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Adaptability: The Art of Winning In An Age of Uncertainty [Audiobook] [Paperback]

Max McKeown
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 April 2012
Adaptability is the key human trait. The ability to adapt faster and smarter than the situation is what makes the powerful difference between adapting to cope and adapting to win. Our history is a story of adaptation and change. And in this time of brutal competition and economic uncertainty, it has never been more important to understand how to adapt successfully. In a series of powerful rules, Max McKeown explores how to increase the adaptability of you and your organization to create winning positions. Fascinating real-world examples from business, government, the military and sport bring the rules of adaptability to life - from the world s most innovative corporations to street-level creativity emerging from the slums. Adaptability is a powerful, practical and inspirational guide to success in uncertain times.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Kogan Page (3 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749465247
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749465247
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 15.9 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 496,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Max Mckeown is the author of The Strategy Book, winner of the Commuter Read at the Chartered Management Institute Book of the Year 2013 and Amazon's Best Business Books of 2012. He is also author of The Innovation Book, Adaptability: The Art of Winning in an Age of Uncertainty, and four other books. He works as a strategic coach with Fortune 100 companies and is also a popular keynote speaker at conferences worldwide.

Product Description


"This is a book of our times and the call for adaptability could not be clearer or more urgent. Whether we can respond with clarity and purposefulness is up to us but Mckeown's book gives many clues and clear and helpful examples of those who have succeeded (and failed) to do exactly that. I came away from reading this with a sense of both urgency and hopefulness; and without doubt a more certain view that I can, and must, create more opportunities at work to adapt to the enormous changes facing our industry and economy. I love the idea of 'learning fast'!" (George Kelsey, Chief of Innovation at The Royal Bank of Scotland Group)

Book Description

Adaptability tells you all you need to know about the art of strategy in a series of powerful survival rules. Real-world examples from the top 50 brands bring the rules to life.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond "adapt or die" 28 Jun 2012
By Robert Morris TOP 100 REVIEWER
"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change." Charles Darwin

Max Mckeown presents his material within a three-part framework that focuses on these strategic objectives: How to recognize the need to adapt? (Chapters 1-6), How to understand necessary adaptation? (Chapters 12-17), and How to adapt as necessary? (Chapters 12-17). As Abraham Maslow suggests with his "Hierarchy of Needs" (usually portrayed in the form of a pyramid), man must first survive before giving thought to security; and only when secure can man consider "self-actualization" (i.e. personal fulfillment). Mckeown's primary objective in this book is to help his reader to understand when, how, and why to adapt "faster and smarter than the [given] situation changes." He accepts Darwin's concept of natural selection but asserts, "Adapt or die is not the only choice. In the future, you can try to maintain what you already have, or you can attempt to transcend the constraints of your situation. We're part of a long chain of adaptive moves. Each move has changed the circumstances of our ancestors, until we arrived." How to learn how to adapt?

In response to that question, Mckeown provides an abundance of information, insights, and counsel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Just finished reading adaptabiility by Max Mckeown and have to say that I really enjoyed it. The book is about the importance of adaptation for organisations, and how successful ones go about it. The author makes his case very strongly using examples drawn from politics, businesses, the army, and the animal kingdom to name a few.

The book is divided into three parts:

1) Recognizing the need to adapt
2) Understand necessary adaptation
3) Adapt as necessary

The first section outlines why we need to adapt and what indicators tell us that it is time to adapt. There are chapters with titles such as `All failure is failure to adapt' and `Stupid survives until smart succeeds'. I found these chapters really worked, bringing together some things I already knew but never previously connected.

After making his case the author goes on to explain how we should go about adaptation. He offers us a set of guidelines on how we should set up our organisations and how the leaders of these organisations should think and act.

