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Hidden Champions of the Twenty-First Century: The Success Strategies of Unknown World Market Leaders 2009th Edition

16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0387981468
ISBN-10: 0387981462
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Editorial Reviews


From the reviews:

“Hermann Simon’s detailed study of Hidden Champions is phenomenal in its depth and rich coverage. These mid-size leaders carry lessons for large, medium, and small companies about the importance of focus, quality, service, innovation, and closeness to the customer, lessons that many of our largest Fortune 500 companies have forgotten.” (Philip Kotler, S. C. Johnson & Son Distinguished Professor of International Marketing, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University)

“This book shows that the Hidden Champions of the 21st Century go their own ways. This exactly is their success secret.” (Hans Riegel, Managing Director and Co-Owner, Haribo)

“The Hidden Champions prove that even management in the 21st Century should be based on healthy common sense. By improving upon the small things every day, a company can ascend to world market leadership.” (Reinhold Wuerth, Chairman of the Board, Wuerth Group, World Market Leader in Assembly Products)

“The Hidden Champions go their own way. The secret to their success is common sense, vision and flexibility - qualities that aren’t easy to find.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“In Simon’s viewpoint, resistance to management fads is a strength, not a weakness. For decades the best companies have been thriving by eschewing complexity, avoiding diversification and focusing on their core skills. The rest of the world is only beginning to catch up.” (The Economist)

"‘Hidden champions’ are virtually unknown to the public. … What is the secret to their success and uniqueness? Hermann Simon has been researching and dissecting these companies and their strategies for over 20 years. … The targets of hidden champions are aimed at growth and market leadership. … Hidden champions have created new competitive advantages in the form of advice and systems integration. … hidden champions of the 21st century follow their own path – and do so with more decisiveness and success than ever before." (German American Trade, September-October, 2009)

"Hidden Champions of the 21st Century: Lessons from 500 of the World’s Best Unknown Companies by Hermann Simon highlights low profile global businesses … leaders in their given markets. Simon, a visiting Professor at Harvard, claims that there is more to be learned from these ‘hidden’ companies than those in the media limelight. The book is written for those who have a good grasp of management theory … ." (Anoop Maini, Professional Manager, Vol. 18 (5), September, 2009)

"Hermann Simon has been studying ‘Hidden champions’ for more than twenty years … . he mainly focuses on the influence of globalisation on these companies. ‘Hidden champions’ are medium-sized, unknown companies that have become the market leaders in their industries. … ‘Hidden champions’ focus more on service, the needs and wants of customers and on excellent performance … . This book was written for those who are interested in international business operations and for mangers of all types of companies … ." (Supply Chain Movement, October, 2009)

"This is a book that deserves careful study. … The material covered reinforces and confirms the evidence that underpins the author’s original identification of the hidden champions. … This book is a welcome and timely reminder of the need to get back to basics reinforced by numerous documented examples that demonstrate incontrovertibly and organisations that do so are most likely to succeed in achieving their goals." (Michael J. Baker, Journal of Customer Behaviour, Vol. 8 (4), 2009)

“Must read book for growth firms wanting to dominate their industry is Hermann Simon’s Hidden Champions of the 21st Century. … Hermann Simon notes, based on his research of the world’s top mid-market companies, that they almost always set-up wholly owned subsidiaries vs. licensing or joint venture relationships.” (Ceo Brain Trust, January, 2010)

“Throughout his book, Simon demonstrates how these and other hidden champions are able to focus and capture market share under the radar. … Wrapping up Hidden Champions of the 21st Century with a clear description of the many lessons that can be learned from the hidden champions of the world, Simon goes beyond cheerleading for these marvelous companies and leads the way for other businesses to transform themselves into champions with a practical, advice-filled guide.” (Soundview Executive Book Summaries, March, 2010)

