Chief Culture Officer now out (an appeal and an outline)

McCracken-Chief Culture Chief Culture Officer is formally being published today.

Prepublication sales have been strong. We got to #2900 on the Amazon rankings and now hover around #25k.  

With an excerpt in Ad Age and a guest post in the Harvard Business Review and several interviews, profile has been building. We got a starred view in Publisher's Weekly.  I have given CCO talks in Boston, New York City, San Francisco, Detroit.  I will be on the road most of January doing the same.  The Ning site is up and running. is in place.  The social media machinery is cranking up. 

Several people have made heroic efforts promoting the book.  A special thanks to Brad Berens and Howard Goldkrand for the astuteness of their advice and the generosity of their contacts.

I am asking you, dear reader, if you would stand up and be counted.  For a slender book, Chief Culture Officer has surprisingly grand ambitions.  It hopes to remake capitalism.  It hopes to change the face of the corporation.  It hopes to make our culture more interesting, inventive, and explosive.  

None of this is going to happen unless you are prepared to act as a booster and a buyes.  At risk of sounding like a PBS funding raising drive, please pick up the phone or click right here.  Consider buying copies for your clients and your patrons! (It makes a lovely Christmas, Hanuka, Kwanzaa gift.  I know this because everyone in my family is getting one.)

And now a small gesture of reciprocity (in this the new gift economy.

Long term readers of this blog will have watched while I struggled to formulate the ideas now appearing in published form.  They will remember when I made a call for anyone who knew agents and publishers in the publishing world.

It was frustrating trying to get momentum.  The fact that I had recently moved from Canada meant that my connections were especially modest.  

I learned that the right proposal was key for my hopes of finding a publisher, but I wasn't sure how to write one.  In the interests of helping other writers who are trying to "break into the biz," I am appending the proposal that helped win me a contract at Basic Books.  

I should say this is not the first edition, but the sixth.  My editor, Tim Sullivan, made several suggestions…several times.  (Once the proposal gets you in the door, it becomes the chief instruments with which your champion introduces the idea of the book to his or her colleagues.  Hence the revisions.)  

I should also say that the book changed substantially in the writing.  So what follows is only the most approximate guide to the contents of the book.  But it will give you an idea of what a proposal can look like.  


Chief Culture Officer

How to create a living, breathing corporation


A proposal






Grant McCracken


© Copyright 2008 Grant McCracken

[ page break here]







Table of Contents

Table of Contents. 2

Overview.. 3

Outline. 5

Biography: Grant McCracken. 9

Markets (and their metrics). 10

Competition, inspiration and precedent. 12

Marketing and promotion

Sample Chapter

2.1  Dan Wieden for Nike [see a post last week sometime for this chapter]. 19


Levi-Strauss missed the hip hop trend.  As rappers adopted baggy pants and gangster bling, Levi’s remained above the fray.  It cost the corporation $1 billion.  Afterwards, a team member complained, “Who knew baggy pants were a paradigm shift?”[1] 

Culture is an essential piece of the intelligence an organization needs in a turbulent world.  And you’d think we would have found a way to “factor it in” to the decisions make by an organization.  This has not happened.  Most C-suites (the managerial team made up of the CMO, CFO, CIO and CEO) are out of touch with culture.  They cannot factor in culture because they do not have an expert in the field. 

That’s not to say they don’t try, but organizations are reduced to several expedients.  They rely on an advertising agency, a designer, a consultant of some kind, or a cool hunter.[2]   In the worst case, someone says, “Let’s see what the intern thinks.”  (Now a million-dollar decision rests on a 20 year old.)

None of these strategies is sensible.  The corporation cannot hire in (or farm out) its cultural intelligence any more than it can surrender financial decisions to a visiting bookkeeper.  Some things are too important to be left to outsiders.  Some kinds of intelligence must be integral to the organization.   

That’s what I want to do with this book: invent an office and an officer—the Chief Culture Officer, the one person who can guide an organization’s efforts in decoding and using both trends and deep culture. 

We know why culture is missing from capitalism.  Adam Smith removed it.  He said, “To understand this thing called a market, we need two parties, engaged by interest, in an act of exchange…and that's all.  The social and cultural context we can leave aside.”[3]  It was a liberating idea, but a partial one.  We have been trying to recover from its partialness ever since. 

