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The Mind Of The Strategist: The Art of Japanese Business Paperback – August 1, 1991
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From the Back Cover
A Masterful Analysis of Company, Customer, and Competition
Kenichi Ohmae-voted by The Economist as “one of the world's top five management gurus”-changed the landscape of management strategy in The Mind of the Strategist. In this compelling account of global business domination, Ohmae reveals the vital thinking processes and planning techniques of prominent companies, showing why they work, and how any company can benefit from them.
Filled with case studies of strategic thinking in action, Ohmae's classic work inspires today's managers to excel to new heights of bold, imaginative thinking and solutions.
“In many ways, Ohmae can be considered the modern reincarnation of a much older guru, Adam Smith.”-Journal of Marketing
“A fascinating window into the mind of one of Japan's premier strategists…full of ideas about how to improve strategic thinking.”-Michael E. Porter, Graduate School of Business Administration, Harvard University
About the Author
Internationally known as “Mr. Strategy,” Kenichi Ohmae was a partner at McKinsey & Company for 23 years, and today he is chairman of Ohmae & Associates. He is the author of more than 100 books.
Top customer reviews
Insofar as Ohmae adheres to talking about these topics, the book is very well done. With plenty of examples he explains exactly what he means. However I felt that once the introductory paragraphs were done, the author started to toss out any old story that he felt interesting without regard to its applicability to the topic at hand. Likewise, he provides plenty of graphs which are barely labeled, barely related, and barely meaningful. Each chapter starts off really well but soon devolves into handwaving.
Though it is hard to fault him for his reliance on anecdotes about Japanese companies, a broader global pool of companies would have driven home the points better, I think. Especially since the Japanese economic bubble burst, Japanese companies have shed a lot of the stereotypical structure that he thinks so vital to their success. An updated version of this book with post-bubble analysis would be a great value, I think, but this book does not provide that.
In all, if you can come away from this book with a solid understanding of how to manage the 3 Cs and put it all together into a cohesive strategy for yourself, then the book has done its job. I'm not sure there is enough meat provided to do that, though. It's not a total loss and you won't be worse off for reading it. I give it a solid 3 stars for its good content.
What I like about this simple book is that it nicely summarizes the case for a balanced perspective of customer, competitor and your own company. Although most American companies will believe that they do this, the American approach is much more superficial and incomplete than the Japanese one. For example, if a Japanese company wants to add a new product, the evaluation looks heavily at how well the customer will be able to use the product and how effectively the company will be able to provide it in the context of probable competitive offerings. An American analysis will feature financial analysis of a forecast that is often based on little more than spreadsheet doodling.
The weakness of the Japanese model is that they typically look too little at the business environment (notice how often they buy American businesses and properties at the top of the market for inflated prices), and are relatively insensitive to financial implications. In fast moving technology markets, the Japanese consensus-building process also tends to slow down time to market.
Clearly, there is no perfect model for strategic thinking that fits all situations. A major weakness of many efforts is to assume that the future can be precisely forecast. That is patently wrong. Typically, the relative importance of the elements considered needs to be adjusted to fit the circumstnace. That seems to be an art rather than a science at this point. Although this book has its limitations (as suggested above), it is a valuable perspective on strategy thinking that will be helpful to most American business people if they think about the concepts in a more thorough way.
To balance the perspective here, I suggest you also read Profit Patterns to get a sense of how circumstances play a role in profitability.
Good thinking! May this book help you overcome any stalled thinking you have about not doing your home work in thinking about outperforming competitors to provide benefits that matter a lot to customers.
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