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The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs

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Based on an acclaimed professor's legendary strategy course at Harvard Business School, The Strategist offers a radically new perspective on a leader's most vital role. "Are you a strategist?" That's the first question Cynthia Montgomery asks the business owners and senior executives from all over the world who participate in her highly regarded executive education course. Based on an acclaimed professor's legendary strategy course at Harvard Business School, The Strategist offers a radically new perspective on a leader's most vital role. "Are you a strategist?" That's the first question Cynthia Montgomery asks the business owners and senior executives from all over the world who participate in her highly regarded executive education course. It's not a question they anticipate or care much about on opening day. But by the time the program ends, they cannot imagine leading their companies to success without being—and living the role of—a strategist. Over a series of weeks and months, Montgomery puts these accomplished executives through their paces. Using case discussions, after-hours talks, and participants' own strategy dilemmas, she illuminates what strategy is, why it's important, and what it takes to lead the effort. En route, she equips them to confront the most essential question facing every business leader: Does this company truly matter? In doing so, she shows that strategy is not just a tool for outwitting the competition; it is the most powerful means a leader has for shaping a company itself. The Strategist exposes all business leaders—whether they run a global enterprise or a small business—to the invaluable insights Montgomery shares with these privileged executives. By distilling the experiences and insights gleaned in the classroom, Montgomery helps leaders develop the skills and sensibilities they need to become strategists themselves. It is a difficult role, but little else one does as a leader is likely to matter more.  


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Based on an acclaimed professor's legendary strategy course at Harvard Business School, The Strategist offers a radically new perspective on a leader's most vital role. "Are you a strategist?" That's the first question Cynthia Montgomery asks the business owners and senior executives from all over the world who participate in her highly regarded executive education course. Based on an acclaimed professor's legendary strategy course at Harvard Business School, The Strategist offers a radically new perspective on a leader's most vital role. "Are you a strategist?" That's the first question Cynthia Montgomery asks the business owners and senior executives from all over the world who participate in her highly regarded executive education course. It's not a question they anticipate or care much about on opening day. But by the time the program ends, they cannot imagine leading their companies to success without being—and living the role of—a strategist. Over a series of weeks and months, Montgomery puts these accomplished executives through their paces. Using case discussions, after-hours talks, and participants' own strategy dilemmas, she illuminates what strategy is, why it's important, and what it takes to lead the effort. En route, she equips them to confront the most essential question facing every business leader: Does this company truly matter? In doing so, she shows that strategy is not just a tool for outwitting the competition; it is the most powerful means a leader has for shaping a company itself. The Strategist exposes all business leaders—whether they run a global enterprise or a small business—to the invaluable insights Montgomery shares with these privileged executives. By distilling the experiences and insights gleaned in the classroom, Montgomery helps leaders develop the skills and sensibilities they need to become strategists themselves. It is a difficult role, but little else one does as a leader is likely to matter more.  

30 review for The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs

  1. 5 out of 5

    Said AlMaskery

    This is the second time I read this book and it was worth it. The first time I was shifting careers from a day job in a big company to a family owned business. At the time I felt that this book does give some important insights. Nearly 2 years down the line, I found the book does have practical aspects in it related to strategy and leadership alike. The author believes the two are inseparable. Being a strategist is not enough, you need to be the "strategist your company needs", understanding the This is the second time I read this book and it was worth it. The first time I was shifting careers from a day job in a big company to a family owned business. At the time I felt that this book does give some important insights. Nearly 2 years down the line, I found the book does have practical aspects in it related to strategy and leadership alike. The author believes the two are inseparable. Being a strategist is not enough, you need to be the "strategist your company needs", understanding the market forces, capable of creating value (Strategy Wheel), and finally taking stewardship of the process. The heart of all this is the purpose; why does your company exist? I thoroughly enjoyed the book and marked it as a reference that I will be going back to when crafting my own organizational strategy. I highly recommend this book!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Grant Storer

    Good material, except I heard it better from "Start With Why". This approach of finding your core identity and building your business on that basis was way too academic and not really that reader friendly. Start With Why was probably the most influential book I've ever read, so reading it again in this version was very disappointing. Good material, except I heard it better from "Start With Why". This approach of finding your core identity and building your business on that basis was way too academic and not really that reader friendly. Start With Why was probably the most influential book I've ever read, so reading it again in this version was very disappointing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alex Timberman

