• October 3, 2023

The Six Minute Book Summary of The Pursuit of Wow by Tom Peters

The Pursuit of WOW! Free Summary by Tom Peters

Tom Peter’s wrote an excellent piece on his view of the world of business.  In The Pursuit of WOW!  Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-turvy Times,Peters effectively shared his knowledge about business practice as a whole.  Immediately, he captures the attention of his readers by using a second-person perspective.  He did this by using the word “you,” giving a more personal approach making each reader feel as though they are part of an audience or engaging in a real conversation.

Tom tightly holds readers’ attention throughout the entire piece by intricately organizing his tactics.  He did an outstanding job with breaking down many various topics in to small journal-like parts.  Each chapter had many ideas divided into sections and each one of those pieces had headings or taglines.

Peters does a wonderful job explaining the significance of relationships, the meaning of diversity, the importance of empowerment, and the value of mistakes.

Peters expresses the importance relationships and how they build success.  Relationships should be built inside and outside an organization, whether it is with co-workers, family or clients.  Just because someone is high up in their business, it does not mean they are too good to speak with those below them.  Credibility is built through working with others and showing friendliness and concern.

Other successful measures of business are the use of empowerment and diversity.  Corporations need to empower their employees if they want to run effectively and efficiently.  A company will not run as smooth when employees have no authority to control situations.  The intensity of customer satisfaction is tightly rooted by the level of employee empowerment.

Diversity is another tool that is very important for business productivity.  Having a diverse workforce creates more opportunity.  Companies are always trying to improve and innovate themselves.  The best way to generate fresh ideas is through assorted perceptions.  New insights are created by diversity.

Peters also views failure as an opportunity to improve and innovate.  Mistakes are inevitable, and without those errors, companies cannot learn.  Failure is important; it gives companies reason to create new performances or products.  Improvements cannot be made if errors never occur.  When working in business, people must always find ways to alter products to make them better.

Tom expressed in many ways how good business practice can improve everyday life.  People can learn great life experiences just from working with others.  Living in a world with diversity helps create deep levels of respect.  Good work ethics can be learned at work or even at home.  Individuals need to bring forth their learned knowledge to improve their quality of life.]

The Ten Things Managers Need to Know fromThe Pursuit of Wow! 

  1. Managers should laugh at mistakes because they are the blessings of learning.
  2. Managers should know that errors create the steps to innovation.
  3. Managers should begin each day with one goal: outperform the previous day.
  4. Managers should respect employees by correcting their mistakes in private.
  5. Managers should portray the etiquette in which they expect.
  6. Managers should search for criticism about themselves from a third-party.
  7. Managers should strive for diversity.
  8. Managers should value employees more than customers.
  9. Managers should empower their employees.
  10.  Managers should punish inactivity.

Full Summary of The Pursuit of Wow!

In the business bookThe Pursuit of WOW!  Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-turvy Times, Tom Peters, the author, was passionate about his views on the world of business.  He captured my attention instantly by incorporating real-life scenarios (that he either experienced or learned from) that I was able to relate to. Peters begins his novel with striking thoughts and ideas that I not only agree with but also frequently think about.  I adore how he is able to articulate his thoughts, because I could never express such in words.

The novel The Pursuit of WOW!  Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-turvy Times was a pleasure to read.  The author, Tom Peters, did an excellent job of explaining his view on not only the business workforce but also life in general.  He gave me reason to want to change and improve myself, whether I use innovation or alteration.  Tom explained that life gives every person much experience and it is up to each individual to use those experiences to acquire any change that may be desired.

One thing that all people should maintain is their edge.  This “edge” that Tom speaks of can be a good attribute or simply a bad habit.  Smoking, drinking, partying or even working out can be the routine or motivation that keeps people going.  Any habit—good or bad—creates a person’s edge.

When making a change or finding a new edge, Peters suggests doing internal research to make sure that the new substitute maintains not only a good, healthy choice but also a smart one.  So, having an edge can certainly be a good thing.

