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Do Less Better: The Power of Strategic Sacrifice in a Complex World 2014th Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1137452771
ISBN-10: 1137452773
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"In this new age of business, small, focused, and nimble organizations are disrupting markets and stealing market share from sprawling, bloated, and inflexible legacy enterprises. Told with the engaging wit and practical wisdom of a transformation-CEO, John Bell's Do Less Better is an invaluable tool for every leader eager to not just survive, but thrive! I couldn't put it down, and you won't want to either." - Ted Coiné, Chairman and Founder, Switch and Shift

"In Do Less Better, Bell delivers a simple, yet nuanced answer to the always-relevant question of how we manage today's business complexity." - Nilofer Merchant, Harvard Business Review Columnist, Stanford Lecturer, and best-selling author

"John Bell is right on target with his book. Less is really better in almost all instances. John brings to life his experiences in a way that puts you right in the action. It is a great read and you will start learning from the very first page." - Howard Behar, Former President of Starbucks Coffee Company and author of It's Not About the Coffee

"If you enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, then you must read John Bell's Do Less Better. I wish I had read it before starting my life's journey. I would have progressed further and faster, with happier, more motivated stakeholders around me for support. This book is full of powerful lessons!" - Hugo Powell, Former CEO of Interbrew, now Anheuser-Busch InBev

"Do Less Better reminds you that small and focused trumps size for size's sake all day long." - John Cassaday, President and CEO, Corus Entertainment

"John Bell's decades of C-level leadership experience comes through loud and clear in Do Less Better. Many talk about leadership, but John is clearly qualified to write and teach on the subject. This a must read for any leader serious about living and leading better." - Mike Myatt, Founder and Chairman, N2Growth, Forbes leadership columnist, and bestselling author of Hacking Leadership

About the Author

John Richard Bell is a retired CEO, and a strategy consultant to some of the globe's most respected blue-chip consumer goods organizations. His writings have appeared in Fortune, Forbes, and Marketing Magazine. He has served as a director of several not-for-profits and commercial enterprises and is a two-time winner of BCAMA's Marketer-of-the-Year award.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 2014 edition (January 6, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1137452773
  • ISBN-13: 978-1137452771
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,486,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am not a business person but I was attracted to Doing Less Better by John Bell. I work in educational administration and the thought of exploring ways of doing a better job of fewer tasks as opposed to doing a mediocre job of many, appealed to me. So even though the book is intended for business types, I thought I’d give it a read to see if it had any application to my own work. Interestingly, it did. Not everything of course but I am happy to report a few things took root.
Bell’s examples are ones from the private sector where efficiencies are judged in terms of their ability to yield profits. By way of contrast, the public sector, does not and cannot work this way. This is not news to anyone. In education, administrators like myself often are charged with implementing mandates contrived by others. Without getting too preachy, these mandates usually originate as simple ideas that get snagged on barbs of bureaucratic complexity as they work their way through the myriad of policies and procedures (other mandates) required by the organization being served. For that reason, many of Bell’s points don’t work for the public sector. However, there is enough in this book that caused me to think about doing less better in my own work. For example, Bell speaks of the 80/20 rule. This rule implies that in every work environment, tasks can be prioritized on the basis of their impact. So if 20 % of your work has an 80% impact on your organization’s effectiveness then those tasks should take priority and I as an administrator should be able to select these priorities and encourage those who work under me to do the same. I think this is a useful mantra.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Any time you can gain a personal perspective from a former CEO and their experiences, you should take it. John R. Bell delivers practical leadership and strategic insights throughout Do Less Better. From what bold leadership really means to the value of focus in the strategic direction and operations of company, each chapter is well-grounded.

Simplicity gets overlooked too often, especially when it comes to strategy. John brings our attention back to the power of simplicity in the product mix, the go-to-market operations, along with revenue and profit growth. Complexity muddles, yet too many adopt this approach by purchasing companies and products and slamming it all together. Do Less Better shows how this can be a very harmful strategy.

Overall, John's last chapter alone is worth the value of the book. In "Regrets...I've Had a Few." The honesty is evident throughout his writing but, in this final chapter, it all comes together to emphasize key lessons learned and points to consider for business, leadership, and life.
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Format: Hardcover
In his book Bell provides a toolkit of road-tested strategies for keeping companies lean, creating cultures of innovation, and knowing when to expand and yet, remain streamlined. The goal of the book is to teach you how to “think smaller,” when everyone around you is firmly entrenched in the “do more” strategy in order to become more agile, adaptable, and resilient than your competitors.

I had John on my podcast, The Entrepreneurs Library, to give a deep dive on Do Less Better. With John’s experience he gives amazing insight on how certain sacrifices, when it comes to growing a business, can set you up for improved results. If you would like to hear a review from the author himself check out episode 135 at theELpodcast.com/books.

In my opinion, the best way to engage with the book is to read it from front to back so that you gather a full understanding of the concepts he presents. Enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover
What will you STOP doing?

That is hardest question for most leaders to answer, and the most important. Doing too much will kill your business and sink your career. And yet that's what we do, isn't it? We take on more tasks, add to already overloaded agendas, pile on more processes and tasks to further encumber our workforce, and expand product lines and delve into new markets no matter how far afield they may be from our core business, or how unprofitable or resource-consuming.

Sound familiar? Need I go on?

When John R. Bell took over his consumer good enterprise as CEO, his company was doing too much - much too much. And it was killing itself.

So he took a courageous, rare, and incredibly radical step: he led his organization in a massive... (full review here: https://meddle.it/content/8a546f544abc8983014ad4cfe0b760ce/public)
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book. It's really about focus. When your talents and efforts are spread too thin, then you're not going to be successful in any one area. This is an especially good read for those who supervise people, so that they're not overloading workers with meaningless projects. Stick to strategic goals. I like Chapter 6 - KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid). I learned this acronym back in high school and have tried to apply it in all areas of life and it's made a difference. Whether you're the leader of your organization, department, household or student government, this book will help you to understand how 20% of activity delivers 80% of the impact. Figure out what matters most, what work is the most meaningful -- and focus. Do less, better!
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