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The Strategy Book: How to Think and Act Strategically to Deliver Outstanding Results (Financial Times Series) [Kindle Edition]

Max Mckeown
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Thinking strategically is what separates managers and leaders. Learn the fundamentals about how to create winning strategy and lead your team to deliver it. From understanding what strategy can do for you, through to creating a strategy and engaging others with strategy, this book offers practical guidance and expert tips. It is peppered with punchy, memorable examples from real leaders winning (and losing) with real world strategies.

It can be read as a whole or you can dip into the easy-to-read, bite-size sections as and when you need to deal with a particular issue. The structure has been specially designed to make sections quick and easy to use – you’ll find yourself referring back to them again and again.

Product Description


''This book will help readers tackle the really important challenges they face both in developing strategies and putting them into action."  Consulting Magazine, June 2013
"A most innovative book. Mckeown genuinely synthesises a broad range of strategic thought into a coherent and actionable process. Mckeown brings together a number of apparently incompatible views to create a rich and powerful three dimensional understanding."  
Marcus Alexander, Adjunct Professor London Business School, Associate Fellow Oxford University, Fellow Ashridge Strategic Management Centre  

“Does exactly what it says on the tin – and does it brilliantly. This book will become a well- thumbed favourite.”

Emma Leech, Director of Marketing - The University of Nottingham


“You can pick it up, read a section, apply what you have learnt and then go back to read some more.”

Sue Toon, Direct of Management Alchemy


“Recommended…contains a vast array of strategic experience, which is pertinent at any level of management.”

Laura Dziaszyk, Director of Corporate Signpost


"The Strategy Book is a must read for anybody interested in systematically exploring strategy in their organization.  It is very readable, jargon-free and of enormous practical significance for planning and implementing strategy."
Prof. Cary L Cooper, CBE, Distinguished Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University Management School


"My God, a strategy book that actually makes sense? Imagine that... Most strategy books are either exercises in waffling and vague generalities, or mind-numbingly boring laundry lists of could-a, would-a, should-a. Max Mckeown's take on strategy is neither, and as an antidote he has given us The Strategy Book, where no-nonsense pragmatism meets imagination and adaptive flexibility. This book reads the way a good strategic plan should – guidance but not dogma, to the point but with an eye open to alternative possibilities. It just might be the cheapest form of strategic insurance ever created."

Professor Alf Rehn, author of Dangerous Ideas, internationally active speaker and consultant 


"The Strategy Book is superb. Quite frankly, it's the best, most relevant book I've read since Porter's early tomes. The author has a wonderful way of encapsulating strategic thinking from almost every angle. Max Mckeown is the next Michael Porter."

John Hall, President, Freedom Health LLC


"Max has a gift to reverse engineer complexity in a way that leaders can truly navigate how to lead their business, their people and their lives with both clarity and confidence. I would say Max is a preeminent map maker of our times."

Jennifer Sertl, President Agility3R and co-author Strategy Leadership & the Soul


‘It’s unusual for a management book to encourage readers to ask uncomfortable questions about their own products, leading to uncomfortable answers, and then to stimulate the inspiration and imagination to address those issues effectively.  Max explains a range of perspectives and tools with admirable clarity.  However, we don’t lose sight of the underlying challenges and risks in strategy development and implementation.  This is a book that disturbs and demystifies in a creatively helpful way.’

Professor David A. Buchanan, Author of Organizational Behaviour, Cranfield University


“Max de-clutters corporate speak and opens up strategy to everyone. His no nonsense approach to corporate strategy will teach you to look at your business like never before. In person, his insight is scalpel sharp and this book is a masterclass in improving your strategic thinking. You will learn to ask the big questions that need to be asked to get the core of strategic success.”

Steve Fortune, Global Leadership Development at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals


‘I love this book. Max Mckeown has the gift of making complex ideas accessible as well as enjoyable. One of the biggest challenges facing organisations today is making strategy come alive – especially with respect to innovation. Max demystifies the strategy process, bringing it to life with great examples. He challenges the reader to really think- as well as have the guts to take action.  With its rich array of strategy tools, this book will help any reader bridge the ‘theory-practice gap’ to produce results which really matter.’

Professor Linda Holbeche, Author of The High Performance Organisation, Centre for Leadership Innovation, University of Bedfordshire


"This book fills a gap in the strategy literature between toolkits, frameworks, implementation and the individual. Max Mckeown provides not only an array of fine examples from a wide range of organizations, but also challenges the reader by presenting strategy as both an everyday performance and as a down to earth art. It is a book which will appeal to practitioners and students alike and it provides a richness and a challenge to the often stultified frameworks which have come to characterise strategy".

