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Hidden Champions of the Twenty-First Century: The Success Strategies of Unknown World Market Leaders Hardcover – Jul 8 2009


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Amazon.com: 13 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Focus, Quality, Customer, Value, Global - Learn from the world Nov. 20 2009
By Steven Forth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of my learning goals for the past few years has been to get a deeper understanding of successful businesses from around the world and to see what I can learn from these companies that I can apply to my own companies. Something of a nomad in my youth, I first engaged in business while living in Japan, so my early models of successful businesses were all Japanese. But I moved back to North America more than 20 years ago and for the past three-years I have worked at a leading strategy consulting firm in Cambridge MA. Working at this company I realized that American models, frameworks and assumptions guided most of the work on business models and practices and that it takes a conscious effort to seek out models from other countries. This was the context for my decision to read Hermann Simon's book.

I was richly rewarded. Dr. Simon provides a distinctly German perspective on what makes for a successful company, and he does this by studying what he calls "hidden champions", relatively small companies (say $250 million to $4 billion in revenues) that dominate their markets globally. Many of these companies come from Northern Europe where they leverage deep traditions of superb engineering, but there are examples from around the world. These companies seem to share some common characteristics: a narrow focus on a global market, technical leadership, close customer relationships, quality and value leadership (not the same thing as price leadership), strong internal cultures, long-term orientation. I personally was only aware of about 20% of the companies he discusses, and reading this book introduced me to many gems that are doing very interesting things: fabric company JAB Anstoetz (several members of my family are textile geeks so this was a good one for me), the lightening company Zumtobel, Burton Snowboards (OK, I know lots of people that ride the boards, but I knew little about the company), Enercon in wind energy (surprised I did not know this company), Givaudan and Fermenich in scents ... there are many fascinating companies discussed in this book.

As I grow my own company (we are less than a year old as I write this) I will put in practice many of the ideas in this book: define a narrow market that we will grow and dominate, stay close to customers, go global early, strive for value leadership (value being the differentiated economic benefit we bring our customers), and build a strong company culture.

If you are looking for a tonic to the stream of US-centric management books, this is an excellent place to begin.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
You won't learn this stuff in business school Nov. 2 2009
By Shiva Thiagarajan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Meticulously researched and lucidly presented, Hermann Simon's latest builds on and extends his previous body of work to uncover and explore demonstrably successful management practices that allow companies of all shapes, sizes, geographies and industries to rise above their peers. This is a fascinating read for managers, consultants, MBA students and anyone else with an interest in business theory or history.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic read with great insights Sept. 15 2009
By Christian Schneiderhahn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Hermann Simon's new book on "Hidden Champions of the 21st Century" is a truly fascinating account of how some relatively unknown companies have managed to become world market leaders while defying many of the rules and principles that large corporations live by. The corporate world can learn a great deal from these examples of global entrepreneurial leadership. The book is a must for anyone who is trying to gain an edge over competition. The style of the book is also great fun, it's simply a highly enjoyable read and in my mind comparable to other business best sellers such as "Built to Last" or "Blue Ocean Strategy".
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A systematic and insightful analysis Nov. 25 2009
By M. Orenstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Hermann Simon dissects in "Hidden Champions" the strategies, operations, and leadership of some of the world's most successful companies-- the majority of which are likely unknown to most readers. Meticulous in his analysis, Simon's presentation is marked by clarity and order. "Hidden Champions" would be an eye-opener for academics and business leaders, and a stimulating foray into business analysis for students, consultants, and other stakeholders with an interest in the field.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great Read, especially in today's global economy Nov. 16 2009
By Beau P. D'arcy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book really is a good read if you're interested in books like "Good to Great" or "Crossing the Chasm". It's another way of looking at how some companies are extremely successful, while other flounder in today's globalized economy. If you're managing your own business, a senior leader of a public company, or interested in starting your own business in the future, I would highly recommend this book.


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