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The Art of Profitability

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  674 ratings  ·  56 reviews
An extraordinarily new business slant on how companies can generate greater profits. Presented in 23 compact lessons, "The Art of Profitability" features an ongoing tutorial between two fictitious individuals.
Hardcover, 206 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by Warner Business Books (first published September 1st 2002)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  674 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: investing
Good summary of different business models but I personally thought 23 models are way too many and many of them overlapped. It eventually falls down to 4-5 models - reselling profit, scale profit, diversified profit, early mover profit, profit multipler - The way the author structured the story - conversation between old mentor (zhao) and young guy (steve) made it easy to understand but was distracting.

- "switchboard profit model" reminds me of power of network effect in the business
Maciek Wilczyński
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Storytelling concept in business books is not something I'm hyped about - it looks more like content filler to something you can present on slides (actually, this is where I've met Slywotzky's concepts for the 1st time).
Some of the 23 models were repetitive and provided limited value as they had some minor differences between each other.
What I really liked, was the "literature list" and case studies of Ovitz (need to read more about the guy), Walton, P&G or Barbie.
Sep 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
An easy read, but the lessons aren't far-fetched or mind blowing. Decent read since you can finish it in one sitting, but don't expect lightning in a bottle.
Scott Wozniak
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Solid fable on the ways that companies make profit--what they do better/differently than their competitors. A mentor teaches 23 different systems for making profit, from old school models like economies of scale (the bigger you are the cheaper it is to make your product) to the support system (win the market with a low cost, basic good and then own the only game for selling the high margin peripherals to that main item).

It's a short book, and well written (just enough story to keep it interesti
Rao Kasibhotla
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the essence of the book. As a product manager, I always look for different perspectives on understanding product lifecycle. This one surely rates as a must because of its view on product purely from profitability POV.

I am not sure about this whole fable style. I thought it was silly and took too much space away from real subject. It has things like "his mind tightened".

Lastly, the book nearly needs an update. In the age of "lean startup" and internet, a book talking about "VCRs and F
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
A quick-read. I'm no businessman, but i am a man that has just recently started a business. This book was a short intro into the business thinking and i think it does just that. The writer has included many interesting references, so as a starter is not a bad book.
That said, i didn't do any of the assignments, i read it in a day -although the writer insisted on week-long intervals between sessions- i didn't think about the issues it raised much, and i don't know much about business.
All-in-all, i
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Patterns for business development

One of the best books I've read delivering inspiration for business development and strategy discussions. I am sure I will return to it many times. Plus, it comes with a lot of recommendations on further reading.
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This has to be re-read over and over to learn from it every single time.

Slywotzky highlights the the most-known models of profit that, as he claims, no successful business got out of it. Those are 23 profit models each in a chapter.

The book is more as financial classes disguised as novel. The story keeps you can't get your eyes out of the screen (it's not easy to find the paperback).

The books is less than 200 pages as I assumed I would finish it on my weekend but took a whole month to write n
Mustafa Shaqdih
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Since i wanted to take the author’s advice by going slowly through the book, it took me almost 4 months to finish it as I was trying to observe all ideas, And read as much as i can from the other readings that were mentioned through the models.
In my opinion 23 models were too much, there were models almost the same with a very small difference between them so i thought it would be better to combine them to avoid the confusion, however, I can say I learned many great and new lessons and ideas.
Joe Conley
Apr 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting review of different profit models. The narrative is light enough not to really get in the way. Was kind of hoping for a bigger payoff or grand conclusion at the end, but otherwise pretty quick and interesting read. If you're just looking for general business ideas you can probably quickly skim, however if you have specific challenges or questions probably best to "play along" with the protagonist and go through all of the exercises and homework he does.

Great list of book references t
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
the summary for this fabulous is that there are many ways to make profit and it is unlikely that your business does all of them. People will pay different prices for the same thing in different situations Good profit models are easy to brainstorm and hard to execute. YESSS I would recommend this book.
Omar Alshaker
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it
It’s not a generalist book by any means. It’s for those who are running a business and facing profitability challenges. If you’re just curious this book isn’t for you. And the back and forth conversational style didn’t go well with me, too much wasted time in making it interesting, if I didn’t find it such, I wouldn’t have bought it.
Jorge Fonseca
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not your typical business book, it's written as a tale, a story, very easy read.

The concepts thought in the book are interesting but I feel that some of the business models could be the same.

Non the less, it's a good book.
Adam Ashton
May 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Some interesting ideas in here and some new things I hadn’t really read before, but the format didn’t allow for any depth or thorough explanations. Some nice high-level ideas but perhaps lacking real-world-applicable substance
Maxim Nikonov
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: finance
Didn’t finish, stopped at the middle. Lots of unrelated information, trying to present this book as a story( unsuccessfully imo). Very superficial diving in to the actual subject of a profitability.
Gabriel Adamante
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Genius. Genius. Genius.
I look this book.
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Simple yet elegant book.

