Monday, July 16, 2007


I picked up another copy of Paco Underhill's Why We Buy for Eileen at the store. It's a book about the science of buying, store design, and how people generally want to be treated when they shop. It's not just how to sell more stuff, it's how to make the retail experience more rewarding for the customer (who will then buy more stuff).

Why We Buy has great advice about store layout, which is something I'm working on right now. I've got a store layout for the new space, but it was more of an exercise in getting things to fit than an optimized plan. So what's a good example? Shopping baskets need to be with items that require them, not at the front of the store. We used to have them in the Flames of War section but now we're out of space. It makes you wonder how that has effected things. I often feel that I could sell more stuff if I had less stuff. If I could feature the really good stuff, maybe I would sell more that way rather than obscuring product in the vast forest of stuff.

Other reading? I just had two days off in a row, a rarity, so I caught up with 3 weeks worth of The Economist. The subscription is so expensive (it was a gift from my wife), that I feel obligated to read them all. I could rave about this news magazine, but just let me say it's fantastic, matches my political sensibilities and is highly recommended. It seems centrist to me with rational, common sense that's so rare in the US.

Today I picked up book two of David Edding's Belgariad series. The first book was recommended by a friend and I can see getting into it. It's got great character development. It also has my pet peeve of fantasy, the Chosen One. I like the "rising to the ocassion" hero you find in Lord of the Rings and similar fantasies. Frodo stepped up and took the challenge. It wasn't Gandalf or Aragorn, it was a simple hobbit and his friend. I don't like Luke Skywalker and I can't get into Harry Potter (the last book will be at the store this week). The hero of Star Wars is Han Solo if you ask me.


  1. Dude, isn't the Belgariad some 45 volumes long? It's a good thing you are young. I agree with you about the "rise to occasion" as opposed to "chosen one" heroes. But that doesn't really detract from my enjoyment of a series - I still really dig Potter and Anakin (and his scion).
    Luck with the move, I just bookmarked your bloggage.

    chris shorb

  2. I heartily approve your reading list.

    I don't currently subscribe to the Economist, but it is quite possibly the best printed news source available today. Paco's book is also great reading for anyone interested in retail.

    The Belgariad is 5 volumes long, and worth reading. The problem is that he's written a host of other series ranging from 3 to 5 volumes each, that are all basically the same story. Enjoyable page turners, but no real surprises after you've read one series.