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.
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.
Many of us have well thumbed copies of Michael Porter’s Competitive Strategy. Now Joan Magretta has made his work available to a wider audience with Understanding Michael Porter: The Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy. Think of Magretta’s book as a companion to Michael Porter and you will be right on point. Realistically, Porter’s book is not overly difficult to understand, but it does take study and some background. The strength of Magretta’s work is that Porter’s models become clear immediately. If you have read and understand Michael Porter this book is still valuable for its concise, relevant example and context. Readers from business settings will primarily benefit by this book, but decision makers from the not-for-profit sector will gain from reading this book as well. Read very well by Erik Synnestevdt .
Listening to an audiobook is one of the easiest ways a person can attain information, yet this audiobook somehow managed to make it feel like a chore.I really hoped to hear some useful ways to turn my work and experience into something greater than myself, i.e. "Do work that matters." Unfortunately START was so suffocated by pointless lackluster stories and name dropping that I completely lost track of why I purchased it in the first place (So you were on the news... Am I supposed to care? And what does that have to do with the purpose of this book again?).More importantly, Acuff as the narrator is the worst! His delivery reminds me of that cliche friend we all have, the one who thinks he's absolutely hilarious, reciting movie quotes and poor impressions, and we all just nod and put up with it because we've been friends since childhood. If I wanted a poorly written comedy, I would have purchased something by Tyler Perry. If I wanted adventure stories of an entrepreneur, I would have purchased Richard Branson's memoir. Stripped of all the filler, this book would be a pamphlet long, maybe a few paragraphs, or even just a quote that read, "Do you want to live an average life, or an awesome one?"For a book that claimed to "Punch Fear in the Face!" START delivered like a weak jab that missed the mark.
Turned me off from this genre? No. START's poor performance just made me more wary of my selections in the future. I will ABSOLUTELY listen to a sample reading before purchasing another book of this kind. If I had listened to a sample of START before purchasing, I'd still have $13.95 in my pocket.
I appreciate Acuff's energy, but there's an unearned sense of overconfidence in his voice. If the material or substance was there to back it up, I'd be all for his delivery, I'd even give the tales of his "awesome life" a chance. Instead, I felt like I was listening to a D-list comedian trying to woo an empty night club. Maybe add some canned laughter or crickets in the background? You can use that zinger in your next book Jon.
There were a few nuggets of actual useful material in the book, but really only stemmed from one basic concept: do you want to live an awesome life or average? Unfortunately anything redeeming was buried so deep under a thick gloss of pointless nostalgia and name dropping that I'd lose interest and tune out. I can't tell you how many times Acuff would be submerged in another story about how "awesome" his life is, and I'd think, "What the hell is he talking about? What does this have to do with anything? That really doesn't sound that awesome to me at all." I'm sure Acuff is the coolest/smartest guy he knows. Unfortunately his material isn't.