Whatever you pay for it, this excellent guideline will surely create the value you spent on the book.

Awesome and simple read.
Abhishek Kumar
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: must-read, economy
It's an underrated book on business models with a memorable writing style.
Nikolay Theosom
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
always wanted one of those. it is probably shallow for a professional, but it's a neat catalogue. also, generated a pretty generous reading list
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read for all entrepreneurs. Once you read it, you will know way

I like it, and I recommend it to all people trying to increase profits or expand a business
All you need to know about the different revenue models and how to profit off of them
Ahmed Bin Madhi أحمد بن ماضي

This 160 pages book makes for a very interesting and enjoyable reading.

The book's main premise is that Profit works in highly definable pathways that can be analyzed, modeled and reconstructed. The author does an excellent job in defining and describing various profit models.

The book is uniquely structured as a story in the narrative, chronicling the tutoring sessions taking place between two fictional characters: Steve, a young strategic planning specialist working for a diversified conglomer
Alberto Lopez
Feb 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book was sooooo slow that I struggled to catch its main points. I found myself constantly having to go back because its tediously slow fable-style made it impossible to discern what was important and what was just a filler. Since I found the subject potentially interesting nonetheless, I will try to read the author's other books on the subject with the hope that the terrible nature of this one is an abnormality. My suggestion to you is to skip this book at less that you are an ambitious fiv ...more
May 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: financeinvesting
I enjoyed it a lot. The main idea is to look at the circumstances which drive profitability or which differentiate profitable ventures from unprofitable ones.

Probably the most basic idea about profit is that products which enjoy a monopoly or limited competition are generally more profitable than those which have strong competition. The trick is to go beyond that and look at profitability in a more sophisticated way.

One criticism you could level at the book is that the "23 profit models" do not
Tony Canas
This is a wonderful little business fable in the style of "Who Moved My Cheese" and "Five Disfunctions of a team" which tells the story of a young man and an old man. The mentorship relationship that develops between them helps the reader understand step by step 23 different ways in which a company can create profitability. The story is very enjoyable and can teach you a lot. My favorite part is that even though the story is fictional the examples used are real and the student gets homework each ...more
Dec 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
Even although I had the audiobook version of this book, i found it very hard ti complete this book. - even bad books can sometimes be listened to passively on audio and ultimately completed, however I found the non-fiction story style of teaching business models very boring, hard to follow and a bit pointless as its hard to take seriously. Maybe its just the way I prefer to learn, but it came to a point midway through this book I found myself absolutely forgetting whats going on or even remember ...more
Abdullah Alzahim
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-summary
Reading Soundview's summary of the book, the fable is about Zhao, the mentor, and Gardner, the mentee. Zhao teaches Gardner the art of profitability in an informal way by starting with the old-fashioned business models to eventually the newest ones; this is the methodology used by Zhao and noticed by Gardner in the end.

Although the author presented 23 business models, most of them have subtle nuances. Overall, I found out that there are 4 major business models, namely:

1. customer solution profi
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Art of Profitability" uses the same novel approach as "The Guy Who Fired His Boss" & "Lost and Found", two books which I read earlier, except that the delivery style is reminiscent of Gu Long, the late Taiwanese Wuxia novelist, who had a habit of not explaining everything explicitly in his novels.

This is good in the sense that it leaves you to ponder over the concepts and draw (quite literally) your own conclusions. On the flip side, sometimes there is too much backstory going on for its o
There are some profitability/entrepreneurship/business/selfhelp books that are so bad I can’t believe people actually praise them and recommend them as holy bodies of truth. All they offer is some basic Econ 101 concept - the basics of creating a competitive advantage, Michal porter’s cost/differentiation strategies, price discrimination – in a mitigated way. These “entrepreneurs” are the same people who advocate that university won’t give you a proper education. One economics class would have s ...more
Ben Donahower
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
I understand what the author was trying to do by making this book ultimately a conversation with a mentor and a student of his who was frustrated in a company that didn't understand the art of profitability. It made for an interesting read but also for a book that left me feeling like I wasn't using my time most effectively. The author presents 23 business models that you might incorporate into a business. The fictitious or generic examples reinforce the point. I learned something but also found ...more
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Adrian J. Slywotzky (born in 1951) is a consultant and author of several books on economic theory and management. Slywotzky graduated from Harvard College and holds a JD from Harvard Law School and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He has worked as a consultant since 1979 and is currently a partner at Oliver Wyman.
Slywotzky wrote several books on profitability and growth, namely the bestselling

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