Review of Strategy Rules

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Rating

9 Overall

10 Applicability

9 Innovation

9 Style

Review

David B. Yoffie, a professor of international business administration at Harvard Business School, and Michael A. Cusumano, a management professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have written 21 books between them. They also co-authored the bestseller Competing on Internet Time. Here, they apply their combined 30 years of experience to answering the question of how exemplary CEOs master the often-contradictory disciplines of strategy and execution. Unsurprisingly, their choices of exemplars are top tier: Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Intel CEO Andy Grove and Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs. A glance at the title might make you turn away in anticipation of another rehash of clichés or a too-familiar trudge through the Great Man theory of leadership. Indeed, with these three subjects of obsessive reportage, the authors can’t avoid telling some tales you’ve already heard. Crucially, though, they turn both familiar and new episodes from these superstars’ careers into cogent, applicable lessons in leadership, foresight, nimbleness and self-belief. getAbstract recommends this astute, well-written assessment of world-beating strategies.

About the Authors

David B. Yoffie is the Max and Doris Starr Professor of International Business Administration at Harvard Business School and the longest-serving member of Intel’s board. He co-wrote Competing on Internet Time with Michael A. Cusumano, the Sloan Management Review Distinguished Professor of Management at MIT, who also wrote the bestseller Microsoft Secrets.

 

Yoffie and Cusumano appreciate that Gates, Grove and Jobs embraced having “a new fire to put out” daily. They became astute at understanding what their competitors and collaborators (the three men interchangeably played both roles) could and might do. They were equally disciplined at knowing what people who weren’t them couldn’t do. Though many leaders don’t catch that exact moment when everything pivots, these CEOs “excelled at identifying major inflection points” – a moment that changes an industry or part of it.

That recognition guided their reactions to change; often they led innovative responses that turned future perils into profitable prospects. Yoffie and Cusumano capture crucial turning points in each leader’s career to illustrate his individual genius. After studying how each man acted during these pivotal moments, the authors extracted five strategic rules. They show how their subjects used these rules to run their empires:

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