Smith’s ideas sufficient in the 18th century seemed to lose their candle power as markets shifted from a producer focus to a consumer focus, from supplying “needs” to supplying “wants.” Economic actors appeared driven by something larger than self interest.[4] 

Culture, though, never went away.  How could it?  Ironically, it was capitalists who addressed the culture deficit, smuggling it back into the pursuit of markets and profits.  The newspaperman Alfred Harmsworth (later Lord Northcliffe) talked not about interest but interests.  The president of CBS, William S. Paley talked about taste.  Charles Revson of Revlon wasn’t interested in “interest” at all.  Something more was animating markets, he thought.  “In the factory, we make cosmetics; in the store we sell hope.”[5]

These capitalists were quietly, unofficially restoring the thing Smith had excised.  After all, to talk about taste is to talk about culture.  It is culture that informs the eye, supplies the imagination, and shapes desire.  It is culture that says what a “person” is and the ideas of gender, age, status, ethnicity, beauty, personality, and emotion we use to classify any particular person.[6]   Culture is the Platonic cave containing the “originals” from which our thoughts and feelings spring.  In the practice of capitalism, merchants cultivated an idea of culture and a way round Smith. 

This rehabilitation of Smith’s ideas continues by fits and starts.  We dolly back from interest to taste, and from taste to intellectual stop gaps of every kind: demographics, status, psychographics, lifestyle, personality, motivation, decision making, information processing, and attitudes.  All have been proposed as way to understand the secrets of the economy.  The business literature of the 20th century is littered with Eureka proposals, but from an anthropological point of view, all swap one partial view for another.

Patiently, culture waited for its apotheosis.  But there was always a newcomer, elbowing it out of the way.  “Objectives!” said Drucker.  “Quality!” said Deming.  “Reengineering!” said Hammer and Champy.  “Excellence!” said Peters.  “Strategy!” said Porter.  Always a new business guru arrived, bearing capitalism’s next fix…and a shiny new toy to mesmerize the C-suite.[7] 

Poor culture.  Excised by Smith, scorned by academics, eclipsed by business book thinkers, it was driven from view.  Were it not so useful to working capitalists, it might have disappeared from capitalism’s self concept altogether.  There it was, always invited to the party, but, no, never allowed to dance.

That’s the point of this book.  The corporation is now unprotected from the blind side hits that come from culture.  Our culture moves with trends.  These used to look like breakers off Waikiki, rolling into shore at regular intervals, enormous and well space.  Anyone with their wits about them could see a new trend and anticipate its movement.  Now trends come in all sizes from all directions.  Their duration and intensity is hard to anticipate and the costs of failure are high.  Quaker bought Snapple for $1.7 billion.  When they discovered that the brand had been abandoned by popular culture, they sold it, three years later, for $300 million.  A CCO would have saved Quaker $1.4 billion dollars.[8]

More important, the corporate America cannot see the opportunities culture opens up.   The solution is simple.  To the CEO, I say, appoint a Chief Culture Officer.  To those preparing to become a CCO, I say.  “You can do it.  I can help.”

Chief Culture Officer is a “big idea” business book.   And culture is a very big idea.  We think of it as the ocean floor, unknown and neglected, but for all that still 70% of the planet’s surface.  Chief Culture Officer can change the way the corporation understands consumers and navigates markets. 

And not a moment too soon.  It’s not as if capitalism doesn’t care about culture.  This is why Intel appointed Paul Otellini their CEO and Sony, Sir Howard Stringer.  But to get this right, the corporation will have to do more than shuffle the C-suite.  It will need to appoint a CCO.  Most of all, it will have to read this book.[9] 


Chief Culture Officer has 9 stories to tell. 

Section 1: CCO

1. Being Steve Jobs

According to the business press, the corporation sometimes depends on virtuosi of taste, someone who knows what consumers are thinking, where culture is going.  Thus does it lionize Steve Jobs at Apple, Richard Branson at Virgin, Martha Stewart at Omnicom, Les Moonves at CBS, and Sean Combs at Bad Boy Entertainment.  Without them, the argument goes, these companies are disoriented and in peril.  I beg to differ.  I believe these virtuosi are neither mysterious nor irreplaceable.  I believe what they do for the corporation can be done by a Chief Culture Officer.  For illustrative purposes, I will examine the contributions made by Steve Jobs, Mary Minnick and Geoffrey Frost to Apple, Coca-Cola and Motorola, respectively.

