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Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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"One of the best books on Strategy is Roger Martin and A. G. Lafley's Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works." -- TIME magazine "Winner -- Thinkers50 Best Book Award 2012 and 2013." -- Thinkers50 (thinkers50.com) "Playing to Win is a rare tale from the front lines of business and from two of its smartest minds." -- Washington Post "[Playing to Win]: How Strategy Really Works may be the best business and strategy book I've read since Michael Porter. There is plenty of practical advice, including the fact that business people often confuse a vision for a strategy. Instead, the authors claim "winning through distinctive choices is the always-and-forever job of every strategist." -- Jonathan Becher, SAP via Forbes.com Lafley and Martin have artfully combined two virtues that don't often mix: rigor and brevity. Winning strategy doesn't come from inspirational happy-talk; it comes from deeply substantive hard thinking, and they tell us how it's done, with many examples. The book is short, crisp, a pleasure to read. -- Fortune "I doubt there are two more intelligent business minds out there than Lafley and Martin. Playing to Win meets the high expectations raised by those two names, and is the best business book I've read so far this year." -- Jack Covert, 800 CEO READ "clear and effective" -- WSJ.com (Wall Street Journal) "Read their book. They, in turn, are sure to inspire you." -- Forbes.com "I hate CEO books...[but]...this book totally rocks. It's a beautiful manual...a triumph. -- Tom Keene, Bloomberg TV "This is a fascinating tale, featuring a cast of familiar brands, including Pampers, Tide and Olay, each of which went through a transformation under Mr. Lafley's eye." -- The Economist "this new offering by former Procter & Gamble CEO Lafley (coauthor of The Game-Changer) and Martin (dean of the Rotman School of Management and author of Fixing the Game) is a clear standout...This collection of insights and captivating examples about strategy is a must-read for leaders at any level in the for-profit or not-for-profit world." -- Publishers Weekly "Strategy lessons, 101... a manual for strategy practitioners." -- Financial Times "The many stories from one of the biggest consumer goods firms in the world, with its many successes (and some failures too) along with the framework of the strategy to win, make this an interesting read." -- livemint.com "a highly readable book that provides the reader with a very good understanding of the process and the real building blocks of value creation." -- Ottawa Business Journal "Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works--written by an impressive duo: former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley and Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto Roger Martin--is not just an insiders' tale of the workings of a successful global corporation. It's the story of how you can do what top brands do: Create and execute stellar strategy well. Lots of books are published about business strategy, many of them either badly written or not relevant to associations, or both. This one is an exception." -- Associations Now (ASAE: American Society of Association Executives) "interesting and thought-provoking work on business strategy" -- Business World "The best practitioner-focused strategy book I have ever read, and all the more useful for the fact it is concise, well-structured and compelling, with almost no jargon." -- Strategic Management Bureau "Unlike many management texts, which read as if written for CEOs of multi-billion-dollar businesses, these tales from the fast-moving consumer goods front are useful for acquiring, extending or defending market share at any size of company." -- The Deal: The Australian Business Magazine "I wish this book had been available to me earlier -- it would have been invaluable during my tenure at Britannia!" -- Sunil K. Alagh (Ex-CEO, Britannia Industries Ltd.) in Outlook Business "You're unlikely to find a more comprehensive guide to what strategy actually means and how to use it to your company's advantage." -- HR Magazine "As a mere student of life and an avid readers of business literature that is grounded in the practical and realistic realms, I found this (book) is a must read." -- Jonathan Yach (CEO, PropCare Mall Management) in Business World (India) "The book offers many inside stories about how P&G tackled strategy in various arenas, including examples of when it failed. That gives an even more practical flavour to this practical look at strategy, from two savvy strategy practitioners." -- The Globe & Mail "Sure to be a strategy classic. Book of the Month." -- Strategic Management Bureau "Set to become a classic text on strategy." -- Decision (Ireland) "a full vindication of P&G's strategic nous" -- Marketing Ireland "Two of today's best-known business thinkers get to the heart of strategy. The stories of how P&G repeatedly won by applying [Lafley and Martin's] method to iconic brands such as Olay, Bounty, and Gillette, clearly