Although Aristotle had it wrong in saying that we have five senses, when in reality we have far more than five, he did manage to call attention to one of the miracles of life – our sensory selves. In animals, it’s that sensory self that is the key to life and death, failure and success, joy and sorrow. The sensory part of a business is the research it does, that reaching out beyond ourselves to learn. That’s why it is an endless process, one that must be engaged in continuously.
If you’re to be a successful spouse, it’s not as important to know everything about marriage as it is to know something about your partner. Similarly, if you’re to be a success in business, your job is more about understanding your customers and prospects than about knowing everything about management. The truth is we all dwell in the environs of the future and research is the only way to learn how to live there.
The toughest part of research, as in writing and painting, is to know when to stop. Those who practice the art of research with the touch of a Rembrandt are masters at learning what is essential and not fuzzing their minds and messages with unnecessary details. Bob and Gerry, in this masterpiece of a book, tell you what you need to know, invite you to wade in a bit deeper, but never let you waste your time in the shallows or get in over your head.
What they’ve left out of this book doesn’t deserve to be here in the first place, and what they’ve included should bask in the golden glow of a yellow hi-liter because it is that crucial to the success of your company. I don’t want to tell you to toss all your other books on research away, but I am sorely tempted to because of the innate quality and in-depth insights of this one.
I have this feeling that when you’ve completed reading this book, you’ll have your own feeling that your competitors are operating with blindfolds on.
Jay Conrad Levinson