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The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  687 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Based on an acclaimed professor's legendary strategy course at Harvard Business School, The Strategist offers a radically new perspective on a leader's most vital role.

"Are you a strategist?" That's the first question Cynthia Montgomery asks the business owners and senior executives from all over the world who participate in her highly regarded executive education course.
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published May 8th 2012 by HarperBusiness (first published January 1st 2012)
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Thejas There are many. Primarily outside forces such as industry dynamics, competitors, economy followed by suppliers and any substitutes that may wipe out…moreThere are many. Primarily outside forces such as industry dynamics, competitors, economy followed by suppliers and any substitutes that may wipe out all the players (Porters 5 forces), suppliers' power & customer power.(less)
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3.88  · 
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 ·  687 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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Grant Xavier Storer
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business
Good material, except I heard it better from "Start With Why". This approach of finding your core identity and building your business on that basis was way too academic and not really that reader friendly. Start With Why was probably the most influential book I've ever read, so reading it again in this version was very disappointing.
Said AlMaskery
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business-books
This is the second time I read this book and it was worth it. The first time I was shifting careers from a day job in a big company to a family owned business. At the time I felt that this book does give some important insights.

Nearly 2 years down the line, I found the book does have practical aspects in it related to strategy and leadership alike. The author believes the two are inseparable.

Being a strategist is not enough, you need to be the "strategist your company needs", understanding the
Alex Timberman
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: management, strategy
Cynthia Montgomery is a professor at the Harvard Business School. She is influenced by another professor there, Michael Porter, and his work on strategy and the 5 forces.

This book is a short read on what strategy is about and on who is responsible for making the strategy: the CEO or business owner.

There is nothing technical or fancy here or even remarkable like say Blue Ocean Strategy but she does a good job of clearly laying out the basics: strategy is about having a compelling purpose for wh
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Should Apple get into the business of Avacado cultivation?

Talking about Strategy sounds cool, so many people do it, especially if you are a newly minted MBA. Unfortunately, the perception of most people about Strategy is to solve the puzzle and declare it done. Sometimes it may be an internal team but many times it involves the use of an external Consulting firm with complicated sounding frameworks. The book talks about some strategy cases but is mainly focused on recommending the leaders of the
John Seno
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Overtime I've come to the realization that an exceptional business or any enterprise is built around a profound purpose. Traditional strategy tools like SWOT analysis or Porter's five forces are essential but on their own they cannot carry the weight of an enterprise. For that we turn to the vision, to the strategists, to the one's who live strategy and accept it as an Unending way of life. This book is about the Strategist and how to acquire a strategic thinkers perspective. Because in a world ...more
Mat Davies
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I first read this book in 2013. I still use some of the ideas as activities (such as the strategy wheel) in my day-to-day job. I also found this book very readable and clear.
Jiwa Rasa
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pemimpin bisnes yang baik perlu ada matlmat yang jelas dalam organisasi. Ap yang ingin kita capai dalam bisnes. Apa yang akan jadi pada dunia jika bisnes kita tidak wujud.

Saya suka buku ini kerana mengetengahkan contoh dari 3 syarikat yang saya tahu dan ikuti iaitu IKEA, Gucci dan Apple.

Buku yang menarik dan boleh buat kita berfikir semula arah tuju kita dalam bisnes.
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Those who’s working in strategy or management consulting will not find a really fancy points here, but this books does a good job of clearly laying out the basics: strategy is about having a compelling purpose for why the firm exists, “If the firm didn't exist anymore would the world care?”. Surprisingly, Montgomery said most leaders in her class are not sure about what their firm purpose is. “If leaders aren’t clear about this, imagine the confusion in the businesses three/four level lower. Yet ...more
May 19, 2013 rated it liked it

A strategist is an organization’s leader who works to ensure that the organization is able to adapt and change over time to maintain its competitive edge. As the author points out, strategy and execution are not two separate endeavours but are instead two-sides of the same coin. The key is balancing these two aspects of an organization’s operations over time. This is how you achieve long-term organizational success.


The book is based on Cynthia Montgomery’s strat
Aug 02, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is based on the strategy course this seasoned professor teaches at Harvard Business School. It reads like it. I know, I've taken strategy courses at business schools. I've always found that the biggest benefits from taking courses in business school are: 1) making important connections, as you toil through cases together with your already successful coursemates, and 2) you are given the chance, the tools and the whip to work on your own company's case.

It serves more to take the course.
Sep 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Just finished “The Strategist. Be the Leader Your Business Needs” by Cynthia Montgomery. The examples and content come from Prof Montgomery’s teaching in the “Owner, President, Manager Program (OPM)” at Harvard Business School, where she leads the strategy track. The strategy content is based on (true and tested, but a bit tired) Porterian view of strategy (industry perspective, five forces) and some older, more descriptive material (“Wheel of Strategy”). Montgomery also emphasizes purpose = vis ...more
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: school-readings
I would usually rather chew off my own leg than read a business book but I'm teaching undergraduate strategic thinking this semester so here I am, reading some business books.

