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Understanding Michael Porter: The Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  1,499 ratings  ·  93 reviews
A Distillation of The Most Important Business Thinking of Our Time

Michael Porter's groundbreaking ideas on competition and strategy have unfolded over three decades and are spread across a dauntingly long list of publications. Every manager can name individual pieces of his work-competitive advantage, the value chain, five forces-but no one, not even Porter hi
Published December 12th 2011 by Your Coach Digital (first published November 1st 2011)
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 ·  1,499 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Gene Babon
Feb 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: strategy
No business manager should be allowed to hold the title without having a working knowledge of the research and teachings of Harvard Business School Professor, Michael Porter. You can start with On Competition, Updated and Expanded Edition, a dense masterwork. Or you can capture the essence of three decades of research in this essential guide to competition and strategy.

Written by a long-time collaborator at the Harvard Business School, Understanding Michael Porter is divided into two parts: What is Compe
Henry Barry
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business-wealth
Porter provides a very refreshing and more sophisticated view of business strategy, shattering the idealistic simplicity of things like Jack Welch's view that you have to be number one or two in your business, or that success is creating a better product than others. Porter's view is that success comes from finding your unique value proposition and delivering that well. You don't have to be the biggest. The concept of "the best" product is a mirage, as Southwest airlines represents the best for ...more
Machiel Reyneke
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very compelling and surprisingly simple. Required reading!
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First of all, I would like to say that I am a fan of Peter Drucker. Although, after reading his works, you have a good idea on how to improve efficiency, you don't have a crystallized idea on how to think about a strategy. His books although well-written are more like a collection of wisdom born from an extensive experience of a management consultant, than a general theory on how to position a business (it probably wasn't his goal anyway- his mission was to make people productive).
Michael Porte
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lucid account of Professor Michael Porter's significant contributions to the field of business strategy such as the Five Forces Framework, the Value Chain, Activity System and the notion of tradeoffs. A very good book to revisit these frameworks and understand how all these fit together. Porter's frameworks and concepts are also often misunderstood despite being popular. A reading of this book could serve to clear some of the misconceptions and prevent missteps when applying these frameworks a ...more
Marc Aiello
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll never see the world the same after reading this book. Not just for understanding business strategy, but for understanding decision-making in general.

Worst audio-book narrator ever. It was that good, that i was able to listen to this guy for 10+ hours. Imagine Steve Erkel reading a not-funny book to you.
J  Brown
Although I found this book very interesting I am giving it 3 Stars. I am almost certain that I am selling it short. Joan Margretta's job of summarizing, deferring, and simplifying has given me a renewed interest in finishing the original Porter. If you take into account that she roamed the grounds when the seminal work was being derived you will appreciate it more.
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The key to competitive success: aim to be unique, not best."

“Strategy is making trade-offs in competing. The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”
Sahil Shah
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd read Porter during my management school days, but mostly in the pedantic, self-serving manner. Joan Magretta's synopsis (if I can call it that) of his thought process and definitions in her book has made me realise the value of Porter's works. Every idea becomes greater and clearer when supplicated with an illustration (or better still, a validated example), and that is what this book does. This book is for someone who wants bite sized pieces of Porter to quickly chew on while still gaining ...more
Shraddha Pant
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book seeks to understand competition and strategy in a lot better way than the text books. The language is simple and engaging. The author starts by extolling Michael Porter's work on identifying forces that shape up competition and then she moves on to dismiss the myths surrounding interpretations of his work through examples of some of the best companies across the world to make a compelling case on why Porter's work is much more than what it looks on the surface. The interview with Michae ...more
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael Porter has been at the forefront of academic literature related to strategy. This book excellently captures the ideas that he has talked about in various papers over the years.

