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Copycats: How Smart Companies Use Imitation to Gain a Strategic Edge Hardcover – Jun 15 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (June 15 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422126730
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422126738
  • Product Dimensions: 25.7 x 15.5 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #400,388 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“a new provocative book…” —

About the Author

Oded Shenkar is the Ford Motor Company Chair in Global Business Management and Professor of Management at the Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University, where he heads the international business area. A top scholar in international strategy, he is also a prolific author, and his work has been cited in numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and The Economist.

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Format: Hardcover
From 1948 to 2001 innovators captured only 2.2% of the present value of their innovations, the rest went to no other than the smart copycats or what the author calls imovators. The book exposes how companies and countries big and small claiming to be innovators use more imitation than they're proud of. But it should not be a despicable act as business scholarship has been labeling it so far. It is time to accept it as a necessary faculty. This is a great read for entrepreneurs who think that they need to reinvent the wheel to be praised and profitable.
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By Len B. on Feb. 5 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent information - an eye opener.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great book Aug. 2 2010
By D. Gjorgjievski - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is my first review. I felt that I needed to give my opinion on this book because it's REALLY good.

The author describes many examples of a companies that we think are innovators, when in fact they're imitators. Examples include:

- Apple
- Microsoft
- Visa
- Master
- Walmart
- McDonalds

They weren't imitating 100% but took the main concepts and improved on them. The author calls them imovators, companies that imitate + innovate.

I was frustrated with the business community overall because it focused so much on innovation and so little on imitation, when in fact, some research shows that as much as 97.8% of the value of innovation goes to imitators! (source: [...]). Ouch!

Personally, I own a very small business and been lured into thinking I need to 'innovate' and that imitation is bad. Now, when I've learned that imitation is OKAY (within legal boundaries, the author says upfront he speaks about legal, not illegal imitation) I found many profitable opportunities around me. I started to look at various trends and realize how big of a potential there is out there. This book made me see a world I never dared to see before.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Insightful volume on why imitation often proves less costly and more effective than innovation March 8 2011
By Rolf Dobelli - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Oded Shenkar, a professor who teaches global business management, offers a basic, far-reaching, somewhat surprising proposition: Imitation is faster, cheaper, easier to implement, less risky and more profitable than innovation ¬- and you can imitate legally and profitably. Still, most firms kowtow to the mythical power of innovation, striving to invent the next big thing. What if all that struggle is a waste of resources? What if it makes more sense to spend your firm's money, time and energy studying other companies' goods, services and markets, and then selecting targets to imitate? What if you can use creative copying to achieve more profit for less effort? Shenkar lays out the benefits and pitfalls of this approach with clarity and only a soupçon of academic theorizing. Unlike most business authors, he saves the best for last, and the book's final quarter offers revelatory reading and sound strategy. getAbstract recommends this book to those looking to maximize effort, insight and profit. Read this today, before some aggressive entrepreneur takes Shenkar's lessons to heart and publishes a knockoff.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Original and insightful Nov. 9 2010
By Moshe Farjoun - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Professor Shenkar's book is an original and insightful contribution to strategy practitioners and scholars. Well grounded in recent research in a variety of fields ranging from history to neuroscience, this book challenges conventional wisdom about innovation and imitation. Based on rich business examples the author shows the benefits of imitation and its complementarity with innovation as drivers of success. Managers will greatly benefit from Shenkar's research as it uncovers new ways of thinking about how to succeed in a global and turbulent environment and identifies the ingredients underlying effective imovators (imitator and innovator). Highly recommended.
A useful resource for any business who sees innovation as creative theft Aug. 14 2010
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Imitation is not only the sincerest form of flattery, but can also be very useful business wise. "Copycats: How Smart Companies use Imitation to Gain a Strategic Edge" is a guide to why the sometimes derided imitation can prove to be a good and useful thing in business, stating that a good proven idea can be useful if done right, although it's easy to fall into the mistaken pit of knock offs. With plenty of strategy and thought on the matter, "Copycats" is a useful resource for any business who sees innovation as creative theft.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I expected alot more April 9 2013
By mickbaker - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was hoping to hear about the infamous Samwer brothers from Germany who copied Ebay and sold there version a few months later. And now have done the same thing with 10 or more companies. Instead the book repeats itself alot and doesn't entertain. I feel that anyone could ready about businesses that copy others and write a book like this in 5 minutes. I have a short attention span and wasn't impressed with this book. Took nothing away from it