Professor David Wilson, Author of Strategy: Analysis & Practice, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick


"Having worked with Max on innovation I had high expectations for The Strategy Book. In short - worth the wait, this is a great and truly helpful book which I fully expect to reference back to for years to come. Max has the ability to articulate clearly the challenges most organisations face in shaping their futures - and with consummate swagger, mixed with real life, powerful examples - guides you through strategic thinking relevant to not only today, but you and the job you do."

Geir Holmer, ex-Virgin Media , Independent Consultant


"After thoroughly enjoying (and benefiting greatly from) The Truth About Innovation, I was anxiously awaiting Max's next winner...and I think it's here! The Strategy Book totally demystifies 'strategy' for us non-MBA-types struggling to keep pace with the growing demands on our creativity and ability to lead from the front everyday...I look forward to this book hitting the shelves as I will be investing in a few copies for my team - material that we will refer to as a working guide to the strategic and planning process...and beyond! Another brilliant one from Max!!!"

Rahim Dawood, Manager, Systems and Technology



"This book is highly recommended reading and also a useful tool for military thinkers. It has a very good structure making it easy to embrace the powerful ideas inside.”

Harri Ohra-aho, Brigadier General of the Finnish Defence Forces


" If you want to become a better strategic thinker, read Max’s new book. Succinct and to-the-point, he captures the essence of strategy. With a passion and style all of his own, he connects insights from leading strategy gurus to successful practices in leading companies.”  

Simon Collinson, Professor of Strategy, Henley Business School


"Max has his very own style of talking strategy - crossing all corporate and conventional boundaries. McKeown continues to walk the talk as a restless contributor for unconventional ideas. Follow the grandmaster of Innovation into new dimensions of strategy for the 21st century. A great book that’s also fun to read."
Jan-Henrik Andersson, Operations Director Metro AG


“I have not read every publication on strategy and now I don’t have to worry about that challenge anymore because I have just finished “The Strategy Book” and I feel confident that I will never find a better book on the subject.  Let me get a little thesaurus-giddy for a moment – superb, excellent, splendid, authoritative, sure-footed, impressive, thorough, accessible, essential, etc, etc.  I think you get the picture….Max McKeown has taken every aspect of strategy, maintained the seriousness of the subject, deconstructed it’s complexities and rebuilt his findings in a practical, no-nonsense way that makes his book unstuffy and easy to read.  It is that rare thing, an academic book that informs and entertains in a universally appealing way….. As you plan and chart your way through life and career, “The Strategy Book” will always be a very good friend to you”.

Retail Confidential Blog


From the Back Cover




  • The Strategy Book focuses on how you can create powerful strategies to deliver success in a competitive world. It answers the following questions:
  • What do we know about strategy?
  • What can strategy do for you?
  • How can you effectively use strategy tools?
  • How can you engage people with strategy?
  • How do you avoid pitfalls, problems, and screw-ups?


Using the science of strategy The Strategy Book will help you tackle the really important challenges you face both in developing strategies and putting them into action. Its aim is to give you best ideas wrapped up in a usable, enjoyable package.



'Max Mckeown demystifies the strategy process and challenges the reader to really think and take action.  With its rich array of strategy tools, this book will help bridge the "theory-practice gap" to produce results which really matter.'

Professor Linda Holbeche

Author of The High Performance Organisation,

Centre for Leadership Innovation, University of Bedfordshire

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 906 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 5 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Financial Times/ Prentice Hall; 1 edition (24 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #43,977 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Max saw my review of another strategy book and sent me a proof of this one. I am a coal face executive based in a developing country, Malawi, where I run a hospital and this book is gold dust. Managers have a reputation for not reading books and if they do, not using what they learn. This book makes it hard to do that. It is well laid out, builds up the ideas simply, but with strong intellectual underpinnings, good stories and practical implementation ideas. Sometimes even the very word "strategic" becomes so shrouded in mystique that you dare not approach it. Max says it like it is, "great strategy is the quickest route from means to ends to shape your future". Your quickest route is to buy this book. And no, I am not on commission!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A very well written book in Max's own unique style. I teach strategy at a UK university at both undergraduate and post graduate levels and I have to honestly say that this book is among the few I really liked. It presents some of the ideas in a succinct and well structured way which makes it easy to read and understand.
Max asks some really critical questions which I think would benefit managers/ professionals in analysing the current situation their organisations are in and to determine their future direction. I have listed this book as a recommended reading for my students.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good and concise strategy book 3 Jan. 2012
By Thomas
This is a good and concise strategy book. It explains many of the mainstream strategy frameworks in an approachable manner. A definite buy for strategy first timers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What strategy is, and how to do it 11 April 2012
I hunted for a book like this about ten years ago in my first senior management role when I was tasked to 'do strategy', but no-one could tell me what strategy was, or how to do it. Strategy Safari was great at telling me what strategy was, but I've spent ten years turning what I learned into a workable process. Mckeown's book explains what strategy is and then explains how to make it work. I loved his powerful insights into various strategy tools. I've seen consultants pitch up with these at meetings and (even when inappropriate) have bamboozled execs with them because the executives had never seen those particular ones before.