2. CCO at work

There are many virtuosi at work and they give us a rough idea of what the profession of the Chief Culture Officer will someday look like.   In this chapter, we will look at the work Dan Wieden did for Nike.  We will look at the slogan “Just Do It” as a clever cultural intervention, the spot called “Tag,” as something that resonates with the social networks that technologies like Facebook make possible.  We will look at the work of Lance Jensen for Volkswagen and specifically the ads called “Pink Moon” and “Synchronicity.”  Jensen found resonances with a difficult new cultural form even as it continued to form.  We will look at the recent work of Alex Bogusky for Microsoft, specifically the Seinfeld spot and the “I’m a PC” campaign.  Using culture, Bogusky gave Microsoft a way to tunnel out of its hated citadel.  Finally, we will look at the revolutionary work by A.G. Lafley, the CEO of P&G.  I believe this work as brought every packaged good company to the verge of hiring a CCO. 

Section 2: What a CCO needs to know

3. What a CCO needs to know (about culture in general)

How do we turn houses into homes?  How and why has the status of the pet changing in our world?  How do social networks rewire traditional culture?  To use a too mechanical metaphor, culture is the infrastructure of thought and feeling in our world that shapes how we think and feel.  It is most important to discriminate between “culture above” and “culture below.”  The former is all the fad and fashion that pours through our culture at any given moment, the hottest celebrities, the latest slang, the current bands, the movies that qualify as “hits.”  The CCO needs to have a rough idea of what the latest thing, and why it, and not something else, should have come swimming up out of the great churn of contemporary culture.  But more important is “culture below.”  They are the deeper aspects of culture, the tectonic plates that give us foundation and continuity.  (This is the stuff cool hunters and mavens do not know.)  This sort of thing is much less fashionable, but, as I say, more foundational. 

"Culture below" is, first, the foundational ideas we use to lump and split the human community.  In that corny old idea of the Hippie be-in.  Everyone stands in Golden Gate Park, all distinctions deliberately erased that all men and women might be rediscover one another as equals.  The rest of the time we are inclined to see differences, using ideas of class, gender, race, hipness, ethnicity, occupation, lifestyle, age, to group and distinguish as we go.  These ideas are always fluid, subject to negotiation, performance and proof.  But in the present day, they are especially open to various and disputed readings.  Some cultures are monolithic, well defined, relatively still.  Ours is various, very various and increasingly so.  “Culture below” is, second, the distinctions by which we lump and split time and space, the spiritual, natural, and urban worlds.  This is the grid for everything else, as it were.  ”Culture below” is, third, the beliefs, values, and assumptions, the evaluative ideas with which we produce and read social behavior.  Some cultures prize the individualistic, others something more collectivistic.  Some prize the “this worldly,” others prize the “other worldly.”  And so on.  “Culture below” is, fourth, the various codes, language, nonverbal language, material culture, with which messages are sent and received in our culture.  Simplifying a little, we could say culture is, first, the map of meanings with which we define and apportion our world.  Second, it is the machinery for meaning making with which we communicate within this world.  This sounds complicated and difficult.  And that this first responsibility of this book: to demonstrate that there’s nothing daunting here.  “Culture below” is merely the ideas and the machinery that make it possible for us to watch prime time TV.   

4. What a CCO needs to know (about our culture)

No book can offer an exhaustive account of America culture.  But 20 years of careful study puts me in a position to give a detailed account of diverse particulars: the cultural logic of the American home, celebrity culture, the preppie revolution in the 1980s, winged cars in the 1950s, the “alternative” revolution in the 1990s.  More exactly, I can say why Two and A Half Men is a hit, why Arrested Development was a failure, now consumers will react to the current downturn in the economy, what is driving the artisanal trend in food and hospitality, and why rapper Lil Wayne is the prince of the new “gift economy.”  I can give a cultural account of the drop in crime in the American city that the challenges the account given by Steven Levitt.  I have lots of work to draw on here. 

