Book Reco: Understanding Micheal Porter by Joan Magretta
13th February 2013

understanding-michael-porter Micheal Porter is a legend in the field of competition and strategy and every business student will have read all about his five forces at some point or the other. However Micheal Porter is never light reading and his work can be intimidating for many.

Hence Joan Magretta's book is a welcome change for understanding Porter's work. Written in a no-nonsense to-the-point style, its an easy read but at the same time it does not lose any of the importance of Porter's work. For the busy executive looking to brush up on his Porter, this is an excellent book.

The biggest plus point of this book is Joan's attempt to clear misconceptions about Porter's work and try to explain it in a jargon free manner. Porter's work has always been open to interpretation and misuse. This book debunks many of the myths surrounding his theories and gets to the heart of the actual learning.

In Joan's own words, "Too many managers get thier Porter second hand, and what they usually end up getting is both inadequate and inaccurate."

The book covers 10 practical implications of Porter's work

  1. Vying to be the best is an intuitive but self-destructive approach to competition.
  2. There is no honor in size and growth.
  3. Competitive advantage is in creating unique value for customers and not in beating rivals.
  4. A distinctive value proposition is essential for strategy.
  5. Don't feel you have to "delight" every customer out there.
  6. No strategy is meaningful unless it makes clear what an organization will not do.
  7. Don't overestimate or underestimate the importance of good execution.
  8. Good strategies depend on many choices, not one, and on the connections among them.
  9. Too much change can be as disastrous for strategy as too little.
  10. Committing to strategy does not require heroic predictions about the future.

It is always difficult for an author when they are piggy backing on the work of a legend but Joan Magretta does full justice to Porter's work. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to any student of business, entrepreneur or business person.


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