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  • Good Strategy/Bad Strategy

  • The Difference and Why It Matters
  • Written by: Richard Rumelt
  • Narrated by: Sean Runnette
  • Length: 11 hrs and 49 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Good Strategy/Bad Strategy clarifies the muddled thinking underlying too many strategies and provides a clear way to create and implement a powerful action-oriented strategy for the real world.

Developing and implementing a strategy is the central task of a leader. A good strategy is a specific and coherent response to - and approach for - overcoming the obstacles to progress. A good strategy works by harnessing and applying power where it will have the greatest effect. Yet, Rumelt shows that there has been a growing and unfortunate tendency to equate Mom-and-apple-pie values, fluffy packages of buzzwords, motivational slogans, and financial goals with “strategy”.

In Good Strategy/Bad Strategy, he debunks these elements of “bad strategy” and awakens an understanding of the power of a “good strategy”. He introduces nine sources of power - ranging from using leverage to effectively focusing on growth - that are eye-opening yet pragmatic tools that can easily be put to work on Monday morning and uses fascinating examples from business, nonprofit, and military affairs to bring its original and pragmatic ideas to life. The detailed examples range from Apple to General Motors, from the two Iraq wars to Afghanistan, from a small local market to Wal-Mart, from Nvidia to Silicon Graphics, from the Getty Trust to the Los Angeles Unified School District, from Cisco Systems to Paccar, and from Global Crossing to the 2007-08 financial crisis.

Reflecting an astonishing grasp and integration of economics, finance, technology, history, and the brilliance and foibles of the human character, Good Strategy/Bad Strategy stems from Rumelt’s decades of digging beyond the superficial to address hard questions with honesty and integrity.

©2011 Richard Rumelt (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"Represents the latest thinking in strategy and is peppered with many current real world examples. Good Strategy/Bad Strategy has much to offer and has every chance of becoming a business classic.” (Management Today)

“Brilliant...a milestone in both the theory and practice of strategy... Vivid examples from the contemporary business world and global history that clearly show how to recognize the good, reject the bad, and make good strategy a living force in your organization.” (John Stopford, chairman, TLP International, professor emeritus, London Business School)

“Penetrating insights provide new and powerful ways for leaders to tackle the obstacles they face. The concepts of "the kernel" and "the proximate objective" are blockbusters. This is the new must-have book for everyone who leads an organization in business, government, or in-between.” (Robert A. Eckert, chairman and CEO of Mattel)

What listeners say about Good Strategy/Bad Strategy

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This is already one of my favourite business books

Do you like thinking deeply? Challenging your assumptions or improving your judgement? Then this is the perfect book.

Filled with examples and case studies, the author methodically breaks down good and bad strategy. Some examples made me laugh out loud. A bank is a bank! Each example helps clarify and elaborate the underlying concepts.

The different chapters complement each other very well. Early chapters introduce key ideas that are expanded upon later. When the book returns to these topics they already make sense. The author continues to refine these earlier concepts even deeper. Each new idea strengthens the whole.

What could have been better? The final few chapters did not connect as well with the rest of the book. There were a few slower sections. Some simpler ideas may have had too many examples making them feel a little bogged down. This did not bother me much since the examples are interesting and enjoyable.

I would highly recommend this book to any leader or strategic thinker.

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Very educational.

Must read for anyone who wants to know more about strategy. Also last chapter will provide great insight into our market crashes and the failed strategies.

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  • G. London
  • 2020-01-04

Good but thin

The core idea is wise, but it’s pretty simple and takes 15 minutes to explain. The rest of the book is a bunch of examples and anecdotes that are interesting but don’t meaningfully expand the core thesis.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Carlos R. R. Silveira
  • 2020-06-03

Very good but I was expecting more

I hoped it compared to Drucker's Effective Executive, but unfortunatelly it didn't. The book has very good parts, but others are good, but don't fit perfectly with the overall subject of strategy, e.g. the last chapter about real state bubbles.

3 people found this helpful

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  • MyPenName
  • 2020-10-28

Out of date?

I think this book might be out of date. Used Wells Fargo as an example of good strategy...hmmm

2 people found this helpful

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  • Balancing Act
  • 2021-09-20

Really tough subject to get right...

And I feel like a balance was struck for my brain. I learned a fair amount from reading this book. AND I felt vanquished at strategy work and discussions I have had in the past. (Oh, I WAS right).

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hossam Sadik
  • 2021-06-06

Good book/Bad book: Difference and why it matters!

Good book/Bad book: The difference and why it matters!!!

About 1/3 of this book is brilliant content. Very clear and genuine thoughts, concise advice and implementable framework that are backed with studies, experience and extensive consulting work.

The rest 2/3 of the book are nothing but filler. Long pages of unrelated stories from Galileo Galilei, American steel companies, and the 2008 financial market crash. Each story goes in a very extended non-relevant history of everything and concludes with 1 or 2 lines that seemingly strategy-related. I personally believe that all these stories have nothing but the writer in common, he may have read the book or met the CEO over lunch!

I wish business writers start to pay some respect to their readers more than they do to their publishers. Your book's worth is not by the number of pages, only the relevance and ideas ingenuity.

Disappointed, this was a book that easily deserved 5 stars, only if it was literally half the size!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Albert A. Byas
  • 2021-04-02

Strategic Thinking

Loved it! It sets a great state of mind for what strategy is. You can't rush through it. As I was listening it helped me understand my successes and failures better. I have a better grasp on long term businesss strategy.

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  • Jennifer ann Greene
  • 2022-08-30

key deep systematic thinking w focus strategy

key deep systematic thinking w focus strategy. great not just for business leaders but people looking to lead in their own lives.

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  • Raj Natarajan
  • 2022-08-07

Strategy versus goals and plans

Excellent reinforcement of my understanding of the difference between goals/plans/ objectives to strategies. Goals and plans layout where we are at and where we want to be in a year or two. The strategy is the way to reach the destination with minimum obstacles.

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  • FredVL
  • 2022-08-02

Good book, wish I had read it sooner

I got about an hour into it and decided to get the companion Kindle version as well for annotating it. This is the book I need right now. I’ve been wrestling with different strategies and it helped to clarify things for me. I’m not sure that I’m in love with the writer’s voice , but I was interested in what this book had to say so I stuck it out. Glad I did. I thought the performance was very good.

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  • Jonathan
  • 2022-07-18

Epic. Today.

Epic
Listen to it as fast as you can and then listen 5 more times
Wake up and smell the simplicity of good strategy and the smack your face obvious nature of bad

Jonathan Awad

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  • spjeanfritz
  • 2022-07-12

a must read for anyone seeking success

A brilliant presentation of what strategy is with vivid examples and principles on how to do it best.