Books, Podcasts, & Published Articles


What To Ask: How to Learn What Customers Need But Don't Tell You

No matter the number of surveys, interviews, or studies conducted, we regularly fail to uncover those gems needed to make our organization stand out. It’s no surprise given that “expert” guidance states the obvious, like “Ask open-ended questions,” “Identify patterns,” or “Extract insights.”

What’s needed is a way to discover what we’re missing.

Traditional customer feedback methods ignore two essential sources of insight: context and behavior. These reveal the WHY behind the WHAT, eliminating the ambiguity of open-ended customer feedback—and this requires a different approach.

In What to Ask, author Andrea Belk Olson, CEO of applied behavioral science and change agency Pragmadik, lecturer and business coach at the University of Iowa Startup Incubator, delivers a unique, cognitive method for discovering hidden customer needs, converting them quickly into differentiators, and avoiding the pitfalls of traditional research.

Available now in hardcover, digital or audio versIons.


Endorsed by the Most Recognized Thought Leaders

Richard Shotton, founder of Astroten UK, and author of the best-selling book The Choice Factory

"A very thought-provoking look at how to better understand your customers. The book is full of fresh examples and practical case studies. Simply wonderful!”

Ron Carucci, Managing Partner, Navalent, bestselling author of the award-winning To Be Honest and Rising to Power

“Andrea Olson cuts through the clutter of customer data noise and guides us squarely into their hearts and minds where, together, we can help discover the unspoken needs and desires they’ve yet to articulate. If you are competing in a space clamoring for insights about your customers, read this book. Twice. And Slowly.”

Dennis Sparks, Retired Director of Global Supply Chain with Pfizer, and board member at the University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center

“What To Ask provides an enlightened view of the customer insight challenge that every single business today struggles with. And it delivers to-the-point, non-academic, no bullshit methods and guidance to address it.”

Tom Trone, retired global sales, marketing and business development executive with John Deere, serial entrepreneur, and entrepreneurial instructor at the University of Iowa

“What to Ask is a must read for business leaders and decision-makers at all levels and in every industry and an invaluable resource for entrepreneurs who are seeking to innovate and differentiate in emerging markets or in existing markets where current solutions no longer meet customers’ needs.”

Elys Roberts, CEO & Founder, BEESY, a behavioral science agency

“What to Ask is just what we need right now in the customer insights and marketing domain. Superior customer understanding is the new battleground for companies to gain a sustainable competitive advantage. This smart, practical guide leverages behavioral science to help you help customers reveal what really drives their decision-making, so that you have a real shot at impacting it.”

Patrick Fagan, Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer, Capuchin Behavioural Science, and Lecturer at the University of London

“A must-read guide for anyone who wants to know what their customers or employees want – what they really want. This is an excellent, contemporary reference manual for people measurement and all the foibles of human nature that go with it, brought to life in a fascinating and memorable way.”

Steve Blank, Adjunct Professor at Stanford University, Senior Fellow at Columbia Business School, Architect of the National Science Foundation I-CORPS Curriculum, Father of Modern Entrepreneurship and author of The Startup Owner’s Manual

“This book will help sharpen your customer focus. Incredibly immersive yet practical, it skips all the vague theories and delivers an immediately applicable method to shift organizational mindsets around customers and what they need now.”

Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman at Ogilvy UK, TED Global speaker and author of Alchemy: The Surprising Power Of Ideas That Don't Make Sense

“This is the best title of any marketing book. And the contents more than live up to the promise. It is a masterclass in learning to uncover the decisive distinctions and paradoxes in human behaviour which most businesses overlook to their cost.”

Gino Wickman, Founder of EOS, and author of Traction and Entrepreneurial Leap

“I teach every entrepreneur that they must know their customer better than their customer knows themself. This is the first book that I’ve read that shows you exactly what that means and how to do it.”

Martin Reeves, Chair, BCG Henderson Institute and author of Your Strategy Needs a Strategy and The Imagination Machine

"Needs, business models and competition are evolving at an ever-faster pace, making customer insight more important than ever to guide how companies evolve. Andrea Belk Olson explains cogently and with practicality how to understand customer needs in a world where technology creates the illusion that it’s “all in the data”."

Richard Chataway, author of The Behaviour Business and CEO of BVA Nudge Unit UK

“Any business needs to understand the behaviour of customers to succeed. But too many businesses go astray by asking them the wrong questions and get misleading answers (or none at all). In this insightful, entertaining, and practical book, Andrea Olson gives hugely useful and valuable frameworks to make sure the questions you ask about your customers give you the answers you need to drive business success.”

The books

Published Books

Purchase from any of these notable sellers, or just Google it. You'll find them just about anywhere. Available in print, digital, and audio formats.

No Disruptions

The first book to holistically examine the challenges of the skeptical, change-resistant, mid-market manufacturer, and how to overcome them.


Customer Mission

This book examines how to redefine your customer and how to redesign your organizational strategy to create uncontested differentiation.


What to Ask (NEW!)

This book delivers a unique, cognitive method for discovering hidden customer needs, avoiding the pitfalls of traditional research.

the podcasts

Hosted & Guest Podcasts

Subscribe & Listen Everywhere:

HBR's Women at Work

60 Minute Episode

Strategist Andrea Belk Olson spells out how to make the most of the latest corporate master plan that’s now your job to put into action. She suggests important questions to ask yourself before hitting the ground running, ways to handle resistance from team members, what to do when the plan isn’t working well, and points to include in progress updates.


The Customer Mission Podcast

3-5 minute episodes

Do you truly have a customer-centric organization or do you simply say you do? Do you know how to identify unmet customer needs? Do you have a growth strategy driven by compelling differentiators? The Customer Mission Podcast shares best practices and insights on how to create a customer-centric mindset to grow faster, be more competitive, and be more profitable.


Riveting Exchanges Podcast

35-40 minutes episodes

Andrea Belk Olson and co-host Desiree Grace discuss the details, strategies, and nuances of business. Drawing from real-life stories and experiences, they discuss practical tips and tricks on how to navigate culture and build successful leadership skills. The Riveting Exchanges Podcast is a guest segment of the DistributED Podcast (part of tED Magazine).

the articles

Sampling of Published Works

Featured articles from renowned magazines and publications across multiple industries. There's really too many to list, so this is just a sampling of some of the most popular works.

See More Published Works

The Pragmadik Newsletter

Weekly advice, inspiration, and insights to help your organization differentiate and grow healthy customer relationships. Spam-free.

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