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Adaptability: The Art of Winning In An Age of Uncertainty [Kindle Edition]

Max McKeown
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

All success is successful adaptation. All failure is a failure to adapt. Adaptability is about the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win. Fascinating real-world examples from business, government, and sport, military and wider society bring the rules of adaptability to life. From the world's most innovation corporations to street-level creativity emerging from the slums. From McDonalds to Sony, from post-war Iraq to the revolutions of the Arab Spring, from the bustling markets of Hong Kong to the rubber marked circuit of the Monte Carlo Rally.With insightful rules, Max Mckeown shows you how to increase the adaptability of your organization to create winning positions. Human history is a story of competition to adapt between groups and individuals. It has never been more important to understand how to think better and adapt.

Editorial Reviews


"History is not filled with stories of cultures or companies that managed to hold the status quo. History is filled with stories about those who dominated and those that disappeared. Companies need to figure out what being adaptable means to their organizations and how they use it to dominate. Max Mckeown's newest book is the road map they need." - Tac Anderson, Vice President, Head of Digital Strategies, EMEA at Waggener Edstrom

Book Description

Survival rules for the real world of business

Product Details

  • File Size: 403 KB
  • Print Length: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Kogan Page; 1 edition (April 3, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007OTNOH6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #578,133 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond "adapt or die" June 28, 2012
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." Charles Darwin

Max McKeown presents his material within a three-part framework that focuses on these strategic objectives: How to recognize the need to adapt? (Chapters 1-6), How to understand necessary adaptation? (Chapters 12-17), and How to adapt as necessary? (Chapters 12-17). As Abraham Maslow suggests with his "Hierarchy of Needs" (usually portrayed in the form of a pyramid), man must first survive before giving thought to security; and only when secure can man consider "self-actualization" (i.e. personal fulfillment). McKeown's primary objective in this book is to help his reader to understand when, how, and why to adapt "faster and smarter than the [given] situation changes." He accepts Darwin's concept of natural selection but asserts, "Adapt or die is not the only choice. In the future, you can try to maintain what you already have, or you can attempt to transcend the constraints of your situation. We're part of a long chain of adaptive moves. Each move has changed the circumstances of our ancestors, until we arrived." How to learn how to adapt?

In response to that question, McKeown provides an abundance of information, insights, and counsel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great examples of adapting and not adapting October 4, 2012
Great book on understand change and how it may challenge you on many levels. Timely and true examples of adapting and not adapting in recent history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strategic explanation of winning by adapting September 18, 2012
Organizational success and failure can be reduced to one thing, or so argues management consultant Max McKeown in his scientific and cultural look at adaptability around the globe and through the ages. If groups can't change and adapt appropriately, they can't succeed. McKeown offers case studies from companies you know, such as Starbucks, providing insight into familiar story lines. Some of his other examples aren't as famous but are just as compelling: He looks at civil war in Liberia, computer game development and Italian bureaucracy to flesh out his 17 rules (which would be just as good without those few swear words) for adapting and, thus, succeeding. McKeown's rules are eye-catching, but they don't always connect smoothly to the stories or to a plan of action. As such, some of the book works better as a history of adaptability than as a manual for acquiring that skill. Still, an eager reader can tease out techniques and ideas for becoming more adaptable, and McKeown offers warm, inspirational tales that provide general road maps for successful adaptation. getAbstract believes leaders of companies small or large looking to motivate their employees or themselves will find value here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beyond "Adapt of Die" May 21, 2012
I read a ton of business books and most are either lacking in substance or lacking in steps to go from point A to point B. Honestly, the writing style of Adaptability threw me at first, but once I got into it, the excess number of examples were not a problem. Max seriously did his research for this. He draws on some interesting historical situations to prove his points. Rule #2 (Embrace unconventional wisdom) reminded me of my father, a rogue entrepreneur. He always said to never listen to those who said it can't be done but to those who said what if we could.

All-in-all a great book and one that sparked more thinking for sure, Adaptability is almost a lost art that should be taught in school at young age.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Keeping You Motivated May 17, 2012
By ChrisG
Format:Kindle Edition
When you run your own company, or you're responsible for leading people and/or motivating, it's important to keep yourself in a positive mental state.

In order to keep positive, one of my chosen tactics is to read motivating/energetic books. And I have read hundreds of books - quick reads such as the E-Myth and various coaching books by John Wooden and such, and longer reads on psychology and emotions. Max's book is one of those quick motivating reads that can help keep mental momentum.

Max uses analogies and common examples to make points. Having been in business now for almost 2 decades, it's not stuff I haven't seen before but I have found that I need to read similar material from different sources to keep my ideal engine fresh.

I think this book could do that for you and help keep you in the right frame of mind and keep you energetic about ideas and execution in a world of rapid change.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Deliberate adaptation is the key to a smarter future in this ever changing world. The outcomes of adaptation or lack thereof could be positive or negative. After all, there are no guarantees in life. However, the author suggests that by recognizing the need for adaptation, understanding the rules of adaptation and doing what is necessary to adapt proactively leads to more options than otherwise would be available.

It's a great read and highlights the key element of successful careers and organization. The willingness of these people and organizations to eschew status quo in favor of never-ending and deliberate adaptation to stay ahead of the game.
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More About the Author

Max Mckeown is a best-selling, award winning author who seeks to make complex ideas practical for the real world. His research focuses on how to increase the successful adaptability of individuals, teams and organizations. He has also has an MBA and Doctorate from Warwick Business School.

Combining cutting edge strategy and management science with pragmatic wisdom, wit and pop culture, he pinpoints how the most resilient people inspire all-important, trust-filled, make-a-difference energy from their people.

He has written six books, including The Strategy Book, The Innovation Book, Adaptability, The Truth About Innovation, and Unshrink The People.

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