Summary of Smart Growth

Building an Enduring Business by Managing the Risks of Growth

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Smart Growth book summary
Executives who believe their firms must either “grow or die” will find an intriguing third option here.


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In this fervent academic treatise, Edward D. Hess applies more than a half dozen different strangleholds to bring the “Growth Mental Model” – also known as the “grow or die” corporate mind-set – to its knees. According to Hess, blind worship of growth causes companies to manage expectations by manipulating their earnings and to grow in ways that are downright irresponsible. Hess offers original research, case studies and academic rigor to convince you that there must be a better way – and there is. “Smart Growth” happens when companies flourish based on carefully managed plans, clear and reasonable parameters, and honest self-assessment. getAbstract recommends this refreshing, alternative viewpoint to business leaders, managers at all levels, strategy consultants and the Wall Street types who insist on growth, year in and year out.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the “Growth Mental Model” drives businesses to expand at all costs;
  • How growth for the wrong reasons can cripple firms; and
  • How to position your company to improve and – if the time and conditions are right – to grow.


The Dangers of “The Growth Mental Model”
“Mental models” describe how individuals, alone or in groups, see and process the world around them. If a piece of information aligns with your mental models, you recognize its value and use it. If it doesn’t support or relate to your mental models...
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About the Author

Edward D. Hess, a professor at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, has written eight books and his work has appeared in more than 100 media outlets.

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