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Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters
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Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  2,717 Ratings  ·  188 Reviews
Clears out the mumbo jumbo and muddled thinking underlying too many strategies and provides a clear way to create and implement a powerful action-oriented strategy for the real world

Developing and implementing a strategy is the central task of a leader, whether the CEO at a Fortune 100 company, an entrepreneur, a church pastor, the head of a school, or a government officia
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by Crown Business (first published January 1st 2011)
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Daniel Clausen
Oct 14, 2014 Daniel Clausen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-books
This review first appeared on "Defense Innovator" (

Lately, there seems no end to the number of books, articles, and op-ed pieces calling for a new grand strategy for the United States. These articles alternatively argue that the US needs to embrace complexity, focus on the homefront, rebalance to face rising peer competitors, brace for multiple challenges, to focus on a handful of known challenges, or to focus on domestic issues before starting on new for
Andrew Garvin
Jun 13, 2016 Andrew Garvin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rumelt is surly and arrogant. The barbs he slings at 'bad' strategists are hilarious. 'It is embarrassing for an intelligent adult to be associated with this sort of bloviating' is one of many (this one being targeted at Cornell's benign mission statement). Chad Logan, a random prospective small business client of Rumelt's, must be icing down from the sick burns. Rumelt puts Chad Logan on blast - unwittingly providing comic relief, because what did this dude do to inspire so much ire?

Good Strate
Cindy Brandt
Felt the book could've been summed up in one chapter.
Nate Huston
Apr 21, 2013 Nate Huston rated it liked it
Fairly standard corporate strategy fare. Well put together, though, and pithy. A good primer for strategy. His central thesis is that good strategy has good structure, a "kernel" consisting of a diagnosis, a guiding policy, and a coherent action." (77) Has some good thoughts regarding why bad strategy is so pervasive (normally a result of an unwillingness to make hard choices, templating, or a belief in the power of positive attitude as sufficient for good strategy. (58). About half the book dis ...more
Feb 10, 2016 Szymon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One fundamental idea presented in an understandable manner.
Apr 30, 2016 Kashif rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every once in a while a book comes along that changes how you perform one aspect of your life. This is one of those books; a book that will force you to change the way you approach business strategy. Good Strategy Bad Strategy flips strategy on its head, cuts out the fluff and digs beneath the success of companies across the ages and teaches us to replicate it by following the kernel (basic skeleton) of strategy.

Incredible book and a must read.
Ali Bagheri
Dec 28, 2016 Ali Bagheri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
درسته بیشتر از یک سال طول کشید، اما کتمان نمی کنم که خوشحالم بالاخره خوندمش
Hj Barraza
Jul 01, 2014 Hj Barraza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: strategy
Wouldn’t it be worthwhile to sit down for an extended session with a top business thinker while he discusses the fine points of corporate strategy with you? You can, at least in an editorial sense, when you read Richard Rumelt’s work on business strategy. The prestigious McKinsey Quarterly calls Rumelt “strategy’s strategist,” and The Economist includes him on its list of the 25 most influential people in business management today. Who does he think he is, a rocket scientist? Well, yes, he also ...more
Xavier Shay
Feb 25, 2012 Xavier Shay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best "business" books I've read. The style is straight forward, there is a wealth of positive and negative examples (the author has an incredible amount of experience to draw from), and plenty of insight which I'm fairly certain will permanently change how I think about strategy.
Dec 05, 2015 Asif rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautiful book with clear writing and brilliant examples. The writer identifies all the hogwash that is passed on as strategy and then shows what a good strategy looks like.
Jordan Munn
Aug 13, 2016 Jordan Munn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as schticky as a lot of corporate/consulting books, this book is clearly written and gets strong points across.
Chad Warner
Dec 07, 2014 Chad Warner rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: strategists, business owners, executives
Recommended to Chad by: Paul Boag
Shelves: non-fiction, business
An insightful but long-winded exploration of effective strategy. The examples and advice are mostly related to business (usually large corporations), but they also deal with nonprofits and government. I like how it shows that much of what passes for strategy (goal-setting, vision) actually isn’t, and walks through how to form good strategy.

Its points could have been condensed into a book one-third the length. Part 3 (Thinking Like a Strategist) seemed disconnected from the rest. I suggest skippi
Jon Mertz
Mar 01, 2015 Jon Mertz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books on strategy I have read in a long time. Strategy gets a bad name, in some respects. Some may think about strategy as just an exercise people with MBAs undertake. Others may reflect on all the bad strategies (ineffective, lacking clarity, one dimensional, etc.) that they have been impacted by. Strategy and leadership, though, are knitted tightly together and great leaders understand that strategy is more than simply some words on paper.

"Good Strategy Bad Strategy" is
Kevin Grubb
I wanted to like this book more than I did, but ultimately, Rumelt lost the thread with this book. The first section was great, explaining what bad strategy is and why it is so harmful. Ever get that dull sense of annoyance when listening to a politician or business leader talking about a grand strategy consisting of growth, innovation and customer-centrism? That's probably because that's pretty much the definition of bad strategy.

