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What I Didn't Learn in Business School: How Strategy Works in the Real World Hardcover – October 12, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (October 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422157636
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422157633
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Written as a novel, this book is an engaging way to give readers a glimpse of what’s really involved in developing business strategy.” T+D Magazine

“A worthwhile read if you are taking your first steps to developing corporate strategy.” Business Standard (India)

“… interesting, important, unique, and realistic business novel…”

“Highly recommended.” – CHOICE Magazine

About the Author

Jay Barney is a professor of management at the Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business. He has published numerous articles in strategy and management journals, as well as five bestselling textbooks on strategy. Trish Clifford is formerly the Director of Global Strategy Learning at McKinsey & Company, and now spends her time in private practice working with mid- and upper-level managers in a variety of companies to strengthen strategic capabilities through a tailored mix of consulting, workshops, experiential learning, asynchronous and classroom learning. She works throughout the US, Asia, and Europe.

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Customer Reviews

I enjoyed this book, as it is a quick read and very well written.
Steven Bickers
It provides an introduction to strategy and management consulting practice and has an Interesting storyline.
A.
Good read that I really recommend for those in consulting or thinging about how consultants help a business.
K. Newcomer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Taamdar on April 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is written as a fictional story that is trying to teach a business lesson. Sometimes the story gets in the way of the point they are trying to make about business decisions. They spend a little too much time with Justin and his relationship with his girlfriend and his impressions of the other people. They are way to descriptive of every person that he meets. They describe each person's physical appearance to the nth degree. If you want to save time and skip the book here is the point. You will learn a lot of models in business school to help make sound business decisions but they are mearly tools and not perscriptive. The models can be subjective and biased based on who is creating them and what their own person connection to the decision.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Usman A. Ghani on September 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Contemporary conception about strategic management practitioners - consultants or corporate citizens - is rather unreal and hyped. It is based on the notions of `cracking cases' and forcing favorite frameworks popularized in bestsellers as well as business schools. Acquiring these, one could get excited about `doing strategy' as learnt through literature, lectures, and make-believe group exercises. This happens with many aspiring strategy professionals, including also consultants, especially fresh entrants. Their predicament is reflected in "What I Didn't Learn in Business School," which is a novel approach to enlightening the reader about the realities of strategy development and implementation.

The book takes the reader through Justin's journey of his first strategy consulting experience which becomes full of surprises, counterintuitive contexts, and personal pains. As he takes on a `sprinter study,' Justin realizes that many of his frameworks would not apply, or were misfits, or lacked bigger (strategic) sense, or were remote to realities of the client. He also learns directly the nature of tensions within an organization despite the apparent need to align, the nature of `data' that is (or is not made) available outright, and the collaborative role of a strategy team. Business behaviorism, divisional disparities, data dependence, `revenue power,' team tensions, etc. all are real and play crucial role in the strategic study. Simultaneously, what seems to be working well for the more experienced team members of his consulting firm - is also an enigma to Justin, all the way through the end as he learns and unlearns. Full of edutainment!

The content is full of reality, not idealism. The style is engaging.
Read more ›
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Darr on October 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I had the pleasure of having Jay as a professor for my MBA course in strategy, and with that class, we read the transcript for this book. When I was reading it, two things struck me specifically. First, it was a very quick and pretty entertaining read. I certainly didn't feel like I was getting my teeth pulled out to read it. Second, you realize you are being taught, and at the same time, you don't realize it. It is a great and simple book to help build, strengthen, and reinforce strategy tools and lessons learned.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Ives on March 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover
What I Didn't Learn in Business School: How Strategy Works in the Real World by Jay Barney and Trish Gorman Clifford reveals the shortfalls of the principles learned in the idealistic academic environment when applied directly to the messy, unpredictable and politically charged business world. Through a storied approach, Jay and Trish reveal the inadequacies of modeling to fully predict business outcomes and the challenge of creating alignment among leaders with differing points of view and personal agendas. They go on to illustrate the power of moving leaders past the limits of these barriers and their own collective experience to gain significant marketplace advantages and organizational prosperity.

I like What I Didn't Learn in Business School because it so clearly illustrates the premise for our website, namely, that while highly beneficial, academic principles must be adapted from the ideal environment of the classroom to the unpredictable environment of the shop floor in order to provide real value to any organization. Furthermore, no single model or performance measure can adequately portray a given situation in such a way that a definitive decision can be made. Rather, multiple models and measures should be employed to create a complete picture of performance from differing perspectives to enable robust decision-making.

Its well supported, fully illustrated assertion that strong business performance is achieved through the application of sound academic principles tempered by real-world business experience makes What I Didn't Learn in Business School a StrategyDriven recommended read.

All the Best,
Nathan Ives
StrategyDriven Principal
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Sullivan on September 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book is to strategy what "The Goal" is to operations. The book depicts the first days of a recent MBA graduate who has landed a job as a management consultant. It illustrates examples of the uses and limitations of analytical frameworks, such five forces and value chain analysis, and financial modeling tools, such as discounted cash flows, in developing strategic insights. In fact, the book touches on a lot of concepts studied in detail in an MBA program. Having recently graduated from an MBA program myself, it was amusing to see many of the concepts referenced. I doubt this would be particularly useful to a seasoned business professional, aside from serving as a light refresher, but would make an excellent supplemental text for a strategy course in an MBA program.
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