More specifically, Two and A Half Men is a meditation on the way we think about gender and the reformation in ideas of maleness and femaleness that have taken place in the last few years.  It's a long and detailed story, but we could say that many men decided that in the face of feminist complexity, it was simpler if they presented themselves as a big, dopey Labradors, friendly but not especially bright.  (We could see this coming in the TV show Home Improvement.  It approaches its apex in the new Gary Unmarried.)  It was a trade-off of a strategic kind.  Men were prepared to give away some of their credibility as social actors in return for the right to ignore some of the new rules of gender now in place.  A new diplomatic agreement had been arrived at.  Two and A Half Men is an interesting contribution to the debate.  "Charlie" is the original Labrador, craven, self interested, unapologetically appetitive.  But he is also witty, socially adroit and capable of small traces of extra-Labrador decency.   Somewhere in the “funny” here here is a cunning and successful piece of cultural machinery. 

5.  What a CCO needs to watch for

Several forces are reshaping contemporary culture: 1) a rising tide of cultural sophistication (Jenkins, Florida), a steady improvement in culture (Johnson), 3) new, easier, cheaper technologies of production (Bolter and Grusin), 4) social software and social utility that allows for collaboration (Shirky).  5) a relative decline of the influence of both the mainstream and the avant-garde and the explosive growth of market and cultural niches (McCracken).  Corporations are now obliged to participate in culture in a way never before required.  It is also called upon to share intellectual capital (Locke, Levine, Searls, and Weinberger, Weinberger, and Lessing).   It now must find its way in a “gift economy.”   This means releasing intellectual property into the world without any assurance of immediate return. (I like to think of these as “flights of value” in which exchange is no longer “direct” but now “generalized” and circular (Sahlins).  This sort of thing goes against the instincts of the corporation.  In sum, it may well be that there are new economies in the works, or at least new rules.  The corporation will find these innovations difficult.  It is now obliged to flourish in a culture and a commerce that is increasingly participative, exuberant, decentralized and dynamic.  In this new world, a CCO is not an ornament for the C-Suite but a necessary condition of the corporation’s survival.[10] 

Section 3: How to be a CCO

6. Listening posts

The CCO is obliged to cover a lot of water front.  Listening posts exist in the form of events like SxSW, Pop!Tech, Burning Man, TED, and the less formal gatherings staged by Pip Coburn, Jerry Michalski, and Tim O’Reilly.  There are the magazines that serve the same purpose: Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker, I.D., Fast Company.  CCOs need websites like Core77 and bloggers like Russell Davies, Eric Nehrlich, Sarah Zupko and Virginia Postrel.  A CCO should also have a personal network of gifted respondents who can report on what is happening in the diverse provinces of contemporary culture.  I will the story of my friendship with Dave Dyment, a record store owner.  A CCO should participate in the networks that have emerged on their own.  Facebook, Shelfari, Ning, Vloggerheads, all make it easy to construct these networks and to find them.  In a perfect world, we would also build our own information-gathering devices, including a “big board.”[11]

By the 1990s, I became clear to me that there was a gigantic hole in my knowledge of popular culture.  I didn't really know anything about popular music.   To make matters worse, this was the era of the Pixies, Nirvana, and "alternative" music.  Some popular music was deliberately unpopular.   It was clear I needed a crash course.  As it happened, there was a little record store in my neighborhood (the Danforth in Toronto) and I just kind of threw myself on the mercy of one of the guys who worked there. Dave Dyment was superb, giving me things to listen to, drawing me out, leading through the history of popular music from Robert Johnson to Black Francis.  I like this story because it says frankly no one knows about contemporary culture because it just “comes to them.”  There is no such thing as “naturally hip."  (The hipster pretends otherwise of course, and we catch him in an act of what Castiglione called sprezzatura, the trick of concealing art with art.)  The point of this story is to say there is no shame in not knowing about contemporary culture.  Like any other body of knowledge, it is something to be learned.   

7. The “me” in method: CCO as instrument

The CCO must be a miracle of empathy, capable of imagining what is happening in contemporary culture without bias.  The CCO must be prepared to admit ignorance and ask naïve questions.  Learning about contemporary culture calls for a brute curiosity and the willingness to look a little clueless.  In this section I will talk about ethnography, the anthropological method for asking questions.  We will also talk about the “tool kit” of ideas that help spot the patterns to be found in contemporary culture.  The CCO must also have a high tolerance for complexity, ambiguity and contradiction.  Where once contemporary culture (aka the “mass culture” of the 1950s) encouraged a certain simplicity of approach, rewarding those prepared to “keep it simple, stupid,” now advantage goes to those who have a talent for managing paradox, contraction and noise.[12]  Finally, we will talk about the theories and methods of culture that are now in circulation but that do not work.

