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Publisher's Summary

Developing and implementing a strategy is the central task of a leader, whether the CEO at a Fortune 100 company, an entrepreneur, a church pastor, the head of a school, or a government official. Richard Rumelt argues that the heart of a good strategy is insight - into the true nature of the situation, into the hidden power in a situation, and into an appropriate response. He shows you how insight can be cultivated with a wide variety of tools for guiding your own thinking.
Good Strategy/Bad Strategy integrates fascinating examples from business, nonprofit, and military affairs to bring its original ideas to life: From Apple to General Motors, from the two Iraq wars to Afghanistan, from a small local market to Wal-Mart, from the Getty Trust to the Los Angeles Unified School District, from Global Crossing to the 2007-08 financial crisis, and many more. The abundance of business-ready insights offered by Rumelt stem from his decades of digging beyond the superficial to address hard questions with honesty and integrity.
©2012 Original material © 2011 by Richard Rumelt. Recorded by arrangement with Crown Business, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. (P)2012 (p) 2012 HighBridge Company
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Critic Reviews

“Refreshing...clear...elegant.... If you want to make strategy, you will need...this book.” (Walter Kiechel, author of The Lords of Strategy)
“Brilliant...a milestone in both the theory and practice of strategy.” (John Stopford, Emeritus Professor, London Business School)
"Drawing on a wealth of examples, Rumelt identifies the critical features that distinguish powerful strategies from wimpy ones—and offers a cache of advice on how to build a strategy that is actually worthy of the name. If you're certain your company is already poised to out-perform its rivals and out-run the future, don't buy this book. If, on the other hand, you have a sliver of doubt, pick it up pronto!” (Gary Hamel, co-author of Competing for the Future)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By E. Smakman on 01-03-13

Fantastic framework for strategy + how to fail

A book that sounds a bit 'dorky' like this one I normally leave alone for fear of empty words. But I am very happy to have picked this one up!

Rummelt is a very senior strategist to big and smaller firms, and have seen where they can go wrong: confusing objectives with strategy ("our strategy is to grow revenue"), strategy with excel sheets or (worst of all, and very hot right now) confusing leadership ("a will to succeed") with strategy.

Instead, he outlines a simple yet powerful method of building a strategy:
1. diagnose the situation and determine the key challenge for the organisation/firm
2. develop/create a guiding policy (Porter would say, competitive strategy) to overcome the challenge or reap the opportunity
3. develop and execute a coherent action plan.

He goes on the enrich each of these parts, which to a certain extent have been discussed elsewhere (Porter, Ansoff, Hamel, Kaplan) but not in such a concise and easy to follow way.

The strength of the book is not only in how strategies should be build and executed, but also how many companies go wrong: e.g. that your strategy needs commitment from the organization is ruthlessly attacked: if the entire organisation agrees with the strategy, there is no 'hard' choice involved. A strategy that pleases all in the end does not deliver. Though provoking and pragmatic at the same time.

What I personally found most pleasing is that Rummelt does not say that planning is better than execution, or leadership is superior or not, but that all are parts in a chain that need to fit together. You need strategy AND execution AND leaderhip AND creativity/innovation AND ...while simultaneously focusing your energy.

If you are in a leadership or management position in any organisation, private or public, I highly recommend this book for its framework, coherence and ease of understanding, combined with its focus on the essential elements and pitfalls.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Matthew on 05-15-12

Strategy Defined, Finally

Runnette does the impossible in this book and makes a book on strategy interesting. It's amazing how stories and anecdotes can make all the difference. By highlighting some funny examples of bad strategy, good strategy becomes more and more obvious in contrast. Looking forward to future books from Runnette.

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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Ronald on 09-30-16

Top 3

In the top 3 books I've ever read (I read at least 1 a week & I'm no spring chicken) I've bought a print copy to scribble on. This book is truly stunning & essential for anyone trying to work out where they are going. A true epiphany.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By S. Roberts on 06-21-14

Ok, but long winded

Any additional comments?

A really practical approach to strategy, however, the examples throughout the book go on way too long without adding value. A 2 minute example to prove a point would be great, but some go on for maybe 10 minutes or more. I found that I kept 'drifting off' and forgetting the point that was being made.

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7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By B westwood on 01-25-18


Some good points but too busy boasting and labouring each point.

Could be understood within an hour

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4 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 08-22-16

Crystal clear definition of Strategy

The first part of the book is wonderful at making a complex concept crystal clear. The stories, examples and frameworks outlined were really great. The book falls down slightly at the end with long winded, uninteresting case studies with little conclusions. With so much rich information, it will be a shame to not have a paper copy to review at a later date.

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