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on 8 January 2012
In my degree I read a lot of business books. Most were faddish, overpriced doorstops. Only two writers stood out: Peter Drucker (of course) and Kenichi Ohmae. He tells you exactly what you need to know in the shortest simplest way. After reading so many bloated self important texts by gurus who's only skill is extracting vast lecture fees, this man's work was a breath of fresh air.
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on 13 February 1999
Many people talk about strategy. So does Dr. Ohmae in this book. Many voracious readers on business might be quite bored with the banal materials appeared on hundreads of pages of those books.
However, The Mind of the Strategist stands apart from other books in terms of its profound discussion on what the strategy really means. With this definition, he further talks about four ways of thinking to deal with a given situation in a business world. He may not give you off-the-rack answers of what to do. Rather than spoon feeding you, he gives you the right logic, not just techniques, to come up with your own solutions to maximize your competitiveness. It is your job to use your thoughts and imaginations to win the game of business.
The author must have intentionally taken this approach to discuss on strategy in order to sincerely tell us that there is no correct strategy for every situation. The author has done his job by giving us the way of thinking. Now it is our own job to think strategically after having read this book once. And I firmly believe that every reader can take full advantage of new way of thinking in business over your competitors. It means that reading The Mind of the Strategist itself is a strategic move for you. It should be your strategy in your personal business agenda.
Minoru Nadai "åˆä -«
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Professor Ohmae has created one of the most balanced and useful perspectives ever in this outstanding book on business strategy. Anyone who wants to improve their strategy would do well to read and apply the lessons in The Mind of the Strategist.
I have over 30 years of experience with strategic thinking as a consultant and planner. I constantly find that people in the same organization have totally different concepts of what strategy is all about. Each perspective tends to be either too focused in one area (like competition), or incomplete in some aspects (like ignoring the effect of compensation to focus strategic intent).
As a result, people "logically" arrive at some pretty bad strategic conclusions. Typically, this involves a strategy that the organization cannot execute well or which the competitors will quickly negate.
What I like about this simple book is that it nicely summarizes the case for a balanced perspective involving your customers, competitors and your own company. Although most American companies will believe that they already do this, the American approach is usually much more superficial and incomplete than the Japanese one for stategic thinking.
For example, if a Japanese company wants to add a new product, the evaluation looks heavily at how well the customer will be able to use the product and how effectively the company will be able to provide it in the context of probable competitive offerings. An American analysis will feature financial analysis of a forecast that is often based on little more than spreadsheet doodling. The development of the Sony PlayStation as described in Revolutionaries at Sony will help you see this point.
The weakness of the Japanese model is that it typically looks too little at the business environment (notice how often Japanese companies buy American businesses and properties at the top of the market for inflated prices), and are relatively insensitive to financial implications. In fast moving technology markets, the Japanese consensus-building process also tends to slow down time to market. That is what makes the Sony success mentioned above so interesting.
Clearly, there is no perfect model for strategic thinking that fits all situations. A major weakness of many efforts is to assume that the future can be precisely forecast. That is patently wrong. Typically, the relative importance of the elements considered needs to be adjusted to fit the circumstnace. That seems to be an art rather than a science at this point. You may enjoy The Art of the Long View on this point.
Although this book has its limitations (as suggested above), it is a valuable perspective on strategy thinking that will be helpful to most business people if they think about the concepts in a more thorough way.
To balance the perspective here, I suggest you also read Profit Patterns to get a sense of how surrounding circumstances play a role in profitability.
Good thinking! May this book help you overcome any stalled thinking you have about not doing your home work in thinking about outperforming competitors to provide benefits that matter a lot to customers.
May you enjoy irresistible growth!
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on 20 May 2004
This book, first published in Japan in 1975, is a somewhat dated classic, since the first edition appeared at the high water mark of Japanese competitiveness. Japan's economic doldrums since 1990 probably ensure that few business people will emulate it now. In a way, the fact that the bloom is off Japan's chrysanthemum makes this book more useful and relevant than it was a quarter-century ago. Now that people aren't starry-eyed about Japan, it's possible to sort through the recommendations, take them with a grain of salt and find their deeper usefulness. The author is a famous McKinsey consultant, so the book is packed with charts and jargon. Ignore the jargon, the obsolete observations about how U.S. companies organize themselves and the anachronisms about Soviet-style central planning, now a relic. Focus instead on the examples and asides. We also note that this is a must-read for anyone working in Japan or competing against Japanese companies, if only because so many Japanese managers give it to their new hires as part of their training programs.
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on 21 May 1999
The author has been successful in giving readers an insight into what makes the Japanese tick from a cultural, economic and industrial perspective. The major shortfall however, is that book seems to suggest that the Japanese model is the benchmark for many western businesses to emulate.
My feeling is that the book could have contributed more by hypothesising a model that embeds the strengths of both Japanese and Western models to achieve optimum outcomes. After all, continous improvement strategies that many Japanese businesses embrace are hardly drivers for major technological break-throughs. Conversely, many US-based companies are excellent at large-scale investment in major R & D programs (and subsequent patenting) that secure long-term competitive advantage.
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on 8 April 2014
This is a great book, have nothing else to say. The book was well-packed and arrived in great condition. Pages quality is goof
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on 1 November 2012
Dr. Kenichi Ohmae is a legend among corporate strategists. He was partner at Mckinsey & Company for 23 years after which he launched his own company, Ohmae & Associates. Ohmae has deep knowledge of Japanese and Western business practice; when Ohmae speaks, CEOs listen. Therefore, I bought this book in order to get a sense for what makes Japanese corporations like Toyota 'tick'.