Recommended reading for all leaders and students. It really is exceptionally useful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank god for such a useful toolkit 17 Dec. 2011
By Kristin TOP 1000 REVIEWER
I am a die hard geek, but being a manager am supposed to be able to talk strategically to other managers, most of whom are very people biased, it being a local authority. This book finally gives me all the bits they keep throwing up in such a clear manner that you can see not only which methods are senior managements favourites, but learn to then generate your own strategies inline with their thinking and preferences, or just come up with something else totally new.

This is more a toolkit than motivational book, which so many are. If you know your stuff, but just dont know how to put that into mangement talk to form a strategy, or if you know some ways of doing strategy and want to ensure you are using the best one for you then this book is incredibly good. It takes you from start to finish, succinctly explaining every possible route to take. A brilliant book well written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Strategy 15 April 2012
I received my copy from Amazon and unboxed it, took a brief look at the book and realized this was no ordinary "strategy book". It is more like a cookbook than a text book with every chapter covering a major theme on strategy but sectioned into: Objective, Context, Challenge, Success, Pitfalls, A checklist and other references.

McKeown simply defines the method for coming up with Strategy as: What do we want to do; What doe we think is possible; What do we need to do to active our goals; When should we react to new opportunities and adapt plans and how do we measure the progress. I actually started chuckling when I read the chapter called "Your Strategic Self". One of the main points in the chapter covers the notion of "Thinking before you plan" - a real world idea! I chuckled because so many "strategists" think they can read Michael Porters 3 volumes and be a strategy expert and more than once in my career I've dealt with the a theoretical strategy that has been foisted upon me only to end up seeing white rabbits and watching someone repeatedly command the ocean to go backwards.

That is the brilliance of this book - it's down to earth, methodical and attacks the theoretical aspects of strategy all at the same time. As evidence of this for example one of the chapters is "Creating your strategy" and it is followed by "Making your Strategy Work". Finally the jewell at the end of the book is the "Strategists Toolkit" in which the author has selected some of the most popular ideas from the field of strategy and management. McKeown discusses each tool providing a summary of the tools and then he explains how the tool should be used correctly.

Overall the authors writing style is very clear, to the point and ultimately the book is readable. A brilliantly practical book on a complex subject - I will be ordering copies for colleagues and friends to use.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
For ages, the corporate strategy process has been kept obscure and unreachable for those without a seat in the board room. Max Mckeown depicts all about strategy planning and implementation in a book that clearly deserves the title it holds. Succinct and revealing. By following this book you will be doing strategy from your day to day activities considering all other aspects of the competitive era we all live in. You will come back to it several times to take advantage of such revealing information. It will serve as the perfect bridge between high level strategic planning and real implementation. Did I say bridge? it is a high speed highway.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful...
Great book
Published 1 month ago by Slow delivery?.. Now sorted
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Quite a good book!
Published 2 months ago by Nway Nu Wai
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very useful book
Published 2 months ago by Sean Mc Gee
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
Good for managers and students. Less good for CEOs and similar. It reads like a blend of academic bla, bla, bla and management speak. Read more
Published 3 months ago by RW
5.0 out of 5 stars good arrived on
arrived on time
Published 5 months ago by Review
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
pretty new book. many thanks
Published 5 months ago by Vasilis Papadopoulos
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
Pristine condition.
Published 8 months ago by Mrs S Kashyap
3.0 out of 5 stars Good oveview, would have liked deeper dive into examples.
The book covers most aspects linked to strategy but falls down when it come to talking about tools & techniques. For those who want theory this is a worthy read. Read more
Published 8 months ago by A. Shingleton
4.0 out of 5 stars Concise and easy to digest
quite concise and easy to understand and digest with up to date business cases. short chapters and referencing are very readers friendly. Read more
Published 16 months ago by charlie wong
4.0 out of 5 stars Strategy Overview
This is quick read and brilliant book for having a big picture view on strategy.

The really nice part that stands out is the structure used. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Caufrier Frederic
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