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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

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  2,866 Ratings  ·  203 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 offici
ebook, 320 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by Crown Business (first published January 1st 2011)
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Andrew Garvin
May 23, 2016 Andrew Garvin rated it really liked it
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
Daniel Clausen
Aug 13, 2011 Daniel Clausen rated it it was amazing
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
Cindy Brandt
May 27, 2012 Cindy Brandt rated it it was ok
Felt the book could've been summed up in one chapter.
Nate Huston
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
Jan 14, 2015 Szymon rated it really liked it
One fundamental idea presented in an understandable manner.
Dec 05, 2015 Kashif rated it it was amazing
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.
Hj Barraza
Jul 01, 2014 Hj Barraza rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 28, 2012 Xavier Shay rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 31, 2013 Asif rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 08, 2014 Jordan Munn rated it really liked it
Not as schticky as a lot of corporate/consulting books, this book is clearly written and gets strong points across.
Ali Bagheri
Dec 28, 2016 Ali Bagheri rated it it was amazing
درسته بیشتر از یک سال طول کشید، اما کتمان نمی کنم که خوشحالم بالاخره خوندمش
Mar 01, 2017 Norah rated it really liked it

This is a solid and fundamental book for anyone who wants to understand the basics of corporate strategy. Having been a strategy consultant for some years, I see this book captures the daily-applied framework when tackling a client's business problem, and identifies some key common traits of a successful strategy from a less-so one. The case studies are little out-dated but interesting, which unfortunately are less detailed in the summary version.
Chad Warner
Dec 06, 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
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
Feb 09, 2014 Kevin Grubb rated it liked it
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.
Apr 23, 2016 Zahedul rated it it was amazing
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 01, 2016 Ryan Phung rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 23, 2015 Marrije rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 28, 2016 Nabil rated it really liked it
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.
Valentin Shvets
Aug 22, 2013 Valentin Shvets rated it it was amazing
Excellent insights into strategic thinking, clear recommendations and examples. I greatly enjoyed this book.
George Moody
May 26, 2015 George Moody rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Stephanie Richards
Feb 19, 2017 Stephanie Richards rated it really liked it
An entertaining yet highly informative book that breaks down effective strategy into an understandable, though not overly simplified, structure. Emphasis on what constitutes 'bad' strategy was also particularly helpful as it explained the biggest stumbling blocks to success, calling the reader to follow through the logical steps through which to dissect a problem. Overall, a compelling read that calls for hard work and the confidence to make the difficult decisions.
Mar 19, 2017 Rhonda rated it liked it
Shelves: business
A bit of a hard read and not comprehension wise. I just had a really hard time getting into it. Maybe I will revisit it at a later date. A ton of examples and he speaks of the war quite often. It was very well drafted, thought out, and the author is quite knowledgeable of the topic. To be fair, I have a lot on my plate at the moment and may be simply distracted
Mar 08, 2017 Gard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book contained a lot of good anecdotes about strategy and what defines a good strategy and maybe more important; what defines a bad strategy? If I missed anything it was a kind of a bullet list "how to build a strategy document" step by step. That said, the book was definitely worth the read.
Neil Crocker
Feb 03, 2017 Neil Crocker rated it really liked it
This is a good book. I once was a strategy consultant. I run a decent sized business. This book is a wonderful refresher on strategy with some excellent case examples. The author has a significant ego. The author is blunt. He suffers fools badly. That all works for me.
Ali Bagheri
Mar 18, 2017 Ali Bagheri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
هر استراتژی خوب سه بخش داره، شناخت مساله، سیاست های راهنما برای حل مساله و مجموعه اقدامات منسجم
Mar 22, 2017 Josiah rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help, business
Overall this book was great. There were chapters I didn't get much out of, but I learned how to effectively create and execute strategy.
Sep 30, 2011 Book rated it it was amazing
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
Jim Razinha
Feb 25, 2017 Jim Razinha rated it it was ok
Another book too full of itself and another author too full of himself. A plethora of repetitious anecdotes and little value from them. Rumelt accuses Cornell University of bloviating, but doesn't turn his acerbic lens to a mirror. He clearly misunderstands (or deliberately misunderstands) the difference between mission and vision, and strategy.

With respect to the anecdotes, assuming his analysis is correct, it is stunning to me that there are so many examples of non-strategic notions. Strategy
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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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