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Only the Paranoid Survive [Hardcover]

Andrew S. Grove
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 1996
Under Andy Grove's leadership, Intel has become the world's largest chipmaker, the fifth-most-admired company in America, and the seventh-most-profitable company among the Fortune 500. You don't achieve rankings like these unless you have mastered a rare understanding of the art of business and an unusual way with its practice.

Few CEOs can claim this level of consistent record-breaking success. Grove attributes much of this success to the philosophy and strategy he reveals in Only the Paranoid Survive--a book that is unique in leadership annals for offering a bold new business measure, and for taking the reader deep inside the workings of a major corporation. Grove's contribution to business thinking concerns a new way of measuring the nightmare moment every leader dreads--the moment when massive change occurs and all bets are off. The success you had the day before is gone, destroyed by unforeseen changes that hit like a stage-six rapid. Grove calls such moments Strategic Inflection Points, and he has lived through several. When SlPs hit, all rules of business shift fast, furiously, and forever. SlPs can be set off by almost anything--megacompetition, an arcane change in regulations, or a seemingly modest change in technology.

Yet in the watchful leader's hand, SlPs can be an ace. Managed right, a company can turn a SIP into a positive force to win in the marketplace and emerge stronger than ever.

To achieve that level of mastery over change, you must know its properties inside and out. Grove addresses questions such as these: What are the stages of these tidal waves? What sources do you turn to in order to foresee dangers before trouble announces itself? When threats abound, how do you deal with your emotions, your calendar, your career--as well as with your most loyal managers and customers, who may cling to tradition?

No stranger to risk, Grove examines his own record of success and failure, including the drama of how he navigated the events of the Pentium flaw, which threatened Intel in a major way, and how he is dealing with the SIP brought on by the Internet. The work of a lifetime of reflection, Only the Paranoid Survive is a contemporary classic of leadership skills.

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Massive change is hitting corporate America at a furious and escalating pace, writes Andrew Grove in Only the Paranoid Survive, and businesses that strive hard to keep abreast of the transition will be the only ones that prevail. And Grove should know. As chief executive of Intel, he wrestled with one of the business world's great challenges in 1994 when a flaw in his company's new cornerstone product -- the Pentium processor -- grew into a front-page controversy that seriously threatened its future.

