Blue Bananas — Wouter de Vries jr. & Thiemo van Rossum

Blauwe Bananen (Blue Bananas) is a management book that was number one for 38 days on It is aimed at people who generally don’t read management books. So it sometimes tries to be unnecessarily funny, seemingly afraid to alienate the reader with otherwise dry concepts. Nonetheless the message itself is pretty solid. The theme being: how to become a blue banana. A blue banana is a business with a unique skill set or proposition.

Blue Bananas — Wouter de Vries jr. & Thiemo van Rossum (2012) — 94 pages

That the message carries merit is not a surprise. This book unabashedly builds on the famous organisational and business strategy theories laid out by Treacy & Wiersema and Hamel & Prahalad. The book introduces readers to a succinct and on-point summary of their concepts. It does so by guiding the reader through four steps: Pursuits, Promises, Perception, Proof (freely translated by me from the Dutch B letter words).

With these steps the book makes the theory practical and consequently is very direct. Which is a good thing. To further cement the theory it offers 29 exercises and practical thought experiments (Things like “write down what you think are unique talents of your organisation”). Overall it does a good job of landing one of the main messages: it does not matter what value you add, if your customer does not perceive it as such. Everything you do as an organisation should add value to your customers’ experience.

If you rarely read management books, Blue Bananas can be a good starting point and offers valid questions of how to add value to your organisation.

Originally published at Jan van den Berg.