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Book Review: Nanovation
Friday, March 16, 2012 | Dan Beaulieu, D.B. Management Group

A book recommendation from Dan Beaulieu.

Nanovation:
How a Little Car Can Teach the World to Think Big
By: Kevin and Jackie Freiberg with Dain Dunston
C
opyright 2011 Thomas Nelson Printers
Kindle edition price: $13.99
Hard copy price: $24.99

This is a gem of a book; actually, it's two very interesting books in one. The first book tells story of the Nano--the world’s first and only car that sells for approximately $2,000. The second is a management book detailing how Tata Motors, a company with a conscience, achieved the impossible. An argument could be made for a third book--a fascinating biography of an extraordinary man and leader, Ratan Tata.

The book begins on a rainy day in 2002 when Tata observed a family of four crowded on one beat-up old scooter and realized how dangerous this was. He also had vision for a car that would be comfortable for this family as well as affordable at $2,000. The book continues on to describe the car's debut and includes interviews with satisfied drivers and their families. It is an amazing journal of how one man and his company made the impossible possible.

I think the most important part of the book is its message of making the world a better place. Tata drives his company to make things that will be good for people: things that will make their lives better and safer. In other words, business can be very simple: “Produce good and useful products and the world will beat a path to your door.” Where have we heard this before?

The authors not only tell the story but also discuss “nanovation,” which they describe as:

  • Born from the desire to make the world better.
  • Begins with clearly defining a problem.
  • Something that sees problems as invitations.
  • Action oriented. If you see a problem, act on it.
  • People who frequently ask “What if?”

One needs only to look at Apple to know that they have it right. Just like Apple with its wildly successful iPhone--a product that is so good that people line up for hours to buy the newest version--the Nano has people lining up clutching their life savings in their hands waiting for the opportunity to buy their first car. Think of the freedom and independence this represents to them!

The Nano had more pre-production orders than any car in automotive history. Not bad for a $2,000 car--a car that costs less than the stereo/navigation systems in most luxury cars!

This book offers the best of both worlds: A great and valuable business lesson, nay a life lesson, and a good, fun read. Do yourself a favor and read this one.


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