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Publisher's Summary

For the past 40 years, Richard Koch has wanted to uncover the simple, elemental, elegant and parsimonious principles that are needed to create great new businesses. To qualify, a principle must be so overwhelmingly powerful that anyone can reliably use it towards extraordinary results. Is there any principle that can tell you how to do that consistently and with a high chance of success?

Working with venture capitalist Greg Lockwood, his coauthor on Superconnect, and supported by research from the elite firm of OC&C Strategy Consultants, Koch has the answer.

The principle Koch and Lockwood have discovered behind extraordinarily successful businesses is simplifying. Some simplify on price - take Ryanair's budget flights, which still take you from A to B but so cheaply that nearly everyone can afford them, multiplying the size of their market - and some simplify on proposition, such as Apple's decision to cut down on the number of their product lines and focus on perfecting only a few devices. With case studies of famous companies in all different industries from finance to fast food, the authors show how anyone can analyse their business' potential to become a simplifier and which route they should take to maximise the impact.

©2017 Richard Koch, Greg Lockwood (P)2017 Little Brown Book Group

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Simply insightful

>> Overall : Very good <<

EDIT (Oct 12, 2018): I originally scored this book 3 stars... amended to 4 stars after relistening. While I still believe the books "Good Strategy / Bad Strategy" and "Zero to One" are worth reading in addition to this one, they do cover different ground. "Simplify" is by itself a very good book with a useful premise (either Price Simplify or Proposition Simplify or get stuck in the middle).

The principle of "Simplify Price or Simplify Proposition" is very sound.

I like the premise of this book and agree that simplifying can be powerful, however...

... this book comes across as a mix of hand-picked case studies that "prove" the thesis.

Some case studies take up full chapters, others are much shorter. For example ARM Holdings was given a couple of minutes treatment in Chapter 17, hardly enough to extract any useful information.

I suspect survivorship bias. I can't see any attempts at scientific sampling. The case studies seem to be in the book because they fit the model of simplifying for success.

Do businesses that price-simplify / proposition-simplify always succeed? Or are there other success influences apart from simplifying? I don't think these questions are answered adequately here.

Hence four stars instead of five.

Note: The authors seem to be doing very well in their business investments... which supports the thesis that "Simplify by price OR by proposition" is a very good principle. From https://www.perrymarshall.com/star-principle/ ... "Richard used the Star Principle formula to grow his fortune from $4 million to over $200 million in 23 years, successfully taking 8 companies out of 16 to blazing success. His 50% success rate is unheard of in a world where Venture Capitalists are thrilled to bat 10%."


>> Performance <<

I found the narrator easy to listen to. He has a steady British voice and reads slowly. (I sped up the audio to 1.25x because I prefer faster narration).

However I was sometimes annoyed when the narrator tried voicing an American (e.g. Henry Ford or Ray Kroc). When this happened, he used a canned stereotyped American voice... always the same one regardless of who was speaking.


>> Other recommendations <<


___Recommendation 1 - "Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters"___

For a deeper look into strategy I liked Richard Rumelt's book "Good Strategy/Bad Strategy".

It was thorough and powerful.

It covers topics such as finding interesting competitive advantages, creating chain link systems, riding waves of change, and thinking like a strategist.



___Recommendation 2 - "Zero to One"___

For other insights into entrepreneurship, I recommend Peter Thiel's book "Zero to One".

I think it's a gem.

It talks about LAST mover advantage, the power law of venture capital (a specific instance of Richard Koch's 80/20 pareto principle), the case for secrets, the importance of startup foundations, and the mechanics of mafia.

"Mafia" is a playful reference to the PayPal mafia that Peter Thiel was part of... and includes founders of SpaceX (Elon Musk), LinkedIn (Reid Hoffman), YouTube, Yelp, Yammer and Palantir.

Read Zero to One to find out why startup mafia matters.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Good

I enjoyed the book very much, but the reader's voice varied too much in volume.

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surprising elaboration on traditional strategies

I found the core concept 2 be very complimentary to classical strategic concepts such as those put forward by Michael Porter but with rich practical explanations and modern examples

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Yes we get the Why, more on the How please

Great points but half of the book felt like a white paper or scientific journal. The examples were repetitive and felt stale after awhile. Perhaps a How rather than Why focus would be better.

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  • Allen
  • Atlanta, GA
  • 01-31-18

The Business Bible

What a great book. Business history, examples and triumphs. Simple and effective strategies for new and established businesses.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful