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Publisher's Summary

What do Barbie dolls, Nokia phones, and American Express credit cards have in common? They all represent a powerful business model called pyramid profit. How about Intel, Microsoft, and Stephen King? They all exploit another model called value chain position profit.

The Art of Profitability reveals the invisible but important governing principles that can mean the difference between business failure and success. Writing with wit and provocative insight, best selling author Adrian Slywotzy tells the story of eccentric strategy teacher David Zhao and his young student. Each of the book's chapters presents a lesson from the exuberant and always challenging master - and a profit paradigm that will open your mind to the many ways to make profit happen.

You'll understand - from a different perspective - how your company and your competitors generate profit, which business models can be best applied to your profit-making strategy, what specific actions your organization can take in the next ninety days to improve its bottom line, and more.

With scores of examples from today's global marketplace, a weekly assignment, and an eclectic business reading list ranging from Obvious Adams to Einstein's Dreams, The Art of Profitability invites anyone in business to engage in the lively exchange between mentor and protégé.

Enter the classroom. Discover the art. And learn which form of profitability will help your company succeed today and grow tomorrow.

©2002 Mercer Management Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.; (P)2003 Time Warner AudioBooks. A division of the AOL Time Warner Book Group.

Critic Reviews

  • Audie Award Winner, Business Information/Educational, 2003

"It's an attractive and refreshing concept that taps into the Zen of business." (Publishers Weekly)
"Harvard professor Adrian Slywotzky...brings a holistic approach to the making of money." (AudioFile)

What members say

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  • Overall
  • Brian
  • Fremont, CA, USA
  • 04-05-04

Read his other books

The Good -
The main concepts of the book are sound and time proven, and it has some interesting and novel ideas. Moreover, the book has good recommendations of must read works.

The Bad -
What was meant to be an entertaining fictional side plot, in the fashion of The Goal or The Max Strategy, doesn't work. It ends up being both corny and archaic. Basically, the main character of the book is a 20 something trying to save the large conglomerate which employs him. Give me a break. The vast majority of my peers including myself (in that age group) could care less about the slow and large, uncaring bureaucracies we work for. If anything we're dreaming up of escape plans to start our own businesses. Throughout the book I just kept wondering whether Steve was a complete moron or whether the story took place in my parents' time.

A related flaw is how the book's concepts are delivered. Hearing the mentor character, Zhiao, ?give lessons? is akin to listening to Bill Cosby's or Grandpa Simpson's random rambling for hours. It's very difficult to differentiate the useless/nonsensical crap from the great/important pieces of data, Zhiao keeps jumping from here and there. Sadly I could go on and on about how horrible the plot and side dialogue are... ex "What kind of fish do you think you are? I am a light fish." - enough said.

Unless you have spare money or time ? read Slywotsky's other books to get to the meat of his ideas. This is largely a waste of time.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Todd
  • Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  • 10-22-03

2 thumbs up

Excellent Read. And worth listening to over (and over). I wonder if Slywotzky gets a cut of the incremental revenue on the additional books he recommends? Oh, he wrote a couple of them himself...

Worth while all the more since it looks like he definitely practices what he preaches. I will be looking for the 'homework' reading list titles on Audible.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The Art Of Profitability

Great Book. I am already putting some ideas from the book to work in my business. Very entertaining as well as informative. A rare combination.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Learn from the master!

I really enjoyed listening to this book. The characters made a facinating and instructional book that was really fun to listen too. It was not what I expected from a "business" book. Bring a notepad to write down the assignments that Steve gets. It really is a great instructional book for a "newbie" to business and profit.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Fact or fiction - A good listen either way

I was tempted to give this four stars because I had a hard time distinguishing whether the fictional characters in the book were discussing real business examples or whether these were fictional as well.

Having said that, I gave it a five star rating because it is well read (I found the reader's affected oriental accent to be useful in distinguishing between characters but some might find it annoying, perhaps even offensive), more entertaining than most business books and, most of all, each of the 21 profit models explained in the book had real world application. That last item is my criteria for giving any business book a high rating.

The Art of Profitability got me to thinking about my own companies profit model and that prepared me well for conversations with upper management. That was the tie-breaker, any book that helps me impress my superiors gets a favorable judgement.

I just wish I knew if all the examples quoted were factual...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Robert
  • Bradenton, FL, USA
  • 01-20-04

Well done, well worth listening.

A great book for both experienced and beginner. As a business owner I frequently get caught up in the day to day decision process without a purpose. This book helped me refocus on the real goal, profit. A must read for any entrepeneur.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Andy
  • Westport, CT, United States
  • 07-01-03

important elements of an mba program

This was a terrific book. The lessons provide important ways to view what a business is and what it can be. In addition, the author recommends many outside readings that can greatly expand the listener's learning.
Although the teacher/student approach is a bit quirky, it is very effective.
The only thing this book omits is people management...if you want to read one of the best on managing people, read Andy Grove's High Output Management.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Rich Content, Easy Listen

This book is written and narrated in a very engaging style that takes the listener through 23 different profitability models. It weaves exercises for assimilating the concepts and learning more about each model with "assigned reading" given the fictional apprentice in the book. I'm a few months away from completing my MBA and am familiar with a lot of the material referenced, but have already added more "must reads" to my list. I'm an entrepreneur and my companies have been lucrative, but picked up a few new tactics and ways of looking at things that will make my next venture even better. Can't attend business school right now? Get this book and do the work assigned the apprentice and you will be getting the core info you need to succeed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Chris
  • Burnely, N/A, Australia
  • 05-28-05

simple ideas well told

The models of profit are easily understood with simple real life examples throughout. The downside is the weak narration of the student. I felt like giving him one in the knackers. Despite this the book offers some good ideas, and models to think about in business life - its not going to change your life, but will make you think about your business.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Scott
  • Ladera Ranch, CA, USA
  • 10-09-04

Excellent Listen - MBA on Wheels

This is a permenant part of my MBA on wheels (I listen to business books in my car). Excellent and entertaining listen, with each section making you think of how my business is running, and how you can run other businesses successfully. Highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful