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Competition Demystified: A Radically Simplified Approach to Business Strategy (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 28. August 2007

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  • Taschenbuch: 416 Seiten
  • Verlag: Portfolio; Auflage: Reprint (28. August 2007)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 1591841801
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591841807
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,9 x 2,3 x 21,4 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 31.051 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Presents a theory of competition that challenges the methods of Michael Porter's Competitive Strategy, arguing that a competitor's ease in entering or expanding in a given market is the only essential factor in determining advantage, in a guide that also provides a range of examples and application lessons. Reprint. 30,000 first printing.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Bruce Greenwald is the Robert Heilbrun Professor of Economics at Columbia University Business School, where his class on strategy draws standing-room-only crowds.

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0 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Tradingmonk am 7. November 2013
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Great book from Prof. Greenwald. It opened my mind about where competitive advantages come from. It also tells what companies need it they do not have competitive advantages.
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28 von 28 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Excellent Text for an Investor Assessing Strategy 5. September 2005
Von John A Chew - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is an excellent text for investors wishing to develop their "circle of competence." Analysts often focus on the next earnings report but the most inefficient area of investing and hence the greatest rewards are what will be the value of a company in three to five to ten years. Throw out Beta and your Capital Asset Pricing Model and develop your valuation from a strategic perspective.

Does the company (your potential investment) benefit from barriers to entry? If it does, then what is the source of those competitive advantages: proprietary technical advantage, customer captivity and/or economies of scale? Does your company operate in an industry with market share stability, and does it have high returns on capital to confirm a competitive advantage like Coke and Pepsi in the Soft Drink Industry? If more than one company has a competitive advantage then how do they interact within their industry? If a company does not benefit from incumbent competitive advantages, then is management focused and running their business efficiently?

My point is not to summarize the book but to show the systematic analytical approach used. The authors go through numerous case studies and examples from the perspective of game theory, local economies of scale, branding, M&A, cooperation amongst competitors, competitive interactions, entry strategies and incumbent responses. The key is that you learn a process and approach to understand an industry and the interaction of competitors within that industry. Hence, you will expand your ability to grasp whether a potential investment has sustainable competitive advantages. As Mr. Buffett has often said, "How deep and wide is the moat around your castle?" Don't invest before you can answer that question. If you can't, then walk on by.

I recommend reading Michael Porter's books on strategy but I find this book superior in its clarity and focused approach. The book is almost 400 pages long and to absorb what the authors are imparting will take several careful readings. Strategic analysis even if simplified is not easy. It is more of an art than a science, but then why would the rewards be so great if the analysis doesn't take diligent effort?

By way of disclosure I have audited Professor Greenwald's-standing room only-- classes at Columbia University though I have never met him. He is a remarkably clear and entertainingly effective lecturer who uses recent business cases and events to illuminate his points. Though I am not a big fan of the typical MBA program which reminds me of the "Flat-Earth Society" instructing budding geographers-Beta and the other financial theories make no rational sense-Professor Greenwald's teachings have value. Investors can benefit if they learn how to assess the barriers to entry applicable to their companies.
22 von 23 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Much Is Great, Parts Are Questionable 7. September 2005
Von Ty Rockwell - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is wonderful on the basics of competition and market analysis - especially on the role of barriers to entry. Most of the case analyses are strong. For this discussion alone, I would recommend the book to anyone in business. Some of the prescriptive advice/analysis on cooperating with competitors is puzzling. For example, at points it seems the authors believe that collusive agreements between competitors will not reduce innovation. That is hard to swallow. Everyone knows that without a real competitive incentive, R&D costs can and will be deferred in favor of other expenditures. Why improve the cow today, if you can milk the one you have and use the money to buy a beer? The case history on gas additives is silly. The authors admit that the FTC successfully challenged these people at least twice for illegal conduct. Why would their deals be cited as a model for anything that a law-abiding businessperson might consider doing "strategically"? It is not clear that the authors have a firm grasp of the antitrust laws (which can prohibit even "tacit" collusion) or the costs of an antitrust claim - they favor an approach to "competition" (wacking up markets) that runs very close to the line. Antitrust disclaimers are thrown in from time-to-time, but the legal limits of the suggested types of collusion are never adequately explored. Read this well-written book, but use it with caution (and a lawyer).
13 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Collusion is good 24. März 2013
Von Lance Volta - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Competition is great for consumers, but it's a nightmare for businesses. For investors, nothing beats a monopoly, and that's the guiding principle of Greenwald's book. Of course, monopolies tend to be very rare, local, and low-growth, but Greenwald's advice is to settle for the next best thing: duopolies. Duopolies are industries in which the largest competitors have agreed not to compete, or to compete on everything but price. Pepsi and Coke, Polaroid and Kodak, these are also examples of effective price makers. Greenwald shows that these companies, probably understood, are the equivalent of monopolies.

