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Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World Hardcover – April 21, 2015

4.3 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“One of 12 leadership books to watch for in 2015” -- Washington Post 

"One of Wall Street's Must-Read Books of the Summer”---Bloomberg Businessweek

“Whatever you want in life can be achieved if you break it down into a few basic rules. Well, that’s the theory of these two business experts, and many influential figures think likewise.” --The Times of London

“Can’t convey enough how important this is… Simple Rules is the nerd book of the summer.”  –Tom Keene, Bloomberg TV

"At last, a book offering an ingenious way to fight back against the relentless assault of complexity and its insidious spawning of untold confusions, costs, crashes, and calamities. Simple Rules offers an exciting framework for both understanding complexity and rendering it harmless. Whether you run an organization or are simply trying to survive modern life, this book is gold." —Chris Anderson, TED curator

Simple Rules shows how a handful of thoughtful principles can not only sharpen the quality of your decisions, but also allow you to maintain latitude in your judgments and to see the richness of opportunity. We all deal with complexity now, and this book will show you how you can do more with less.”—Michael J. Mauboussin, Head of Global Financial Strategies, Credit Suisse

"Our future will be increasingly complex, from accelerating technological change to global connectivity of federated teams.  Simple Rules explains how we can manage to make meaningful progress in a world that exceeds human understanding. At DFJ, we use simple rules, like "invest in unique ideas" to support breakout winners across multiple industries undergoing profound disruption.  This is a harbinger of the information economy to come." —Steve Jurvetson, Managing Director of Draper Fisher Jurvetson

“Sull and Eisenhardt have written the definitive playbook injecting sanity, creativity, and productivity into our workplaces and the other spheres of our lives.   SIMPLE RULES is brimming with clever and surprising tips, lovely stories, and compelling research that will help you spot unnecessary complexity, eliminate maddening frustration, make the right decisions faster, and have a whole lot more fun along way.“   —Robert I. Sutton, bestselling author of The No Asshole Rule and co-author of Scaling up Excellence

Book Description

HMH hardcover 2015, Previous ISBN 978-0-544-40990-3
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (April 21, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0544409906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544409903
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,649 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark P. McDonald VINE VOICE on March 9, 2015
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The book is Highly Recommended. It is not the easiest book to read compared to popular business pulp fiction. This book is full of good insight, practical advice, and ideas that you can start to apply tomorrow. This is the best business book I have read in the last six months and one I will refer to for a long time.

While the world is complex, simple rules describe the world in an actionable and valuable way. That is the central premise of Sull and Eisenhardt’s book. This book is a guidebook to understanding, creating, deploying, and enhancing simple rules. The authors provide a comprehensive exploration and examination of the idea of simple rules applied across nature, personal lives, society, and business.

The authors treat the reader as an adult. This is not pulp business fiction that we see where one person is selling their wares based on a single story. The ideas in the book are simple, but their explanation in the book is rather dense. You have to read this book, rather than skim it; the discussion found in the book rewards the reader for their efforts.

The book contains the simple rules for creating and applying simple rules. There are three ‘rules for rules’ :

1. Figure out what will move the needle
2. Choose a bottleneck, a constraint that is holding you back
3. Craft the rules

There are two basic groups of rules.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Want to know the 'simple rules' which explain the break-out success of HOUSE OF CARDS? Ever wonder how a coach using some 'simple rules' could take Stanford U football from a 1-11 losing year in 2007 to, in three years, an unlikely streak of top ten rankings and Pac-12 championships? Want to know some simple investment rules which have proven to outperform more complex rules? (Hint: one rule is Loeb's rule - if an investment loses 10% of its initial value, sell it.)

This is one of the best business books on strategy I have read. The authors define strategy: "Strategy, in our view, lives in the simple rules that guide an organization's most important activities." This book on simple rules has profound implications for success in achieving business and personal goals. Here are some simple features to appreciate about this book:

* simple thesis that is profound: simple rules are rules which are fundamental to successful outcomes. They vary according to domain but have some features in common including: there's only a handful of them for each activity, they confer flexibility while maintaining some consistency, they enable individuals to make quick decisions with limited information, they synchronize activities in a community, and they apply best to well-defined activity or decision.

* types of 'simple rules' are simply organized for your consideration into six broad categories

* discussion of 'how-to' on crafting simple rules for your life and business - a simple 3-step process described (p.
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By Athan on June 17, 2015
Format: Hardcover
I design (and follow!) rules for a living, so I’m rather interested in rules. My attitude is I try to craft the most complete set of rules that I know for sure I can follow. Now, in the narrow setting within which I operate, the rules are executed by a computer, so there’s no risk they will be forgotten. The way I see it, the constraint is that they should be simple enough that I can trust they will never contradict each other or cancel each other out or land me in a place where I have no rule to follow.

In other words, you could say that my motto is to use “as complicated rules as I can handle”

It’s no exaggeration, then, to say that the authors and I start from pretty much the opposite side of the spectrum, and it is therefore with great interest that I picked up this book. Also, I went to the same school as the main author and he seems to have been teaching at the business school I attended (and at the time when I attended, funnily enough, though I don’t seem to remember him) and that gave me the comfort to buy the book and learn something.

The book has three parts.

The first part of the book is an apology for and a wordy taxonomy of “simple rules,” supported by examples. Rules for making decisions come under three categories: “boundary rules” (yay or nay), “prioritizing rules” (a > b > c) and “stopping rules” (e.g. when to acknowledge that you’re going to have to propose to your girlfriend). Rules for doing things better also come under three categories: “how to” rules distil an art into a small set of principles; “coordination rules” are used by units of a large ensemble to lend it its macro properties; “timing rules” and “time pacing” rules guide when to take action.
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