When evolving yourself, you should make sure that you are driving towards the person you want to be.  You must impress yourself before you can impress another.  In order to make a successful change, practicing new habits is inevitable.  You can start simple if you want.  It will not take long to transform yourself to the way you desire.  Maybe you could schedule a routine or create a new way of life.

Basically, “you’ll either change in a nanosecond—or never (3).”  Sometimes the desire of transformation comes from some drastic occurrence—this happens so quickly, almost out of the blue; however, usually something insignificant can trigger change that is completely unexpected.

Anything and everything can be changed or altered.  Peters believes that it is up to you, as an individual, to compose a logical decision to make your life better.  This can be done by innovating yourself so life, work, and activities are better appreciated and more attainable.

Sometimes change is not needed or noticed until mistakes are made.  Mistakes are errors and errors break the barriers needed to achieve success.  Not only should you laugh about your mistakes, but you should also learn from them.

It is good to alter things, whether it is every once in a while or all of the time.  “Nothing is carved in stone.  Nothing.  Everything is written in sand and is likely to be erased or unrecognizably altered by the next wave or wind that sweeps over it (6).”  That quote, written my Tom Peters, really gives me hope that change is possible.

Now, achieving change is the easy part, but what becomes tricky and feels almost impossible is the strength to maintain change.  Often, when people think back on why they quit a major habit in their life, they cannot pinpoint an exact reason as to why they permanently changed.  It seems as though a miracle occurs in the lives of people for a major change to take place.

Change seems so miraculous when you watch someone else maintain it.  It is those individuals that create a contract with themselves, never to be broken, that give the rest of us hope.  Few people are able to commit to things even when there is a good concrete reason to do so.  These people need to realize that each and every day can be used as a step towards progression.

Peters emphasizes throughout his book that each day of life you should have the goal of beating the previous day.  The building of success occurs by outdoing yourself—each and every day.  “Topping” yesterday will improve you and your business greatly.  You can capture not only your audience but also yourself by beginning a new performance, starting a new approach and trying a different experiment each and every day.

In Tom Peters’s business book, The Pursuit of WOW! Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-turvy Times, I learned that mistakes are inevitable and that being “hard” on people is not always the right answer.  Most people just need some direction; while others might need constructive criticism.

To capture the respect of current employees, managers need to have one-on-one interactions with them, especially when it comes to criticism.  In order to get your point across, it is best to “praise in public” and “punish in private (31).”  It is extremely important to let your workers know when they are doing something incorrectly, but they should be corrected only in a respectful manner.  The best way to talk to an employee is alone, in private, away from other peers so you do not inadvertently embarrass them.  If you want your employees to respect you, then you must respect them.

It is okay to mess up… mistakes happen!  Mistakes are actually blessings that can be learned, fixed, and/or changed.  It is good practice to “honor your errors” so you are able to progress (3).  Failure is important… it is the only true way to learn and make a change to advance forward whether it is a step or a leap.

As a manager, you should always punish inactivity.  It is one thing for someone to make a mistake or fail at making attempts, but it is completely unacceptable when no attempt is made at all.  Success should be rewarded and activity, even if executed improperly, should also be rewarded.  It is only fair to punish those that do not try at all.  No single person is perfect, mistakes happen and problems occur.  However, it is the people that exuberate little to no effort that cause the real problems.

Really, the people that expunge no effort are the ones that deserve harsh punishment.  Employees that intentionally do not to their job or carelessly complete task or show no attempt to achieve any form of completion are worthless.  Some people just do not care about their job.  It is the workers that have no initiative to even do the minimal amount of work necessary to complete their task that deserve punishment.

Leadership is something that everyone should try to portray.  The best way to show this is by doing what is right.  You should also try to do your very best.  Sometimes, you need to be harsh with those that show no care or concern.  An effective leader takes the initiative to show productivity while delicately commanding others.

