Posted by: Marty Fahncke | July 15, 2008

Book Review: Be Unreasonable by Paul Lemberg


"Be Unreasonable" by Paul Lemgerg

"Be Unreasonable" by Paul Lemberg

For a book named “Be Unreasonable: The unconventional way to extraordinary business results”, I had really high expectations.

I’ve long been known for doing things a bit different.  Unique.  Even unreasonable.  I’m proud of that fact. 

So when I saw the title of this book, I was pretty excited to read it.  But I wasn’t super-impressed when I finished.

They say you should never judge a book by it’s cover.  In this case, I should have.

Take a look at the picture above.  Does that cover look unreasonable to you? 

Me neither.  In fact, it’s pretty plain.  Which is also how I found the contents of Be Unreasonable.

Yes, the author makes some important points about not following conventional wisdom, not doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results, etc.   But for a book with a title as promising as this was, I found it to be quite “reasonable” indeed.

Bottom line:  It’s an ok read, and probably worth your time to skim through it (Chapter 5&6) if you can borrow it from someone else, but I would not recommend buying it. 

If you REALLY to stimulate your thought process to being “unreasonable” or “amazing” or “WOW”, I can highly recommend any of the following:

Free Prize Inside by Seth Godin

The Project 50 (Reinventing Work): Fifty Ways to Transform Every “Task” into a Project That Matters! by Tom Peters

Re-Imagine by Tom Peters



  1. Sounds like the book could’ve done with a different title.

    Based on the title alone, I was thinking the book would be about how to be insufferable politely or how to be vocally opinionated tolerably or how to illogical effectively.

    The word “unreasonable” does not evoke (or invoke) the notion of being different, unique, or above average.

  2. @sittingpugs – Very interesting take on the title…I hadn’t thought of it the way you did, but can totally see how one could.

    Perhaps if I clarify the post with the book subtitle “The unconventional way to extraordinary business results”.

    Yes, that helps.

    I’ll go back and update the post…thanks!

  3. So if you can’t really recommend the book why try to make a buck off it with Amazon? Like only business books out there I found it to be quite stimulating and actionable. Compare it for instance to the execrable “Execution” by Bossidy, which may have been written a little better but was a collection of useless bromides.

    Go back and do some of the exercises Paul recommends – I bet you’ll get something valuable out of it.

  4. @UglyAmerican – Thanks for stopping by my blog. To answer your question…I am not trying to “make a buck off it”.

    If that was my intent, I would give it glowing reviews and tell everyone to buy it.

    I would never do something like that however, because the trust of my readers is very important to me, so I only recommend things I truly believe are a great book, product, or service.

  5. Hi Marty,

    Thought I’d chime in, I hope you don’t mind.

    I’m a fan of Tom Peters, but unfortunately, Tom doesn’t teach people how to do anything. He is inspirational, motivational, throws out a bunch of ideas — but the reader is left to figure out how for themselves.

    In Be Unreasonable I seek to teach people how.

    Business owners receive a whole host of techniques and tools on precisely HOW to be unreasonable, and so are able to apply those ideas directly to their businesses to produce extraordinary results.

    In many ways this is not really a book for readers (although I personally think it is a good read). This is a book for business owners who are looking to take action – at least that’s what many readers have said.

    Sorry you didn’t like the book. As the old masters used to say, “Some do, some don’t.”

    Best regards,

    Paul Lemberg

  6. @Paul,

    Of course I don’t mind you chiming in. I’m honored that you took the time to stop by my blog and comment.

    It’s always tough to do a review of a book when I know the author has put his/her heart and soul into writing it. I appreciate how difficult it is to write and get a book published, and I certainly never intend to offend or overly criticize. With that in mind, I certainly appreciate your professional response to my review.

    I noticed on Amazon that you have a lot of positive reviews for your book, including one from Joel Comm, a friend and business associate I highly respect.

    As a business owner myself, I didn’t review your book for “light summer reading”, but for the small business owner, who are my main blog readers.

    Perhaps I’ll revisit “Be Unreasonable” in the future, and see if I get a different take while reading in a different frame of mind.

    Thanks again for stopping by my blog, and I wish you the best of success in the future.


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