Sunday, 25 April 2010

Certain to Win

I've mentioned the book Certain to Win by Chet Richards before on here, and as I've just got done reading it for the second time I wanted to do a proper review.

Although consultancy is something I've done on and off throughout my professional career up to now, strategy had eluded me. I could be strategic and I like to think I could use strategy, but it was in an instinctive haphazard way.

I resolved to fix this and Certain to Win (C2W from here on in) was one of the first books that was recommended to me. I read it, I got some of it, and I put it down and moved on to other things. Having gone back to it I'm acutely aware of how little I understood the first time round.

C2W was my introduction to concepts like the OODA loop, and the idea that it is speed and accuracy that makes the difference. Both of which are pretty hard concepts to wrap your head around as a newbie, but which will both give you a mechanism through which to consider your ideas and their effectiveness.

It also doesnt fall into the trap of being over long, or focussed on too many case studies. Instead the emphasis is on a very small sample, Southwest Airlines, IBM and the Honda - Yamaha war being the main examples used. By keeping it small and focussed the book remains interesting and punchy throughout, and the author isnt forced to repeat himself to emphasise small details. Hence why this book is so re-readable. You will miss things the first time through.

What is repeated are the core concepts, which occasionally makes this like reading a text book, but then I wouldnt recommend this book to anyone who isnt interested in learning.

Overall an excellent book and one I think its worth having on your shelves if you're interested in strategy.

On a related note, I honestly can't overstate the importance of reading, particularly books like this. Its why I do book reviews on here, because none of us is able to experience every situation, nor come up with every solution to every problem. Chances are no idea you'll ever come up with is utterly original, but you can come up with unique and interesting derivations.

As Gary Player said, "The harder you work, the luckier you get".


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