Ohmae argues that superior strategy is one that is at least marginally better than the competition's. Such superior strategy is built on three C's: the customer, the corporation and the competition. Strategists need to continually ask, 'what does the customer want', 'what are the corporation's competencies vis-a-vis those wants', and 'how does the company compare with the competition'? According to Ohmae, disciplined assumption-challenging questioning of the corporate status quo is usually the starting point for breakthrough strategy.

Using case studies on Nissan, Mitsubishi, Toyota and other multinational enterprises, Ohmae tries to tease out the factors that lead to consistent high performance. He argues that Japanese companies are not inherently more communal than their Western counterparts, as is commonly believed. The communal nature of Japanese capitalism is a function of the country's post World War II humiliation. However, the communal nature of the Japanese firm represents a different understanding of the corporation from the Wests'. The communal nature of the firm translates into flat hierarchies, employee empowerment and bottom-up productivity initiatives like just-in-time production.

This book was written in 1989. Ohmae was prescient about the erosion of the market for word processors, the impact of outsourcing jobs on the exporting economy, and the impact of the telecommunication and computers on business. He reminds readers who want to 'copy' some aspect of Japanese management that organisational processes like just-in-time inventory management rest on deeper cultural assumptions about the nature of the firm and the role of the individual in the firm. GM and Chrysler can copy Toyota's inventory management practices, but without copying the complementary human resource (I hate that phrase) and incentives systems, such copycatting is likely to be in vain.

The Mind of the Strategic is not a detailed disquisition on strategy (it is only 280 pages long). However, it is a good introduction to the practice of strategy in Japanese firms. The narrative is flat at times. Furthermore, Ohmae's assertions--respected as they are--are not backed up by evidence. The book is, however, a call to apply critical thinking to diagnose the customer, the corporation and the competition in the formulation of strategy. Thinking is very difficult work as Ohmae acknowledges. No one will become a creative, strategic thinker merely by reading a book. Nevertheless, 'there are habits of mind and modes of thinking that can be acquired through practice to help free the creative power of the subconscious and improve the odds of coming up with winning strategies' pg. 277. I could not agree more. Business is a complex, non-linear endeavour. Books promising 'Nine steps to success' and 'Seven Habits of Success' inevitably sell snake oil to an undiscerning audience. Ohmae, thankfully, does no such thing. Instead, he invites the reader to apply some critical analytical thinking to untangle the mess. With consistency--and perhaps a bit of luck--the diligent strategist will put his/her firm closer to the goal of success. The Mind of the Strategist deserves three stars for this message.
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on 23 November 2014
I bought this to do my coursework
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on 30 July 1999
This book smells of an engineer turned management consultant. The author has a fettish for paradigm overkill. Sadly, his ideas leave you wonderding, "haven't I seen that somewhere before."
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on 23 April 1999
As a business school graduate student, I have read a significant amount of strategy books and articles. This book is just an arrogant collection of repetitions. It does not provide any new insights.
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