    Cynthia Montgomery is a professor at the Harvard Business School. She is influenced by another professor there, Michael Porter, and his work on strategy and the 5 forces. This book is a short read on what strategy is about and on who is responsible for making the strategy: the CEO or business owner. There is nothing technical or fancy here or even remarkable like say Blue Ocean Strategy but she does a good job of clearly laying out the basics: strategy is about having a compelling purpose for wh Cynthia Montgomery is a professor at the Harvard Business School. She is influenced by another professor there, Michael Porter, and his work on strategy and the 5 forces. This book is a short read on what strategy is about and on who is responsible for making the strategy: the CEO or business owner. There is nothing technical or fancy here or even remarkable like say Blue Ocean Strategy but she does a good job of clearly laying out the basics: strategy is about having a compelling purpose for why the firm exists. She asks, “If the firm didn't exist anymore would the world care?” Most leaders she has talked to who enters into the program are not sure and also most do not know what the firm’s purpose is. A purpose is different from the mission statement in that every part of the firm through its value chain is affected by it. A purpose is the very important paragraph in which a firm can base its culture around, like IKEA’s purpose to sell Scandinavian inspired furniture for a very low price in a comfortable shopping environment. Again, the key takeaways for me from this book are that a leader/strategist must know why the firm exists and that they exist to give the firm a purpose. From the very top, a purpose is formed, and everything and every part in the firm should revolve around that purpose, except when times call for a change in purpose. I found this book a good read to ground me back into the basics on what leadership and strategy is all about. I recommend it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Thejas

    Should Apple get into the business of Avacado cultivation? Talking about Strategy sounds cool, so many people do it, especially if you are a newly minted MBA. Unfortunately, the perception of most people about Strategy is to solve the puzzle and declare it done. Sometimes it may be an internal team but many times it involves the use of an external Consulting firm with complicated sounding frameworks. The book talks about some strategy cases but is mainly focused on recommending the leaders of the Should Apple get into the business of Avacado cultivation? Talking about Strategy sounds cool, so many people do it, especially if you are a newly minted MBA. Unfortunately, the perception of most people about Strategy is to solve the puzzle and declare it done. Sometimes it may be an internal team but many times it involves the use of an external Consulting firm with complicated sounding frameworks. The book talks about some strategy cases but is mainly focused on recommending the leaders of the firms such as CEOs or business owners to be active strategists who build, monitor and tweak the company strategy depending on the outside forces. Maybe Apple should not go into Avacados, but Cynthia recommends that Tim Cook be more involved in that decision than anyone else.

  5. 5 out of 5

    John Seno

    Overtime I've come to the realization that an exceptional business or any enterprise is built around a profound purpose. Traditional strategy tools like SWOT analysis or Porter's five forces are essential but on their own they cannot carry the weight of an enterprise. For that we turn to the vision, to the strategists, to the one's who live strategy and accept it as an Unending way of life. This book is about the Strategist and how to acquire a strategic thinkers perspective. Because in a world Overtime I've come to the realization that an exceptional business or any enterprise is built around a profound purpose. Traditional strategy tools like SWOT analysis or Porter's five forces are essential but on their own they cannot carry the weight of an enterprise. For that we turn to the vision, to the strategists, to the one's who live strategy and accept it as an Unending way of life. This book is about the Strategist and how to acquire a strategic thinkers perspective. Because in a world where perfect information is not available quantitative models will not win the game, only a clear perspective and strategic choices will.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mat Davies

    I first read this book in 2013. I still use some of the ideas as activities (such as the strategy wheel) in my day-to-day job. I also found this book very readable and clear.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Adek

