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Considering the source, this is a shocking book. For over 40 years Richard Rumelt has made distinguished contributions to the field of strategy, in his theorizing, teaching, and consulting. Now comes the deponent to tell us that what purports to be strategy at most organizations, not just companies but not-for-profits and governments as well, hardly merits the name. Instead it represents what he calls "bad strategy"--a list of blue-sky goals, perhaps, or a fluff-and-buzzword infected "vision" everybody is supposed to share.
Refreshing stuff this, seeing the corporate emperor revealed not in his imagined suit of armor but rather in something resembling a diaphanous clown suit. Rumelt drives the point home with a simple explanation for why most organizations can't do "good strategy": the real McCoy requires making choices, feeding a few promising beasties while goring the oxen of others at the management table.
But the jeremiad, fun as it is--and it is fun, Rumelt has a good time punching holes in the afflatus of bad strategy--isn't my favorite part of the book. That would be the second section, with the slightly daunting title "Sources of Power." To be useful to a practitioner, a book on strategy needs not only a straightforward framework but also a certain craftiness, a set of ideas that prompt the reader to think "What a neat idea" or "How clever of them." Rumelt has the clear, elegant framework in what he calls the "kernel"--a diagnosis explaining the nature of the challenge, a guiding policy for dealing with it, coherent actions for carrying out the policy.
In "Sources of Power," though, he goes deeper than the merely crafty to identify potential levers of for strategic advantage--proximate objectives, design, and focus, among others--that transcend the purely economic. Repeatedly he demonstrates how to think down through the apparent challenge, with questions and then questions of those questions, to get at what can be the bedrock of a good strategy.
In a final section on thinking like a strategist, we get a sense of what a delight it must be to sit in Rumelt's classroom, or with him on a consulting assignment, as he leads us through the best kind of Socratic dialogue to appreciate the kinds of blinders or mass psychology that can pose the final barriers to our forging clear-eyed strategy.
If you want to make strategy, or be an informed part of the ever-evolving conversation around the subject, you will need to read this book. My bet is that you'll enjoy the experience. --Walter Kiechel
In fact, one of the best business books I've ever read/listened to.
Your most recent book "Good Strategy, Bad Strategy" is without exception the most coherent, thoughtful and, above all, insightful book on strategy I've ever read.
Rumelt's 'Good Strategy Bad Strategy' provides an excellent framework for understanding the difference between good and bad strategies.
Before you start to implement any bold strategy read this book first to understand where its weak points might be. There are tons of strategies around in this world. Most fail. Read morePublished 17 hours ago by Bernhard Keim
Rumelt lays out a quite simple yet powerful tool for any business strategy definition. The book is full of cases tha can help a lot to get a hold of key conceptsPublished 4 days ago by Ricardo
Amazing book, full of examples, very well written and insightful. Rumelt is really powerfulPublished 1 month ago by Emilie M Rosanvallon
I have read several books about strategy. This one was the one where I really understood what is a business strategy, a good one and a bad one, and learned about strategies in... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dr. Jose Cruz
Really nice work on what strategy really is and how to go after it. Porter's Five Forces are mentioned and used, but this is really more about how to gain a more insightful view... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Boris Beckert
Rumelt's `Good Strategy Bad Strategy' provides a refreshing, straight-forward take on business strategy basics. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Heather Sparrow
Richard Rumelt, a professor at UCLA Anderson School of Business and respected business consultant, takes a refreshing approach comparing good strategy against its counterpart, bad... Read morePublished 2 months ago by USF MAN6726 Grad Students