September 23, 2014

Dig Into The Strategy Book

The Strategy BookAttention all business owners and marketers!  It’s planning season!  For some of you this is a glorious time of thinking about the future, creating new opportunities and looking for new possibilities to grow your business.  And for others, it’s a time where you will do ANYTHING to avoid the process of thinking strategically about your business.

You will make doctors appointments, get root canals, go shopping for holiday presents and perhaps even decide to get a head start on your taxes – just so you don’t have to think about next year’s strategy.

Read The Strategy Book

Regardless of which group of business owner or marketer you fall into, you’ll want to read Max McKeown’s, The Strategy Book.  I received a review copy from Max after he read one of my reviews.  And I’m so glad I took him up on his offer to send it to me.

The first thing I noticed when I opened the book was the slew of smartly written accolades from a variety of folks that span a wide variety of industries and disciplines – one even came from a military strategist!  I’m not one to be swayed by the testimonials I see in a book because so many of them are rather general and just say that the book is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  But the testimonials and recommendations from The Strategy Book are very specific.  So much so, that they almost read like the menu at a gourmet restaurant.  I couldn’t wait to see what these folks were talking about.

You’ll Start Thinking Strategically From Page One

McKeown hits on the biggest issue that surrounds strategy – no one really knows what it is or how it works.  If we did – he probably wouldn’t need to write such a comprehensive book that simplifies that topic in a way that is accessible and practical for readers at any level or business education and experience.

It’s clear that the focus of The Strategy Book is on the reader and your ability to apply the principles.  McKeown accomplishes this in three practical and important ways;

  1. The organization of the book.  There are six parts to the book.  The first five address specific challenges that leaders face when it’s time to think strategically and create strategies and the last part is chock full of practical tools.
  2. The language.  I always judge how much someone knows about a complex topic by the simplicity of the language they use to explain it.  I find that those who speak freely and easily using simple language and effortless analogies are far more knowledgeable and committed to transmitting the knowledge or information.  This is exactly what you’ll find with McKeown.  His language is effortless and easy to understand without losing any of the critical substance that he’s trying to get across.
  3. The tools and actions.  Rather than just throw strategic frameworks at you, McKeown (dare I say lovingly?) takes great care to outline actions, examples and provide so many tools that if you don’t find something in this book to get your strategy together you really ought to just hang it up and get a job.

So Who Is This Guy?

Max McKeown isn’t new to strategies or writing books.  He may not be a business celebrity, but he’s thought of as being a brilliant strategic thinker and works as a strategy and innovation coach for many of the most admired companies in the world.  He’s also the author of The Truth About Innovation, Unshrink and Adaptability: The Art of Winning.  McKeown is also a frequent speaker and appears on several national and international radio and television shows.

The Five W’s of The Strategy Book

  1. Who should read this?  You.  If you’re a small business owner, marketers or part of an organizational management or planning team.  This is a terrific book to pick up and ready TODAY while you are still in the stewing stages of next year’s strategy.
  2. Why you should read this book?  Because it will save you time and money and frustration.  And if that isn’t good enough, you may just uncover, discover or recover a strategy that will set you apart from the competition, get you new customers, help you keep the ones you have and make you money.
  3. How should you read this book?  Definitely read the very beginning , and then read the end.  Use the strategies.  Ooops.  I think that means read it all.  It’s not that long you should be done over a weekend.  I’d also recommend that you use this book as a foundation for planning with your team.
  4. When should you read this book?  I’d say that if your business runs on a calendar year that starts with January – now would be a good time.  I’d also recommend keeping it on your shelf as new opportunities arise for your business.
  5. Where should you read this book?  Anywhere you like.  The first time, I kept it on my nightstand and got through it over a weekend.  I’m keeping it close at hand on a bookshelf.  The hard copy is great because I can flip around back and forth.

Max McKeown really hit the nail on the head with The Strategy Book.  You’ll find it easy to read and fun to implement in your own business.  If you’re part of a mastermind group or management team, you’ll want to go through the process together and see what new strategies you take on for next year.

The Strategy Book is printed by Pearson Books and is part of a series that also includes The Management Book  and The Leadership Book.   For more information about Max McKeown, check out his web site and follow him on Twitter @MaxMcKeown.

3 Comments ▼

Ivana Taylor - Book Editor


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is Book Editor for Small Business Trends and publisher of DIYMarketers , where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is the President of Third Force, Inc., a marketing firm that specializes in getting your ideal customer to choose you. Ivana is the book editor for Small Business Trends and co-author of the book "Excel for Marketing Managers."

3 Reactions

  1. Ivana, this looks like a worthwhile book that a lot of business owners could use. Planning and strategy is hard work. But you know what’s harder? Dealing with a failing business that doesn’t have a good strategy and where the management team doesn’t have a clear idea of where they are headed or why or how to get there. Thanks for this review.

    – Anita

  2. Hi Ivana – really appreciate your review of The Strategy Book. I wrote it after a particularly long week most of which was spent with entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, and some of which was spent with MBA students.

    They all wanted to understand strategy, but not strategy as an academic text book or as a big dead document. They wanted real world strategy that would really help them to shape the future. And so that’s what I set out to write.

    It’s been great sharing the power of what we know about finding the best, smartest route between available means and desirable ends. People with small businesses, people at the top of huge corporations, people running field hospitals in developing nations, so many have written to share how they have achieved more good by becoming better at strategic thinking and action.

    Thanks again, Max

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