case of the Two-Cent Candy

Years ago, I wrote about a retail store in the Palo Alto environs--a good one, which had a box of two-cent candies at the checkout. I subsequently remember that "little" parting gesture of the two-cent candy as a symbol of all that is Excellent at that store. Dozens of people who have attended seminars of mine--from retailers to bankers to plumbing-supply-house owners--have come up to remind me, sometimes 15 or 20 years later, of "the two-cent candy story," and to tell me how it had a sizable impact on how they did business, metaphorically and in fact.

Well, the Two-Cent Candy Phenomenon has struck again--with oomph and in the most unlikely of places.

For years Singapore's "brand" has more or less been Southeast Asia's "place that works." Its legendary operational efficiency in all it does has attracted businesses of all sorts to set up shop there. But as "the rest" in the geographic neighborhood closed the efficiency gap, and China continued to rise-race-soar, Singapore decided a couple of years ago to "rebrand" itself as not only a place that works but also as an exciting, "with it" city. (I was a participant in an early rebranding conference that also featured the likes of the late Anita Roddick, Deepak Chopra, and Infosys founder and superman N. R. Narayana Murthy.)

Singapore's fabled operating efficiency starts, as indeed it should, at ports of entry--the airport being a prime example. From immigration to baggage claim to transportation downtown, the services are unmatched anywhere in the world for speed and efficiency.

Saga . . .

Immigration services in Thailand, three days before a trip to Singapore, were a pain. ("Memorable.") And entering Russia some months ago was hardly a walk in the park, either. To be sure, and especially after 9/11, entry to the United States has not been a process you'd mistake for arriving at Disneyland, nor marked by an attitude that shouted "Welcome, honored guest."

Singapore immigration services, on the other hand:

The entry form was a marvel of simplicity.

The lines were short, very short, with more than adequate staffing.

The process was simple and unobtrusive.


The immigration officer could have easily gotten work at Starbucks; she was all smiles and courtesy.




And . . . yes!

There was a little candy jar at each Immigration portal!

The "candy jar message" in a dozen ways:

"Welcome to Singapore, Tom!! We are absolutely beside ourselves with delight that you have decided to come here!"




Ask yourself . . . now:

What is my (personal, department, project, restaurant, law firm) "Two-Cent Candy"?

Does every part of the process of working with us/me include two-cent candies?

Do we, as a group, "think two-cent candies"?

Operationalizing: Make "two-centing it" part and parcel of "the way we do business around here." Don't go light on the so-called substance--but do remember that . . . perception is reality . . . and perception is shaped by two-cent candies as much as by that so-called hard substance.

Start: Have your staff collect "two-cent candy stories" for the next two weeks in their routine "life" transactions. Share those stories. Translate into "our world." And implement.

Repeat regularly.


(Recession or no recession--you can afford two cents.)

(In fact, it is a particularly Brilliant Idea for a recession--you doubtless don't maximize Two-Cent Opportunities. And what opportunities they are.)
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Review quote

"Those who want to improve their business, whether a boss or an employee, will find great ideas in this compelling and very browsable book." -- Library Journal "If you truly believe `excellence' is what Tom Peters is all about, then you will buy this book, read it, learn from it and go away confirmed in your belief. Tom's 163 tips are validated through experience again and again." -- Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Leader in Me "The single best management book I've ever read." -- Warren Bennis
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About Thomas J. Peters

Thomas J. Peters, "uber-guru of business" (Fortune and The Economist), is the author of many international bestsellers, including A Passion for Excellence and Thriving on Chaos. Peters, "the father of the post-modern corporation" (Los Angeles Times), is the chairman of Tom Peters Company and lives in Vermont.
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Review Text

"Those who want to improve their business, whether a boss or an employee, will find great ideas in this compelling and very browsable book." Library Journal
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Rating details

914 ratings
3.92 out of 5 stars
5 36% (331)
4 33% (305)
3 20% (187)
2 7% (63)
1 3% (28)

Our customer reviews

The Big Little Things is bold and brash, in content and format. Taken from 'success tips' posted to his blog the book is a list of short, sharp ideas, thoughts and rants of whatever was most on his mind at the time and is presented with lots of large, bold attention grapping typeface with lots of repetition to make sure you have got the point. Once I'd got used to the style I found that it worked well. The book isn't intended to explore thoughts and ideas in great deal and it certainly isn't a prescriptive approach to improving your business. It is intended to help you think and act on little things that actually make business work so much more effectively and efficiently. Some of the little things include, thanking people, apologising and being punctual but with so much more as well. You may not agree with or act on all these ideas but I'd say everybody should be able to take away enough reminders of just how important little things can be to justify investing the time and cost in this book. After all, we all what to be Excellent, don't we?show more
by Andrew Ritchie
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