8. Building a “culture in here” that’s responsive to “culture out there”

A corporation can put itself in touch with contemporary culture by appointing a CCO.  In a more perfect world, it would make everyone in the corporation better at reading culture.  (If anthropology is too important to be left to the anthropologists, culture is too important to be left to the CCO.)  In other words, we need to put the culture inside the corporation in touch with the culture outside the corporation.  There are many ways of doing this.  For instance, we can ask every member of the corporation who has a natural enthusiasm (Jazz for one person, fusion cooking for another, Goth novels for a third) to listen on behalf of the corporation and report back.  Clearly, it’s not enough that people merely read more foodie magazines.  We need to train them so that they were now prepared to spot the changes.  And once everyone is playing a deputy CCO, we will want them to meet for “brown bag” lunches so that the person following Jazz can compare findings with the person following fusion cooking.  (What happens in one cultural domain often has resonances in another.)  The stock guru Peter Lynch likes to present himself as a guy who can spot investment opportunities while walking through a hardware store.  Appropriately trained, every member of the corporation could exercise this alertness all the time.  There are many benefits to this sort of thing.  One of them is that it gives the corporation a way to acknowledge parts of the employee that are now unacknowledged (and perhaps even frowned upon).  It encourages the corporation to engage (and, we must hope, reward) the “whole person.”  In the form of their innovation center called Clay Street, P&G has found a way to engage people for things not originally contained in their job description.  Apparently, this has an animating effect on corporate life.  Better actually than obligatory soft ball games. 

Section 4: CCO in practice

9. A day in the life of three CCOs

This chapter illustrates a day in the life of a CCO in a big corporation, a small start-up and a not-for-profit. 

10.  A day in the life of three C-Suites

This chapter illustrates the deliberations of three C-suites, now that there is a CCO in place.  I will look at a big corporation, a small start-up, and a not-for-profit. 



Biography for Grant McCracken

Research Affiliate, Convergence Culture Consortium (C3)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

[put email and phone number here]


Past Positions

·          Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Chicago

·          Visiting Scholar, Cambridge University

·          Director, Institute of Contemporary Culture, Royal Ontario Museum

·          Visiting Scholar, McGill University

·          Senior Lecturer, Harvard Business School



·               7 books:   Culture & Consumption I (1988  Indiana University Press)

The Long Interview (1988 Sage)
Big Hair (1995 Penguin Canada)
Plenitude (1997 Periph. Fluide)
Culture & Consumption II (2006 Indiana University Press)
Flock and Flow (2006 Indiana University press)
Transformations: Identity construction in contemporary culture (IUP 2008)

·               German, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese translation

·               Best Paper Award, Journal of Consumer Research

·               blog:, 1100 entries, 1.4 million words, 6500 comments, 1.6 million views


Media Coverage


·               Oprah Winfrey, NY Times, LA Times, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Time, Washington Post


Speaking Engagements

·         PopTech, Fuse, iMedia Financial Services Summit, Global Business Network, Innovent Seminar (Nokia), Trend Watch (Nike), DMI, MSI, AIGA, ESOMAR, ICA, MITC3, Harvard ExEd, Smithsonian


Advisory Boards


·         Boston Beer Company, IBM Personal Computing Division, IBM Social Networking Advisory


·          Ameritrade

·          AT&T

·          Campbell Soup

·          Chiat Day

·          Chrysler

·          Coca-Cola Co.

·          Diageo

·          Eastman Kodak

·          Ford Motor Co.

·          HP

·          IBM

·          Kellogg’s

·          Kimberley Clark

·          Kraft

·          L’Oreal

·          McDonalds

·          Merck & Co.

