How can you become Steve Jobs, A.G. Lafley, or David Ogilvy? Hint: read this book.
McCracken (Flock and Flow), a research affiliate at Convergence Culture Consortium at MIT, argues that every company needs a chief cultural officer to anticipate cultural trends rather than passively waiting and reacting. CCOs should have the ability to process massive amounts of data and spot crucial developments among an array of possibilities; they will be able to see the future coming, no matter which industry they serve, and create value for shareholders, move product, create profit and increase the bottom line. McCracken provides an impressive list of individuals deeply connected and in tune with the zeitgeist including Steve Jobs, A.G. Lafley, Mary Minnick, Joss Whedon and Johnny Depp—who fought Disney in order to create a campy male lead in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie—as well as such corporations as Starbucks and Nike that have “refashioned culture.” McCracken’s case is persuasive, and his book, peppered with pop culture references and enlivened by his restlessly inquisitive nature (and ability to strike up conversation with just about anyone), makes for enlightening and entertaining reading. (Dec.)