Nine years ago, Mark Sanborn published Fred, a book about a postman and the extraordinary service he provided. The book was wildly successful, landing on all the bestseller lists and inspiring millions around the world, including companies, schools, and entire cities.
Now Mark has published an all-new book on the same topic. It is called Fred 2.0. New Ideas on How to Keep Delivering Extraordinary Results. I had the opportunity to read the pre-publication edition and endorse it. I wanted to share my thoughts about the book with you.
Fred Shea is Mark’s real-life mail carrier in Denver, Colorado. They have known each other for more than 20 years. As Mark observed Fred’s life, he distilled from it four “Fred” principles:
- Everybody can make a difference.
- Relationships are vital.
- It’s possible to add value in every area.
- You can keep reinventing yourself.
These principles not only have the power to change lives and corporate cultures, they have done so. In Fred 2.0, Mark recounts many of these inspiring stories.
But make no mistake, this book is not a re-hash of Fred 1.0. It is more like an advanced course in Fredology. It is designed to help you create extraordinary experiences for your clients, no matter what type of business you’re in.
The thing I love about the book is it is not about some famous business person like Steve Jobs or Warren Buffet. This is a book about how ordinary people in ordinary jobs and how they can become extraordinary.
Why extraordinary? Mark argues in the very first chapter:
- Extraordinary brings us delight.
- Extraordinary sets us apart.
- Extraordinary defends our position.
- Extraordinary determines our happiness and success.
In my book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, I talk about the importance of starting with wow. I was referring primarily to products and services. But Mark applies the same basic concept to to people. Becoming extraordinary is the way for you to stand out.
Here are a couple of my key take-aways:
- Normal is over-rated. Why settle for normal when you can be extraordinary and really make a difference.
- Being a Fred is not about the job you hold but about the way you do the job you hold.
- The person who benefits most when you act like a Fred is you.
- Being a Fred is not about increasing your income or getting recognition. It is about adding value for its own sake.
- Freds are everywhere. When we find them, we need to celebrate and reward them.
I’ve only scratched the surface. Mark talks about how to find your passion, how to cultivate your creativity, how to uncover your signature difference, and how to create better connections with customers.
I was particularly impressed with his C.A.R.E. acronym: “Create a Rare Experience.” He provides eight ways to elevate the experiences you provide and really demonstrate care. This is worth the price of the book.
The book is full of inspiring stories and role-models. It really motivated me to want to be a Fred—to my family, my work colleagues, and the random people I meet in my day-to-day interactions. Yes, it takes a little extra effort, but it can have an enormous impact.