·          Miller Lite

·          NY Historical Society

·          Nike

·          PBS

·          Procter & Gamble

·          Quaker Oats

·          Radcliffe College

·          Sesame Street

·          Subway

·          Timberland

·          Timex

·          Unilever

·          Winterthur Museum

Markets (and their metrics)

Market 1: Culture creatives

This book started as an aside.  I was giving a paper at the American Institute of Graphic Designers.  I used the phrase “Chief Culture Officer” casually, as an illustration.  Afterwards, at the cocktail hour, people kept coming up to me and said, “Now I get it.  That’s what I want to be when I grow up!  A Chief Culture Officer!  How do I do that?”

Designers would make great CCOs.  So would any “culture creative.” And there are many of these:  graphic designer, advertising planner, creative director, marketer, advertising executive, Hollywood studio head, film director, film writer,  magazine editor, journalist, industrial designer, comic, brand manager, public relations executive, clothing designer, TV producer, politician, agent, TV writer, retail designer, retail buyer, game creator, web designer, new media content creator, corporate strategist, interior designer, blog writer, trend watcher, real estate developer, or brand designer.  (Richard Florida says there are 38 million culture creatives in the U.S.[13])

Chief Culture Officer creates a new rung on the corporate hierarchy and it gives the young culture creative something to shoot for.  More important, it elevates the work of every creative in the corporation.  Cultural creatives are eager for their professional apotheosis.  Happily, they buy books.

Market 2: Generations X and Y  

Generations X and Y treat their knowledge of popular culture as a badge of pride.  It’s one of the ways they define themselves.  Imagine their surprise when they discover that this is not a study taken serious by higher education or the professional schools.  Chief Culture Officer honors this enthusiasm.  It gives them a professional opportunity to put their knowledge and expertise to work in the world.  (Generation X is about 51 million people.  Generation Y is about 75 million. )

Market 3: Baby Boomers  

Many Baby Boomers believe our culture has gone to “hell in a hand basket,” that it no longer makes sense.  Chief Culture Officer reveals the system in the noise.  It allows a generation to get back in the loop.  (There are 85 million boomers.)

Market 4: the passionate general reader

There are several books that would help us understand the puzzles and dynamism of our world.  Steven Levitt gave us the economist’s view in Freakonomics.  Malcolm Gladwell gave us a sociological view in the Tipping Point.  I believe the general reader is keen to hear the outlook of an anthropologist.   Chief Culture Officer will offer the general readers a glimpse of anthropology at work in the creation a new species of administrative life.  More than that, it will offer a kind of handbook, a Rosetta stone, the secret decoder ring, as it were, with which to think about contemporary culture.  This market includes the readers of The New Yorker (1 million), The Atlantic Monthly (.5 million) and The Wall Street Journal (about 2 million.)



Market 5: the business press reader

I can’t find any numbers here, but there is a substantial world of managers alert to new books that give them a strategic, tactical and competitive edge. 

Market 6: Deans at Business schools, Design schools, Law schools and Medical schools

There is a hole in the American curriculum.  Higher education has no formal way of understanding the role of culture in business, design, law or medicine.  The deans who manage professional schools make up a small audience.  But I think it’s fair to say that would make powerfully influential “early adopters.”  A book called Chief Culture Officer creates a new apical destination in the professional world.  When nervous parents ask, “But what can he do with a degree in English?” the decanal replay now can be, “But, Madam, he can become a CCO.” 

Market 7: If this is a recession

Many people sit out a recession by going back to school and getting another degree.  I would like to sell this book as the “home study” version of same.  Teaching yourself to be a CCO is a great way to prepare for better times.  
Competition, inspiration and precedent

