on 25 August 1999
If I could have given it a zero, I would have. I've worked for McKinsey for the past twelve years, and I was stunned at the lack of insight in this book. Even the few observations the author got right are out of date, as the Firm has changed quite a bit in the past few years and this author left McKinsey quite a while ago. I can't imagine how he ever sold this one to a publisher. Vaporware.
on 25 October 2011
Recently I read this book. I thought of writing down the salient points so that I do not forget.
Building the solution
The problem is not always the problem.
Don't reinvent wheel but every client is unique.
Follow 80/20 rule. Work smarter not harder.
Find key drivers in business.
Know your solution so that you can precisely explain to your client in 30 seconds.
Break the problem into small bits and try to solve each part instead of trying to solve whole thing in one go. But don't lose focus from big picture.
Say "I don't know" if necessary.
A little team bonding goes a long way. Make your boss look good.
When you go for an interview, be prepared. During an interview, listen and guide.
Display data with charts.
A good business message will have - brevity, thoroughness and structure.
Maintain confidentially whenever appropriate.
Keep client team on your side. Work around liability client team members.
Engage client in solution process.
Be rigorous about implementation steps of your solution.
A good assistant is a lifeline.
If you want a life, lay down some rules.
Finally, I'd recommend that you also read the book "The Management Consultant" which is an even better and more detailed book.
on 4 March 2008
As a strategy consultant I found small portions of this book quite interesting to see how McKinsey runs through its analytical framework, however as a whole it is very vague and uninformative.
The last couple of chapters in particular are focused more on boosting Mckinsey-ites egos then giving strategic insight from one of the worlds largest consultancies.
I would recommend this book to people thinking about getting into the industry but apart from that as an 'Idiots guide', however there are many more insightful and educational books out there.
On the positive side it is very easy to read so I guess I didnt waste too much of my life
on 29 December 2002
McKinsey & Company is a world-famous strategic consulting company, also known as "The Firm". Ethan Rasiel worked at McKinsey & Co. for several years and provides a quick, clear introduction into management consulting firm's problem solving methods. "I wrote this book with the goal of communicating new and useful skills to everyone who wants to be more efficient and effective in business. ... In addition, this book will give any executive woho works with management consultants, whether McKinsey or elsewhere, some insight into how these strange beings think."
The book is split up into five parts. In Part I, Ethan Rasiel explains the McKinsey-way of thinking about business problems. The author explains that the solution of the problem needs to be fact-based (facts are friendly), rigidly structured (MECE = mutually exclusive), and hypothesis-driven (solve the problem at the first meeting - the initial hypothesis). In addition, the author explains how McKinsey-ites approach business problems and apply the McKinsey problem-solving process to maximum effect. There is also a short introduction into a number of rules which McKinsey-consultants use for problem-solving purposes: the 80/20-rule, find the key drivers, the elevator test - sell in 30 seconds, make a chart every day, look at the big picture, say "I don't know", and don't accept "I have no idea".
In Part II, the author introduces the McKinsey-way of working to solve business problems. The author explains the selling process at McKinsey (the Firm does not sell, it markets), how to structure an engagement, and assembling of a team. Then the author comes to the most important part of the book, doing research, conducting interviews (the author insists on reading Chapter 8 - Conducting Interviews - "If you read no other chapter of the book from start to finish, read this one."), and brainstorming.
In Part III, the author, and the McKinsey-way of selling solutions. This part discusses the way McKinsey makes presentations, which is one of the strongest parts of McKinsey according to the author, displays data with charts (read Gene Zelazny (1985), 'Say it with Charts'), and the way to work with clients.
In Part IV, Rasiel gives some lessons how "McKinsey-ites" have learned for coping with the stresses of life at the Firm, and in Part V, the author recounts the lessons he learned at McKinsey and shares memories of various ex-McKinsey-ites. Both Part IV and V are 'a waste of paper' in comparison to the first three parts, but gives a little insight into what goes on behind the scenes at McKinsey & Co.
Yes, I can understand that some readers are disappointed by this book as it gives just an introduction into management consultancy (and McKinsey & Co). The author introduces the various problem-solving methods and tools, but does not discuss them in great detail. For more details on these methods and tools you will have to read some other literature. The book uses simple US-English.
on 9 October 1999
I found refreshing to read this book since it provided me with a reminder that, after all, consulting should be about understanding the basics, about simplicity and about intelligence. Enough of all those colorful charts, those complex presentations that just go right above your audience heads. In addition, this book gives extremely valuable insights on the methods used by "the Firm".
on 12 July 1999
I would agree with readers who point out the lack of deapth AND those that enjoyed the birds eye view. If you're looking for a book that archives the detailed business practices of McKinsey, look elsewhere. If you would like a birds eye view into the operations of a large strategic consulting firm, read on. It is a fast read. It is not a detailed study. It does leverage the McKinsey name.
on 15 March 1999
I have the same opinion with the reader from Philadelpia.
I think this book has just very simple, common rules of McKinsey and some rules is already well known to public. The book doen't explain good method, tools Mckinsey has.
There are no details. When he introduces 'MECE', he should have explained the 'Logic Tree' in detail. But he didn't.
I think the rank of sales results from only the name value, 'Mckinsey' and marketing efforts
So I would not like to recommend this book.