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Judo Strategy: Turning Your Competitors' Strength to Your Advantage Hardcover – September 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486605957
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578512539
  • ASIN: 1578512530
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #899,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Judo, often translated as "the way of gentleness," is a century-old martial art that employs quickness and agility to help devotees overcome adversaries who seem--at least on the surface--to be more powerful. In Judo Strategy, David B. Yoffie, a professor of International Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and Mary Kwak, a Harvard research associate, turn these principles around for a corporate audience, showing how they can also be used to help companies battle bigger and stronger competitors. The metaphor has been used before in business and economic examples, the authors concede, "yet no one, to our knowledge, had tried to use judo as the basis for a systematic way of thinking about strategy." In the pages that follow, they begin by delving into the three primary tenets of the discipline (movement, balance, and leverage), and show specifically how each could be applied in business. They then explore the way three prominent New Economy companies (Palm Computing, RealNetworks, and CNET Networks) have successfully put the strategy into practice. Finally, they offer insight into fending off others who employ the judo strategy. In all, an original and practical management approach. --Howard Rothman

Review

"...Mr. Yoffie and Ms. Kwak use the judo metaphor with perfect sensibility." -- Dallas Morning News

"...when taken to the mat, the book stands the test." -- Entrepreneur Magazine

"Judo Strategy is a lively, detailed analysis of how small companies can compete against larger ones." -- Business Week

"Yoffie and Kwak successfully follow through on a simple approach that delivers useful advice for any manager." -- Computerworld

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Customer Reviews

These chapters are a "must read" for anyone interested in the new economy.
"sanjeev94"
The small competitor was able to use that very same campaign to revitalise its business, and achieve its most productive quarter ever.
"catalyst777"
This book cleverly weaves theory with practical examples in a format which is engaging and easy to read and follow.
Becky Bruso

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Slivka on August 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Taking examples primarily from the high-technology business world of the past 7 years, Yoffie and Kwak use the sports of Judo and Sumo as metaphors to analyze small, new companies competing against large, entrenched companies. A brief introduction to the sport of Judo is followed by an overview of the Principles of Judo Strategy in business -- Movement, Balance, and Grip - with short examples of companies as varied as Amazon.com, Capital One, Charles Schwab, Dell, eBay, Frontier Airlines, Inktomi, Intuit, Juniper Networks, JVC, Netscape, People Express, Priceline.com, and Transmeta using these strategies (mostly) successfully. CNET Networks, Palm Computing, and Real Networks each get a chapter of their own discussing their use of Judo Strategy in detail.

Of course the upstart company does not always win, so the authors introduce the sport of Sumo and then describe how to apply Sumo Strategy to deal with a Judo strategist, using examples of behavior by AOL, Cisco, Coca Cola, Du Pont, Intel, Microsoft, and Texas Instruments.

I enjoyed the judo and sumo metaphors and especially all the stories about companies that had used these strategies successfully. The only suggestion for improvement I might offer the authors is to include more examples of companies (like Netscape) who violated these strategies and paid the price.

Judo Strategy winds down with a list of five rules for the Judo Strategist, which I will summarize as: Focus, Execute, Be Nimble, Leverage Creatively, and Cut Your Losses Quickly. I was particularly impressed by the passion, energy, intellect and dogged determination required of a small company leader to compete successfully with a large company.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Donna on September 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Okay, I'm biased about this book. After all, our story (the Palm story) is well profiled in it! But I do believe that Yoffie and Kwak have captured and articulated well some of the essential elements of our strategy. Judo Strategy gives solid advice, and is loaded with examples, for those entrepreneurs who dare to compete against industry giants. Refreshingly, it also instructs you on what NOT to do, which is sometimes even more important. I recommend this book for anybody who choses to compete with market leaders.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Simon Johnson on September 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
To understand strategy we study the details of campaigns, what worked and why. You can fill a library with good books on military affairs, but if you want to think about business strategy there are relatively few that combine reliable history with analysis. Most business strategy books are either simple exhortations to do better or rigid formulas that would have brought tears to Clausewitz's eyes. Many business histories, on the other hand, offer little more than a dry recital of events.
Judo Strategy is different. This is good analytic history, blending individual perspectives with overall strategy issues. Yoffie and Kwak bring in the personal dimension, while not losing sight of what it really takes to win. They present numerous detailed accounts of how entrepreneurs built (and in some cases then damaged) some of the country's best-known companies. Judo Strategy provides both an entertaining read and an important reference volume for entrepreneurs.
Napoleon is quoted as saying: "Read and reread the campaigns of Alexander, Hannibal, Ceasar, Gustavus Adolphus, Turenne, Eugène, and Frederick; take them for your model, that is the only way of becoming a great captain, to obtain the secrets of the art of war." Following this logic, we should read and reread the campaigns of companies like eBay, Palm Computing, Sony, and Charles Schwab. Start with Judo Strategy.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The usual garbage. Let's find a firm which has succeeded (for example RealNetworks) despite small size, and force fit it into our facile strategic model. Then let's find a firm which has been creamed (for example Novell) and show (by a selective telling of history) how it failed to do what our stupid (but seductively named) model would have suggested. Repeat three or four times and you have a book.
It is easy to tell stories, but that is all this book does. The predictive power of this claptrap will be zero - and results, specifically future results, are all that counts. Prospective CEOs should look inwards and discover themselves rather than waste their time on this and similar books.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 26, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book for anyone competing with the 800 pound gorilla of their industry. It gave me a lot of ideas about how to look beyond other companies' strengths and take advantage of their weaknesses. The examples are inspiring (especially the examples of moves to avoid, like getting into a war of attrition). If you work anywhere other than Microsoft, you should definitely read this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "sanjeev94" on November 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I read dozens of business books every year, and this one is a standout. In clear compelling language, Yoffie and Kwak lay out a set of strategic principles and techniques that companies can use to fight back against stronger competitors. The three principles they analyze are movement, balance, and leverage; the techniques include the puppy dog ploy, define the competitive space, and leverage your opponent's assets, partners, and competitors. These ideas come originally from the sport of judo, but Yoffie and Kwak demonstrate through numerous examples that they also make sense in business.
As well as short examples from Intuit, eBay, Schwab, etc. that are used to explain the three principles, the book includes indepth studies of three companies that have been successful at judo strategy (Palm, Real Networks, and CNET). These chapters are a "must read" for anyone interested in the new economy. A great deal has been written about all three companies (especially Palm), but here the analysis and details, often culled from interviews, are first-rate.
The last section of the book deals with sumo strategy, which is the counterpart to judo for large companies such as Microsoft and Intel. Smaller companies will find few direct lessons here, but reading about sumo strategy is a good wake-up call for anyone who thought that competing with giants might be easy.
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