“An academic tome, Hidden Champions of the Twenty-First Century reads very much as a sequel and follow-up to an earlier work. … The majority of this volume is taken with explaining and illustrating features of the various ‘Hidden Champions’, and the world markets around them, with allusions that the study is on how these companies adapt and grow into a changing and changed world. … thought-provoking book, and one I would recommend to business students, or the self-taught in the business world.” (LibraryThing, December, 2009)

“The book full of interesting ideas and very thought provoking. If you have or are planning a business of your own this will definitely give you ideas about looking for your niche and after finding it how to grow in it … .” (LibraryThing, December, 2009)

“This is a follow up to the author’s earlier research published as Hidden Champions. He studies companies which are market leaders and … in many cases secretive companies. … I am a business analyst and adviser, this book is the rare business book which will have an immediate value to my consulting work in the insights and perspective it offers on how to build long lasting, profitable companies.” (LibraryThing, February, 2010)

“A very thorough review of the ‘hidden champion’ marketspace. The author clearly knows this subject very well and covers all aspects of it. The topics are well discussed, with summaries and extensive notes for each chapter. The book is mainly written for the enterprise-level decision maker.” (LibraryThing, February, 2010)

“As someone who is looking to start my own business this was an interesting read. It looks at the strategies, operations, and leadership of some of the world’s most successful companies … . A must read for anyone interested in business management – should probably be read by many top executives today.” (GoodReads, March, 2010)

“It is primarily a reference work … . you can … pick and choose your reading from the chapter headings. I’d recommend this book to business consultants, operating officers, small business owners, and anyone else that would like to see their business reach its potential.” (LibraryThing, November, 2010)

“Interesting book that is very similar in premise to Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, but focused on usually smaller and mostly European companies. The conclusions are well reasoned and documented and the lessons one can gain from this book are easily discoverable. … It still could be a valuable addition to your business library … .” (Mike Klein, Goodreads, July, 2010)

From the Back Cover

What do Tetra aquarium supplies, Elector-Nite sensors, and Nissha touch panels have in common? They are typical "hidden champions," medium-sized, unknown companies (with annual revenues under $4 billion) that have quietly, under the radar, become world market leaders in their respective industries. Hermann Simon has been studying these hidden champions for over 20 years, and in this sequel to his worldwide bestseller, Hidden Champions, he explores the dramatic impact of globalization on these companies and their outstanding international success. Going deep inside more than a thousand hidden champions around the world, Simon reveals the common patterns, behaviors, and approaches that make these companies successful, and, in many cases, able to sustain world market leadership for generations, despite intense competition, financial pressures, and constantly evolving market dynamics. In the tradition of In Search of Excellence, Built to Last, and Good to Great, Simon identifies the factors in business operations, customer service and marketing, innovation, human resources management, organizational design, leadership, and strategy that separate these outstanding performers from the rest of the pack – and from the large corporations of the day. In the process, he provides a glimpse behind the curtains of many secretive companies who buck today’s management fads, and succeed instead through such common-sense strategies as focusing on core capabilities, delivering real value to the customer, establishing long-term relationships, innovating continuously, rewarding employees for performance, decentralized operations, and developing an unparalleled global presence. Hidden champions teach us that good management means doing many small things better than the competition―quietly, with determination, commitment, and never-ending stamina. And in turbulent economic times, the hidden champions represent an antidote to the short-sighted and excessive practices that have brought many corporate giants crashing down. The hidden champions provide invaluable lessons for all stakeholders in the business community, from entrepreneurs to corporate managers, investors to employees, union organizers to regulators, advanced and emerging countries and may well serve as the new role models for sustainable economic growth in the globalized world of the future.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 402 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2009 edition (June 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0387981462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0387981468
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Steven Forth on November 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of my learning goals for the past few years has been to get a deeper understanding of successful businesses from around the world and to see what I can learn from these companies that I can apply to my own companies. Something of a nomad in my youth, I first engaged in business while living in Japan, so my early models of successful businesses were all Japanese. But I moved back to North America more than 20 years ago and for the past three-years I have worked at a leading strategy consulting firm in Cambridge MA. Working at this company I realized that American models, frameworks and assumptions guided most of the work on business models and practices and that it takes a conscious effort to seek out models from other countries. This was the context for my decision to read Hermann Simon's book.