Bolter, J. David and Richard Grusin.  1999.  Remediation: Understanding New Media.  Cambridge: M.I.T. Press.
Christensen, Clayton M. 1997. The Innovator’s Dilemma. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Collins, Jim.  2001.  Good to great.  New York: Collins.
Deming, Edwards.  1982.  Out of the Crisis.  Cambridge: M.I.T. Press.
Drucker, Peter.  1954.  The Principles of Management.  New York: HarperCollins.
Florida, Richard.  2002.  The Rise of the Creative Class.  New York: Basic Books.  
Friedman, Thomas 2005.  The World is Flat.  New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 
Hammer, Michael and James Champy.  1993. Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution.  New York: Harper. 
Hamel, Gary and C.K. Prahalad.  1994.  Competing for the Future.  Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Jenkins, Henry.  2006.  Convergence Culture: where old and new media collide.  New York: New York University Press,
Johnson, Steven.  2005.  Everything Bad is Good for You.  New York. Riverdale. 
Kim, W. Chan and Renee Mauborgne.  2005.  Blue Oceans Strategy.  Boston: Harvard Business School Press. 
Lafley, A.G. and Ram Charan.  2008.  The Game-changer.  How you can drive revenue and profit growth with innovation.  New York: Crown Business. 
Lessig, Lawrence.  2008.  Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy.  New York: Penguin. 
Levitt, Steven. 2006.  Freakonomics. New York: William Morrow. 
Levitt, Theodore.  1983.  The Marketing Imagination.  New York: The Free Press. 
Locke, Christopher, Rick Levine, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger.  2000. The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual.  New York: Basic Books. 
Peters, Tom and Robert Waterman.  1982.  In Search of Excellence.  New York: Harper Business.
Porter, Michael.  1980.  Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors.    New York: The Free Press. 
Senge, Peter.  1990.  The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization.  New York: Doubleday.
Shirky, Clay.  2008. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.  New York: Penguin. 
Chief Culture Officer is a big-idea business book in the tradition of Christensen, Collins, Deming, Drucker, Hammer, Hamel, Kim, Lafley, Levitt, Peters, Porter and Senge.  It aims to change the theory and the practice of capitalism, the way corporations do business, and the intersection of culture and commerce in our world.  It has no precedent in the publishing world. 

Marketing and promotion

My website, The Blog Sits at the Intersection of Anthropology and Economics, contains 1.4 million words in 1100 posts, 6500 comments from readers, & 1.6 million page-views. 

Media Connections
list the people you know in media here


Show that you have spoken widely

mention the people who might be persuaded to write blurbs for the book.


[1] Espen, Hal. 1999. Levi’s Blues. New York Times Magazine. March 21, 1999: 54-59, p. 56.

[2] “As hip as it was, as exciting as it was, very few people were able to monetize anything that came out of that [cool hunting],” [Irma] Zandl explains.  “People were fed this line that if the cool hunter found it, then six months from now you would have a rip-roaring business.  And I think a lot of people got burned by that.” In Grossman, Lev.  2003. The Quest For Cool. Time Magazine. Vol. 48: September 8, 2003. 

[3] Forgive my daring paraphrase.  In Smith’s own words: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.  We address ourselves, not to their humanity, but to their self-love and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages.”  Smith, Adam.  1776/1904.  The Wealth of Nations.  London: Methuen, p. 44.

[4] Braudel, Fernand. 1973. Capitalism and Material Life, 1400-1800.  translator Miriam Kochan.  London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.  Brewer, John, and Roy Porter, editors. 1993. Consumption and the World of Goods. London:  Routledge.   Bushman, Richard L. 1992. The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.   Carson, Cary, Ronald Hoffman, and Peter J. Albert, editors. 1994. Of Consuming Interests: The style of life in the Eighteenth century. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.  McKendrick, Neil, John Brewer, and J. H. Plumb. 1982. The Birth of a Consumer Society: The Commercialization of Eighteenth-Century England. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

[5] For Lord Northcliffe’s approach, see Carey, John.  1992.  The Intellectuals and the Masses: pride and prejudice among the literary intelligentsia, 1880-1939.  London: Faber and Faber, p. 6.  For Paley’s approach, see Kammen, Michael.  1999.  American Culture, American Tastes: Social change and the 20th century.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, p. 43.  I cannot find a respectable source for the Revson quote. 

[6] “The Western conception of the person as a bounded, unique, more or less integrated motivational and cognitive universe, a dynamic center of awareness, emotion, judgment, and action organized into a distinctive whole and set contrastively both against other such wholes and against a social and natural background is, however incorrigible it may seem to us, a rather peculiar idea within the context of the world's cultures.”  Geertz, Clifford. 1979. From the Native's Point of View: on the nature of anthropological understanding.  Interpretive Social Science. editors Paul Rabinow, and William M. Sullivan, 225-241. Berkeley: University of California Press, p. 229.  Kroeber, Albert L., and Clyde Kluckhohn. 1952. Culture: a critical review of concepts and definitions. New York: Random House.

