Customer Review

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different kind of business book, November 5, 2010
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This review is from: How Companies Win: Profiting from Demand-Driven Business Models No Matter What Business You're In (Hardcover)
This is a different kind of business book - in a great way.

How Companies Win simultaneously manages to introduce a macro-level pivot in how businesses should think while serving as a tactical how-to guide for implementing that thinking. So often "strategy" books fail at one of those: either giving us a new lens with which to see the world (but no tools to act on it) or new tools to act in the world (but no understanding of why those tools are paramount). How Companies Win gives us both.

The pro and con of this book is that it covers so many aspects of winning. Everything is grounded in the same fundamental new truth - that winning today requires a disciplined understanding and segmentation of demand - but Kash and Calhoun show us how that principle should impact decisions across a business. That is to say, this is not a book about how marketing wins or how product wins or how sales wins, it's a book about how companies win. For some, that enterprise breadth may make this a challenging read, but for those who have the ability and the will to impact their business' winnability holistically, this book will resonate.

And that doesn't have to be a big business, really. One of the most compelling things about How Companies Win is that the authors' frameworks should apply as easily to my neighborhood's dry-cleaning shop as a major retailer. Kash and Calhoun default to big, household-name case studies, but a small business owner has just as much reason to pick up this book and start identifying their most profitable sources of demand. In many ways, it might even be easier to use this book's tools at the entrepreneurial level. (See: Kash's anecdote of selling shoes in college). Similarly, I agree with a prior review that a B2B could get more out of the book than this book than the case studies and endorsements would let on.

These days, most business books could be condensed into an HBR article, but I think How Companies Win has more steak to the sizzle. The tools are pretty simple and straightforward, but to apply them properly requires the thoughtful examination of demand-driven business that Kash and Calhoun present here.

There's the old adage that the man who knows HOW to do something will always have a job and the man who knows WHY to do something will be that person's boss. This book is for business thinkers who want both: the tactics to navigate a demand-driven economy and an understanding of why that's consequential.
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