I was richly rewarded. Dr. Simon provides a distinctly German perspective on what makes for a successful company, and he does this by studying what he calls "hidden champions", relatively small companies (say $250 million to $4 billion in revenues) that dominate their markets globally. Many of these companies come from Northern Europe where they leverage deep traditions of superb engineering, but there are examples from around the world. These companies seem to share some common characteristics: a narrow focus on a global market, technical leadership, close customer relationships, quality and value leadership (not the same thing as price leadership), strong internal cultures, long-term orientation.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Shiva Thiagarajan on November 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Meticulously researched and lucidly presented, Hermann Simon's latest builds on and extends his previous body of work to uncover and explore demonstrably successful management practices that allow companies of all shapes, sizes, geographies and industries to rise above their peers. This is a fascinating read for managers, consultants, MBA students and anyone else with an interest in business theory or history.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Christian Schneiderhahn on September 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Hermann Simon's new book on "Hidden Champions of the 21st Century" is a truly fascinating account of how some relatively unknown companies have managed to become world market leaders while defying many of the rules and principles that large corporations live by. The corporate world can learn a great deal from these examples of global entrepreneurial leadership. The book is a must for anyone who is trying to gain an edge over competition. The style of the book is also great fun, it's simply a highly enjoyable read and in my mind comparable to other business best sellers such as "Built to Last" or "Blue Ocean Strategy".
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Orenstein on November 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Hermann Simon dissects in "Hidden Champions" the strategies, operations, and leadership of some of the world's most successful companies-- the majority of which are likely unknown to most readers. Meticulous in his analysis, Simon's presentation is marked by clarity and order. "Hidden Champions" would be an eye-opener for academics and business leaders, and a stimulating foray into business analysis for students, consultants, and other stakeholders with an interest in the field.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Beau P. D'arcy on November 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book really is a good read if you're interested in books like "Good to Great" or "Crossing the Chasm". It's another way of looking at how some companies are extremely successful, while other flounder in today's globalized economy. If you're managing your own business, a senior leader of a public company, or interested in starting your own business in the future, I would highly recommend this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By C. Wernz on November 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Hidden Champions, which are companies like Bobcat, play a key role in our flat, i.e., globalized world. The are market leaders, innovators, employers. Simon explores and studies hidden champions, which drive innovation and represent the reliable core of our economies.
The book is an excellent study, entertaining to read and great introduction to anybody in industry and/or academia.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. Reynolds on October 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I don't believe I've ever read a technical business book like this before. The closest I have probably ever come to that are pop bestsellers such as Who Moved My Cheese and The One Minute Manager - both of which I read and enjoyed ~10 years ago.

Hidden Champions is in a completely different league: a scholarly book, filled with unfamiliar terms and concepts ("value extraction"; "vertical integration"). It is not "fun" to read and would never top the best-seller list. It surely is a reference or textbook, or intended for those in upper-level management. Quite a bit flew over my head as I have neither the business experience nor the educational background (MBA) to fully appreciate the complex discussions. However, portions were quite readable, and Simon did an excellent job of distilling his case studies of "hidden champions" into fairly concise precepts. I was struck by how many of the "hidden champions" I was already familiar with even though Simon warned that very few of the companies were well-known outside their particular industry...and even "secretive." As a climber, Petzl technical climbing equipment was the company, understandably, that I enjoyed reading about the most.

Part of the value of this book for me was opening a different world, one I've never known before - that of business theory and implementation. Even though I could not appreciate it fully, I found that other culture interesting.


Advance Review Copy provided courtesy of the publisher.
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