Review of Stretch

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Stretch book summary

Rating

8 Overall

8 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style

Review

Scott Sonenshein, a management professor at Rice University, explains how people and companies can “stretch” their reach and their resources to attain their goals. He offers useful lessons and often describes them in fresh, insightful ways. And, he backs up his advice with anecdotes and stories. This direct, conversational text offers guidance about finding new, creative ways of doing business.

Sonenshein has an instinctive feel for how self-deceived, “spendthrift” companies go under. As a young man, he worked in a well-funded Silicon Valley dot-com company that squandered its venture capital on a lavish lifestyle. When the money ran dry and the online industry’s crisis hit, the company swiftly went under.

The author emphasizes the concept of the “positive organization” – the kind of company that channels people’s capacities by addressing their sense of themselves. He suggests, usefully if not with a lot of innovation, that companies can enhance their chances of success by focusing on their “larger purpose.” This might be a stronger manual if Sonenshein had more sharply emphasized his valuable take-away lessons, though you’ll enjoy his many business war stories as well. getAbstract recommends this direct, conversational text to anyone seeking insight into fresh, creative ways of doing business.

About the Author

Scott Sonenshein, PhD, is the Henry Gardiner Symonds Professor of Management at Rice University and has worked as a strategy consultant for firms like Microsoft and AT&T.

 

The author offers the following lessons and insights:

1. Use what you already have.

Sonenshein uses the story of Dick Yuengling and his family’s brewery, D.G. Yuengling & Son, to illustrate how embracing what you already have and making the most of it can create a stage for stretching in positive ways. Sonenshein initially cites what Yuengling didn’t do. He didn’t sell the family firm to its competition, and he didn’t attempt to expand quickly by buying up other companies. Sonenshein cautions against being a “chaser” – constantly seeking better resources instead of working with what you already have. Yuengling stretched by working within his company’s recognized limitations.

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