• Good Strategy/Bad Strategy

  • The Difference and Why It Matters
  • By: Richard Rumelt
  • Narrated by: Sean Runnette
  • Length: 11 hrs and 49 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (630 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Good Strategy/Bad Strategy clarifies the muddled thinking underlying too many strategies and provides a clear way to create and implement a powerful action-oriented strategy for the real world.

Developing and implementing a strategy is the central task of a leader. A good strategy is a specific and coherent response to - and approach for - overcoming the obstacles to progress. A good strategy works by harnessing and applying power where it will have the greatest effect. Yet, Rumelt shows that there has been a growing and unfortunate tendency to equate Mom-and-apple-pie values, fluffy packages of buzzwords, motivational slogans, and financial goals with “strategy”.

In Good Strategy/Bad Strategy, he debunks these elements of “bad strategy” and awakens an understanding of the power of a “good strategy”. He introduces nine sources of power - ranging from using leverage to effectively focusing on growth - that are eye-opening yet pragmatic tools that can easily be put to work on Monday morning and uses fascinating examples from business, nonprofit, and military affairs to bring its original and pragmatic ideas to life. The detailed examples range from Apple to General Motors, from the two Iraq wars to Afghanistan, from a small local market to Wal-Mart, from Nvidia to Silicon Graphics, from the Getty Trust to the Los Angeles Unified School District, from Cisco Systems to Paccar, and from Global Crossing to the 2007-08 financial crisis.

Reflecting an astonishing grasp and integration of economics, finance, technology, history, and the brilliance and foibles of the human character, Good Strategy/Bad Strategy stems from Rumelt’s decades of digging beyond the superficial to address hard questions with honesty and integrity.

©2011 Richard Rumelt (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Represents the latest thinking in strategy and is peppered with many current real world examples. Good Strategy/Bad Strategy has much to offer and has every chance of becoming a business classic.” (Management Today)

“Brilliant...a milestone in both the theory and practice of strategy... Vivid examples from the contemporary business world and global history that clearly show how to recognize the good, reject the bad, and make good strategy a living force in your organization.” (John Stopford, chairman, TLP International, professor emeritus, London Business School)

“Penetrating insights provide new and powerful ways for leaders to tackle the obstacles they face. The concepts of "the kernel" and "the proximate objective" are blockbusters. This is the new must-have book for everyone who leads an organization in business, government, or in-between.” (Robert A. Eckert, chairman and CEO of Mattel)

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What listeners say about Good Strategy/Bad Strategy

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Good but thin

The core idea is wise, but it’s pretty simple and takes 15 minutes to explain. The rest of the book is a bunch of examples and anecdotes that are interesting but don’t meaningfully expand the core thesis.

7 people found this helpful

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Very good but I was expecting more

I hoped it compared to Drucker's Effective Executive, but unfortunatelly it didn't. The book has very good parts, but others are good, but don't fit perfectly with the overall subject of strategy, e.g. the last chapter about real state bubbles.

3 people found this helpful

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Out of date?

I think this book might be out of date. Used Wells Fargo as an example of good strategy...hmmm

2 people found this helpful

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Really tough subject to get right...

And I feel like a balance was struck for my brain. I learned a fair amount from reading this book. AND I felt vanquished at strategy work and discussions I have had in the past. (Oh, I WAS right).

1 person found this helpful

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Good book/Bad book: Difference and why it matters!

Good book/Bad book: The difference and why it matters!!!

About 1/3 of this book is brilliant content. Very clear and genuine thoughts, concise advice and implementable framework that are backed with studies, experience and extensive consulting work.

The rest 2/3 of the book are nothing but filler. Long pages of unrelated stories from Galileo Galilei, American steel companies, and the 2008 financial market crash. Each story goes in a very extended non-relevant history of everything and concludes with 1 or 2 lines that seemingly strategy-related. I personally believe that all these stories have nothing but the writer in common, he may have read the book or met the CEO over lunch!

I wish business writers start to pay some respect to their readers more than they do to their publishers. Your book's worth is not by the number of pages, only the relevance and ideas ingenuity.

