Books and Me: Strategy Rules – Five Timeless Lessons from Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs

Book Title: Strategy Rules – Five Timeless Lessons from Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs

Strategy Rules Book Cover
Strategy Rules Book Cover

Author: David B Yoffie and Michael A Cusumano

‘How To’ books in management are aplenty! Over time one tends to grow tired reading them. Rightly so – but this book may be an exception. There are many reasons for this:

  • Because you are a fan of either of the three CEOs mentioned in the title
  • Because you believe strategic thinking as a skill can be learned
  • Because you are a fan of strategy as a subject

Whatever be the reason, you are bound to find something of interest. While the five lessons (timeless according to the authors) may seem obvious, the better part of the book is how they link it to specific actions one can take to strengthen them. The five lessons are:

  1. Look forward, reason back
  2. Make big bets without betting your company
  3. Build ecosystems and platforms – not just products
  4. Exploit leverage and power – play judo and sumo
  5. Shape the organisation around your personal anchor

Every lesson has a dedicated chapter that provides number of examples from the lives of these master strategists. It then distills them into four principles each (20 principles in all) that one can ‘learn’ and ‘practice’. The authors’ having tracked these CEOs and their companies over time have an advantage in presenting this subject. It is also very different from the usual books on strategy that makes everything look so abstract. The book is good reading for entrepreneurs and business owners. Aspiring leaders will find number of tips and techniques to practice strategic decision making skills.

Overall an easy to read book, with simple to understand and easy to learn principles (distilled) which can help every one of us to learn and practice strategy. While it does look easy, on close study, one is bound to find contradictory lessons and practices. It is in digesting them that one can become a good strategist. The easy looking lessons have simple yet profound principles to learn and practice. It requires the same amount of courage, presence of mind, perseverance, and passion like the CEOs studied.

Every entrepreneur will find some definite take aways from this book. The last chapter also highlights that while all of the CEOs were strategic and successful, each of them had their own method. Their strength was in finding out their method early and aligning everything else to it. It is probably the biggest lesson every entrepreneur must learn and do: Find who you really are? Find what your method to business is? Find what your method to leadership is? Align all your activities around it. Then you will find success and happiness!

Isn’t that what people aspire for, eventually! Entrepreneurship is after all living your dreams. Try it. I am sure reading this book will inspire finding yourself, at the very least.

Happy Reading!

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