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Understanding Michael Porter: The Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy Hardcover – December 6, 2011
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A book on understanding Porter is worthwhile because he's often misunderstood. He is widely and rightly regarded as the all-time greatest strategy guru, but that view gets the emphasis wrong.” Fortune magazine
If you have always intended to read Michael Porter's groundbreaking management classics, but have never quite got around to doing so, Joan Magretta's Understanding Michael Porter does the hard work for you” Financial Mail (South Africa)
Magretta’s book is a timely reminder that serves to put Porter’s thinking and concepts before us againideas that all firms and strategy practitioners would be well-advised to study and learn from an excellent read.” Quality Digest
Summing Up: Highly recommended” CHOICE
Joan Magretta lays out Porter’s ideas on competition in a concise, easy-to-read volume.” Business Day (South Africa)
The book is a great read even for those who are looking to get initiated into the Michael Porter way of thinking” The Economic Times (India)
Magretta adds value through fresh case studies showing how companies such as Zara, Ikea and In-N-Out Burger deploy Porter’s ideas. Written in a very accessible style, this is a book for managers rather than academics.” The Irish Times
Ms. Magretta does a superb job of clearly and logically explaining Prof. Porter’s concepts, with lots of helpful examples. This is a distillation, but it never feels sparse, with ample time for the reader to learn a concept and sufficient reinforcement of the ideas as you are guided through the Porter oeuvre. Reading it brings you up-to-date on his ideas and, more importantly, helps you to understand your own business and the strategic elements you may have missed.” The Globe & Mail
200 pages of simple, non-faddish common sense for business.” Anna Farmery, TheEngagingBrand.com
Book of the Month. This book will become the strategy bible for today’s busy managers.” Business Executive
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Top Customer Reviews
I am in the midst of developing a strategy for my company. These easy to understand frameworks have been extremely useful. In fact, after reading this book, I decided not to hire a consultant who was charging me an exorbitant sum ($4,000/day!) as I think that this book will be more helpful. I highly recommend this book esp if you are trying to get a good grasp of the concepts of Michael Porter. An absolute gem.
The book serves as a first encounter with Porter's thinking, but I would really urge readers to study Porter's two first books as well. Even though Porter's books are 30+ years old, they are important. Classics have the remarkable feature of being relevant whenever they are read. Naturally, they are not perfect. They do not talk enough about service industries, but that was not really America in the 70s. The current book has the same deficiency; not that much about service industries.
Even if you have good familiarity with Porter I still cautiously recommend the book. It sometimes adds contextual information, small updates on Porter's thinking, and useful metaphors. For those of you who already have a fair amount of experience (important!) I would also recommend Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters.
The book is a summary of Porter's ideas from a journalist, so do not expect any deep, fundamental analysis. We get a fair share of thoughtless statements.Read more ›
The key to competitive success, per Porter, lies in an organization's ability to create unique value. Competing to be unique is accomplished against a specific, relevant set of rivals (the industry). The company's relative position within its industry determines how its value will be created and what kind of value that will be.
A good competitive strategy will result in sustainably superior performance. 'Being #1 or #2 in and industry' (Welch, at G.E.), 'making key acquisitions,' 'doubling the number served (for a non-profit), and 'Don't be evil' (Google) do not tell how an organization will outperform the competition. Nor do they tell one where to compete.
With everyone chasing the same customer (the result when everyone's strategy is simply 'to be the best') every sale is contested, and price competition is the ultimate outcome. As for being #1 or #2, in many industries scale economies are exhausted at a relatively small market share. (G.M. was the world's largest auto manufacturer, and went bankrupt; BMW, much smaller, has earned superior returns vs. the industry.) Overpriced M&A, over-extension into all market segments, and price-cutting to gain market share can be disastrous.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good book with a concise, clear introduction to business strategy.Published 2 months ago by Zheng Huang
If you are a fan of Michael Porter's work, or you simply want to get a deeper understanding of competitive strategy – I cannot possibly recommend this book highly enough. Read morePublished 4 months ago by John B. Spence
Michael Porter is considered one of the most important scholars in the field of strategy, and Ms. Magretta's book presents his ideas clearly and concisely. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Grouchy Smurf
It got here it took a little longer tghen expected but its what i paid for good buyPublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Magretta does a masterful job of presenting Porter's theories in context. I have added her book to my required reading for a capstone course in strategy.Published 8 months ago by Greg Zerovnik
This is the beginning, not the end of your journey into understanding Michael Porter. I started with this book as a jumping off point to learn the key insights developed by Mr. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Joe Cotellese
Surprisingly good interpretation and "translation" of Michael Porter's book. This book helped me a lot to incorporate in my everyday thinking and practice those principles... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Csati Bela Zoltan
The best book about strategy and competitiveness by Porter I've ever read. Regardless of whether you start or end of a journey with Michael Porter you must read this book. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Matt Mayevsky