Summary of Adaptability

The art of winning in an age of uncertainty

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Adaptability book summary
How learning to adapt means learning to succeed.


7 Overall

7 Applicability

8 Innovation

6 Style


Organizational success and failure can be reduced to one thing, or so argues management consultant Max McKeown in his scientific and cultural look at adaptability around the globe and through the ages. If groups can’t change and adapt appropriately, they can’t succeed. McKeown offers case studies from companies you know, such as Starbucks, providing insight into familiar story lines. Some of his other examples aren’t as famous but are just as compelling: He looks at civil war in Liberia, computer game development and Italian bureaucracy to flesh out his 17 rules (which would be just as good without those few swear words) for adapting and, thus, succeeding. McKeown’s rules are eye-catching, but they don’t always connect smoothly to the stories or to a plan of action. As such, some of the book works better as a history of adaptability than as a manual for acquiring that skill. Still, an eager reader can tease out techniques and ideas for becoming more adaptable, and McKeown offers warm, inspirational tales that provide general road maps for successful adaptation. getAbstract believes leaders of companies small or large looking to motivate their employees or themselves will find value here.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How adaptation is linked to success
  • How to think through the three steps of adaptation
  • How the 17 rules of adaptation can help your firm succeed


Three Steps Toward Adapting to Win
Success relies on adaptation. But adjusting to change or adapting your perspectives and methods isn’t enough to guarantee success. Simply surviving won’t do the job either. Adaptation requires flexibility and much more. So how do companies and people ...
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About the Author

Management consultant and coach Max McKeown is a popular speaker and the author of The Strategy Book, Unshrink and The Truth About Innovation.

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    Patrick Brigger 3 years ago
    it is amazing what the brain can do. I always wonder what remains hidden, it's probably unimaginable.

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