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BookMattic

Cumulative Advantage by Mark W. Schaefer – Book Review

14 April 2021

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cumulative advantage mark w schaefer
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Cumulative Advantage is a witty book filled with practical advice and fun stories about how to build momentum for your ideas. There is a solid framework behind what the Cumulative Advantage is and how you can use it.

As I read through this book it felt like Mark was writing directly to me. The strategies he has come up with and discovered, the frameworks that are depicted in his book are relatable and applicable. It’s not a wishy-washy fluffy book. The principals don’t lie, and you can tell the amount of research and personal experience he has put into putting this book together.

What is a Cumulative Advantage, also known as The Matthew Effect?

-It states that once a person games a small advantage over others in their field, that advantage will compound over time into increasingly larger advantages. But of course, not always.

What this book explores.

-This book explores the fuel for that turbine of success. What is that difference that gives an idea, a person, or a business unstoppable momentum

Mark has even created a visual swoop that helps you understand and implement the five stage framework.

The five stages:

1. Initial Advantage


Your initial advantage is not just about what you already have but also about what you can cultivate. Many people think that successful people are lucky, but luck has a controllable factor.
-Connect your present and your past.
-Connect people and ideas together
-Go where the action is
-See opportunities in crisis (fulfill a need or solve a problem)
-Make time for exploration

2. The Seam


Find a weakness and pry open a space long enough to advance. This section reminded me a lot of the Blue Ocean Strategy where you look for a unique niche or sub-niche that has barely been touched. Breaking through a seam is similar enough to creating a blue ocean.

Another way to put it is it’s like breaking through an undefended opportunity that can come from changing customer needs, exploiting competitor laziness, specialized data analysis, or the application of a new technology.

3. Sonic Boom


If you can get as few as five relevant and influential accounts or media agencies spreading 1 idea, book, product, or service, you’re on your way towards creating a sonic boom. According to the book if you have five major sources who share your idea you’ll get 300% more shares through social media.

If the earliest feedback on your idea is positive and shared widely, it’s much more likely to create the momentum needed to take you to the top and keep you there.

4. Reaching Up


Create a Dream Team using something like a podcast or guest speaking platform in other words create your dream 100. Build up strong relationships with these people, serve them well and try to be at top of mind as much as possible to them.

To build influence from a standing position with no previous connections, you need to reach out, reach up, serve, and prove that you are worthy of who you say you are and the things you do.

The biggest and the best thing you can get from mentorship is access to a network. When leveraged well it will change your life.

5. Constancy


To achieve the momentum of cumulative advantage, you need to recognize your initial point of differentiation, and you also have to stick with it.

Constancy is similar to your ikigai or purpose. It is the thing you will almost certainly love doing for a lifetime. It’s also something you will persevere through thick and thin.

Who should get Cumulative Advantage?

You can use the five stages repeatedly. That’s the thing I love about this book. That means if you do pick it up then you will get every penny’s worth from its takeaways.

If you are a creator, have a personal brand, you’re an influencer, or have other types of businesses, I recommend reading and applying the amazing straightforward framework.

cumulative advantage book cover
Pick up a copy of Cumulative Advantage here

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