Even though good employees are great at creating leadership roles, they need to be careful not to abuse the power they might be given.  The last thing these employees need is to become the enemy of every person under them.  When power is abused from employees that are higher up, whether it is managers, CEOs, or just assistants, the morale of the entire company will be destroyed.

Sometimes you may feel so powerful that you forget your purpose.  When you become “the top of the heap” you need “to keep in touch with reality” by talking to someone that is an outsider (47).  It is a good practice to have someone that can keep you in check and fill your head with honesty so your actions are able to get good, accurate feedback.  This outsourced friend needs to be someone that not only gives you constructive criticism but also someone that you respect enough to take all criticism in a beneficial manner.

Most managers get upset when their employees do things like show up late or dress inappropriately.  The best way to get your point across to what is acceptable in your organization is to act as the leader that you want your workers to follow.  By showing “up for meetings on time or early” and dressing conservatively and being “prepared as hell,” you will show your employees the etiquette in which you expect from them (44).

Until reading Peter’s business book, I did not realize the importance of diversity.  I always knew it was a big deal but never understood exactly why.  All Managers should strive for diversity in their company.

The more diversity you have in your business, the more diverse perceptions you have for growth and expansion.  Understanding the importance of diversity can help elevate a company.  Incorporating this realization helps managers do a better job with “creating a corporate ethos that brings out the diverse workforce’s full potential (220).”

Having diversity creates new ideas, which can ultimately help company exploration.  “Diversity is an awesome opportunity as opposed to a problem (221).”  Is might as well be proven that “diversity creates one and only one thing: opportunity (19).”

Peters made several excellent points supporting the awesomeness of diversity.  Even the disabled create efficiency in the workforce.  “Companies like McDonald’s who have been smart enough to hire the handicapped, for example, have had incredible results—like employees going years without a late day(239).”  Managers need to realize that “the world is loaded with talented disabled people” who are completely capable of positively impacting their business (239).

This book showed me how all employees, diverse or not, is the running force of business.  With no workers, no business operation is efficient.  Each and every employee should not only be viewed as an asset but also treated as one.

Even though we are all taught that customers are always right, this is not always the case.  Customers, even though extremely important, need to be put in their place.  By “place,” I mean order or rank… like behind or under employees.  Without valued employees a business will not work properly.  Employee happiness should be one of the top priorities of a business; attaining these employees is another.

If employees feel they are not treated right, then they have no incentive to care for customers and if customers feel unimportant the company is in big trouble.  Basically, the treatment of employees trickles down (usually quite similar in nature), to the customers, which can be either very good or extremely bad.  “If you genuinely want to put customers first, you must put employees more first (55).”

It is always a good practice to let people know when they do well.  Expressing consideration of others goes a long way.  When someone goes out of their way to complete a task or takes initiative by doing something extra, make sure you let that person know how appreciative you are.  Even if someone does the bare minimum, you should still thank them.  People feel important when their efforts are noticed.

The best way to show appreciation for another being is through a “thank you” note.  People need praise for their hard work and efforts.  “Positive reinforcement goes a long way (28).”  By writing a dual sentence note of courtesy, you could make someone’s day, week, year, or even his or her existence!  “People don’t forget kindness (28).”  It is important to hand write your appreciation through pen and paper as a short message rather than send an e-mail or make a telephone call.  Notes in writing are more meaningful to the receiver because “writing a note demonstrates a level of effort (28).”

Companies should take the approach of thanking their customers.  One way they could express thanks is through making a readable instruction manual.  Companies who make products, like technology, need to make an effort to consider how their customers would go about using them.  Often, many people have much trouble with using manuals when trying to figure out how to work the product they just bought.

Almost everything that we buy today comes with an instruction manual.  However, there are very few manuals that are legible.  I cannot remember one manual that resulted in being helpful.  In fact, I do not even bother looking inside manuals anymore because they are so scattered with product categories and topics in the most unobvious places.  Most manuals are so difficult to decipher that they end up confusing the user even more.  Opening a bad manual is like coming across an unwanted jigsaw-puzzle.

