* The very best letters from Tim Harford's celebrated FINANCIAL TIMES 'Dear Economist' column, collected here in one volume for the first time
There is a new rule in business: don't aim for the middle market - unless you're cheaper than cheap, you're going to fail. Instead, find a Niche and reap the rewards. Woolworths suffered from a lack of identity and found that low quality and low price wasn't enough; General Motors crashed as motorists failed to distinguish between cars in their range. Yet HBO, Moleskine and specialist media like The Economist have all concentrated on being the best they can be - and customers have flocked to them as a result. For sixty years, our cultural consumption has been controlled by the giants of the mass market. But thanks to the recession they have become weak and defensive, and are now in a desperate fight for their lives. From this new cultural terrain the niche has evolved to become the place where innovation flourishes and sales take off. From the author of CYBURBIA comes a superb examination of the growing proportion of economic, political and cultural activity aimed not at the mainstream audience but at tightly defined but globally scattered niches, bound together by the power of the net.