Funky Business- the book

From my list of Tom Peters recommended books, I finished Funky Business over the weekend. The book is written by Jonas Ridderstrale and Kjell Nordstrom, two economists from Sweden. (Disclosure: I may be a little parital. My grandfather immigrated from Sweden in 1921).

I really enjoyed the book and recommend it. Most of the concepts they talk about are not new. The Swedes say the world is a different place and businesses need to act differently. What I really enjoyed is the European perspective on our changing world. My experience is Europeans have a better sense of what is going on globally. I think that comes through nicely in the book.

Here are a couple of interesting excerpts:

Capitalism and Christianity are close relations. We would never have seen capitalism as we know it without the Protestant revolution resulting in a new work ethic. Martin Luther said that we should pray and work – ora et labora in Latin. Work in itself was good, an act of homage, spirit-enhancing and humbling.

The corollary of this is that the actual nature of work is not that important. Work is good. And, if you spend 12 hours working on a machine carrying out repetitive tasks, work is still good. The act of work is good, therefore, you want to and need to work. Luther’s edict produced generation upon generation of self-motivated workers. They wanted to work because work was the route to betterment.

Look elsewhere and value systems are at odds with basic Western concepts. While work was the fulcrum of the Western world – and the basis of our initial industrial pre-eminence- the East embraced its own Luther: Confucius. Luther venerated work; Confucius venerated wisdom. In the Far East, many start to save money for their children’s education before they have even found a partner. In the East wisdom is all. [pg63]

I think we are starting to see Eastern attitudes enter our view of work and occuptions as we look for jobs that are self-fulfilling.

Here is one more I liked:

People have to be treated like rockstars. They are Hollywood stars or sports stars, demanding prima donnas. Upset them at your peril. Lose one and they will all go. Stars attract stars; losers pull in losers.[pg184-5]

I love the idea that employees need to be treated like rockstars. Think of the type of management needed for an employee and the kind needed to handle a rockstar.

Their website is and they mention a new book – Karaoke Capitalism. They talk about the book but don’t give an expected publication date.