2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
A valuable book for any thinking strategist, May 14 2007
I was skeptical at first whether this new book would add much to what the author already set forth in his first book, The Innovator's Solution, which he co-authored with Clay Christensen. But I was wrong - this is a valuable, insightful, and genuinely provocative book that is worth reading if you have a serious interest in the subject of strategy.
Many strategy books suffer from a surfeit of glibness and an appalling tendency to infantilize a serious and complex topic by reducing "solutions" to 10-point checklists or templates. Raynor's book avoids these potholes by starting with a rigorous appraisal of a thorny paradox - the need for commitment in an environment where the future cannot be known. It is an obvious paradox, though usually only becoming so after it is illuminated. But failing to address the disconnect between good efforts on strategizing and poor results means that companies will forever be searching for improvements in areas that offer little hope.
The paradox is borne out through reference to several noteworthy examples, though supported by understandable explanations of important strategy concepts such as real options and requisite uncertainty, while drawing down on well-known theories such as adaptation/integration, associated with Bartlett and Ghoshal.
His conclusion is pragmatic - built a portfolio of choices and manage it - will resonate with anyone who has had to make important bets without full information.
Raynor's book is not a reinvention of the field, because the author has enough training to recognize that claims in that direction inevitably fail. However, it is a book that will cause the thinking strategist to sit back and reexamine his or her company's choices.
A must-read, in my opinion.