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Strategy Safari: A Guided Tour Through The Wilds of Strategic Management Hardcover – September 25, 1998

4.4 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Mintzberg is a chaired professor of management studies at


"Read the book. Let Henry Mintzberg, Bruce Ahlstrand, and Joseph Lampel guide you on an enlightening and entertaining excursion through the field of strategy making."

-- Lawrence Bennigson, Senior Fellow of the Executive Development Center of the Harvard Business School

"Strategy Safari makes a convincing case for juggling several approaches at once. This book furnishes the complete tool set for every manager involved in strategy formation."

-- Report on Business --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 1st edition (September 25, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684847434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684847436
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is the most valuable book ever written on strategic management. Be sure to read and apply its lessons well!
I have worked in the field of strategic management since before it was called that, both as a practitioner and as a consultant. One of my favorite complaints about books in the field is that they emphasize one facet of developing and implementing stratgies and ignore the others. This book is the outstanding exception to that problemmatic standard of tunnel vision. There's no stalled thinking here about strategic management.
If you are like me, you would like to get better results from strategic management. Solving one part of the task and ignoring the others leads to failure just as surely as ignoring strategic managment does. Imbalance in perspective can be equally dangerous. As the authors point out, " . . . The greatest failings of strategic management have occurred when managers took one point of view too seriously."
Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, and Lampel start out by pointing out that there are five different kinds of strategy definitions (as plan, pattern, perspective, position, and ploy). When you read books about strategy, keep these in mind.
They begin with the tale of the six blind men and the elephant. Each can grasp one element of the elephant, but cannot grasp the whole. That's the situation the authors are warning you against.
They define this work as "a field review not a literature review" so you don't find every book's details. Whew! That's a relief. On the other hand, they are clearly familiar with the literature and cite it where appropriate. The book is designed to "have as much relevance for managers and consultants in practice as students and professors in the classroom.
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Format: Paperback
Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, and Lampel are knowledgeable and congenial tour guides for those who have not as yet explored "the wilds of strategic management." Such expert assistance is especially valuable, given the the fact that -- the last time I checked -- Amazon and its online partner Borders sell more than 53,000 different books on the general subject of strategy. Oh my! Following an apt quotation from A.A. Milne's introduction to Winnie-the-Pooh, the authors dedicate their book to those "who are more interested in open fields than closed cages." They carefully organize their material within 12 chapters which begin with "And Over Here, Ladies and Gentlemen: The Strategic Management Beast" and conclude with "Hang On, Ladies and Gentlemen, You Have Yet to Meet the Whole Beast." The focus of the authors' lively as well as enlightening narrative is on ten different "schools" of strategy formation:

Three are Prescriptive:

Design as a process of conception

Planning as a formal process

Positioning as an analytical process

Six are Descriptive:

Entrepreneurial as a visionary process

Cognitive as a mental process

Learning as an emergent process

Power as a process of negotiation

Cultural as a collective process

Environmental as a reactive process

With regard to the last school, "We call it configuration. People in this school are seeking to be integrative, cluster the various elements of our beast -- the strategy-making process, the content of strategies, organizational structures and their contexts -- into distinct stages or episodes, for example, of entrepreneurial growth or stable maturity, sometimes sequenced over time to describe the life cycles of organizations.
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Format: Hardcover
I first came across Mintzberg (one of the 3 authors of this book) over 10 years ago while doing my MBA in Europe. At the time I thought his thinking was dead on target. Having spent most of the years since growing a company (learning things that one has difficulty learning in a classroom) and working with people and organizations from all over, I read this book. Almost immediately I found myself agreeing with what is written (easy enough as they start in with explanation and critique of the design and planning approaches to strategy which though part of the game are dangerous if focused on too rigidly).
I found this book to be very comprehensive and it certainly has a lot to offer anybody who wishes to learn about corporate strategy. Being largely a literature review with commentary, it has too much information for people to simply take away a few simple messages to apply in a work situation but I vastly prefer this to "fondue books" that have a single concept which barely justifies a magazine article but which get padded out to be sold as a book. With a little thought, the book can help some very valuable ways of seeing things form in your mind and you can - to use their imagery - get a picture of what an elephant might be.
For readers doing research, I feel you will need to either know or read much of the material referred to in the text to get a high resolution grasp of what the elephant is. For readers looking to use elephants in their business, I recommend that you use a highlighter and, after reading the book, use the highlighted points to form an image of your image and remember that just as there are different kinds of elephants (Indian, African, Female, Male, Adult, Baby) - each one an elephant - so too are there different approaches to strategy.
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