The best part of the book is the lucid style of writing where Joan builds on the ideas of Porter one after the other such that each new concept reinforces the earlier topics. The book is replete with examples and popular misconceptions about Porters ideas. I would suggest the book to anyone who need a good overvie
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Concise, clear overview on Porter’s work

I enjoyed the book. I have both Porter’s key books on my shelf and never read them completely through. I read this one and it kept my attention, hit the core of Porter’s frameworks and used a lot of supplemental material from Porter to fill in gaps. Had a nice flow and writing style is good. Porter’s work stands the test of time for business strategy. If you want a good distillation of Porter’s timeless principles it’s worth’s a read.
Susan Chow-Dukhan
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A concise summary of Michael Porter's ideas of competition and strategy. Starting with identifying the right mind-set for competition, the concept that being best and getting the largest market share does not guarantee success is emphasized throughout the book. This book does not overwhelm the reader with complicated charts and graphs, choosing instead to use simple terminology and interesting company examples.
Akhil J
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gained a better understanding of what disruptions truly mean, when they matter and how to evaluate/create business models that foster competitive advantage. Very enjoyable read. Highly recommended especially to those who find it fun to think about strategy. I picked up this book as I consider strategy a weakness and I want to be better at it - I'd say this book gave a kickstart to that journey.
Ibrahima Diallo
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author explains in great details the philosophy of Michael Porter on Strategy and sustained competitive advantage. I find the second part of the book very interesting for anyone who wants to know about the five rules (requirements) of a great strategy. Make sure you read the author's interview of Mr. Porter at the end of the book. Very fascinating.
Jocelyn Mit
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Between this and a copy of Competitive Strategy, I started with the smaller one of course. I enjoyed this as it was well summarised and had all the important bits about Porter’s work on competition. I recommend it to anyone who would shape strategy in companies of any size, managers and entrepreneurs.
Brad Armstrong
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very clear and readable introductions to the essentials of real business strategy. Certainly recommended if you didn't get these basics in school.

Doesn't really apply to today's VC funded hyper-growth model for companies, at least not those who are not actually trying to be profitable and viable in the long-term.
Faheem Kajee
Some good reminders about core elements of a good strategy.

Most relevant is that you shouldn’t strive generically to ”be the best”, but rather you should find a specific set of things you do better than competitors. It’s about competitive advantage and being clear about who your customer is.
Jason Mesiarik
Aug 11, 2019 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
"Michael Porter didn't get to be a giant in the field of competition and strategy by hunting small game" and neither did we. This could be a valuable tools for those without the diligence to pour through Porter's tomes.
Cezary Zminkowski
must read if you want to understand what is behind the abstract world "strategy" and even you use it right with your intuition, after having this book red you will be able to be much more efficient in defining, evolving and implementing strategies in many areas.
Adrian Lee
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This resonated on so many levels, and helped to crystallise my understanding of why Porter isn't just another management fad. There's a method to his theory that forces you to question just what it means to compete and strategise. And no... it's not about being the best.
Jose Auad
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a perfect explanation of what Michael Porter is trying to say about the competition between companies and the strategy that new companies should take in this market.

It left me marked as it talks about differentiation, I loved it.
Edwin Lutgring
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read for anyone in management wanting to be more than mediocre.
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, management
Excellent. Must read for all Managers. Explains Porter's Strategic Frameworks in a clear manner.
Nicolas Schroeter
Really good book that grasps the fundamentals of strategy and competitiveness. Its a review of Porters great books.
Josh Martin
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Business strategy book - grow or die, differentiate yourself from the competition its about fit.
Kathryn-Claire Barlas
Very interesting and informative way of reading about the king of strategy, Michael Porter.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are many fad books on business strategy. Not this one. True classic. Love it
Will Rauber
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Does a good job of touching on the main points of Porter. Nice reinforcement from HBR articles and his books.
Sanket Joshi
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easy read with effective & simple examples to substantiate the point.
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“Competing to be the best feeds on imitation. Competing to be unique thrives on innovation.” 6 likes
“Porter defines the value proposition as the answer to three fundamental questions (see figure 4-1): Which customers are you going to serve? Which needs are you going to meet? What relative price will provide acceptable value for customers and acceptable profitability for the company?” 0 likes
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