The essential complement to the pathbreaking book "Competitive Strategy", Michael E. Porter's "Competitive Advantage" explores the underpinnings of competitive advantage in the individual firm. With over 30 printings in English and translated into thirteen languages, this second volume in Porter's landmark trilogy describes how a firm actually gains an advantage over its rivals. "Competitive Advantage" introduces a whole new way of understanding what a firm does. Porter's groundbreaking concept of the value chain disaggregates a company into "activities", or the discreet functions or processes that represent the elemental building blocks of competitive advantage.
Now an essential part of international business thinking, "Competitive Advantage" takes strategy from broad vision to an internally consistent configuration of activities. Its powerful framework provides the tools to understand the drivers of cost and a company's relative cost position. Porter's value chain enables managers to isolate the underlying sources of buyer value that will command a premium price, and the reasons why one product or service substitutes for another. He shows how competitive advantage lies not only in activities themselves but in the way activities relate to each other, to supplier activities, and to customer activities. "Competitive Advantage" also provides for the first time the tools to strategically segment an industry and rigorously assess the competitive logic of diversification.
That the phrases "competitive advantage" and "sustainable competitive advantage" have become commonplace is testimony to the power of Porter's ideas. "Competitive Advantage" has guided countless companies, business school students, and scholars in understanding the roots of competition. Porter's work captures the extraordinary complexity of competition in a way that makes strategy both concrete and actionable.
NEWS & OPINION: Business Book Humiliations
Posted August 3, 2010, 1:43 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
Penguin's Portfolio imprint specializes in business books, and their Portfolio Javelin blog ("Business, Business Books, and the Business of Books") is a great read for any of us business book geeks. Yesterday, Will Weisser, Vice President and Associate Editor of Portfolio, wrote an entry inspired by a post in the Guardian's blog in which the author, Robert McCrum, confessed, despite his education and exposure to great books, that he had never read Middlemarch by George Eliot (if you too have not read Middlemarch, I highly recommend remedying that this summer--it's one of my favorites. ) McCrum then invites readers to share their book humiliations by listing the books that they regret never having read.
NEWS & OPINION: Feeling Down?
Posted December 17, 2008, 10:48 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
Let Charlie Rose and Competitive Advantage author Michael Porter cheer you up some. As Charlie notes at the beginning of the interview, The Times of London has called Porter the "Most important business thinker in the world. " Also mentioned in the interview is his feature article for BusinessWeek last month, Why America Needs an Economic Strategy.
NEWS & OPINION: The Best Books OF ALL TIME! - The Independent Edition
Posted December 16, 2008, 3:52 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
Jack and Todd will soon have the definitive list of the best business books of all time published, but, in the meantime, here is what The Independent's Sean O'Grady has to say on the matter. He chooses from both "timeless classics [and] the latest crop of credit crunch chronicles. " It's an interesting list because it's from a newspaper that leans to the left side of the British political spectrum, providing a perspective from the side of the aisle that doesn't speak up on business books as often.
NEWS & OPINION: Forbes' 20 Most Influential Business Books
Posted April 21, 2006, 1:52 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
In the Forbes' article that Tom referred to yesterday, the writer Dan Ackman pointed to a list of business books the magazine put together in 2002. Forbes calls these The 20 Most Influential Business Books. As you look down the panel experts, you'll notice our own Jack Covert was among those called to contribute.
NEWS & OPINION: Biz Books from B-Schools - Part II
Posted April 29, 2004, 8:18 PM with category of Management & Workplace Culture
When I told Jack about the series, he proudly pointed me to the same exercise BusinessWeek did in 2000. The panel then was a combination of practioners and professors. Along with Mr.