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Publisher's Summary

For the first time, Hartmut Esslinger, internationally acclaimed designer and founder of frog design, inc., reveals the secrets to better business through better design. Having spent 40 years helping build the world's most recognizable brands, Esslinger shows how business leaders and designers can join forces to build creative strategies that will ensure a more profitable and sustainable future. A Fine Line shares the amazing story of Esslinger's transformation from industrial design wunderkind to a global innovation powerhouse, while detailing the very real challenges facing businesses in the new global economy. Offering companies far more than a temporary innovation booster, Esslinger shows how he and frog build creative design into the framework of an organization's competitive strategy, the same approach that has worked so well for leading edge companies such as Sony, Louis Vuitton, Lufthansa, Disney, Hewlett-Packard, SAP, Microsoft, and Apple.
Offering a step-by-step overview of the innovation process - from targeting goals to shepherding new products and services to the marketplace - Esslinger reveals how to arrive at a design that reflects an intensely human experience and will connect strongly with consumers.
With Esslinger's unique perspective, rich stories, and global mindset, A Fine Line explores business solutions that are environmentally sustainable and contribute to the future of a thriving and lasting global economy.
The blending of design and business intelligence holds the key for shaping a sustainable competitive advantage in the rapidly evolving creative economy. A Fine Line equips business leaders with the necessary tools to thrive in tomorrow's world.
©2009 Hartmut Esslinger (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"A breath of turbo-charged fresh air that doesn't regurgitate the ego-maniac CEO's selective memory or an outside expert's misinterpretations. Hartmut explains innovation through the lens of design, and it's about time we gained his valuable perspective." (Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist, Apple, and co-founder of
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Kenneth on 11-13-11

Design as Strategy; Argument by Example

This is a somewhat narcissistic autobiographical story of the designer behind Steve Jobs, and surprisingly many others of Job’s ilk. In retrospect I should have felt more incredulity that one man could have been the lead designer on so many influential products in the second half of the 20th century. But I think it’s a pretty honest rendition.

Mixed in are his views on business strategy: 1) great design must be artistic, but it must be even more about the engineering, 2) great design is about the user (everyone says this, but few walk the walk), 3) great design should not mirror today’s market, but rather must be about what the market could be with 1 or 2 steps (but presumably not 10 steps), 4) globalization makes design more valuable while making much around it less valuable (globalization makes design more strategic in other ways too), 5) great design has always been manufacturing (few seem to remember this).

The book also includes a significant section on greening as an opportunity for designs. I remain unsure rather this section is deep or fashionable fluff.

The best part of the book was the analysis Chinese Manufacturing and Taiwanese Design (i.e., ODMs). He argues that the Chinese manufacturing is far more capable, especially more flexible, than western designers understand and that this gap in awareness is the source of a major shortfall in the potential of western design.

The biggest weakness of the book is that he presents an interesting thesis, namely that design has become one of the key pillars of business strategy, but never follows through with a forceful attempt to prove this thesis. Probably it was self evident to him, but it leaves the non-designer reader unsatisfied.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By michael on 09-24-12

Some good advice under layers of self promotion

Beyond the multiple self promotions of essinger's firm Frog design, and layers of "only the best" platitudes there is useful advice, Esslinger's firm has been instrumental in many super successful products(like Macintosh). I would have enjoyed it a bit more with the ego tempered a bit and the advice given with a true spirit of helping readers more that flacking for frog...Frog is great, we know that already that is why we bought the book.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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