Disappointed, this was a book that easily deserved 5 stars, only if it was literally half the size!

1 person found this helpful

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Strategic Thinking

Loved it! It sets a great state of mind for what strategy is. You can't rush through it. As I was listening it helped me understand my successes and failures better. I have a better grasp on long term businesss strategy.

1 person found this helpful

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Strategy versus goals and plans

Excellent reinforcement of my understanding of the difference between goals/plans/ objectives to strategies. Goals and plans layout where we are at and where we want to be in a year or two. The strategy is the way to reach the destination with minimum obstacles.

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Good book, wish I had read it sooner

I got about an hour into it and decided to get the companion Kindle version as well for annotating it. This is the book I need right now. I’ve been wrestling with different strategies and it helped to clarify things for me. I’m not sure that I’m in love with the writer’s voice , but I was interested in what this book had to say so I stuck it out. Glad I did. I thought the performance was very good.

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Epic. Today.

Epic
Listen to it as fast as you can and then listen 5 more times
Wake up and smell the simplicity of good strategy and the smack your face obvious nature of bad

Jonathan Awad

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

very insightful

I'm a business strategist beginner. This book gave me a overview of what strategy is, vocabulary, insights and business cases that I can apply to my work life.

I found it good and entertaining.

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  • Faruk
  • 02-10-20

fantastic book, very insightful with many examples

loved it. very insightful and well rounded observations of business strategy, with various examples to drill home the points. The book is a suggested core read for my MBA Strategy module and I realised now why they picked it. Very well rounded book on the subject.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-22-21

A bit repetitive.

Good book but needs to deliver more analytical tools rather than merely repeating endless examples.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazonclient
  • 07-21-20

The best book on strategy.

A book to savour for its outstanding training effect, scholarlyness, historic perspective and comprehensive scope.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-05-20

easy listen

narrator was very good. the author is a little arrogant but if you can get past that he makes some interesting points

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr D.
  • 06-08-21

Brilliant insights.

This book is an eye opener. It is thoughtful and detailed while remaining easy to follow and to digest. I enjoyed how the thoughts were constructed and backed up with examples from a wide variety of industries.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Katie
  • 06-02-21

Three Steps To Create Good Strategy

Most organisations don’t really do strategy, they do visions and goals, but not strategy. Good strategy is simple and insightful and has three characteristics; 1. Diagnosis 2. Guiding Policy, 3. Coherent Actions. Rumelt argues against big inspirational visionary leadership and for leaders as designers rather than decision-makers.

This book is in 3 parts, part 1 contrasts good and bad strategy. Part 2 dives deeper into sources of power i.e. lenses you might use to evaluate possible strategies for your context. Part 3 covers what it takes to think like a strategist. I found the first section most impactful and packed with insight. The second section less so and the third section less so again. It's worth reading for just the first section and the next time i'm writing strategy i'll revisit part 2.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-23-20

Lot of fluff - Probably best as a physical book

It’s a long book with a lot of fluff - pretty boring.

I imagine the physical book is better as you can quickly skip to the more useful parts.

1 person found this helpful

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  • martin
  • 08-07-22

Beyond boring

Boring narration and content was long winded and hard to follow. Not sure I could say I learnt anything about strategy from this

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  • CBow
  • 06-22-22

Could be so much shorter

This would work so much better as a short ebook, there are lots of similar stories told with the same purpose, he also claims to have coined the phrase 'bad strategy' which is not only untrue but very egotistical.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • R. Russell
  • 02-11-22

Part 1 is my favourite book on strategy

Good book, oddly structured, weakens from about the middle onwards.

Part 1 is excellent.

Part 2 is mostly great, but should be reorganized into two parts - one on sources of power (chapters 6-10 and 13), one on problems (11, 14), and one on application (12, 15), possibly merged with Part 3.

Part 3 was ok, but felt like a letdown.

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  • KJ
  • 03-03-22

great starting point for product strategy

loved it, some parts are quite insightful.

definitely a must read for any product manager