    Those who’s working in strategy or management consulting will not find a really fancy points here, but this books does a good job of clearly laying out the basics: strategy is about having a compelling purpose for why the firm exists, “If the firm didn't exist anymore would the world care?”. Surprisingly, Montgomery said most leaders in her class are not sure about what their firm purpose is. “If leaders aren’t clear about this, imagine the confusion in the businesses three/four level lower. Yet Those who’s working in strategy or management consulting will not find a really fancy points here, but this books does a good job of clearly laying out the basics: strategy is about having a compelling purpose for why the firm exists, “If the firm didn't exist anymore would the world care?”. Surprisingly, Montgomery said most leaders in her class are not sure about what their firm purpose is. “If leaders aren’t clear about this, imagine the confusion in the businesses three/four level lower. Yet these people must make day-to-day decision that could and should be based on some shared sense of what the company is trying to be and do”. A good purpose is ennobling, put the stake in the ground (do this and not that), and makes the firm distinct. Above all it should set the stage for a system of value creation, “Whatever your purpose is, it must mean something to others in a way that it also produce economic outcomes for you”. She gave example IKEA and Guccci story here. Second, it looks like Montgomery is influenced by another HBS professor, Michael Porter with his 5 competitive forces. Montgomery explained about the “Myth of Super-Manager” story here. Her point is that no matter how good the strategy and the people who run it, there are always forces beyond your control, that shape each your industry competitive landscape. This is the fact that the average executives do not understand/want to accept. Those who are the most successful leaders acknowledge the crucially importance of picking the right playing field. Every good strategist should identify and understand the competitive force in their industry, and know how to respond these in their strategy. She gives examples of Warren Buffet and Jack Welch. “If you don’t understand this, your strategy is based on luck and hope”, she said. Third, the classic yet the most important part that she emphasis in this book: keep it vibrant. “In most popular portrayals the strategist’s job would seem to be finished once a carefully articulated strategy has been made ready for implementation. Yet, rarely can strategy be so neatly contained. There will always be countless contingencies that couldn’t have been fully anticipated, choices that were not obvious, etc”. No matter how compelling, no strategy is likely to be a sufficient guide for a firm that aspires to a long and prosperous life. She gave example Apple story here.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Synexe

    THE MAIN IDEA A strategist is an organization’s leader who works to ensure that the organization is able to adapt and change over time to maintain its competitive edge. As the author points out, strategy and execution are not two separate endeavours but are instead two-sides of the same coin. The key is balancing these two aspects of an organization’s operations over time. This is how you achieve long-term organizational success. INTERESTING TIDBIT The book is based on Cynthia Montgomery’s strat THE MAIN IDEA A strategist is an organization’s leader who works to ensure that the organization is able to adapt and change over time to maintain its competitive edge. As the author points out, strategy and execution are not two separate endeavours but are instead two-sides of the same coin. The key is balancing these two aspects of an organization’s operations over time. This is how you achieve long-term organizational success. INTERESTING TIDBIT The book is based on Cynthia Montgomery’s strategy course at Harvard Business School. WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW Effective strategy is based on the realization that change is a constant and organizations need to change to be able to maintain their relevancy. The strategist’s role in this process is leading the organization through these ongoing changes – through an alignment of the organization’s purpose with the structured changes required within the organization to maintain its ongoing relevancy. In Montgomery’s own words: "whether there is a purpose and whether that purpose is viable is a leader’s first responsibility." GENERAL OVERVIEW This book is not really a ‘how-to’ book explaining how to put together a strategy for an organization – although it does outline the steps required to do that. Rather, the key lesson for this book is, as the title suggests, an explanation of what it is to be a strategist. Based on three key case studies (IKEA, Gucci and Apple) the book is an interesting read. With a nice balance of theory and practical advice the book provides a good introduction to the idea of strategy while ensuring that readers realize that strategy and strategizing are dynamic processes that necessarily involve change. Overall it’s a fun book which deals with a really important idea in a practical and theoretically informed way. Well-worth reading.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Siim

    This book is based on the strategy course this seasoned professor teaches at Harvard Business School. It reads like it. I know, I've taken strategy courses at business schools. I've always found that the biggest benefits from taking courses in business school are: 1) making important connections, as you toil through cases together with your already successful coursemates, and 2) you are given the chance, the tools and the whip to work on your own company's case. It serves more to take the course. This book is based on the strategy course this seasoned professor teaches at Harvard Business School. It reads like it. I know, I've taken strategy courses at business schools. I've always found that the biggest benefits from taking courses in business school are: 1) making important connections, as you toil through cases together with your already successful coursemates, and 2) you are given the chance, the tools and the whip to work on your own company's case. It serves more to take the course. However, it's a short read, a couple of hours, and you will still get: 1. Why strategy is important 2. Why your strategy depends on your industry 3. Why your strategy should be dynamic 3. An introduction (but not much more) to the Strategy Wheel, a common sense tool for writing out your strategy's details for each domain of your business This is a book (and course?) for entrepreneurs and business owners who have not taken a strategy course before and are already seasoned in their business, and now need to write down a more concise direction strategy for themselves.

  10. 4 out of 5

    ftrStrategy

    Just finished “The Strategist. Be the Leader Your Business Needs” by Cynthia Montgomery. The examples and content come from Prof Montgomery’s teaching in the “Owner, President, Manager Program (OPM)” at Harvard Business School, where she leads the strategy track. The strategy content is based on (true and tested, but a bit tired) Porterian view of strategy (industry perspective, five forces) and some older, more descriptive material (“Wheel of Strategy”). Montgomery also emphasizes purpose = vis Just finished “The Strategist. Be the Leader Your Business Needs” by Cynthia Montgomery. The examples and content come from Prof Montgomery’s teaching in the “Owner, President, Manager Program (OPM)” at Harvard Business School, where she leads the strategy track. The strategy content is based on (true and tested, but a bit tired) Porterian view of strategy (industry perspective, five forces) and some older, more descriptive material (“Wheel of Strategy”). Montgomery also emphasizes purpose = vision/mission as key to successful strategy. My favorite part of the book is some less well-known case studies, e.g., Gucci. My rating is 3 stars / 5 stars (“liked it”).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    I would usually rather chew off my own leg than read a business book but I'm teaching undergraduate strategic thinking this semester so here I am, reading some business books. I have to say, this one was fine. It explains the broad concepts of strategy using case studies, which I think is a smart way to go about it. I think it's pretty surface level, kind of common-sense thoughts, but if you have no background in the area I think it's a solid entry level book to talking and thinking about strateg I would usually rather chew off my own leg than read a business book but I'm teaching undergraduate strategic thinking this semester so here I am, reading some business books. I have to say, this one was fine. It explains the broad concepts of strategy using case studies, which I think is a smart way to go about it. I think it's pretty surface level, kind of common-sense thoughts, but if you have no background in the area I think it's a solid entry level book to talking and thinking about strategy generally. It's only around 150 pages (although goodreads lists it as longer due to endnotes, etc) so it can be a quick read over a weekend, which serves as another point in its favor.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Riccardo Bua

    This book is around defining a strategy mix and how to set yourself apart, based on the experience of working with a set of navigated executives participating to Hardvard EOP program. I found a brilliant introduction for anyone working to defining their strategy for their company and ultimately how to gain a potential competitive advantage. A lot of the theory is based on Porter's theories and the writer does a good job presenting those in a easy to digest format. This book is around defining a strategy mix and how to set yourself apart, based on the experience of working with a set of navigated executives participating to Hardvard EOP program. I found a brilliant introduction for anyone working to defining their strategy for their company and ultimately how to gain a potential competitive advantage. A lot of the theory is based on Porter's theories and the writer does a good job presenting those in a easy to digest format.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Powell Omondi

    A good book reminding us the basics of business strategy to build a competitive advantage in the market. The book has practical historical lessons that one can learn from and critical questions that should be on every strategist mind. A good Strategy should be a system of value creation driven by a unique purpose which forms the bedrock of all the organization decisions. A key question that every strategist should always ask “If the firm didn't exist anymore would the world care?” A good book reminding us the basics of business strategy to build a competitive advantage in the market. The book has practical historical lessons that one can learn from and critical questions that should be on every strategist mind. A good Strategy should be a system of value creation driven by a unique purpose which forms the bedrock of all the organization decisions. A key question that every strategist should always ask “If the firm didn't exist anymore would the world care?”

  14. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Okay so this book was suuuuuuuper dry but admittedly it is based on an #HBC course. While it was very dry, the material was really valuable and I’ve already passed it in to a colleague. It helped me reposition how I’ve been thinking about some work challenges for sure. I’d recommend it especially for folks who are small business owners or entrepreneurial. https://www.instagram.com/p/BuHXuZ5FAIe/ Okay so this book was suuuuuuuper dry but admittedly it is based on an #HBC course. While it was very dry, the material was really valuable and I’ve already passed it in to a colleague. It helped me reposition how I’ve been thinking about some work challenges for sure. I’d recommend it especially for folks who are small business owners or entrepreneurial. https://www.instagram.com/p/BuHXuZ5FAIe/

  15. 4 out of 5

    Raj Shankar

    Wonderful Work on Strategy for Strategists. Enjoyed the book so much that i could not stop finishing it on priority. At times i felt like i was sitting in her class. I think i would re-read it and refer to it more in the future. If you are an entrepreneur, strategist or anyone aspiring to be one, you must not miss it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cate Meredith

    The best business book I've read this year, maybe ever. Extremely good. The best business book I've read this year, maybe ever. Extremely good.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    A new classic... I kept nodding my head and wishing that I had read this book before I had to learn its lessons the hard way.