illustrate how deciding on a strategic approach--and then making the right choices to support it -- makes the difference between just playing the game and actually winning." -- Expert Marketer Magazine "a must-read book" -- American Express Open Forum "the book can be used by any business to help mesh everyday operations with long-term strategic objectives." -- Fort Worth Star Telegram "Playing to Win clearly elevates the discussion of strategy. It gets to the heart of what's important for a business leader." -- Business Standard "The book delivers on the title. It's a unique and nuanced view of strategy and its implementation. Highly recommended." -- Business Traveller (businesstraveller.com) "just about everyone trying to market anything these days could profit from this careful, well-done text on how to craft a strategy." -- Marketing Daily "an important addition to every decision-maker's library." -- Success magazine "Pick up the book to know how to create a triple crown: a win in China, a win in India, and a win at home; and to understand the differences and similarities between China and India." -- Business India "This valuable book is based on the two authors' years of experience working together and separately at P&G and Rotman School of Management. It is rich in examples and practical advice that show how organizations of all sizes can move beyond visions and plans to create judiciously plotted winning strategies." -- Developing Leaders ADVANCE PRAISE for Playing to Win: Daniel H. Pink, author, Drive and A Whole New Mind-- "Reading Playing to Win is like having prime seats at the Super Bowl of strategy. You'll learn the strategies consumer goods powerhouse Procter & Gamble uses to get its innovative products into millions of homes--plus tested methods for winning your own marketplace contests. If you're a marketer or a leader, you need to read this book." Sir Terry Leahy, former CEO, Tesco-- "This is the best book on strategy I have ever read. Lafley and Martin get to the heart of what's important: how to make choices in order to control events rather than allowing events to control your choices. Everyone wants to win; this book sets down with calm authority the steps you must take to turn aspiration into reality." Clayton M. Christensen, Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; author, The Innovator's Dilemma-- "Lafley and Martin teach us how to develop and then how to deploy strategy. Their recommendations apply at every level--corporation, business units, products, and teams. This is a great book." Chip Heath, coauthor, Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work-- "Most authors conduct research before they write a book. Lafley and Martin went out and did something. They used their simple, subtle framework--Where will we play? How will we win?--to double the value of one of the world's greatest businesses. And now they're showing you how to do the same. Read this book... before your competitors find it." Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO, Lego Group-- "Playing to Win is a rare combination of depth of thinking and ease of use. It clearly explains what business strategy is and isn't, and how to develop it. Lafley and Martin distill their hard-won experiences and offer insights, practical hands-on tools, and tips that will inspire and allow you to think strategically in new ways about your own business." Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO, General Electric-- "A great CEO and a renowned educator join forces to create a must-read for anyone thinking about strategy." Scott Cook, cofounder and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Intuit-- "Here is business strategy through the eyes of the man who led Procter & Gamble's stunning turnaround and success in the 2000s and the strategist who advised and worked with him. Lush with insights that show the "what" and the "how" of two master strategists." James P. Hackett, President and CEO, Steelcase Inc.-- "Lafley and Martin have invested their respective careers in understanding the complexity of strategy. What has emerged in this seminal work is a simple and rich framework that can help business leaders think through strategic choices. It is an eminently helpful guide to choice making, which is the most essential part of leadership." Jim McNerney, President, CEO, and Chairman, Boeing-- "Playing to Win is an insightful do-it-yourself guide that demystifies what it takes to craft, implement, and continuously improve effective business strategies. Using relevant, real-world examples, Lafley and Martin offer proven techniques for competing and winning in today's challenging global business environment." Thomas Tull, founder and CEO, Legendary Pictures-- "I love this book; it is thought provoking and acts as a catalyst to ask questions--about ourselves and our business life course. In a day and age when information and instant communication are relentless components of business and our lifestyle, A. G. Lafley and Roger Martin suggest we take an important pause to actually question our strategic road maps and the associated plans we need in order to succeed in this marketplace."

