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Playing to Win

How Strategy Really Works
Narrated by: LJ Ganser
Length: 7 hrs and 9 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

This is A.G. Lafley’s guidebook. Shouldn’t it be yours as well?Winning CEO A.G. Lafley is now back at the helm of consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble. If you want to know the strategy he’ll use to restore P&G to its former dominance, read this book.

Playing to Win, a noted Wall Street Journal and Washington Post best seller, outlines the strategic approach Lafley, in close partnership with strategic adviser Roger Martin, used to double P&G’s sales, quadruple its profits, and increase its market value by more than $100 billion when Lafley was first CEO (he led the company from 2000 to 2009). The book shows leaders in any type of organization how to guide everyday actions with larger strategic goals built around the clear, essential elements that determine business successwhere to play and how to win.

Lafley and Martin have created a set of five essential strategic choices that, when addressed in an integrated way, will move you ahead of your competitors. They are: (1) What is our winning aspiration? (2) Where will we play? (3) How will we win? (4) What capabilities must we have in place to win? and (5) What management systems are required to support our choices? The result is a playbook for winning.

The stories of how P&G repeatedly won by applying this method to iconic brands such as Olay, Bounty, Gillette, Swiffer, and Febreze clearly illustrate how deciding on a strategic approachand then making the right choices to support itmakes the difference between just playing the game and actually winning.

Playing to Win outlines a proven method that has worked for some of today’s most celebrated brands and products. Let this book serve as your new guide to winning, as well.

©2013 A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • DKW
  • 2018-09-13

The first strategy book you need to read

This book is the best strategy book I've come across. It is full of real, applicable examples, and the narrative walks through the strategic process is a logical sequence that is easy to follow and understand. Additionally, it provides great context for using other traditional strategy tools (i.e. Porter's 5 Forces) to get real value in setting the strategic direction of an organization. It makes me wish i had found it much sooner, and I suddenly want to go work at P&G.

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  • G. Roukas
  • 2016-05-09

Excellent and comprehensive book on strategy

I've been reading about strategy over the last 20 years from many authors and from many angles, but this is the first one that I think takes a really comprehensive view of strategy and the process of crafting one.

I noticed that some of the other reviews criticize the authors for focusing on P&G, but I think they're missing the point: P&G is a large and diverse organization, and illustrating how strategy works there covers a massive spectrum of businesses. Many will find that while strategic options don't look the same in their organization, the general lessons from P&G can be applied to just about any kind of business. And the authors do salt the text with examples from other industries where the nature of those industries create meaningful illustrations.

In all, I think this is an an extensive and extremely worthwhile book. I recommend it highly!

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • lniles
  • 2015-04-14

The P&G Story

This book is all about the author's experience as CEO of Proctor & Gamble. It's a reasonably good exposition of a well-founded approach to strategy in that context, but there is virtually no discussion of how the approach might apply to other environments. In the end the book is a case study of the strategic decision-making process at P&G rather than a tutorial for a business leader.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • rbn12
  • 2018-07-12

Okay for strategy

Some of these things are straightforward. Although most of them seem short-termist, as is evident today. This is a good book to understand P&G businesses. There are probably better strategy books.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-05-12

"This is how awesome we were at P&G"

Any additional comments?

The themes in the book are solid themes but the "key takeaways" were very generic..."so, we applied dedication and resources...". The book glosses over significant components of managing priorities in an organization. Resources constraints, cost benefit trade-offs, prioritization, cross-functional complexities, for example. Would've done well to include more related and detailed examples

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • J. Balash
  • 2019-05-02

Overly long with no new insights. Don’t even bother

A very disappointing effort. Highly capable authors with an analysis that has little in the way of specific insights and is long on dated anecdotes. I couldn’t even bring myself to finish the book, even though I really enjoyed Roger Martin‘s previous book On design thinking.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-09-19

Strategy and what it is - not a misused word

if strategy was a buzzword or never understood the clear definition, this book makes it very understandable what strategy is and how you set one up for your business.

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  • Ismar N. Kaufman
  • 2019-07-05

Mind changing

I have been a follower of "classical" strategy, the Porter way. I always had a difficulty to link theory to practice. This book is THE bridge that brings Porter to real world leaders. Full of examples, everything is very well explained, it's not a book for academics, it's written for the rest of us who are looking for a place in the market. Lafley and Martin show that choosing the place and how to behave there is key to business.

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  • AJ Masv
  • 2019-04-22

Required reading for business execs

This book does an excellent job capturing the essence of business strategy and providing interesting and relatable examples. Highly recommend.

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  • Christopher A Glenon
  • 2019-02-24

Great audible book

While I am in a completely different industry, this book provides great analogous situations from P&G that I can use to comparatively assess my workplace situations and apply some of the techniques.

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  • Chris R
  • 2019-01-29

PG and Oil of Olay

If you want to know about P&G and Oil of Olay, read this book. Strategy... not so much.