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Smart Growth: Building an Enduring Business by Managing the Risks of Growth (Columbia Business School Publishing) Hardcover – March 1, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This book will challenge your basic assumptions about business and growth. It needs to be read and talked about in both companies and business schools.

(R. Edward Freeman, Darden Business School, and coauthor of Managing for Stakeholders: Survival, Reputation, and Success)

Smart Growth will bend your mind, challenge your assumptions, and set you on a new growth trajectory. If you want to understand how following advice from Wall Street can doom you to destruction, read this book.

(Richard D'Aveni, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and author of Hypercompetition and Beating the Commodity Trap: How to Maximize Your Competitive Position and Increase Your Pricing Power)

Warning against the creeping corruption of 'managed earnings' and 'making the numbers,' Edward D. Hess wisely urges business manager-leaders to keep their focus on the real growth of getting better, not bigger, and creating true value, not short-term earnings per share.

(Charles Ellis, author of Winning the Loser's Game: Timeless Strategies for Successful Investing)

In this masterful work, Edward D. Hess shows us how companies can grow in a healthy and organic manner, one that is sustainable and beneficial for all stakeholders, including society as a whole.

(Raj Sisodia, Bentley University, and coauthor of Firms of Endearment: How World Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose)

Hess offers the reader a thoughtful critique of the assumptions underlying the prevailing logic for the growth imperative that is so widely accepted.

(Robert K. Kazanjian, Goizueta Business School, Emory University, and coeditor of The Search for Organic Growth)

Hess provides insight as well as prescriptions for how to lead effectively and how to grow intelligently.

(Kim Cameron, Ross School of Business and the School of Education, University of Michigan, and author of Positive Leadership: Strategies for Extraordinary Performance)

Hess's insight and research provide a navigational path that illuminates key success factors and models that drive exponential growth.

(Jeffrey S. Shuman, Harris Corporation)

Hess takes dead aim at one of the sacred shibboleths of business—the notion that companies must 'grow or die'—and scores a bull's-eye. He makes a devastating case and demonstrates how destructive the blind pursuit of growth can be, and has been, to businesses of all types, especially publicly-owned ones. Along the way, Hess maps an alternative approach to managing business growth that focuses on the long-term health of the enterprise. It's a powerful argument and one that should be taken to heart by corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and policymakers alike.

(Bo Burlingham, editor-at-large of Inc. magazine and author of Small Giants: Companies That Choose To Be Great Instead of Big)

Smart Growth is a provocative and useful evidence-based approach to understanding the principles of corporate growth.

(Mary Ann Glynn, Boston College)

A new and radical contribution to business thought... Hess provides a blueprint for building an enduring business that strives to be better, rather than simply bigger.

(Dominique James San Francisco Book Review)

Named one of Inc.'s Best Books for Business Owners 2010

(Inc.)

Named one of the Toronto Globe & Mail's Top 10 Managing Books for 2010

(Toronto Globe & Mail)

This book is easily read and provides keen advice for individuals and companies that are involved in company strategic planning. If you are thinking about growing your company in a smart way, this is a must-read.

(Yang Fan Asheville Citizen Times)

About the Author

Edward D. Hess is professor of business administration and Batten Executive-in-Residence at The Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia. He founded both the Center for Entrepreneurship and Corporate Growth and the Values-Based Leadership Institute at Goizueta Business School at Emory University.

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Product Details

  • Series: Columbia Business School Publishing (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (March 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231150504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231150507
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #590,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Helpful with a course I took from Edward D. Hess with Coursera. The book and the course were both helpful in understanding how others systematically start and operate a business. However, my approach over the past 22 years is way different and it works for me.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
No doubt that enduring companies excel at doing what Edward Hess talks about in this book. The substance of the book is really great, he fills the whole idea with examples from great companies like P&G, Costco, UPS, etc. but i didn't give it a 5 star review, because at several points in the book I felt like it was being to repetitive.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ed Hess asserts that the business community--our whole economy, really--has been driven by a pervasive myth about growth: that it can be continuous and smooth...and that companies should be valued according to their ability to achieve results that fit such a curve. In Smart Growth, Professor Hess names this myth and makes the reader conscious of not only its pervasiveness but also its tragic impact on businesses, communities, individuals, and society. Then Professor Hess delivers compelling research--his own and others--that kills the growth myth. Just obliterates it. Now, if CEOs want to run their businesses according to that myth, they had better hope that nobody in and around their companies reads this book...

...Or maybe they should hope that many do read Smart Growth. That way there will be people around them equipped with a mindset--and research-based frameworks and examples--that can re-orient their companies before the "grow or die" mentality cripples or kills them.

Smart Growth provides hope and handles for smart leaders who want to build better companies and a better world. It deserves a wide reading as a significant and original contribution to that cause. I have already started giving it to our firm's clients. The reaction from a business leader just today: "This just makes sense. This is how I think and how I want to run the business." May such readers and leaders multiply smartly.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book might be great in hard copy, but do not buy the Kindle version. The spacing issues are horrendous. An example sentence from the introduction is as follows:

As cientific model that does not re liablyre flector predictreal-world behavioris generally discarded.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am the CEO of a growing private company. Professor Hess's research on high growth private companies gave me a road-map of my upcoming challenges including the "gas pedal" approach to managing the pace of growth; the need for strategic focus; and the challenges of building a management team. I now better understand how growth creates risks (that we often overlook) to be managed and in what specific ways I must not let that growth create quality and customer value proposition risks. The Room & Board and Defender Direct stories were particularly illuminating.

In the heat of growth, its about time we better balanced our leadership upon enduring business principles more than short-term pressure. We are in just such times now. Be prepared to lead. Read Professor Hess's timely book. I highly recommend!
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