  18. 4 out of 5

    InvestingByTheBooks.com

    Cynthia Montgomery is a Professor, and former Head of the Strategy Unit at Harvard Business School, where she has taught for more than 20 years. She is currently teaching strategy in the School’s executive program for entrepreneurs and owners of private companies. This book is basically a brief summary of the course she teaches there. It is well worth reading. As always, when someone really understands their subject, they manage to explain complex issues in a rather simple and straightforward wa Cynthia Montgomery is a Professor, and former Head of the Strategy Unit at Harvard Business School, where she has taught for more than 20 years. She is currently teaching strategy in the School’s executive program for entrepreneurs and owners of private companies. This book is basically a brief summary of the course she teaches there. It is well worth reading. As always, when someone really understands their subject, they manage to explain complex issues in a rather simple and straightforward way. Montgomery does it far better than most, even though a dedicated student of strategy will not be surprised by the messages, nor by most of the cases like Apple, IKEA and Gucci. But Montgomery’s passion is unusual – she truly believes it is “time to approach strategy in a different way and time to transform the process from a mechanical, analytical activity to something deeper, more meaningful and far more rewarding for the leader”. Montgomery reminds me of two important issues I had almost forgotten. It’s strange because it ought to be obvious to all of us. The first issue is that strategy has evolved a lot since Professor Porter’s first writings. Nowadays, it is an industry with hordes of specialists and consultants advising. But strategy is not a destination - it’s a journey. “Strategy – the system of value creation that underlies a company’s competitive position and uniqueness – has to be embraced as something open, not something closed. It is a system that evolves, moves and changes” So, who is the true strategist? Many separate strategy from leadership, implying that you are either a doer or a thinker. Montgomery’s message is that only the leader can be the strategist, primary because strategy is more than just diagnosis and policy; it’s also about continuous adjustments of coordinated actions. The leader doesn’t necessarily need to create the strategy formulation himself – often it’s positive to involve the management team and consultants, but in the end it’s about living with a strategy over time and “the richness of judgment, the continuity of purpose, the will to commit an organization to a particular path”. If more leaders got this insight and realized they need to be the strategists – to also have a view from the balcony instead of just being firefighters – most companies would be better managed. The second issue is equally interesting. Montgomery begins her course by asking these entrepreneurs: “Does your company matter? If you closed its doors today, would your customers suffer any real loss? How long would it take, and how difficult would it be, for them to find another firm that could meet those needs as well as you did?” These questions surprise most entrepreneurs, and few are able to answer them directly. “Accustomed to describing their business by the industries they’re in or the products they make, they can’t articulate the specific needs their business fills, or the unique points that distinguish them from competitors on anything beyond a superficial level.” Leaders are so focused on competition that they have forgotten the company’s purpose. Why does it exist? If the leaders aren’t clear about this themselves, imagine the confusion in their businesses three levels down... I believe the one thing really successful companies have in common, is that every stakeholder has a genuine understanding of the company’s purpose. Montgomery puts purpose in the center of the strategy wheel. A genuine purpose is ennobling, puts a stake in the ground, sets you apart and sets the stage for value creation and capture. But a great purpose is not a great strategy. “A great strategy is more than an inspiration, more than a dream: It’s a system of value creation, a set of mutually reinforcing parts. Anchored by a compelling purpose, it tells you where a company will play, how it will play, and what it will accomplish.” There are plenty of interesting and well-supported opinions from Montgomery in this handbook for “operational strategists”, e.g. on the myth of the super-manager, the industry effect, and on the Value Creation Wedge. To summarize, this book is a refreshing read for most managers and investors. It’s difficult to be passionate without a “purpose”.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jen Stirrup