The second and third sections really lost their coherence though.
May 03, 2016 Zahedul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the most the most enlightening book I've read in the last 5 years. The author cuts the fat while explaining the strategy making process, making it more accessible to the average reader using a plethora of case studies. From the author's forty years experience as a research, teacher at UCLA and as a consultant, he brings on nuggets of wisdom on ways to formulating good strategies and staying away from bad ones. For fully internalizing the main takeaways, I probably will have to r ...more
Michael "Doc" Norton
This book seems a lot longer than necessary. It is full of examples where the author looks back on events and determines that he was right at the very beginning and that his strategy was (or would have been) best for the client. Meh. Other stories presume a certain strategy existed because success was achieved by some measure. Again - meh.

Overall, I felt like I got some good nuggets from the book. Ways to think about problems, what else to consider, etc.
Ryan Phung
Aug 18, 2016 Ryan Phung rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've read this year. Really mind-expanding for me and it seems every few pages I have to stop to process new insights. Given that I'm just beginning to read about strategy, this is a great introduction and it inspired me to learn and practice more of this science and art.
Feb 08, 2015 Marrije rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Excellent book. Sags a tiny bit in the middle (some of the case studies are a bit ancient), but the last few chapters on rigorous thinking are worth the price of admission alone.
Valentin Shvets
Aug 22, 2013 Valentin Shvets rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent insights into strategic thinking, clear recommendations and examples. I greatly enjoyed this book.
George Moody
This is, overall, an excellent book on strategy. Its two main contributions are a clear and rigorous approach to good strategy, which almost everyone can gain from, and a vigorous analysis of errors in strategic thinking that gets right to the heart of why there is so much bad strategy out there.

The first section is the strongest, setting out Rumelt’s approach to strategy and the concept of, and prevalence of, bad strategy. The remaining two sections, whilst interesting and containing us
Gumble's Yard
Jan 13, 2017 Gumble's Yard rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Ultimately a disappointing book: the author clearly has some strong ideas on strategy (what it should be, what it isn’t but is often mistaken for, and what so much bad strategy exists).

As well as the usual business school experience of analysing strategy retrospectively (with the usual risk of being “fooled by randomness”) he clearly has lots of experience in advising people on strategy prospectively and (if he is to be believed) with foresight.

However he struggles to get the ideas across.

Scott Wozniak
Dec 05, 2016 Scott Wozniak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant opening to the book on what many think is strategy and isn't. Not incorrect strategy--it's not even strategy. Setting a goal is not a strategy. Have a passion or commitment is not a strategy. Having a list of actions (often called "priorities") is not a strategy. A strategy is the combination of 1) diagnosis-especially seeing something others don't, 2) unique solution/approach, 3) a focused set of actions to implement your insights.

The ending of the book is where I dropped from 5 to 4
Lech Kaniuk
Jan 22, 2017 Lech Kaniuk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book on strategy I've read. Goals, visions and buzz-words are bad strategy. Understanding the situation with a proper diagnosis, set of guiding policies and coherent actions are good strategy.
Oct 28, 2016 Nabil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
TLDR: there is a difference between strategy, success metrics and goals. Strategy is what you do to achieve your goals, measured by your success metrics.
David Skinner
He helped me think about strategy as the process of 1) identifying a problem, 2) identifying the solution, and 3) creating the steps appropriate to achieve the solution.
Thu Giang
Jan 05, 2017 Thu Giang rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business

I like the subtle slashing at Gladwell Malcom and his Blink, and the silent admiration for Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow.
Jan 15, 2017 Betty is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
It's funny how sometimes people turn business management and leadership into a mystic cult.
Sep 30, 2011 Book rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters by Richard P. Rumelt

“Good Strategy Bad Strategy” is an excellent book about strategy. Richard Rumelt is considered to be one of the most profound strategists in management concepts and corporate practice. His experience and knowledge is exemplified by the number of practical examples throughout this insightful book. This 336-page book is composed of the following three parts: Part I. Good and Bad Strategy, Part II. Sources of Power, a
Jeff Kaldahl
I struggled to finish this book. If it wasn't for some of the interesting stories I probably wouldv'e stopped. Remelt tends to be critical of various strategy failures, which is fine. But I can't remember an example where he suggests a better strategy in those, obviously difficult situations.

My other issue, especially when he describes "bad strategy" is that he uses organization mission statements / vision as examples of "bad strategy." Well of course those are bad examples...they don't seem lik
Every year there are scads of new books that advocate goal-setting, as if goal-setting were an end in itself. This book is actually different; it teaches you the difference between pie-in-the-sky goal-setting and approaching a problem with a strategic response.

Author Richard P. Rumelt is by no means a household name to most, but there is no truth to the belief that fame is a precursor to expertise in most fields. In a 2008 edition of The Economist, Rumelt summarizes what he sees are the two mai
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“A leader’s most important job is creating and constantly adjusting this strategic bridge between goals and objectives.” 3 likes
“The kernel of a strategy contains three elements: a diagnosis, a guiding policy, and coherent action.” 3 likes
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