Zag, by Marty Neumeier

June 1, 2019

Zag Cover

Zag is a short, sweet book about the need to differentiate yourself, or service, or your product.

In life, you can either be the best or you can be the first. It is often not just easier, but better for you and everyone else, to be the first.

The author, Marty Neumeier, appears to be in his upper sixties, and looks to have spent forty years working in marketing. As a result, he’s seen and done it all.

And despite the fact that he is in advertising, this may shock people, but it appears that the best advertising is actually the most honest. “Good marketing,” someone once said, “only makes a bad product fail faster.”

We live in an age of clutter, digital clutter, especially. Endless social media, of course, and advertising from our computers, televisions, radios, movie screens—even our friends’ T-shirts and hats. So, how do you stand out?

You complete an “Onliness Statement.” For example, “My ______________ is the only ______________ that ______________.”

Here is an example for a would-be high school basketball athlete. Let’s say you are struggling to become a starter. You could work harder at layups, expert dribbling, and your three-point shot, but the team already has plenty of that. You might work at these things for three hours per day for weeks on end and still not get ahead of the people who already are on the starting squad.

But what if the team is severely defective when it comes to rebounding? Maybe you become the #1 rebounder.

Onliness Statement: “I am the only ______________ for the Meadow West Varsity Basketball Team who ______________.”

“I am the only basketball player for the Meadow West Varsity Basketball Team who rebounds.”

His examples from the business world are many. Harley Davidson is the only motorcycle company that makes big loud adventurous motorcycles in an era of timid non-adventurous stay-at-homeness. Or I could say, “Chipotle is the only Mexican fast casual restaurant that is 100% organic in an age of people wanting fresh, delicious, and non-fake food.”

What’s your zag?

Ironically, other people have expressed this idea, too, for it is merely the need to stand out. On Shark Tank, they ask all the time, “What differentiates your product from the competition?” Seth Godin has a book entitled Linchpin, which has a close idea—what do you do at work, home, or where you seek to contribute that makes you indispensible?

So what makes Marty Neumeier’s book stand out?

Zag is the only book on your niche that gives you 17 excellent questions to work with. Here are the first six:

1. Who are you?

2. What do you do?

3. What’s your vision?

4. What wave are you riding?

5. Who shares the brandscape?

6. What makes you the only?

With sub-questions, there are 51 questions. You probably don’t need to answer them all—but imagine if you did.

* You’d find your best area where you could contribute and build the most.

* You’d be indispensible, perhaps no matter how bad the economy got.

* You’d feel utterly unique.

The Bottom Line.

Perhaps everyone knows they should work hard to make a unique contribution to the world. After all, each person was meant to be priceless gift, irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind. We should value human life, and human contributions.

What Zag does, with its 17 questions (and 51 sub-questions) is it helps you tease out what truly can make you into you.

Zag helps you become your highest possible self.

It doesn’t just say: become unique. It gives you a method that helps you become who you are.

And for that reason, I love it, and have bought copies for about five of my friends.

Link to Zag.


Little Green Book is a newsletter written by Tim Wuebker.  Once a week, Tim describes an astonishing book, a real game changer, and/or a riveting read.  Not only are these books thrilling, sometime they save you time, save you money, and increase your peace. 

No author paid to receive a review.  Tim wrote this for free because he loves these books. 

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