Tag Archives: Apple

BOOK REVIEW: “Staying Power: Six Enduring Principles for Managing Strategy and Innovation in an Uncertain World” by Michael A. Cusumano

coverStaying Power is a dense and extremely well researched book. It is not for the faint hearted. Cusumano reportedly spent over 25 years researching some of the world’s largest and most successful companies and was an advisor to more than 100 firms.  The book looks in depth as the strategies adopted by companies such as Google, Intel, Apple, JVC, Toyota, and Microsoft.

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Global Power Struggles

chinese cover

Two news stories grabbed my attention over the last few days.  In my opinion both are indicative of a where we are with globalisation and the shifting powerbases of the global economy.  First, Apple apologised for the perception that they showed arrogance to their Chinese customers.  Secondly, The Indian Government refused to extend the patent of a cancer drug made by Swiss Pharmaceutical giant, Novartis.

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Filed under Asia, Business, China, Economics, Guest Authors, India, Management

BOOK REVIEW: “HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Strategy” by Harvard Business Review (2011)

hbr coverBusiness schools contain the word both business and school.  These ingenious little books written by Harvard show that one of the world’s most known business schools is pretty good at doing both of them.  The title of the book gives you essentially all that you need to know.  These are a collection of the ten most read articles that have been published by HBR on strategy. 

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BOOK REVIEW: “The New Age of Innovation: Driving Co-Created Value Through Global Networks” by C.K. Prahalad & M.S. Krishnan ” (2008)

CoverThe New Age of Innovation is one of C.K.Prahalad last works. The central theme lies around what they define as N=1; R=G. Increasingly today business is having to adapt to the logic of the individual needs of each customer (N=1). At the same time, they are finding their resources on a global scale (R=G).

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BOOK REVIEW: “The Strategist: Be the Leader your Business Needs” by Cynthia A. Montgomery (2012)

Cover picAnyone who has studied a theory of strategy known as the Resource Based View will instantly recognize the name Cynthia Montgomery. Her 1995 article with David Collis, “Competing on Resources” is one of the founding texts in this domain.

The Strategist is based on her teachings on the executive education program at Harvard Business School. It is an excellent read that challenges managers to think about their own vision of what they and their organisation contribute to society. From the introduction, she sets out her stance:

“You’re about to get a revisionist view of strategy. It’s not that what you’ve learned is incorrect. It’s that it’s incomplete.”

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BOOK REVIEW: “The Strategy Book” by Max McKeown (2012)

Max McKeownThe Strategy Book gives a clear and concise introduction to some of the main challenges that organizations face. It has many examples from different industries and challenges the reader to ask some difficult questions about their own practices. It is a useful introduction to the subject and a good book to provoke some discussion for more experienced managers.  Continue reading

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Filed under Book Review, Business, Business Schools, Careers, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Management, MBA, Strategy

BOOK REVIEW “Good Strategy / Bad Strategy” by Richard Rumelt (2011)

Summary

John Kay, one of Britain’s leading economists, declared that this is “the first book on strategy that I have found difficult to put down.” He is not the only one. It is an excellent read and gives a very thoughful insight into the strategic choices that companies must face. This has to be one of the best books on strategy that I have read this year.

Key words

Strategy, understanding strategy, market leader, sustainable competitive advantage. Continue reading

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BOOK REVIEW: “What is Strategy – and does it matter?” by Richard Whittington (2000)

Key words
Strategy, brief history of strategy, corporate, international trade, IBM, technology, resource-based of the firm, knowledge-based view of the firm, Apple, Walkman, Intel, Andy Grove, leadership, Japan, France, USA, UK

Summary

Richard Whittington, who has published extensively on strategy, offers a fascinating discussion on some of the key issues in strategic management. The book requires some background knowledge of the subject (perhaps not the first book to read then if you are new to this discipline) and then invites you to develop a personal view.

This is quite a useful book then once you have mastered some of the key elements of strategy. The book states clearly that it is designed more for a graduate or advanced undergraduate level.

Some keys facts:
The word ‘seduction’ comes from the Latin word “ducere”, to lead.

Only a quarter of the Japanese companies described ‘good short-term profits’ as their objective

Pascale ( 1982) reports that the Japanese do not even have a phrase for ‘corporate strategy’

When, in 1982, it launched its first personal computers, IBM predicted a market of 300,000 worldwide; a decade later, the installed base was 110 million. (Tate, 1991) Continue reading

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Filed under Book Review, France, Great Britain, Higher Education, Management, Strategy, USA

BOOK REVIEW: “The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton M. Christensen (2011)

Key concepts: disruptive innovation, leapfrogging, processes, corporate culture, project management

Companies and industries studied: Apple, Nucor, Dell, Toyota, GM, GE, Ford, Compaq, HP, IBM, disk drive industry

Summary
It is said that this was Steve Job’s favourite book and had a lot of influence on the way he ran Apple. It focuses on disruptive technology and shows why a lot of companies miss out on innovation in markets and why leaders are often ‘leapfrogged’ by challengers. Among some of the surprising theories Christensen states that companies should NOT always listen to their customers (Steve Jobs declared this many times over; so did Henry Ford). Also, it may be better for a company to invest in lower margin products rather than high margin ones. 

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Filed under Book Review, Business, Innovation, Management, Research, Strategy, Technology

BOOK REVIEW: “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson (2011)

This is the hottest business book of the moment and Amazon’s best selling book of 2011. 577 pages look fairly daunting but there is a nice mixture of personal detail and professional development which makes it fairly simple to read.  Jobs was adopted which made him feel “Abandoned”, “Chosen” and “Special.” He frequently got into trouble at school and then dropped out of Reed College in his second year. He had regular temper tantrums and big mood swings but also a remarkable gift for improving products and making them simple to use. He spent hours and hours fussing over tiny details including those legendary ‘spontaneous’ presentations.

The book gives a clear picture of a genius who was almost impossible to live with, a modern day Mozart, if you will. It gives an objective account of his ups and downs at Apple and shows both the strengths and the weaknesses of the man. There is an interesting side story of the rivalry between Jobs and Bill Gates including the latter complaining that while he was saving the world from malaria, the world was more interested in new products created by Jobs! It is an excellent read.

Some keys facts:

The name “Apple” was linked to Jobs’ strange diets. “I was on one of my fruitarian diets,” he explained. “I had just come back from the apple farm. It sounded fun, spirited and not intimidating. Apple took the edge off the word ‘computer’. Plus, it would get us ahead of Atari in the phone book.” Continue reading

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