All round this is a great book filled with compelling arguments. I would definitely recommend you to read it regardless of the size of organisation you work in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strategic explanation of winning by adapting 18 Sep 2012
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Organizational success and failure can be reduced to one thing, or so argues management consultant Max McKeown in his scientific and cultural look at adaptability around the globe and through the ages. If groups can't change and adapt appropriately, they can't succeed. McKeown offers case studies from companies you know, such as Starbucks, providing insight into familiar story lines. Some of his other examples aren't as famous but are just as compelling: He looks at civil war in Liberia, computer game development and Italian bureaucracy to flesh out his 17 rules (which would be just as good without those few swear words) for adapting and, thus, succeeding. McKeown's rules are eye-catching, but they don't always connect smoothly to the stories or to a plan of action. As such, some of the book works better as a history of adaptability than as a manual for acquiring that skill. Still, an eager reader can tease out techniques and ideas for becoming more adaptable, and McKeown offers warm, inspirational tales that provide general road maps for successful adaptation. getAbstract believes leaders of companies small or large looking to motivate their employees or themselves will find value here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Change the game 24 Jun 2012
By Jonathan Gifford VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
'All failure is a failure to adapt', says McKeown in his introduction to this book.

In the living world, if a species doesn't adapt to its environment, it dies and its precise genetic make-up leaves the gene pool. Organisms that evolve through chance mutation or through the evolutionary selection of existing advantageous adaptations manage to survive to reproduce another day. But, as McKeown points out, human beings have managed to add another layer of adaptation to the brute business of genetic inheritance. McKeown characterises these mechanisms as culture, science and technology: we learn and pass on tricks that help to us adapt to changing circumstances, regardless of our genetic make-up.

McKeown's introduction to 'Rule 1' (Play your own Game) says it all: 'If you are getting whipped playing by the existing rules, get used to losing or change the game. If you can't win by standing and fighting then run and hide. If you can't win by being big, be small. If you can't win by being small, be big. The first rule of winning is that there is no one way to win.' Organisations - especially corporations - need to remind themselves of this vital need for constant adaptation, argues McKeown. As another of his proposed rules for survival nicely puts it, `Stability is a dangerous illusion.' Or, as he quotes IBM CEO Virginia Rometty as saying: 'You may be only one mistake away from irrelevance.'

The problem is that most organisations are inherently conservative; they don't just resist change, they actively fight against it. McKeown offers three fundamental steps for survival that form the structure of this book: recognise the need for adaptation; understand what adaption is required; do what is necessary to adapt.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Hopefully the next book will be better
Max McKeown writes: the point is not to learn to fail, but to learn what works from failure.
I was really looking forward to this book as I feel the author has identifed what... Read more
Published on 28 May 2012 by Andy Green
4.0 out of 5 stars Beyond "Adapt of Die"
I read a ton of business books and most are either lacking in substance or lacking in steps to go from point A to point B. Read more
Published on 21 May 2012 by Kris Vockler
5.0 out of 5 stars Adaptability
Adaptability. Very appropriate in our current, tough economic times. Extremely readable and thoroughly thought-provoking. Educational, enjoyable and engaging. Read it now!
Published on 10 May 2012 by Sarah
4.0 out of 5 stars Examples lead us through the principles of Adaptability
This is a very useful extension of the thinking on Adaptation in a variety of fields. The Author's search for and explanation of examples of adaptability, or the lack of it... Read more
Published on 8 May 2012 by Ian Machan
5.0 out of 5 stars Adapt your reading and grab this book or be left behind
This book is a book of the times. The need for adaptability in today's world has become prominently obvious through Mckeown's fantastically easy-to-read and explanatory book. Read more
Published on 11 April 2012 by Mr. R. Kimachia
5.0 out of 5 stars revealing and inspiring, a must read for those who want to succeed
After skipping the introduction I quickly became engrossed, whenever i found 5 minutes i would pick it up and read one more rule, one more rule that would widen my view of how to... Read more
Published on 10 April 2012 by Eddie
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, I like this book
This book remains honest and concise through the channels of reality (which I find with some books is completely delineated) - making this book very refreshing. Read more
Published on 10 April 2012 by Judy Ruskin
5.0 out of 5 stars Wise and real. Tough and clear. Profound and relevant
know my bias: I don't like to read pretencious books in which the authors seek to over-impress their readers by making complex and unnecessary terms out of their own confusion. Read more
Published on 3 April 2012 by Cesar Malacon
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