From the Introduction:

I've never been a big rules guy. Just ask the nuns at Saints John & Paul Elementary School, for whom breaking my spirit and making me obedient seemed less like a job and more like a divine calling.

That said, I've been writing about retailing for about thirty years. I worked my way through high school and college - and to supplement a meager reporter's income afterwards - in several retail stores. And I've had the great opportunity to meet some wonderful retailers - and by this, I mean wonderful people who happen to be retailers - over the years. So I think I know something about the subject.

Which is why writing a book of retail rules seemed to made sense. Retailing is a tough enough journey, and they keep changing the road map, making it difficult if not impossible to know what the next right move is. (Though some folks would settle simply for not making a next disastrous move.)

If I can provide a little bit of a map - common sense, easily applied rules with their roots in real-world business - I think it is worth doing.

The rules are short. The sentiments, simple. The examples, I hope, are evocative. The illustrations, by the estimable Steve Hickner make the whole experience a lot more fun.

I've tried to spread the examples around, using lots of different retailers as models for what - and sometimes what not - to do. But I'll concede right now that names like Amazon, Apple and Netflix pop up a lot. They should. They're game-changers. They raise the level of competition in their categories, and they provide lots of lessons for big and small retailers alike.

One thing. While I've learned many of these rules from people I admire, and crafted others from what I've seen and heard over the years, let's be clear. These rules reflect my biases, priorities and experience.

You may have 52 different ones. You may think I got them all wrong.

If so, that's okay. Because I've never been a big rules guy anyway…

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