Porter is often unconventional and asserts that businessmen must be, too. In his essay "Green and Competitive," he shows little sympathy for businesses that complain about environmental regulations. Rules to protect the environment don't have to strangle companies--they can actually improve productivity with the right attitude and approach. Rhone-Poulenc, a French chemical and drug company, proved this when it stopped incinerating a certain byproduct and began selling it as an additive for dyes and tanning. Readable and provocative, On Competition is vital for business, government, and financial leaders as well as small-business people and investors. --Amazon.com, by Dan Ring, 1998 Review of the original edition
Twenty years of studying industry performance and competitiveness have convinced Porter, a professor at the Harvard Business School and a noted authority on competition and corporate strategy, that a successful company must not only adopt the best practices available but also differentiate itself from its rivals. In 13 essays, some of which have appeared elsewhere, Porter elegantly lays out a sophisticated analytical framework for assessing the challenges firms face in today's business environment. Although Porter offers no magic formula for success, as a starting point for developing a long-term strategy, he does recommend close scrutiny of "factor conditions," "demand conditions," other competing and supporting industries and existing strategies and structures. Porter shows how companies have bested international competitors by forging integrated global strategies, operating with a long-term outlook, investing aggressively and managing factories carefully. He has also come to see the growing importance of geographical location to specific companies and celebrates the benefits of clustersAsystems of interconnected firms and institutionsAfor increased productivity and innovation. On the societal level, Porter's work, with its emphasis on long-term planning, brings a welcome new perspective to perennially thorny policy issues such as environmental protection, inner-city development and universal access to health care. While this book requires a serious investment of time and effort, its expert dissection of a very complex phenomenon is worth it. Line drawings throughout.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --Publishers Weekly's 1998 Review of the original edition
A highly respected academic and authority on strategy and competition, Porter draws together his articles on competition, which together provide a rigorous and useful framework for bridging the gap between theory and practice. The book has three sections. The first takes on competitive strategy, evaluating strategies and weaknesses for business, while the second addresses the role of location in competition experienced by government entities. Porter notes that prosperity in both companies and countries depends on the nature of the local environment in which the competition takes place. With an understanding of domestic and international competition, part 3 offers insight into such societal issues as urban poverty, health care, and income inequality. Porter concludes that competition is certain to be evolving, unsettling, and the source of our prosperity. --Booklist's 1998 Review of the original edition