Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Report: HBR's 10 Must Reads on Strategy

A Written on the cover is a definitive statement made by an entity that has supreme confidence in itself: "If you read nothing else on strategy, read these definitive articles from Harvard Business Review." Wow. And while we're at it, if you read no other blogs on banks, read Jeff For Banks. As much as I would like to believe it's true, I would also have to believe that a higher authority is leading the Denver Broncos on their improbable run. You and I both know that's not true... ???
But if a compendium of essays on vision, strategy, and execution written by luminaries such as Michael Porter, Jim Collins, and Michael Mankins interests you, then this book is for you. I'm pretty much a strategy junkie, and this book gave me fix after fix, every time I powered up the Kindle.

What I liked about the book:

1. Covers, in good detail, disciplines such as strategy development, strategy execution, decision rights, balanced scorecards, and vision;
2. Many essays were in "how to" format, such as how to develop your strategic principle;

3. Summarized key points in Idea in Practice segments.

What I didn't like about the book:

1. Not much. But if I had to pick something, it would be that the essays were penned by academics and/or consultants. It is instructive to hear from practitioners too, although the book is chock full of real world examples of idea implementation.

Do I trust Harvard Business Review to select the appropriate compendium on strategy? Well, no. I'm sure they have their bias and it flows through not only to the essays selected, but also the authors, as many are associated in some way with HBR. But I can't argue with any of their selections, and I am better for having read the book. I think you will be too.

~ Jeff

Book Report note: I will occasionally read books that I believe are relevant to the banking industry. To help you determine if the book is a worthwhile read for your purposes, I will review them here. My mother said if I did not have something nice to say about someone, then don’t say it. In that vein, I will only review books that I perceive to be a “B” grade or better. Disclosure: I will typically have the reviewed book on my bookshelf on the right margin of this blog. If you click on any book on the shelf and buy it, I receive a small commission; typically not enough to buy a Starbucks skinny decaf latte with a sugar-free caramel shot, but perhaps enough to buy a small coffee at Wawa.

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