Michael E. Porter is a Harvard Business School professor and a leading authority on competition. This book consists of three parts - Competition and Strategy: Core Concepts, The Competitiveness of Locations, and Competitive Solutions to Societal Problems - and each of these parts consists of 4-to-5 Harvard Business Review articles which were published between 1979 and 1998. "The study of competition, in its full richness, has preoccupied me for two decades."
In Part I, the five HBR articles outline Porter's strategic concepts. "I have sought to capture the complexity of what actually happens in companies and industries in a way that both advances theory and brings theory to life for practitioners. My goal has been to develop both rigorous and useful frameworks for understanding competition that effectively bridge the gap between theory and practice." In the 1979-article 'How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy', Porter introduces the monumental five competitive forces (from existing competitors, new entrants, customers, suppliers, substitution). This article has had an extensive impact on the field of strategy and is still a starting point for strategic management at any MBA-course. 'What is Strategy?' was published in 1996 and is, in my opinion, a reply to all the critics of his frameworks and models. The 1985-article 'How Information Gives You Competitive Advantage', Porter and co-author Victor Millar write how information technology influences competition. The current impact of Internet and e-commerce provide excellent examples for this article. In the 1993-article 'End-Game Strategies for Declining Industries', Porter lines up with Kathryn Rudie Harrigan to discuss the last stage/final phase of a industry. This articles is largely based on Harrigan's 1980 book 'Strategies for Declining Businesses' and is a chapter in Porter's 1980-book 'Competitive Strategy'. Part I is finalised with the magnificent 'From Competitive Advantage to Corporate Strategy'. This article is truly a classic and discusses the radical rethinking of corporate strategy. "Corporate strategy is what makes the corporate whole add up to more than the sum of its business parts." This article is the basis of his book 'Competitive Advantage'.
In Part II, Porter kicks off with 'The Competitive Advantage of Nartions', which is also one of the titles of his books. In this 1990-article Porter argues that in a world of increasingly global competition, nations have become more, not less, important. In 'Clusters and Competition' (1998), Porter expands on the theme and discusses the new economics of competition - clusters. "A Cluster is a geographically proximate group of interconnected companies and associated institutions in particular fields, linked by commonalities and complementarities." Examples are the Italian fashion industry, the California Wine cluster, Silicon Valley's venture capital industry, and Massachusetts IT industry. In the next article, 'How Global Companies Win Out' (1992), Porter, Thomas Hout and Eileen Rudden discuss what a global industry is and how global companies can win out. In the next article, 'Competing Across Locations' (1995), returns on this subject and provides additional insights on global strategy, including a general framework.
Part III includes the latest works of Porter. Porter discusses environmental regulation and competition ('Green and Competitive', 1995), with a great case study of the Dutch flower industry, and the impact of these regulations on competition and industries. In the next article ('The Competitive Advantage of the Inner City', 1995), Porter introduces the economic distress of America's inner cities, whereby "the real need - and the real opportunity - is to create wealth" . In the 1990s, Porter also turned more towards government institutions. He discusses the American health care ('Making Competition in Health Care Work', 1994) and, the according to Porter, America's failing capital investment system ('Capital Disadvantage', 1992).
The advantage of this book is that it provides the a quick insight into the ideas and essential points of Porter's books 'Competitive Strategy', 'Competitive Advantage', and 'Competitive Advantage of Nations'. Part I and Part II are now essentials in the field of strategy and competition with fantastic frameworks and models. Part III are Porter's latest articles and discuss the connection between social issues and competition. A great book that is good to read (simple US-English).