About the Author

A.G. Lafley has been named the new Chief Executive Officer, President, and Chairman of Procter & Gamble, where he previously served as CEO from 2000-2009. Under Lafley's leadership, P&G's sales doubled, its profits quadrupled, its market value increased by more than $100 billion, and its portfolio of billion-dollar brands--like Tide, Pampers, Olay, and Gillette--grew from 10 to 24 as a result of his focus on winning strategic choices, consumer-driven innovation, and reliable, sustainable growth. Roger Martin is Dean of the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management and an adviser to CEOs on strategy, design, innovation, and integrative thinking. In 2011, Roger was named by Thinkers50 as the sixth top management thinker in the world. This is his eighth book; he also contributes regularly to Harvard Business Review, the Financial Times, and the Washington Post, among others. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an AB in economics from Harvard College.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2549 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (5 Feb. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #29,154 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Every once in a long while you come across a thinker who has such a magnificent command of the facts, wide ranging intellectual creativity, but most of all clarity of expression that you simply think –‘of course – that’s amazing - why didn’t I think of that!’. Roger Martin is one of those thinkers who can review the world of business and strategy with intellectual rigor and convey it in such a clear, convincing way you remember his key arguments years later.

In Playing To Win, Roger Martin teams up with A.G. Lafley to explain the process of creating strategic decisions told through the story of the strategic decision making at P&G while A.G.Lafley was CEO and Roger Martin was his chief outside strategic advisor. At a time when many executives would synonymise strategy with financial planning, or creation of yearly goals, Lafley and Martin remind us that strategy boils down to two questions: ‘where to play?’ and ‘how to win?’ and then making specific choices. In Martin and Lafley’s words:

“A strategy is a coordinated and integrated set of where-to-play, how-to-win, core capability, and management system choices that uniquely meet a customer’s needs…it is only through making and acting on choices that you can win. Yes, clear, tough choices force your hand and confine you to a path. But they also free you to focus on what matters.”

In the penultimate chapter, Martin and Lafley describe in detail their techniques to think through strategic issues in a way that leads to real decisions, not rafts of analyst reports and is the only method Martin now uses. I won’t spoil what is perhaps the most valuable part of the book, but suffice to say that once I started this chapter I could not put down the book and despite a long week, read late into the night.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Playing to win. The only strategy book you'll ever need by A.G Lafley and Roger L. Martin

I am reviewing an advanced pre-publication copy of this book. I have been involved in small business and business development for years and I realise how important strategy planning is. SO I was egar to review this book.

The scope of the book.

This book is written by two heavyweights in the strategy field so it's worth paying attention to them as they have used, defined and refined business strategy systems all their careers - Google them to see a huge business pedigree.
Structure and approach.

The book starts off by explaining what strategy is and how different businesses interpret it. This is very useful reading for any business student or business person looking to modify or change strategy and who wants or needs the basics again. The book looks largely at Procter and Gamble and how they have used strategy to compete in a global market place. To me it made very interesting reading and it is obvious by adopting a strategy led approach they are still going today.

Finer detail.

Each chapter reads much like a book on gambling but I suppose torn down to its basics all strategy is a gamble but with a lot of research, planning and decision making built-in. The chapters develop the various parts of the strategy equation and I personally found the explanations excellent and very useful. There are a few diagrams and tables used to highlight how to reduce risk and maximise reward.

Is this book the only book on strategy you will ever need ?

It depends on how much and how far you want to go with strategy. If you want a no holds barred grounding then this book will give it to you. If you want highly detailed development you will probably need more input and case studies. But as a standalone text this is as good as it gets.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is strategy meets organisational change. It converges on the transformation journey of Procter & Gamble over ten years. They wrestle with principles and practice of strategy. Navigating the temporary and the timeless with wisdom and impact. The authors discuss that although many good strategic choices were made, the company also had its share of disappointments and failures. And also vitally earth it in the truth-telling that in business:-"no strategy lasts forever".

According to the authors, strategy is the answer to five interrelated questions: (1) What is your winning aspiration? (2) Where will you play? (3) How will you win? (4) What capabilities must be in place? and (5) What management systems are required? In chapters 2 through 6 of this book, the authors explain the nature of the choices to be made, provide a number of examples of each choice, and offer advice for making the choice given a context. These five choices comprise the "strategic choice cascade", the foundation of their strategy work. Organizations of all kinds, esp. individuals would further unlock value by identifying the choices outlined in this readable volume. Decent stuff!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book as it makes a few points about strategy very well. Clearly, the authors have significant experience and insight as to where brands need to play and how to win when they get there. These insights, in my opinion, are relevant to all managers wanting to alter and simplify their strategy culture. The authors experience with Proctor & Gamble is used to validate the usefulness of their simple process.

Having worked for Unilever myself (way, way back in the day) it was endearing to be reminded by this book how brands, when treated as a real persona and taken seriously, are able to deliver huge rewards. Anecdotes aplenty about Tide, Olay, Febreze, etc., are used to explain their framework of: Where to play? How to win; What capabilities are needed and what management systems are required.

The book has its limitations obviously, yet it's clearly and concisely written. It makes many valuable points simply and unobtrusively. Since its practical for most and treats strategy with respect - I loved it.
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