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Book Review
Competitive Strategy

This is a groundbreaking book. It was published for the first time over twenty years ago; and when it was published, it changed the way that people thought about strategy in business, and it gave us what has become a common language for discussing strategic situations. That's why you should consider buying the book. Without an understanding of the terminology that Michael Porter developed originally in Competitive Strategy, you won't be able to follow many of the arguments that other people use when they're talking about the subject.

When you get past that, you need to ask yourself your primary reason for reading any book on strategy. If you're looking for a "how-to" book, one with ideas that you can implement reasonably quickly, this is not the book for you. This is written by a professor and the presentation is academic. That doesn't make the insights any less valuable, but often it makes them harder to unearth.

Here's my recommendation. You should be familiar enough with Porter's basic methods and terminology to recognize and understand them in other books, articles, and discussions. If you don't have that knowledge now, this is the book to use to get it.

If you already have a basic knowledge of some of Porter's terminology and concepts, then this book will give you an excellent structural underpinning to take to the other books about strategy. But, if you're looking for something that you can dip into quickly to work on your company's strategic plan, find something a little less dense and academic.

To see what other folks thought of this book, or to purchase it from Amazon, click here.

Created/Revised/Reviewed: 23 August 2002


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