    The value of this book lay in its ability to distill important, insightful points in a digestible format. In The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs, Montgomery helps you to think about applying and understanding the market forces in your industry. Montgomery also discusses the importance of creating value with her Strategy Wheel. The heart of all this is the purpose; why does your company exist? The book is about taking ownership of the process, and ensuring that your system of value c The value of this book lay in its ability to distill important, insightful points in a digestible format. In The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs, Montgomery helps you to think about applying and understanding the market forces in your industry. Montgomery also discusses the importance of creating value with her Strategy Wheel. The heart of all this is the purpose; why does your company exist? The book is about taking ownership of the process, and ensuring that your system of value creation is critically linked to your purpose. If organizations want to be more effective, efficient, and have more impactful, then the strategist needs to line things up in that direction. If it isn't working in favour of your purpose and value, then cut it. The book is about identifying that strategy is about having a compelling purpose for why the organization exists, and ensuring that your organization is squared up to meet it, and push it forward. From time to time, I see people not owning their behaviour. I also see them not owning their industry and understanding everything about it. It had good case studies, where you could see people straying outside their red lines. I re-read the Strategy Wheel chapter a few times. The danger with canvasses such as the Business Canvas (or rebadged attempts at it) is that people really don't always ask themselves about value creation. It is easy to tick boxes in a dilettante fashion, and not move forward from there. Montgomery argues that you have to move deeper than ticking boxes, and I think that she is right. The book is heavily Porterian, which is not surprising since Montgomery is also at Harvard. It means that people without a business knowledge backgound could understand the impacts in a Porterian fashion, but not necessarily know his theory. I think that makes it applicable and relevant to a wider audience, and that's a good thing. The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business NeedsThe Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I listened to the audio book and while it is good it does not really tell the listener or reader how to define or determine a strategy. The book talks about the failed and successful strategies of some companies. It uses a faucet fixture company that buys furniture manufacturing companies and winds up selling them for a loss because it had no strategy and compares & contrasts that to Berkshire Hathaway's (Warren Buffett's) foray into furniture distribution successfully and notes that furniture d I listened to the audio book and while it is good it does not really tell the listener or reader how to define or determine a strategy. The book talks about the failed and successful strategies of some companies. It uses a faucet fixture company that buys furniture manufacturing companies and winds up selling them for a loss because it had no strategy and compares & contrasts that to Berkshire Hathaway's (Warren Buffett's) foray into furniture distribution successfully and notes that furniture distribution is very different that furniture manufacturing. What was interesting and memorable about this is that the author asks her ELP class at Harvard Business School what brand of sofa our couch they have and the best answer they could come up with is brown leather. Contrast this to what brand of car do you drive and most people can answer easily and provide the answer to what kind of car their neighbor drives and more. The author talks a lot about Apple and Steve Jobs and how Jobs failed at Apple and was kicked out as CEO due to his failure to grow only to launch Next and buy into Pixar and return to Apple to turn it around by simplifying and having a good strategy. The book also talks about Gucci and how it struggled because of a family power struggle and it's fall from grace and moving from being privately help to publicly owned and how one person implemented a new strategy to save the company until it went public and he and another person left only to see Gucci struggle again. The author says that when developing a strategy you should consider a/the strategy wheel provided in the PDF to the CD (which I did not have access too since I downloaded using the Overdrive App) and consider the question, "If my company or product or service were to disappear tomorrow what would replace my company, product, or service and if someone else or something else can easily fill the void you leave then you likely need to rethink your strategy. The author goes on to say as a Strategist you must answer these four questions: 1) What does my organization bring to the world? 2) does that difference matter? and 3) is something about it scarce and difficult to imitate and 4) are we doing today what we need to do in order to matter tomorrow? The author also says that strategy is about serving an unmet need, doing something unique, or something uniquely well. I can recommend this book and it was good.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Davison Abrantes

    2.2 Stars. This book contains pretty much two lessons: 1. Your company needs to have purpose; what would happen if your company disappeared today? Would you be missed, where will people go to fill that hole that your business left behind? 2. Your company needs to be able to adapt/reinvent itself. You have to keep working on your strategy, there is not one right answer where if you find it then you are good, you always have to keep working on the strategy to better your company, making tough deci 2.2 Stars. This book contains pretty much two lessons: 1. Your company needs to have purpose; what would happen if your company disappeared today? Would you be missed, where will people go to fill that hole that your business left behind? 2. Your company needs to be able to adapt/reinvent itself. You have to keep working on your strategy, there is not one right answer where if you find it then you are good, you always have to keep working on the strategy to better your company, making tough decisions on the way. There you go. You just read the book. I saved you +150 pages of fluff and examples because that's all there really is to it, many stories of business's/company's that proved these lessons true, that (expect for some) really aren't all that interesting. In the end for two lessons I give it two stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matt Zamudio