The Pursuit of WOW!  Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-turvy Times was very interesting and taught me many life lessons.  Before reading the novel, I expected to hear all the ins-and-outs of business, but Tom Peters made it so much deeper than that.  He incorporated real life business scenarios in a way that could be understood by those who are not in the business field.  Everything that Peters talked about can be used in everyday life.  His ideas and principles should be carried out on a daily basis no matter what your living and/or working situation is.

Peters did an excellent job in capturing my attention from the first sentence I read.  Not only then, but also later he manages to thoroughly entice my desire to continue reading until completely finished.  Peters wrote the novel as though he was actually speaking.  His grammaticism was tactfully used in acquiring and attaining my full attention.

Personal Insights

First, choose one of the following two bullet items to write about (or both if you choose to):

Why I think:

  • The author is one of the most brilliant people around…or is full of $%, because:
  1. Tom Peters was brilliant in his book The Pursuit of Wow! Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-turvy Times.  Mr. Peters quickly captured my attention and held it tightly throughout his entire piece by using words like “you.”  Tom wrote that good business practice can improve everyday life.  Good life experiences can be learned and attained from working with and under individuals who value and show respect and ethics.
  • With business conditions today, what the author wrote is – or is no longer true – because:

Everything that Peters wrote about involving good business practice is consistent with business conditions today.  We need innovation, diversity, empowerment, relationship building, and leadership in the world of business.  Tom spoke about each of those things in great depth with vast intelligence and compassion.

Then, all of the following bullet-items are mandatory to write about:

  • If I were the author of the book, I would have done these three things differently:
  1. I would have written in a more professional manner.  Tom Peters used many words that are not in the English language.  Much “slang” was used and there were contractions throughout the entire piece.
  2. I would not have sworn.  If there is one thing I learned at the College of Business, it would be that curse words are extremely out of place when dealing with business.  Peters said “all sorts of crap” like “don’t be a smart-ass” and “I’d wear the bastards down (39; 44; 45).”
  3. Another thing that I did not care for was Tom’s tangents about politics.  Throughout the entire book, Peters referred to historical events and famous politicians.
  • Reading this book made me think differently about the topic in these ways:
  1. I never realized the importance of a “Thank You” note before reading Tom’s book.  It never dawned on me how much more meaningful it is to hand-write a note of appreciation.
  2. I never thought that having an “edge” was a good thing.  I always viewed it as a negative connotation, but really it can be a good thing that separates one apart from others.
  3. I gained a whole new perception about instruction manuals after reading The Pursuit of Wow.  Most of the time I do not even bother looking at one, but from now on I will take notice of the manuals that I can actually use and understand.
  • I’ll apply what I’ve learned in this book in my career by:
  1. The Pursuit of Wow!  Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-turvy Times taught me that I need to incorporate my working efforts all the time, whether I am at work itself or anywhere else.
  2. Someday with my career, I might have to make some changes.  When I have to make that change I will evolve myself and make sure that I drive towards the person that I need to become.
  3. I now know that I need to impress myself before I can impress my employer.
  • Here is a sampling of what others have said about the book and its author:

“What others (scholarly and magazine reviews – along with on-line reviews – not simply reviews off the back of the book) have said about the book and its author?”

Many people claim that reading books by Tom Peters caused a change in their lives.  Others say that Peters contradicts himself, making his opinions worthless.  Tom is said to be very enthusiastic and passionate in The Pursuit of Wow!  Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-turvy Times.  Critics claim that the “added value” of the book is missing because it is almost like reading a lecture.  Many pages are filled with “talk notes” including overused hyphenated words (that do not actually exist), words that are completely capitalized, and several exclamation points clumped together.  Things are repeated over and over again and it is transparently difficult to read.  On the upside, Tom is witty and has good ideas about innovation and diversity.

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