I have to say, this one was fine. It explains the broad concepts of strategy using case studies, which I think is a smart way to go about it. I think it's pretty surface level, kind of common-sense thoughts, but if you have no background in the area I think it's a solid entry level book to talking and thinking about strateg
Riccardo Bua
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is around defining a strategy mix and how to set yourself apart, based on the experience of working with a set of navigated executives participating to Hardvard EOP program. I found a brilliant introduction for anyone working to defining their strategy for their company and ultimately how to gain a potential competitive advantage. A lot of the theory is based on Porter's theories and the writer does a good job presenting those in a easy to digest format.
Raj Shankar
Wonderful Work on Strategy for Strategists. Enjoyed the book so much that i could not stop finishing it on priority. At times i felt like i was sitting in her class. I think i would re-read it and refer to it more in the future. If you are an entrepreneur, strategist or anyone aspiring to be one, you must not miss it.
Cara Ellison
Oct 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-book, work
The best business book I've read this year, maybe ever. Extremely good.
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A new classic... I kept nodding my head and wishing that I had read this book before I had to learn its lessons the hard way.
Ronald Urizar
Dec 28, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Cynthia Montgomery is a Professor, and former Head of the Strategy Unit at Harvard Business School, where she has taught for more than 20 years. She is currently teaching strategy in the School’s executive program for entrepreneurs and owners of private companies. This book is basically a brief summary of the course she teaches there. It is well worth reading. As always, when someone really understands their subject, they manage to explain complex issues in a rather simple and straightforward wa ...more
Jen Stirrup
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
The value of this book lay in its ability to distill important, insightful points in a digestible format.

In The Strategist: Be the Leader Your Business Needs, Montgomery helps you to think about applying and understanding the market forces in your industry. Montgomery also discusses the importance of creating value with her Strategy Wheel.

The heart of all this is the purpose; why does your company exist? The book is about taking ownership of the process, and ensuring that your system of value c
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: business, strategy
I listened to the audio book and while it is good it does not really tell the listener or reader how to define or determine a strategy. The book talks about the failed and successful strategies of some companies. It uses a faucet fixture company that buys furniture manufacturing companies and winds up selling them for a loss because it had no strategy and compares & contrasts that to Berkshire Hathaway's (Warren Buffett's) foray into furniture distribution successfully and notes that furnitu ...more
Davison Abrantes
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.2 Stars. This book contains pretty much two lessons: 1. Your company needs to have purpose; what would happen if your company disappeared today? Would you be missed, where will people go to fill that hole that your business left behind? 2. Your company needs to be able to adapt/reinvent itself. You have to keep working on your strategy, there is not one right answer where if you find it then you are good, you always have to keep working on the strategy to better your company, making tough deci ...more
Powell Omondi
Aug 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
A good book reminding us the basics of business strategy to build a competitive advantage in the market. The book has practical historical lessons that one can learn from and critical questions that should be on every strategist mind.

A good Strategy should be a system of value creation driven by a unique purpose which forms the bedrock of all the organization decisions.
A key question that every strategist should always ask
“If the firm didn't exist anymore would the world care?”
Mrs J
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easy and interesting read

I found myself highlighting many passages, not because I am a business strategist, but because there are many lessons in this book that are applicable to a life well lived. A great commute read.
Edgar Mansilla
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
El estratega

Un libro diferente con muchas historias de negocios y la manera en la que han triunfado. Sencillo y claro, muestra la importancia que tiene el estratega que implementa la estrategia!!!
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quite good. Lots of great ideas that could be put into practice. The description of Apple was a bit longer than necessary. Make sure you checkout the HBS portrait project that the author refers to - inspirational.
Nov 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Big idea is that the strategist now also has to execute. Duh. Having a good talk only (surprisingly) doesn't make a company successful. Operating model execution is the critical path. Some stories are good. Some are has beens.
Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Harvard based professor Cynthia Brown penned an interesting case study in Strategy and Leadership. Specific examples are given and the answer is not always what it seems. I especially enjoyed the section on Steve Jobs and Apple.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excelente libro. Montgomery presenta unas herramientas muy importantes para los que empiezan o tiene un negocio, empresa. Una lectura muy amena con gran contenido.
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
I found the final chapter the most useful, and I think I'd recommend just reading that for most people.
Natasha Ybarra
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book for a grad class and it does give interesting insights that I will use in everyday business. If used properly it can be a helpful resource.
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CYNTHIA A. MONTGOMERY is the Timken Professor of Business Administration and immediate former head of the Strategy Unit at Harvard Business School, where she’s taught for twenty years. For the past six years, she has led the strategy track in the school’s highly regarded executive program for owner-managers, attend by business leaders of midsized companies from around the globe. She has received t ...more
“With all good intentions, we had backed strategy into a narrow corner and reduced it to a left-brain exercise. In doing so, we lost much of its vitality and much of its connection to the day-to-day life of a company, and we lost sight of what it takes to lead the effort.” 0 likes
“Our purpose is who we are and what makes us distinctive. It’s what we as a company exist to achieve….” 0 likes
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