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Best Business Book Reviews By Paul Simister

The Trouble with Strategy by Kim Warren

The full title of this book by Kim Warren is

The Trouble with Strategy: The brutal reality of why business strategy doesn’t work and what to do about it“.

In my review posted to Amazon.co.uk, I gave this book Five Stars. This means I think it is Excellent and Very Highly Recommended to anyone with a keen interest on business strategy.

Here is my book review.

The current approach to strategy is very sick but there is hope.

This is a hard hitting assessment of the world of strategy and it reveals that it is very sick, heading for intensive care even though many practitioners are in denial.

Academics are criticised for their failure to develop a convincing science of strategy. Too often academic researchers have asked the wrong question in their research and used the wrong methods. It’s no wonder that the answers are superficial and contradictory, even if they sound good and can create gurus. [continue reading…]

in Best Business Books

The Well Timed Strategy by Peter Navarro

The full title of this book by Peter Navarro is

The Well Timed Strategy: Managing the Business Cycle for Competitive Advantage“.

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book Four Stars. This means I think it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

A reminder that “when to do it” can be as important as “what to do”

This book takes a different view to strategy than most strategy books. Normally the focus is on what to do. The examples and case studies in book make it clear that “when to do it” is a vital element of success. Strategies that make sense at certain stages of the business cycle can be extremely damaging in other stages.

The book defines a Master Cyclist as someone who manages the business with a perceptive view of what’s happening in the business cycle, steering the business carefully through the major decisions. [continue reading…]

in Best Business Books

The full title of this book by David C. Swaddling and Charles Miller is

Customer Power: How to Grow Sales and Profits in a Customer-Driven Marketplace“.

In my review posted to Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book Four Stars. This means I think it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

Impressive book on customer perceived value

The book starts off by posing the question, why write another book about customers when there are already more than 900 thousand in print.

I’ve always thought it ironic how few books there are about customers when it is customers who decide whether a business will be successful. Their vote (with their money) is the only one that matters. [continue reading…]

in Best Business Books

The Language of Trust by Michael Maslansky

The full title of this book by Michael Maslansky is

The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics“.

In my review posted to Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book Four Stars. This means it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

A challenge to traditional selling

This book is well written and although the authors specialise in financial services – an area where there is a huge problem of sceptical customers – it provides plenty of examples that are easy to relate to.

However the book does challenge a lot of the orthodox sales thinking and it’s a challenging read since it says that many beliefs and common practices are wrong or at least don’t work any more with sceptical prospects. [continue reading…]

in Best Business Books

Developing Business Strategies by David A. Aaker

I gave the book

Developing Business Strategies by David A. Aaker,

Four Stars when I reviewed it on Amazon.co.uk. This means it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

Good practical guide to strategy

This book makes it clear from the very beginning that it is written for:
– managers who need to develop strategies but have had little strategy experience
– general managers and planning specialists who want to update their strategy skills

This focus on managers means that it’s written in a simple, straightforward way that is a practical guide to developing a strategy. [continue reading…]

in Best Business Books

Business Results Revolution by Sandy Richardson

The full title of this book by Sandy Richardson is

Business Results Revolution: Three Critical Questions and the Conversations That Transform Business Performance Every Day“.

In my review posted to Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book Four Stars. This means it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

Differentiate your business the right way

The author and I share similar views on what makes a business successful in terms of the need to differentiate your business by offering a unique value proposition and then making sure that deliver of that promise is embedded in the people and processes of the business.

The author’s approach is based on provided detailed answers to three questions:

1) Why do customers do business with you?
2) Why do your employees think your customers do business with you?
3) Are you sure? [continue reading…]

in Best Business Books

I gave the original version of Blue Ocean Strategy a five star review.

Blue Ocean Strategy Expanded Edition by W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

I’m happy to again give Five Stars to this updated version in my review posted on Amazon.co.uk. This means I think it is Excellent and Very Highly Recommended.

Yet I was left feeling disappointed. Read my review to find out why.

Even better and more comprehensive. A great guide to differentiation and finding new markets

I’ve been following the Blue Ocean approach since the authors started publishing articles in the Harvard Business Review in the late 1990s. Even though I had been introduced to some of the techniques before (and seen other versions of the strategy canvas elsewhere in the customer value literature), I loved the original book.

For me, the big question is whether this new version is worth buying if you already have the original? [continue reading…]

in 3 – Your Strategic Positioning, Best Business Books

Balanced Scorecard Step-by-Step by Paul R Niven

The full title of this book by Paul Niven is

Balanced Scorecard Step-by-Step: Maximizing Performance and Maintaining Results“.

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave this book a rating of Four Stars. This means I think it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

Very clear explanation of the balanced scorecard as a performance measurement system

This is a terrific book that explains both the logic of the balanced scorecard and the supporting strategy maps and how to implement it.

The book is packed with practical tips from this consultant who has advised many companies on their performance measurement projects. It’s a much more practical book than the Kaplan and Norton books that are busy selling the idea of the Balanced Scorecard. [continue reading…]

in Best Business Books

I’ve been fascinated by the topic of differentiating a business or product/service for more than 20 years and I even have a separate blog called Differentiate Your Business.

Who Should Read This Book ?

  • Business owners and entrepreneurs.
  • Senior executives in big businesses.
  • Product managers and marketing managers in big businesses.
  • Business consultants, coaches and advisors.

Review Of Blue Ocean Strategy by W Chan Kim and Renee A Mauborgne

[continue reading…]

in 3 – Your Strategic Positioning, Best Business Books

Good Strategy/Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt

The full title of this book by Richard Rumelt is

Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The difference and why it matters“.

In my review posted at Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book a rating of Four Stars. This means I think it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

It’s time to get serious about strategic planning

This is a thought-provoking book which challenges many of the practices that are passed off as strategy today. Richard Rumelt is particularly against wish driven strategies like “our strategy is to grow by 20% per year because we want to grow by 20%.”

According to Richard Rumelt, the kernel of good strategy has three elements:

1) A diagnosis of the issues and problems facing the business
2) A guiding policy to overcome the obstacles
3) Coherent action

[continue reading…]

in Best Business Books