Richard Rumelt, in Good Strategy Bad Strategy,makes strategic thinking readily available all. There is a lot of clear thinking here that will enlighten readers. For example, aspiration is not strategy. JFK proposed that we go to the moon in a decade. That was technically possible. Going to Mars is technical available to us as well. However, since Kennedy’s moon shot project people have been confusing aspiration with strategy. The implication is that if we just set goals they will be attained. Rumelt sets the reader straight. Rumelt goes beyond telling readers What they should do to telling the readers HOW to do it. Rumelt strays into military strategy at times and his examples can be a little long for my taste. However, this book is still a worthwhile read. After this book interested readers may want to pickup Joan Magretta’s (2011) Understanding Michael Porter and then tackle Michael Porter’s (1998) Competitive Strategy. A third volume, a favorite of mine, is Henry Mintzberg’s Strategy Safari which introduces the reader to all of the basic schools of strategic planning thought. He makes the argument that there is no such thing as strategy and cognitive scientists just might agree. The reading of Sean Runnette is very good. Enjoy.
I read about everything I can get my hands on related to neuroplasticity. David Rock in Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long applies what we have learned so far about the brain in that context and applies it to the world of work. This is one practical, easy to follow, informative guide. Rock is particularly strong at presenting the most recent research and applying it to every day practice. He not only tells us what is known, but how to use that knowledge to advantage. This is just an excellent volume. Don’t miss it. The reading of Bob Walter is very good.
Everyone is familiar with Toyota as a brand. Some are aware of the Toyota manufacturing process. Being aware of the process is not being familiar and being familiar does not imply one is conversant with how it really works. Along comes Jeffrey Liker (The Toyota Way) and Gary Convis with The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership filling any gaps in our understanding. Importantly, Liker and Convis use a narrative approach to presenting their material. They use multiple examples and anecdotes to illustrate the concepts they are reporting. Their use of vignettes to describe how lead leadership works, certainly nourishes the reader’s understanding. Readers interested in manufacturing, Japanese culture, leadership, adult education, and other related topics will find this volume most informative. There is no need to be an engineer, Liker and Convis make the topic readily available to the general reader. The narration of Jim Meskimen is very good.
Insightfulness: 4/5 stars.
Poor research and full-on-inaccuracies: -2/5 stars.
Reading this book is like listening to your mechanic say:
"People don't like horse manure, that's why the automobile succeeded in replacing the horse-drawn carriage." and: "Having a car allows you to get places faster. So without a car, you can’t get anywhere on time.”
And then, the mechanic follows that up with very useful advice on how to maintain your car. You appreciate the useful advice, but you are blown away by some of the other comments. Oh, and the mechanic happens to be the friendliest person you know!
The author comes across as an extremely kindhearted person, and so it pains me to write anything but the loveliest review. However, it also pains me to hear the author say:
"A company is a culture. A group of people brought together around a common set of values and beliefs." Certainly, each person in the group has a reason (a “Why” as the author calls it) for being a part of the group, but those reasons are not necessarily *shared* amongst the group.
The author makes a multitude of social, anthropological, technological and historical claims many of which are, to varying degrees, inaccurate and poorly researched. Other claims simply seem naïve of the author to make (eg. what were the Wright Brothers’ and Steve Jobs’ *true,* *deep-down internal* thought processes and motivations driving their achievements). And often times, the author exemplifies a misunderstanding of causality (akin to the horse manure/automobile logic above).
Ironically, the skewed-logic and faulty claims are invoked to support what are otherwise insightful conclusions. (eg, it is beneficial to employees/ers to choose their respective association with each other based on a common set of values and beliefs).
If you can make it through the frustrating distractions of repetitiveness and inaccuracies, this book does have useful tidbits.
(he does do a good job with narration)