Good Strategy Bad Strategy

By Richard Rumelt,

Book cover of Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

Book description

When Richard Rumelt's Good Strategy/Bad Strategy was published in 2011, it immediately struck a chord, calling out as bad strategy the mish-mash of pop culture, motivational slogans and business buzz speak so often and misleadingly masquerading as the real thing.

Since then, his original and pragmatic ideas have won fans…

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Why read it?

8 authors picked Good Strategy Bad Strategy as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

As a strategy consultant for over two decades, let me tell you: the world is full of bad strategy. This book lays out so clearly what makes bad strategy bad, as well as what good strategy consists of. Rumelt uses examples from business, of course, but he goes far beyond that realm, too.

The book opens with a description of how Admiral Horatio Nelson defeated Napoleon’s forces in the Battle of Trafalgar. Rumelt, a Professor at UCLA, gives recommendations that are specific, tied to examples, and actionable. I walked away with a clear set of takeaways and wonderful stories to…

From Stephen's list on passionate innovators.

This book makes strategy practical for founders, and strategy is so often done badly and contributes to business failure.

The essence of it is to recognize and solve the “decisive challenge.” For example, Elon Musk identified and solved the decisive challenge facing SpaceX when he made Falcon 9 the world’s first orbital class reusable rocket.

Back down to earth, strategy has to face the business challenges honestly and provide a coherent approach to tackling them. This book genuinely helps us to do just that.

I really appreciated Rumelt's practical approach to creating strategies. As he points out, too often, strategies can not be clear enough or get overly complex.

I liked how his book went beyond the surface level to focus on what matters–identifying the core challenges, crafting actionable responses, and leveraging strengths to create competitive advantage. This aligns with the advice I give to the leaders I coach and educate about the importance of strategic focus and thinking. That’s why we assign this book in the executive programs we teach.

From Michael's list on books for aspiring strategic thinkers.

Until I read this book, I thought I had a good grip on strategy.

I thought I understood the mechanics that make strategy work and I thought I was capable of delivering a strategy that delivered the outcomes that mattered. This book taught me that, although I was on the right track, there was much I was missing.

I learnt the power of good strategy to help me overcome some of the biggest challenges I have faced. That strategy serves a purpose that act as an anchor for the vision you wish to create.

Strategy is one of the most abused and confusing terms in the world of business.

This book explains clearly the essence of strategy and why it is so important for every organization to get it right.

It will be an eye-opener for the vast majority of people and organizations who typically do something completely different (hint: bad strategy) when they think they are designing a good strategy.  

From Nektarios' list on bringing new ideas to life.

I have known Richard Rumelt for decades and served for seven years with him on the faculty at UCLA. He is the deepest thinker about strategy I know. Dick took over 30 years to write his first book for practitioners rather than academics, but it was certainly worth the wait. He explains how a good strategy is a specific and coherent response to, and approach for, overcoming the obstacles to progress. A good strategy works by harnessing and applying power where it has the greatest effect. A bad strategy uses vague values, buzzwords, slogans, and unlikely goals. A good strategy…

There are thousands of strategy books, from personal success strategies to business strategies to financial strategy. This is one of the best I’ve read so far. It’s insightful, colorful, to the point, and paints a very vivid picture of what it takes to develop a good strategy, a concept that is not too easy to define. Precisely what is strategy? This book demonstrates that it is the skilled approach and the ability to move resources and people to achieve an objective. While the book uses many business examples, I think the lessons can be deducted for any industry if you…

From Ngan's list on that get you thinking.

The insights help readers understand how to develop effective strategies. The author explains the difference between strategies, tactics, goals, and platitudes. This understanding makes all the difference in strategy development (and achievement)! It has allowed me to help many clients develop strategies that are meaningful, but can actually be implemented and produce results.

From Michael's list on success in business.

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