THE STRATEGIC LAWYER

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Rumelt’s Good Strategy / Bad Strategy

gsbscoverI have a 40 minute commute to and from my job, in the nearby city of Guelph. Some days, I just want to chill out and listen to my favourite tunes during the drive. Other days, I listen to audiobooks.

I recently started Richard Rumelt’s book Good Strategy / Bad Strategythe Difference and Why It Matters. So far, it has been one of those books that actually has me exclaiming “Exactly! Yes!” in the car as I drive. Even though I’ve already purchased the audiobook, I’m actually considering buying the print edition as well, for easy access to key concepts and articulations of those concepts.

Part of it has to do with my previously-expressed frustration at the over-use of the word “strategy”–Rumelt makes a similar point in this book, and it is frankly gratifying to have someone else express the same point. I imagine this might be what the kid in the Emperor’s New Clothes would have felt, if an adult had turned to him and said “you’re right! The Emperor isn’t wearing anything!”

Though I agree with many aspects of what he has to say about what strategy is and how it plays out, I will leave a closer exploration of key concepts he introduces–and the ways in which I agree or disagree with them–to future posts. For now, I will say that I am very much enjoying the book.

It is a clear, articulate expression of many  of my own frustrations with the many proxies for strategy that are put out there in the contemporary discourse, as well as a helpful starting point for explicating what I agree does qualify as strategy. Even as he narrows the definition to a functional, circumscribed and apt usage, Rumelt nonetheless uses a broad enough set of criteria that the term is nonetheless useful and applicable across multiple contexts in which “strategy” can be used.

For some facets of his explications and conceptions, I would apply a different nuance or angle to my own take on the topic. But, for the most part, I am just gratified to finally find an articulation of the terminology and usage that lines up with my own understanding, and its application of how the military, diplomatic and games of strategy conceptions apply to the wider, modern day context of business, and the day-to-day ways in which we can integrate strategy into our approach to life.

If you haven’t had a chance to pick this one up–but have interest in the concept of strategy and the ways in which it can apply to different areas, I definitely recommend this as a helpful read. I will be discussing his core conception of strategy in next week’s post, but the book obviously contains more nuance, case studies and elaborations that are worth delving into if you have a genuine interest in the topic. The link above is to the book’s publisher site, but it is obviously available at Amazon as well! Check it out. 

Note: the preceding link is via an Amazon Associates id. This is the first time I’m giving it a try, but I’ll probably using it in the future as well. If you’re not a fan of referral services, etc. no worries! Also, think of this note as a plug for local brick and mortar bookstores the proprietors of whom would no doubt be happy to get a copy of this book in for you if you ask!

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One comment on “Rumelt’s Good Strategy / Bad Strategy

  1. Pingback: Formulating a Strategy | THE STRATEGIC LAWYER

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This entry was posted on August 24, 2014 by in Strategy and tagged .
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