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Outsmart!: How to Do What Your Competitors Can't 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 007-6092044239
ISBN-10: 0132357771
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Editorial Reviews


"Champy provides case studies of eight exemplary companies, each highlighting a valuable insight for discovering opportunities. Each vignette describes a different business environment, making the book widely applicable. It differs from most innovation books (e.g., the highly regarded The Game-Changer, by A. G. Lafley and Ram Charan, 2008) by its external orientation. Champy recommends studying the environment first, then changing the firm to address newly discovered opportunities, which is opposite to the strategy presented in The Game-Changer." Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate and graduate students as well as practitioners. --  J.J. Janney, University of Dayton (Reviewed in 9/2008 CHOICE)

From the Back Cover

“Champy's engaging prose, fascinating success stories, penetrating reflections, and provocative challenges to the status quo capture your full attention from the first page to the last and leave your mind swirling with new thoughts about how to exploit opportunities in a very different world.
- Ray Stata,Founder and Chairman of the Board, Analog Devices, Inc.


“To outsmart or be outsmarted, that is the question in modern business. Jim Champy has found the answer, in fact many answers, by looking inside amazingly successful companies. And he tells their simple stories in this book that is so delightfully short it can be read on one flight.

- Dr. Robert “Bob Metcalfe,General Partner, Polaris Venture Partners


“In this remarkably readable and incisive book, Jim Champy provides case studies of fast growing, innovative companies that have created and implemented successful strategies that are practical, market tested, and reproducible in today's global marketplace.

- Denis A. Bovin, Vice Chairman,Investment Banking, Bear Stearns & Co., Inc.


“This book shows how to spot opportunities in a world that looks, at times,
like everything is done. Jim has strung together nine pearls that reveal the essence of entrepreneurship.
- Gururaj “Desh Deshpande,Founder and Chairman, Sycamore Networks, Inc.


Author ofReEngineering the Corporation
A New York Times Best Seller & More than 3 Million Copies Sold


Jim Champy revolutionized business withReengineering the Corporation.Now, inOutsmart!he's doing it again. This concise, fast-paced book shows how you can achieve breakthrough growth byconsistently outsmartingyour competition. Champy reveals the surprising, counterintuitive lessons learned by companies that have achieved super-high growth for at least three straight years. Drawing on the strategies of some of today's best “high velocity companies, he identifies eight powerful ways to compete in even the roughest marketplace. You'll discover how to find distinctive market positions and sustainable advantages in products, services, delivery methods, and unexpected customers with unexpected needs.


How to reignite growth by…

•   Seeing what others don't

•   Breaking free of mental legacies

•   Using all you know

•   Changing your frame of reference

•   Tapping others' successes

•   Creating order out of chaos

•   Simplifying complexity

•   Doing everything yourself


there is not much new in management.

but there is a lot new in business.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: FT Press; 1 edition (March 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0132357771
  • ISBN-13: 978-0132357777
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,895,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Charles Decker on March 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I got an early copy of this book because I write reviews for a couple of the major business journals. I think it is absolutely terrific. Often missing from otherwise good books are real-world case studies to help illustrate the points in the narrative. This book is chock-full of them, and they are often eye-opening. Champy has spent a good deal of time researching some of the businesses that have reinvented themselves [Smith & Wesson is a fascinating example] as well as creating whole new models for the online world [Sonicbids]. And don't think it's all a Pollyanna approach, as the author also dissects several major business failures, including Swiss Air.

The thread that runs through this book is its focus on people who see opportunities where others don't, and it's a great one. Books about creativity and innovation are often a little thin when it comes to practical storytelling. Not this one. Some of my readers e-mail me every so often asking for suggestions on what they should pick up after 'Good to Great.' It has been a while since 'The Great Red Book'. This book, in my opinion, is a truly worthy successor.
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Format: Hardcover
OutSmart! provides clear and useful examples of companies that have successfully uncovered business opportunities by identifying asymmetry and complexity. It also provides a gentle reminder that astute thinking and swift execution are major advantages in our "complex, volatile and demanding" business world. Mr. Champy does this through a series of readable studies of eight exemplary companies. Each study is concluded with actionable thinking exercises and questions that can be applied across industries and business opportunities.

A primary reason why OutSmart! is a worthy business book is its distinct avoidance of prescriptive modeling. Each business success profiled is unique to that company. The book's examples are of companies that thought differently when confronted with unique business circumstances and uncovered monetizable opportunities. Champy reminds us that true competitiveness is uniqueness and this uniqueness is not discovered or established once, but must be continually updated and adapted to meet ever-changing customer needs. There is no way of fixing, modeling or formalizing uniqueness in such a way that will ensure competitiveness. What Mr. Champy demonstrates in OutSmart! is that companies who operate outside tradition, and remain flexible enough to not become tradition, will dominate the future.

Some of the topics covered by Mr. Champy in OutSmart! may seem obvious, especially immediately after reading it. However, it is important to read the book with a healthy skepticism of your own hindsight bias. For example, all of the companies profiled in OutSmart! have a strong relationship with their customers and focus relentlessly on improving customer service.
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Format: Hardcover
Previously, Champy argued in Reengineering the Corporation (1993) that "companies need to change radically and be managed from a process perspective," in Reengineering Management (1995) he contended that "leaders had to change their way of thinking before they could change their organizations," and then in X-Engineering (2002) he made the case that "process change must extend outside the company walls to suppliers, customers, and business partners." What we have in his newest book is a brilliant research-driven analysis of eight results-driven companies that he and his associates selected from among about 1,000 high-velocity businesses with growth rates about 15%. More specifically, they examine their revenue producing ideas that are "neither hypothetical nor based on esoteric technologies. They don't require hundreds of millions of venture capital dollars or the vast sums from stock offerings to implement. " Champy then makes an especially important point: "Rather, they are strategies that any business leader can easily and immediately understand."

These are the eight exemplary companies that have outsmarted their competition, not only surviving but growing, gaining more of the supply of their customers, forcing their rivals "to adapt or die": Sonicbids, MinuteClinic, Smith & Wesson, Shutterfly, S.A. Robotics, Jibbitz and Crocs, Partsearch, and SmartPak. Few of those who read this book will recognize most of them by name. (I recognized only Smith & Wesson and Crocs.) Champy devotes a separate chapter to each. All of them "have found the holy grail of strategy: an unmet customer need.
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Format: Hardcover
Champy looks at several case studies and draws overarching lessons from them: never forget the value of a brand and make good use of it( the turnaround of Smith and Wesson); widen your frame to see posssibilites but focus your resulting efforts(MinuteClinic saw the need for people needing a quick medical fix but didn't try to be all things to all people); talk to what you may see as potential competitors and make them allies(MinuteClinic reached out to hospitals and doctors and educated them on what they did and more importantly did not do); look to piggy back on an exisitng phenom(a company that started a decorating service for those buying Crocs). He ends up with a good summary of points he has made and reminds us to be flexible, have a bias to action, and to value your gut. The book has easy to read type, lots of bullet points and checkmarks, and a clean and fresh look.
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