[7] Drucker, Drucker, Peter.  1954.  The Principles of Management.  New York: HarperCollins.  Deming, Edwards.  1982.  Out of the Crisis.  Cambridge: M.I.T. Press.   Hammer, Michael and James Champy.  1993.  Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution.  New York: Harper.   Peters, Tom and Robert Waterman.  1982.  In Search of Excellence.  New York: Harper Business.  Porter, Michael.  1998.  Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors.  New York: The Free Press. 

[8] Deighton, John.  2002.  How Snapple Got Its Juice Back. Harvard Business Review, January 2002, pp. 47-53.  Deighton, John. 1999. Snapple.  Harvard Business School Case Study. N9-599-126. July 8, 1999: 1-17. 

[9]Through most of Intel's history, every new product followed a simple pattern: the engineers figured out what was possible and then told the marketing department what to sell. The company understood the importance of consumer focus groups, and employed ethnographers to study how people use computers, but their influence was minimal before Mr. Otellini took charge of the chip-making division. ‘We turned the process on its head,’ he said.Rivlin, Gary and John Markoff. 2004. Can Mr. Chips Transform Intel? New York Times.  September 12, 2004.  “When the Welsh-born stringer became Sony’s first non-Japanese CEO in 2005, he pledged to make the company ‘cool again.’”  The revolution has failed.  “[Stringer] bristles every time he gets the question: Why can’t the Japanese electronics giant be more like Apple.”  Edwards, Cliff, Kenji Hall and Ronald Glover.  2008.  Sony Chases Apple’s Magic.  BusinessWeek.  November 10, 2008, pp.  48-51, p. 48. 

[10] Bolter, J. David and Richard Grusin.  1999. Remediation: Understanding New Media.  Cambridge: M.I.T. Press.  Florida, Richard.  2002. The Rise of the Creative Class.  New York: Basic Books.  Jenkins, Henry.  1992.  Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture.  New York: Routledge.  Jenkins, Henry.  2006.  Convergence Culture: where old and new media collide.  New York: New York University Press.  Johnson, Steven.  2005.  Everything Bad is Good for You.  New York. Riverdale.  Lessig, Lawrence.  2008.  Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy.  New York: Penguin.  Locke, Christopher, Rick Levine, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger.  2000. The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual.  New York: Basic Books.  McCracken, Grant.  1997.  Plenitude.  Toronto: Periph. Fluide.    Sahlins, Marshall.  1971.  Stone Age Economics.  Chicago: Aldine-Atherton.  Shirky, Clay.  2008. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations.  New York: Penguin.  Weinberger, David.  2003.  Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web.  New York: Basic Books. 

[11] McCracken, Grant.  2006. Flock and Flow: predicting and managing change in a dynamic marketplace.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 117-131.

[12] Handy, Charles.  1994.  The Age of Paradox.  Boston: Harvard Business School Press.  Martin, Roger.  2007.  The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking.  Boston: Harvard Business School Press. 

[13] Florida, Richard.  2002. The Rise of the Creative Class.  New York: Basic Books.

7 thoughts on “Chief Culture Officer now out (an appeal and an outline)

  1. paul

    hi Grant, amazon delivered your book to my desk (dublin, ireland) a few days ago. I won’t get to it till next week, when on xmas holidays, but looking forward to it. I’ll post something on my blog once I’ve finished. hope all is going well. P

  2. Wendy lotosky

    What a refreshing, encompassing understanding for all frustrated observers of humanity & trend watchers! Thank you.

    As a former professional photographer who discovered her passion for seeing– first working in ad agency, reading Faith Popcorn and Trout & Rie’s books, shooting for ad agencies, deepening my curiosity about what motivates us humans -into market research, introducing & creating ‘customer’ panels for credit unions
    & NEBS business forms, getting deeper into positioning, personal branding,studying and becoming a life coach —

    And still looking for who will pay me to play — is this you?- this not only moves understanding people, communities and societies way onto the stage & let’s us really hear who they r and what they want – but also creates openings for sociologists and market reseachers and …and… :). Wendy Lotosky

  3. Pingback: How soon is now? » Blog Archive » Major League Soccer hires a Chief Marketing Officer, but what they need is a Chief Content Officer

  4. Pingback: 5 Ways To Stop Making Stupid Mistakes With Culture | Rob Fields

Comments are closed.