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Playing to Win cover art

Playing to Win

Written by: Roger L. Martin,A.G. Lafley
Narrated by: LJ Ganser
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Publisher's Summary

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 listeners say about Playing to Win

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Great book about strategy

Liked all the examples about P&G and how they implemented the tools in the book. If you like case studies, it’s a good book. Would have liked to have seen more failures instead of all winners.
A visual aid of the diagrams would have been helpful
Recommended for any C suite and entrepreneur struggling with strategy.

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horribly vague

it has great content but it's extremely vague, poorly written.
it is filled with unnecessary complexities.
overall I do not recommend this book unless you're into Shakespeare.

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Wowzers! an amazing book with meaningful tools

Wowzers! An amazing book with meaningful tools that can be implemented in any size organization, for-profit or not for profit. wish I had picked this up years ago.

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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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  • 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.

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24 people found this helpful

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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!

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18 people found this 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

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  • M. Murphy
  • 2020-02-04

Great advice if you’re the size of P&G

Maybe I lacked imagination when I went through this one but I just could not find any relevant information to the business I’m currently in. That’s unusual even a story or lessons learned from another industry can spark new ideas for something that could be implemented in the market I play.
But this one, nope.

In fact there so was much talk of leveraging P&E size and abilities I wonder if it could be useful to small players in similar markets.

Dud.

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  • Zeusthink
  • 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.

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3 people found this 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.

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  • Susan M. Sullivan
  • 2015-04-24

The real deal

I like the fact that the author lived the experience then wrote it down for us. His real life view is invaluable.

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  • ANDRÉ
  • 2015-04-20

Could have been better

Stories are compelling. When the authors tell stories (like Olay) the book is a good one, but when they become philosophical, the book turns to abstraction and does not grab attention.

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  • Makhi
  • 2023-03-01

Loved it

The book was informative and I loved the examples. I was guilty of the error of strategic planning and now I’m convinced to change my strategy formulation approach.

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  • IWonder
  • 2022-05-23

A game changer

This is one of the few businesses books I’ve encountered that actually changed my perspective and approach to business decisions in a fundamental way. I wish I had discovered it years ago.

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