When it came to sandbagging the opposition, no one showed more skill than A) Richard Nixon, B) Lee Atwater, or C) Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc.
For Guy Kawasaki, the correct answer is clearly C. As a fledgling, Ben & Jerry's faced a potentially crippling threat to its ice cream distribution network from rival Haagen-Dazs. Ben & Jerry's turned it into a public-relations disaster for that opponent and its parent, Pillsbury Co. Haagen-Dazs had allegedly told a distributor to stop handling Ben & Jerry's or he would lose Haagen-Dazs' account. Ben & Jerry's responded with a one-man picket of Pillsbury headquarters and bumper stickers reading: "What's the doughboy afraid of?" The low-budget, David-vs.-Goliath campaign won tons of public support, nationwide press coverage, and ultimately a legal victory.
Kawasaki's How To Drive Your Competition Crazy: Creating Disruption for Fun and Profit (Hyperion, $22.95) includes a number of such tales--other heroes include Honda Motor Co. and Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. But this effort by the former Apple Computer Inc. marketing exec and Macworld columnist isn't just a collection of anecdotes about leaving the competition in a lather. Instead, the author effers a four-part company-improvement drill that tells how to lay the groundwork, focus on customers, "do things right," and then torment the competition. There's even a section on "how to drive your boss crazy"--complete with tips from a rodeo bull rider.
HARDCOVER BUSINESS BOOKS
1 BUFFETT by Roger Lowenstein (Random House $27.50) The life and wisdom of the Oracle of Omaha.
2 THE DISCIPLINE OF MARKET LEADERS by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema (Addison-Wesley $25) Consultants diagnose what successful companies do.
3 BUILT TO LAST by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras (HarperBusiness $25) How 3M, Wal-Mart, Procter & Gamble, and others became standouts.
4 HOW TO DRIVE YOUR COMPETITION CRAZY by Guy Kawasaki (Hyperion $22.95) Pulling off the gloves--and giving the other guy fits.
5 SERPENT ON THE ROCK by Kurt Eichenwald (HarperBusiness $27.50) How Pru-Bache's limited-partnership deals put the bite on investors.
6 THE BEARDSTOWN LADIES' COMMON-SENSE INVESTMENT GUIDE by the Beardstown Ladies Investment Club with Leslie Whitaker (Hyperion $19.95) Recipes for Four-Bean Salad, Five-Hour Stew--and 23% returns.
7 THE WARREN BUFFETT WAY by Robert G. Hagstrom Jr. (Wiley $24.95) A useful analysis of how Buffett does it.
8 THE NORDSTROM WAY by Robert Spector and Patrick D. McCarthy (Wiley $24.95) A top company salesman describes the retailer's customer-service culture.
9 COMPETING FOR THE FUTURE by Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad (Harvard Business School $24.95) For healthy growth, anticipate the future--and how to dominate it.
10 FIRST THINGS FIRST by Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill (Simon & Schuster $23) Managing your time by balancing your life.
11 MAKE IT SO by Wess Roberts PhD and Bill Ross (Pocket Books $22) From Star Trek's Captain Jean-Luc Picard, leadership lessons and deep-space lore.
12 JESUS CEO by Laurie Beth Jones (Hyperion $16.95) Applying the teachings of the Bible to business problems.
13 REENGINEERING MANAGEMENT by James Champy (HarperBusiness $25) Reengineering the Corporation co-author reevaluates.
14 SOROS by Robert Slater (Irwin $25) The life and investment tactics of "the world's greatest money manager."
15 RAVING FANS by Kenneth Blanchard PhD and Sheldon Bowles (Morrow $20) How to turn customers into your biggest boosters.
PAPERBACK BUSINESS BOOKS
1 THE SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by Stephen R. Covey (Fireside $12) Habitually popular.
2 THE 1995 WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE? by Richard Nelson Bolles (Ten Speed Press $14.95) The enduring job-search bible.
3 GETTING TO YES by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton (Penguin $11.95) A Harvard team's step-by-step guide to conflict resolution.
4 THE WALL STREET JOURNAL GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING MONEY AND INVESTING by Kenneth M. Morris and Alan M. Siegel (Fireside $13.95) Concise explanations enriched with graphics.
5 THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE by Peter Senge (Currency $18.50) Creating the "learning organization."
6 1001 WAYS TO REWARD EMPLOYEES by Bob Nelson (Workman $8.95) Give them a champagne brunch, a casual-dress day--or plain old cash.
7 THE GOAL by Eliyahu M. Goldratt (North River Press $19.95) Bringing your strategies in line with your No.1 purpose: making money.
8 ZAPP! by William C. Byham PhD with Jeff Cox (Fawcett $10) How "empowerment" revved up employees at the fictional Normal Co.
9 PERSONAL FINANCE FOR DUMMIES by Eric Tyson (IDG Books $16.95) Lighthearted primer.
10 THE REENGINEERING REVOLUTION by Michael Hammer and Steven A. Stanton (HarperBusiness $15) Roads to reengineering success.
11 INVESTMENT BIKER by Jim Rogers (Adams $12.95) A cycle-riding money manager circles the globe, investigating emerging markets.
12 THE ONE MINUTE MANAGER by Kenneth Blanchard PhD and Spencer Johnson M.D. (Berkley $9.95) Three management techniques, conveyed in brief story form.
13 PRINCIPLE-CENTERED LEADERSHIP by Stephen R. Covey (Fireside $12) Fostering meaningful workplace relationships--and boosting productivity.
14 REENGINEERING THE CORPORATION by Michael Hammer and James Champy (HarperBusiness $13) Using information technology to redesign business processes.
15 KNOCK 'EM DEAD by Martin Yate (Adams $9.95) A job-seeker's handbook.
BUSINESS WEEK's Best-Seller List is based on a survey of chain and independent booksellers that carry a broad selection of books on economics, management, sales and marketing, small business, investing, personal finance, and careers. Well over 1,000 retail outlets nationwide are represented. Current rankings are based on a weighted analysis of unit sales in August.