The biggest shortcoming is that the chosen case studies are so well known and trite. The story of Coke and Pepsi is so familiar, what's the point of telling it again? If you regularly read Forbes of Fortune magazine, little in this book will be new information. Second, the author never peers below the surface or offers any counterintuitive examples. Are there examples of duopolies or competitive moats that at first don't seem very formidable? For those with more experience in the strategy literature, going back over familiar terrain might be a slog.

More broadly, Mr. Greenwald's advice - avoid competition - is too pat; the vast majority of businesses exist in the continuum between monopoly and pure competition. Where are the hidden monopolies? Can superior execution be a sustainable advantage? The case histories are stylized and the lessons drawn are too superficial.
25 von 31 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Interesting Insights, Flawed Conclusions! 12. Januar 2006
Von George Bush - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Greenwald lays out what he calls a simplified theory of competitive strategy," followed by analyses of a number of real-life situations. While the theory usually makes sense, Greenwald's application is not always as compelling.

"Competition Demystified" begins by observing that for at least the last half century, strategy has been a major focus of management concern. Sometimes enormous consequences flow from decisions not even thought to be strategic - eg. IBM's outsourcing creation of its PC operating system and CPU manufacturing. Regardless, effective strategy is central to business success.

Greenwald says that the first issue is selecting the arena of competition, and the second involves management of external agents. Barriers to entry is the area one should focus on first, and primarily in these analyses. If there are no barriers many strategic concerns can be ignored - the only option is to focus on being as efficient and effective as possible.

Greenwald believes that competitive advantages that lead to market dominance are much more likely to be found in a local arena (either geographic or product space). Further, there are only three kinds of genuine competitive advantage: supply (privileged access, proprietary technology protected by patents or experience), demand (eg. psychological or actual costs of switching - includes branding, loyalty programs, laborious setup and coordination issues), and scale economics.

An elephant (vs. ants) with a competitive advantage has as its priority to sustain what it has, and must recognize the sources and limits of its competitive advantages. Alternatively, companies with a competitive advantage may have potent competitors (eg. Coke - Pepsi, Boeing - Airbus). In this situation strategy formulation is most intense and demanding. They need to know what those competitors are doing and anticipate reactions to moves the company might make.

A common managerial axiom is to avoid commodity businesses - differentiate. However, Greenwald says that this doesn't work - Mercedes and Cadillac are clearly differentiated products, but their high original returns attracted new entrants (Lexus, BMW, Accura) and they now earn only average returns. (Another alternative is for existing competitors - eg. Lincoln - to expand; Lincoln, however was not successful in accomplishing this.) "Competitive Demystified" also notes that over-capacity, especially in a capital-intensive area - airlines, can create long-term poor profits. (This contradicts Southwest Airlines' success.)

Simple products and processes are not fertile ground for proprietary technological advantage. These are hard to patent (looks like "common sense") and easy to transfer (competitors could hire away employees). Similarly, technological advantages primarily provided by consultants or suppliers cannot be markets with substantial competitive advantages provided by technology.

