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Date: Thu, 26 Aug 1999 15:54:23 -0500 (CDT)
From: "Joseph A. Dellinger" <>
Subject: Purchase circles and insider information has come out with a new service, "purchase circles".  It lets you
look up the 10 most popular books ordered by people at different
companies. I'm not sure realizes how powerful an information
source this is. I heard about this new feature from Stanford students near
graduation, who are using it to assess the relative "Dilbert index" of
possible future employers (as indicated by the ratio of new-age management
to technical books making the list). You can also use it to get some idea of
the current mood within a company. One large oil company in particular
stands out: people there are mostly ordering books on changing careers and
on introductory web/programming/internet skills. Not surprisingly, this is a
company about to be acquired.

The complete list of books being ordered by a given company might provide
very interesting insider information. There might be a noticeable spike in
"What color is my parachute" orders preceding public disclosure of an
impending big layoff, for example. A rash of "introductory Spanish" book
orders might indicate a planned expansion into or relocation of workers to a
Spanish-speaking country. How long before employees are ordered not to order
books over the internet using their work accounts?

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