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Customers can be a mystery. Despite the availability of more data than ever before, everyone, from the CEO to salespeople in the field, still finds it challenging to understand who their customers really are and what they really want. Seismic shifts in how people live and work brought on by COVID makes understanding their changing priorities and circumstances and finding new ways to serve them more important than ever.

To solve this challenge, learn to think like a market detective.

David Duncan shows you how in this instructive and entertaining story of Tazza, a fictional chain of cafes trying to go big time. The only problem: sales are declining, and its leaders can’t figure out why. In response, they launch an investigation led by a cast of characters including Cate Forrest, Tazza’s CEO, Alex Baker, a self-described “Market Detective,” and Jordan Sims, a young computer whiz at Tazza.  Together, they discover why even their most loyal customers walked out the door – and how they can get them back.

The key lesson of the Tazza story is a simple, powerful idea that upends how most businesses view their customers. Customers have “jobs to be done.” They “hire” companies to solve these jobs and “fire” them when unhappy. The Secret Lives of Customers provides an innovative path and practical tools for solving whatever market mysteries you face.


Thinkers50 2021 Distinguished Achievement Awards

David Duncan, author of “The Secret Lives of Customers,” has been shortlisted for the Thinkers50 Strategy Award. The award celebrates those who have contributed “the very best of strategic thinking.”

About the Author

David Duncan is a managing director at Innosight, where he works with leaders to create customer-centric teams, strategies, and organizations. He has advised and written extensively on how organizations can build systematic capabilities for innovation and is a leading authority on the theory and application of “jobs to be done.”

In the Media


July 23, 2021

Coffee in the Clouds Podcast

Host Thomas Capone speaks with David Duncan about his book ‘The Secret Lives of Customers’ and “jobs to be done” theory.

July 21, 2021

Enterprise Podcast Network

David Duncan joins host Eric Dye to discuss strategies for better understanding your customers. 

June 30, 2021

HR Future Magazine

David Duncan shares his thoughts on employees’ “jobs to be done” and why they hire their employers.

June 25, 2021

Helping Sells Radio Podcast

David Duncan joins host Bill Cushard to discuss understanding your customers by thinking like a detective. 

June 18, 2021

Outthinkers Podcast

Host Kaihan Krippendorff speaks with David Duncan about his book ‘The Secret Lives of Customers’. 

May 4, 2021

HBS The Disruptive Voice Podcast

In this episode, David Duncan joins Scott D. Anthony to reflect on his experience writing the mystery of The Secret Lives of Customers.