    Incredible book by an incredibly smart writer, educator, and business strategist. I've learned so much, and will doubtlessly continue to re-read and reference this book throughout my career. There's also references to a bunch of great books and articles on business strategy in the end notes. This was a pleasure to read, which I did not expect! Cynthia's writing is clean, simple, and cuts to the chase. As a result of reading this book, I'm excited to read a slew of other books on strategy and lea Incredible book by an incredibly smart writer, educator, and business strategist. I've learned so much, and will doubtlessly continue to re-read and reference this book throughout my career. There's also references to a bunch of great books and articles on business strategy in the end notes. This was a pleasure to read, which I did not expect! Cynthia's writing is clean, simple, and cuts to the chase. As a result of reading this book, I'm excited to read a slew of other books on strategy and leadership. Although, I'll be surprised if they come anywhere near the goodness of this one.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rachelle

    This book was short. But not short enough. The entire principle could have been distilled to a one-pager with an infographic. Maybe only four statements. 1. Coming up with a strategy means defining who your company is and why you're different 2. Even if you have a good strategy, if you have no execution plan you have nothing 3. You should align all aspects of your business with your strategy That's it. Even if you can grasp these simple concepts you're probably not a strategist. Strategists are rare This book was short. But not short enough. The entire principle could have been distilled to a one-pager with an infographic. Maybe only four statements. 1. Coming up with a strategy means defining who your company is and why you're different 2. Even if you have a good strategy, if you have no execution plan you have nothing 3. You should align all aspects of your business with your strategy That's it. Even if you can grasp these simple concepts you're probably not a strategist. Strategists are rare and important. That'd be item #4.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ning-Jia Ong

    I really like one of the key message here. We can't just departmentalise "Strategy" and expect to work for our entire organisation. Every manager needs to be a strategist himself/herself. But I think this book was more motivational than leading edge new information. A lot of the frameworks and methodologies are, in my own personal opinion, better explained in other books. So overall, it was an interesting read with a few great ideas and well written structures but nothing too new that interests I really like one of the key message here. We can't just departmentalise "Strategy" and expect to work for our entire organisation. Every manager needs to be a strategist himself/herself. But I think this book was more motivational than leading edge new information. A lot of the frameworks and methodologies are, in my own personal opinion, better explained in other books. So overall, it was an interesting read with a few great ideas and well written structures but nothing too new that interests me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nadya Tsech

    Introduction to strategy for people with no business background. Importance of mission/bringing value explained by comparing different companies in the same industry; looking into finances; customer and employee satisfaction. Throughout the book the author asks important questions: “If your company disappeared today would world be different tomorrow?” Would your costumer be able to go out and find immediately someone else?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michail Skartoulis

    This is a very good book indeed. It's easy to read and understand. It's about how to think about your company's strategy. It's stimulating and encourages you to take action. Certainly a great read for business leaders. The only element I did not like is that the author talks a lot about Harvard and it becomes a bit too obvious that she advertises the university. All in all, I definitely recommend it. This is a very good book indeed. It's easy to read and understand. It's about how to think about your company's strategy. It's stimulating and encourages you to take action. Certainly a great read for business leaders. The only element I did not like is that the author talks a lot about Harvard and it becomes a bit too obvious that she advertises the university. All in all, I definitely recommend it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ed Hart

    AWESOME A very clear and helpful book, not about primarily, the strategy bu thx strategist. Very clear examples of successful strategists. The biggest takeaway to being strategic is developed not innate. Jobs summary was very insightful. Gave me lots of helpful food for though...recommended

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amit Kukadia

    An interesting read Lots of food for thought in this book. Useful for anyone that is, or is aspiring to take on a leadership role, or set strategy within an organisation. Often we are searching for the 'just tell me how', or the aha! moment. This book suggests we need to reflect deeply, research and be willing to adapt. An interesting read Lots of food for thought in this book. Useful for anyone that is, or is aspiring to take on a leadership role, or set strategy within an organisation. Often we are searching for the 'just tell me how', or the aha! moment. This book suggests we need to reflect deeply, research and be willing to adapt.

  29. 5 out of 5

    David

    Big idea is that the strategist now also has to execute. Duh. Having a good talk only (surprisingly) doesn't make a company successful. Operating model execution is the critical path. Some stories are good. Some are has beens. Big idea is that the strategist now also has to execute. Duh. Having a good talk only (surprisingly) doesn't make a company successful. Operating model execution is the critical path. Some stories are good. Some are has beens.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Quite good. Lots of great ideas that could be put into practice. The description of Apple was a bit longer than necessary. Make sure you checkout the HBS portrait project that the author refers to - inspirational.

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