254 of 269 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2001
This book is more talk and no walk. The book itself does not detail anything new and is very similar to their previous book (The McKinsey Way). Infact the authors themselves (in the introductory section of the first chapter) mention that they cannot delve into McKinsey methodologies, but have gone on to describe methodologies that are _like_ the ones used at McKinsey.
If you have read the contents page, you have read the book (this may sound harsh, but its true). Also the book is brand leveraged and does not even talk about the McKinsey ways. All the authors do, is interview some ex McKinsey consultants and get high level opinions from them. Extremely superficial read.
Do yourself a favor - go get a quantitative business analysis book like:
1. Quantitative Business Analysis: Text and Cases by Bodily, et al
2. Quantitative Analysis for Management by Bonini, et al
- and you will have learnt much more than this book can offer. You can then realize what you learnt into daily decision making.
Not recommended. Save your money.
103 of 107 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2002
For MBAs or others interested in getting a peek inside McKinsey & Company, just read Rasiels previous book, the McKinsey Way. With some experience working as an Associate (consultant) in New York office, he is eloquent in pointing out the basic consulting skills and some nice-to-have insights into how McKinseyites work. Actually I would recommend Pyramid Principles by Barbara Minto for any MBA student trying to understand how McKinsey consultants think and reason (it will help you in job interviews too), though it is not very reader-friendly and may take you quite some work to understand it.
I agree with a previous reviewer that there are no additional insights on how McKinsey works. I would say Rasiel tried but failed miserably. Like a two-year GE manager trying to describe how Welsh ran GE, Rasiel bit off more than he could chew by trying fathom how McKinsey partners or senior people work and run the firm. 60% of his comments are totally wrong and the worst thing is it would be difficult for outsiders to tell which is right from wrong. Rasiel also tried to stay very high-level and common sensical which basically made most of the book useless.
Skip this one. Dont waste your time and money.
52 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2002
In the introduction the authors cite three McKinsey alums (those that left McKinsey to pursue other careers) who became famous in the biz world: one of them is Jeff Skilling, the ex-CEO of Enron who lied without blinking at Congress hearings!
I work as a member of the CSS at the McKinsey NYO and find that the book won't help you a bit whether you are looking to find a job at McKinsey, looking to enhance your position at the firm (and thus to avoid getting "counseled out"), or just wanting to learn how "the Firm" discovers magic pills for corporate diseases. The book follows the same hollow structure as Rasiel's first book and is half a rip-off of McKinsey's BCR training program (plus the ILW and some from the ELW) and half useless interviews with McKinsey alumni who boast after they received the latter end of the "up-or-out" policy they were able to show how inferior their new employers were on the management IQ scale. If you want concrete case studies -- which is why I picked up the book -- it contains none. It does contain more words than the "McKinsey Way" book, but nothing that will set fire to your imagination or career or profits.
54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2001
Nothing new in the book.
This book is very similar to the first (the McKinsey Way) - more fluff and nothing concrete. Ah! "structure your study", "gather data and interpret it correctly" , ... come on.. anybody knows that! How else does one come to conclusions (other than fact based, structured reasoning). If you have read the contents page you have read the book! (This may sound harsh, but seriously its true!)
The authors themselves mention the fact that they cannot detail McKinsey's techniques and go on to detail their own methodology "BASED" on the McKinsey methodologies. We don't need teasers and brand leveraged superficial mumbo-jumbo. Facts - these guys need to walk their talk! (Read the "About Confidentiality" section in the "Introduction" chapter).
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Ok, everyone wants to know how McKinsey does it. Works with leading companies, drives corporate strategy, has great influence and often wind up CEOs in their own right.
Unfortunatley this book does not deliver in any depth in my opinion. It is more of a casual conversation about McKinsey, how great it is with breif discussions of how they work.
Notions such as 'always involve your client' and 'recognize that you may not always have great data' are obvious and not worth the price of the book -- even if you purchased it used -- which I did.
If you really want to know how the McKinsey mind works I heartly recommend K. Ohmae's "The mind of the strategist" Ohmae was Mr. Strategy at McKinsey and his book really shows you what's in the mind of this influencial company and its consultants.
The two who authored this book, are really trading on McKinsey's name, brand and reputation. Its a shame and do not be lured in by the title, read Ohmae's book.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on December 20, 2001
First the good stuff about this book:
1. It provides good advice on high-level strategic principles to keep in mind when operating in a business environment. You really can't argue with the advice they lay because it makes a lot of sense.
