First things first. I had high expectations from Richard Koch’s ‘The Star Principle’ but the book caused me a lot of chagrin. As someone who has read and liked Koch’s ‘The 80/20 principle‘, I could easily fathom the book Koch intends to write with ‘The Star Principle’ is certainly not the one he ends up with. ‘The Star Principle’ starts off with a clear agenda – how to make you rich but sooner than later, like a bad movie, loses direction and meanders into the ad hominem subject matter and case studies. By the time you make your way to the 6th chapter, ‘The Star Principle’ metamorphoses into a pure marketing book and the author a self-professed red blooded marketer – at least this is how he comes across.
I would have been a tad satisfied if the marketing wisdom shared by the author were original, but much to my annoyance, a good chunk of marketing advice in the book is an unabashed take-off from Jack Trout and Al Ries’ ‘Positioning’ and duo’s other bestsellers. I felt vindicated at the end of the 8th chapter wherein Koch himself acknowledges Al Ries and his daughter Laura being his favorite authors on marketing. His candid admission gives away a lot about his marketing wisdom.
Author digs up BCG’s growth-share matrix and weaves 250 pages around it when he could have easily wrapped up the whole things in a nice, fine-tuned article. The core of the book is centered around the ‘Star’ entity from BCG matrix. For the uninitiated, a star, according to BCG matrix is the largest player in a fast growing niche; a niche growing at an annual clip of 10%. Throughout the book, Koch delivers sermons on the benefits of being associated with a star business either by working for one or by investing in one.
I actually heaved a huge sigh of relief as I finished this book. I am not saying it’s the worst book in the world nor am I the harshest critic of the author. My disappointment with ‘The Star Principle’ emanates from the fact that Richard Koch is the same guy who wrote ‘The 80/20 principle’. Where reading The 80/20 principle had left me stirred, reading ‘The Star Principle’ only made me second-guess the substance of the author. My verdict on ‘The Star Principle’ is mediocre and avoidable. Koch, I like your writing style; I had immensely enjoyed reading ‘The 80/20 principle’ and had recommended it to several of my friends, too. But I think you should never have written ‘The Star Principle’ in the first place.
Finally, some food for thought: In ‘The 80/20 Principle’, Richard Koch cited Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto’s work as instrumental to his success in life. In ‘The Star Principle’, he waxes lyrical about the alchemic aspects of the Star of BCG matrix and also attributes his financial to ‘The Star Principle’. What do you make of these two sweeping yet conflicting claims?