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The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig

The full title of this book by Phil Rosenzweig is

The Halo Effect: How Managers let Themselves be Deceived.”

In my review at Amazon.co.uk, I rated it at the Four Stars level, which means I consider the book to be good to very good.

Here is what I posted.

Can you trust what business books tell you?

As a business coach and advisor, I read a lot of business books looking for extra ideas on how to improve businesses.

This book provides a major warning that recipes for success in these books are often misleading. It’s particularly critical of best sellers like “In Search Of Excellence“, “Built To Last” and “Good To Great” for their research methods and extravagant claims.

The problem is the title of the book – the halo effect. It seems that generally people assess successful, growing, profitable companies as having a wide range of virtues while struggling companies must be weak at many things. It sounds sensible but problems occur when a good company becomes bad, despite carrying on with all the virtues.

The book correctly identifies as a big issue that companies don’t operate in a vacuum. A company can improve in many different ways but still fall behind an existing competitor or new entrant to the market. It then goes on to talk about the importance of both strategy and execution. Getting one right isn’t enough and strategic choices are inevitably uncertain. I welcome this focus on strategy although the development of that body of knowledge isn’t without its difficulties.

The book also briefly looks at something that is the focus of Goldrat’s Theory Of Constraints. At any time, there is one big leverage point – the constraint – and improvements away from that area will have a disappointing impact.

The author then goes on to look at three successful executive who do things the right way because of their process of recognising opportunities and the associated risks.

I can understand why people give the book a five star rating. I haven’t because I’d have liked to have seen more discussion on doing the right things in the right way. Much more time is spent knocking down than building up. I feel this might give people the wrong impression. There is plenty to learn from reading business books and they can inspire people to question what they are doing and what they need to be doing in the future. Many books are bought and not even started, probably more are started and not finished.

I believe you can learn from what people have done to create business success and what others have done or not done that leads to failure. You don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel. However the right things to do are dependent on your own situation. Just like in medicine, applying the right cure to the right situation is likely to work, the wrong prescription to a problem won’t solve it and may make things worse.

You can buy the book at Amazon.co.uk or 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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