2. It's easy to read. Great for airpots, easy to pick up again months later and get a fast tip.
3. The (little) advice it provides to help implement the suggestions is helpful: use logic trees, use issue trees, drill down logically by branching out, and make the analysis cover everything without duplicating.
Now the bad stuff:
1. It's got good high-level advice because the advice is so high level as to be almost without value. If this were a book on picking stocks, the equivalent would be "buy low. sell high. And the key to buying low is finding a stock thats priced lower than it's worth. Good luck!"
2. They provide very little advice on how to actually implement any of their ideas. A typical chapter has about 6 pages in big type: pages 1-2 say what the principles are and explain a very little about them (ie. 'structure your analysis before you start' and, 'use lots of facts' because your audience likes this).
Pages 3,4,5,6 are support for why these principles are a good idea. They have quotes from ex-employees saying, 'McKinsey really helped me learn how to do this. People i meet outside of McK can't do this. But I can! When i just did this, people thought i was so cool'.
Then the last sentence gives a tiny bit of explaining how to implement this. Literally no more than, 'Use a logic tree to structure your analyses by brainstorming everything important and make sure you get it all, but don't double count anything'.
3. It's easy to read because they don't give a lot of new, unique information. The repeat themselves alot in this book, and draw heavily on the information from their first book. In fact, you dont' need to buy their first book if you buy this one. Actually, you don't need to buy this book after you read the table of contents.
4. My impression of consultants (our company hired some) was that they're very smart, analytical people who are arrogant, often insecure, and unconcerned with how the advice will be implemented. This book fits that very well. It's ironic that in the book the author says 'McKinsey has long been criticized for doing a poor job with implementating their good advice.' Apparently, he learned some bad habits at McKinsey too.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2002
If you have ever taken a one or two day Problem Solving/Project Management class, this book will be a waste of time for you. It is a watered down (way down) version of Problem Solving/PM 101. This is particularly ironic because the authors comment on how much better the McKinsey approach is when compared to other successful companies (e.g. GE,GlaxoSmithKline, and others). My experience is that GE's Six Sigma and other "tools" blow the McKinsey approach away. It is very hard to believe that McKinsey became a successful consulting firm by implementing these very elementary principles. Either the authors were too scared of violating their Proprietary Information Agreements to write anything of substance OR McKinsey simply has no practices, tools, techniques, or methodology that contribute to their success. Either way, this book will do NOTHING to increase your knowledge of how to solve business problems.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2002
I've tried in several sittings to try to extract insights from this book. Unfortunately, I keep getting thrown off by the excessive fawning by the authors about their McKinsey experience. Their tone reeks of insecurity. It reeks of employees who's sense of self worth and validation is tied up in McKinsey. Like a Harvard grad who keeps raving about the 'caliber' of their education and how superior it was to other institutions. Pretty sad...
People bought this book for nuggetts of insights. The authors forgot their own advice: "tailoring" their advice to their audience.
Save your money.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2002
Simply put this was one of the worst books that I have read in quite some time. I purchased the book expecting to learn more about structuring, analyzing and solving ambiguous business problems. I was also interested in the discussion of structuring/presenting solutions and managing teams and the client.
What I got lacks any real content or depth. For example, gems of wisdom from the analysis section include: find the key drivers, look at the big picture, and don't boil the ocean.
This book did not live up to my expectations and I would NOT recommend it to those who are looking for tools to help sharpen their analytic and problem solving skills.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2002
If you really want to get an insider's view about McKinsey and some of the basic consulting skills instilled and refined into the work style of its consultants, buy the McKinsey Mind. The author has worked in the firm for some time, and therefore he can at least describe what he learned adequately.
However the author really bit more than he could chew in trying to flesh out how McKinsey partners and senior consultants really solve problems and build their practices. In this book many of his points are simply wrong, based more on personal bias and wrong perceptions. It is like a junior manager trying to 'imagine' how the CEOs think and run their businesses. I think the author knew his limits and therefore tried to stay very 'high level' and common-sensical, which made the whole book useless. It would be great if the author was consistently wrong. But he was only 60% wrong and it would be hard for readers to see which part of his comments are wrong.
I hope there would be a great book on strategy consulting and McKinsey out in the market (especially when the industry experiences its toughest two years in the past three decade, and therefore some quality consultants should be available to write), but before that happens, do yourselves a favor and skip this one.