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Understanding Michael Porter: The Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy
 
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Understanding Michael Porter: The Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy [Kindle Edition]

Joan Magretta
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Competitive advantage. The value chain. Five forces. Industry structure. Differentiation. Relative cost. If you want to understand how companies achieve and sustain competitive success, Michael Porter’s frameworks are the foundation. But while everyone in business may know Porter’s name, many managers misunderstand and misuse his concepts.

Understanding Michael Porter sets the record straight, providing the first concise, accessible summary of Porter’s revolutionary thinking. Written with Porter’s full cooperation by Joan Magretta, his former editor at Harvard Business Review, this new book delivers fresh, clear examples to illustrate and update Porter’s ideas.

Magretta uses her wide business experience to translate Porter’s powerful insights into practice and to correct the most common misconceptions about them—for instance, that competition is about being unique, not being the best; that it is a contest over profits, not a battle between rivals; that strategy is about choosing to make some customers unhappy, not being all things to all customers.

An added feature is an original Q&A with Porter himself, which includes answers to managers’ FAQs.

Eminently readable, this book will enable every manager in your organization to grasp Porter’s ideas—and swiftly deploy them to drive your company’s success.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“The Harvard professor's books are required reading for health care leaders tackling strategy.” — American Hospital Association

“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 again—ideas 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

About the Author

Joan Magretta has worked with Michael Porter for almost two decades; she is a Senior Associate at the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School, a McKinsey Award winner, and author of What Management Is, a top pick of its year by The Economist. She was a Bain partner and strategy editor of the Harvard Business Review.

Product Details

  • File Size: 738 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (November 22, 2011)
  • Publication Date: November 22, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005OVTMAY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,621 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(95)
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews
72 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Accessible Introduction to Porter. Period. December 12, 2011
By Ashok A
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read two of Porter's books - Competitive Strategy and Competitive Advantage. And I have also, sort of, understood them - even though I haven't really internalized them for implementing in my company. The reason was that I did not quite get my mind around the concepts in a comprehensive manner as the ideas are in different books and they are not presented as an integrated whole (and, of course, I read them at different times). For the first time, in this book, the concepts are presented in a very accessible manner and connected in a very coherent manner. The books starts (Part 1) with What is Competition - elucidating on the concept of Competition, The Five Forces, and the Value Chain (CA). Part 2 addresses What is Strategy - in which the concepts of Creating Value; Trade-offs; Fit; and Continuity are discussed. The book is wrapped up with A Short List of Implications where in the author summarizes the takeaways and what they mean for us.

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.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good summary of Porter's ideas on business-unit strategy February 14, 2012
By Jackal
Format:Hardcover
Michael Porter's ideas on strategic management are important. However his books Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors and Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance are very dense (in addition to being 30 years old). This much shorter book is written in a journalistic style and conveys Porter's basic ideas relating to business-unit strategy.

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.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A home run! January 17, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read the whole book over a long weekend. I must say I could not put it down. For those of us who need an overview of a subject before we dive into the Porter books themselves, this is a great read. For those readers just looking for a summary of Porter's books, this works equally as well. I think this book did Michael Porter the biggest favor of all - it allowed non economics or business majors to understand the importance of strategy. It also turned down the spotlight of individual components of a business [i.e. OE and marketing plans] which, albeit important, must nevertheless be aligned with strategy to be successful. I liked it so much I wrote a blog about it to all my clients. Congratulations to the author.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Credible, and Very Well Written - December 29, 2011
Format:Hardcover
Michael Porter is the Harvard Business School's guru of strategy. He became a leading strategy guru by asking big questions, like 'Why are some companies more profitable than others?,' as well as the same question about industries and some countries. However, the usefulness of his ideas has been limited by the fact that they have not been summarized and sequenced into a single source. Author Joan Magretta brings not only her own credible credentials to this summary of Porter's strategy work, but has also had him review each chapter with her.

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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a milestone bible for any manager who needs ...
This is a milestone bible for any manager who needs an understanding about Porter's strategy and not only. Striclty reccomended.
Published 26 days ago by Fabio Amore
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible distillation of Porter's work
Makes his concepts much more accessible...regular business people who don't want to wade through the original texts will find this very useful. Read more
Published 2 months ago by KC Pup
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book
Published 3 months ago by Praneet Randhawa
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good book with a concise, clear introduction to business strategy.
Published 5 months ago by Zheng Huang
5.0 out of 5 stars I found this book truly valuable.
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 more
Published 7 months ago by John B. Spence
5.0 out of 5 stars An Accessible, Concise and Yet Rigorous Introduction to the Ideas of...
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 more
Published 9 months ago by Grouchy Smurf
4.0 out of 5 stars ... longer tghen expected but its what i paid for good
It got here it took a little longer tghen expected but its what i paid for good buy
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Porter in Context
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 11 months ago by Greg Zerovnik
4.0 out of 5 stars Great overview that will whet your appetite for more.
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 more
Published 13 months ago by Joe Cotellese
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good interpretation of Porter's book with lot of...
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 more
Published 15 months ago by Csati Bela Zoltan
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