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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.

The author makes clever use of the inside front and back covers with summaries of:
– Front – the overview of strategic market management
– Back – strategy development – a discussion agenda

I think this is a great idea to make high level summaries of the content of the book so visible and easy to find.

In total there are sixteen chapters in the 6th (and latest) edition of Developing Business Strategies. It is comprehensive and includes pretty much everything you need:

– to think about your business strategically,

– identify strategic options and

– make the decisions about the strategies you will implement.

It is relatively simple to read and straightforward to follow. I am wary about recommending some of the classic strategy books like Michael Porter’s two books Competitive Strategy and Competitive Advantage to managers because the detail is overwhelming. This book is much more manageable.

The one concern I have about the book is that the sixth edition was published in 2001.

Advances in strategy development theory have been fairly slow for the last ten years so it’s not that there is any major issues with the exception of “disruption” that are missing from the book but the world has moved on with advances in information technology and especially the Internet leading to many more global connections.

In the post credit crunch era since 2007, the severe recession and the ongoing threat of another financial crisis or the world sipping back into recession, the impact of the external environment has increased the importance of fully understanding different scenarios of the future.

In good times it is easy to forget about the impact of the business cycle and the bigger political, economic and social forces at work.

I also have specific concerns about the world going forward into a time when past trends are no guide for the future. Green issues, energy issues and the debt overhang are problems that boosted the economy in the last few decades but are likely to provide a drag into the future.

The book does what it promises without being a workbook that takes you through step by step. I recommend it to managers who want to learn more about strategy, either so that they can do it themselves or so they can have more detailed discussions with their strategic business advisers.

It is available to buy from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

There are many thousand of business books, you can see the full list of my reviews at Business Books Reviews by Paul Simister (Please click). I've also narrowed these down to a list of the 12 Best Business Books For Business Owners & Entrepreneurs (Please click).

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