From Publishers Weekly

Keep looking over your shoulder, cautions Grove, president and CEO of Intel Corporation, because the technology that keeps changing the way businesses are run and careers are forged is on the verge of making every person or company in the world either a co-worker or a competitor. And be warned that there's a pattern to the havoc that forces us to regroup whenever we think we have a grip on things. The pattern is based on a series of revolutionary milestones, inevitable and unpredictable, that Grove calls strategic inflection points. They change things. Every significant development from railroads to superstores to computers has been a point of strategic inflection. Businesses and individuals are never the same once these points zero in to alter the status quo. For Intel, a manufacturer of computer works, a strategic inflection point was the transition from memory chips to microprocessors, and a great deal of this book details the way Intel handled this change, including furor that erupted when a minor flaw was discovered in its Pentium processor. Perhaps the quality that lifts this above other business books is its applicability to individuals.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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I teach a class in strategic management at Stanford University's business school as a part-time departure from my job as president and CEO of Intel Corporation. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A business success story March 2 2003
Like many popular management books, Andy Grove's "Only the Paranoid Survive" is unlikely to knock your socks off with its insightful business advice. Rather, the book is chock full of common sense, backed up with case studies from the world of successful -- and not so successful -- American businesses. Although Grove wrote this book during the early days of the Internet bubble, he clearly did not get wrapped up in the all of the excitement of that era, much to his credit. His thoughts are measured, sensible and coldly rational, as befits an industry titan and the ex-CEO of the most successful chip company on the planet.
If you haven't read this book, now is as good a time to do so as any. Today's readers have the benefit of knowing how technology and business have evolved since "Only the Paranoid Survive" was published in 1996. The seven years that have since elapsed reveal that Grove really knows what he's talking about. His understanding of how the Internet would affect Intel underscores his management prescience. And his skepticism regarding gee-whiz technological innovations like "Internet appliances" provides an interesting example of how Intel maintained its strategic focus, and emerged from the bubble as strong as ever.
"Only the Paranoid Survive" breaks no new ground in the business-management genre. But the book is well written, well organized, and well worth the read for those who want a glimpse inside the mind of an incomparable American success story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Andy Grove is a rare prophet Sept. 17 2003
By A Customer
Very few people in history have the true gift of foresight; Andy Grove is certaintly one of those people. It also shows people like Nick Carr can be idiots. He proclaimed that "I.T. is dead". Nick Carr thinks he is smart because he is able to see a few years into the future and pat himself on the back for it at the same time. Andy Grove's vision is not linear and thus allows him to anticipate changes in business paradigms and to distinguish between tech fads and tech innovations. Ironically, the chapter that made the most sense to me was regarding inflection points in your career.
This book is a must read even if you don't have any inclination for business. Andy Grove has sound and practical advice for anyone to follow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful! Oct. 11 2002
Only the Paranoid Survive will never be compared with Churchill's memoirs in terms of literary mastery, but Andrew Grove's book does succeed where many other business tell-alls fail: It illustrates the lessons that you can learn from the challenges that its protagonist has overcome. In other words, this book teaches you something. By focusing on the make-or-break turning points that determined Intel's fate, Grove shows how to manage crises in order to seize the opportunities that they so often provide. For this simple lesson, we from getAbstract recommend this book to all business readers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars No rest for the weary May 8 2000
In today's business world there just isn't time to sit back and casually look over the scene. Competitors can attack with little or no warning, the product that defines your company can become obsolete overnight. What Grove describes so well in this book is the mindset that companies must develop in order to thrive in this ultracompetitive enviroment. Managers must obsessively examine possible threats from both outside competition and internal complacency, either of which can doom a company.
A company that is content to sit back and rest on its laurels is one that risks destruction. The best companies, like Intel and Microsoft and Gillette, work like crazy to develop great products and then work even harder to develop the products that make their last one obsolete. They always keep looking over their shoulder and worrying about who might be lying in wait for them, and this attitude keeps them hungry and vigilent, and very difficult to compete with.
Probably the one piece of wisdom that people glean from this book is Grove's description of "strategic inflection points", times when the industry a company works within undergoes a fundamental change. This is an important concept, but it's difficult to use it as a managerial guide because, as Grove states in his book, you usually don't know you're IN a strategic inflection point until it's been going on for quite awhile. Companies that quickly understand the meaning of a strategic inflection point and have the energy and intelligence to act quickly and correctly can make huge strides against competitors who pause too long. And that is where the paranoia of the book's title comes into play. A company that is constantly questioning itself and its market is far more likely to identify strategic inflection points and is far more able to deal with them. And that is what managers who read this book should definetly take to heart-- that complacency is a killer. If you snooze, you lose.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Always look over your shoulder Feb. 17 2000
Grove's book presents an interesting paradox. For a company to excel, it must move quickly and confidently when it reaches what he calls a "strategic inflection point", or a sea-change in the way the industry in question conducts business. The problem is, it is impossible to predict exactly when these inflection points might appear or what their nature might be.
The solution Grove provides in the title of this book is no doubt framed on the walls of executives around the world. A great company must be paranoid-- always suspicious that competitors are gaining on them, constantly worried that they are missing something important, never growing comfortable with the status quo. Only by making these "flaws" a part of the company's culture can a firm be more prepared for strategic inflection points and more able to quickly respond to them.
This concept is an important one that any senior manager should make part of his or her managerial philosophy. When things are going good-- especially when things are going good-- that is when you should spend the most time wondering what might make your company obsolete overnight. These days a company might find itself in a fight for survival with competitors it never imagined as a threat, and the firm that is constantly reviewing and revising the way it does business is far more likely to adapt and survive than one that sits back and rests on its laurels.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great book from one of the best!
i bought this book because i'm in the chip industry and i wanted to learn from one of the masters in the field. Read more
Published on Dec 31 2001 by bronzefury
4.0 out of 5 stars Insight into the working of a truly multinational company
This book gives you a insight into the working of a multinational company like Intel. Through the nine chapters you will learn how the Grove felt the changes, recognised them and... Read more
Published on Sept. 27 2001 by pramod kumar srivastava
4.0 out of 5 stars All Fear the Status Quo
Andy Grove has verbalized the mindset that we must all develop to survive in the 21st Century. While his idea of constantly looking over your shoulder has always been applicable,... Read more
Published on July 19 2000 by Toby Joplin
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new here
This is something that any first year business student could have written. It is a fast read but it provides no new insights.
Published on July 6 2000 by Ronald Matten
5.0 out of 5 stars Candid and truthfull
This book is an enjoyable read that is written by the CEO of Intel, this book is noteworthy in that it describes in detail a rare event: the successful change in business models of... Read more
Published on May 14 2000 by Naomi Moneypenny
5.0 out of 5 stars On my XMas List for Every Sr. Eecutive
I would love to give this book to every senior executive I've ever worked for. The gap between what sr. Read more
Published on Dec 5 1999 by
2.0 out of 5 stars Want to be a great manager - Go to West Point
I was very dissapointed by this book as a lesson in management. The lessons learned are basic management and military strategy that every CEO should now. i.e. Read more
Published on Dec 1 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
Mr. Grove has done the world a great service by presenting this book for us to read. It is chock full of info that is applicable to any company that wishes to survive in this... Read more
Published on Oct. 31 1999
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