The best strategy for an incumbent with economies of scale is to match the moves of an aggressive competitor - be they price cut, new product, or new frill. Any market share lost to rivals narrows the leader's edge. (Alternatively, competitive advantage based on customer captivity or cost advantages is not affected by market share loss.)

Greenwald believes that only a few industries have scale economies that coincide with global size - eg. Microsoft, Intel. Most are local. Meanwhile, growth of a market is generally the enemy of advantages based on scale.

Then, we come to application problems. My guess is that if American Airlines, etc. had tried to match Southwest's early fares in Texas (Greenwald's recommendation) they would have been found guilty of predatory practices under anti-trust laws, and severely hurt themselves economically in any case.

Greenwald comments negatively at length on Wal-Mart's decision to go national, pointing out that its financial returns fell when it did so, because its competitive advantage was mostly through local saturation, and not squeezing suppliers or superior distribution, etc. However, I cannot help but believe that if Wal-Mart had remained a regional phenomena it would not have the supplier leverage it has (Greenwald's financial review of this topic was overly superficial, at best); regardless, it would have been bought by a larger competitor (eg. K-Mart, Sears) and then probably atrophied in an alien management climate. Further, it probably would not earned sufficient funds to develop its computerized management systems for store replenishment and inventory control.

In Wal-Mart's case Greenwald forgot a basic rule of economics - maximum profits are reached by expanding until marginal revenues meet marginal costs. In addition, my understanding of the stock market is that maximum share price is attained through strong, steady profit growth (even if incurred at declining rates).

Other analyses within the book can be similarly attacked. My conclusion is that strategic planning is MORE complicated than Greenwald tries to make it out to be. Nonetheless, his book does provide useful background.
5 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A fresh, clear, practical, and compelling approach to understanding the substance of Corporate Strategy 20. Mai 2008
Von Craig Matteson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Taschenbuch
Every business student studies Corporate Strategy at one point or another. There are a huge number of books, articles, and prayers associated with this subject. Some classes become so complex that students sink from the weight of detail. Other classes are so superficial that the student walks away with what amounts to one of those tiny Swiss Army Knives with a blade, scissors, nail file, toothpick, and tweezers. Good luck with that!

If you are one of those that wants to get a handle on Corporate Strategy in a clear and usable way, this terrific book is for you. Bruce Greenwald teaches a very popular course on the subject at the Columbia Business School and offers this book to business practitioners and students alike. My own view is that he has given us a real gift. It isn't that I reject Porter, in fact I am a huge fan, but this gives us another approach to the subject and its complexities.

The book has 18 well organized chapters. If you have had a course on strategy you will recognize the topics and the progression. However, this book handles these topics in such insightful ways that you will find yourself nodding your head and seeing something familiar but for the first time. By that I mean, you will see something you already know with fresh and deeper insight so that it becomes new and more useful to you.

I also like the way Greewald (and Judd Kahn) use the examples from the business world. They aren't the typical b-school studies written to teach some key points. Sure, the stories provided here are used to illustrate specific points, but their real world complexities are shown and the ups and downs of the companies (see the story on Compaq, for example) are frankly shown. I enjoy that because too many books use the state of companies near the date of their publication to illustrate good or bad companies and managers. In fact, all companies have their ups and downs. Yes, bad executive management can destroy a company, but a company can have a great CEO and a good strategy and still have something go against them that puts real pressure on the company and its model.

The authors also use charts, tables, and graphs very effectively to make their points more clear rather than as eye candy. Too many texts insist on more graphics than necessary to hold the interest of students. For me, those books are cluttered. Here, the graphics add to the information we get from the text.

I think this is a book every business person will want on their shelf and will refer to again and again. The stories will stick in your memory and serve as exemplars or cautionary tales (or both).


Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI
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