Customer Reviews


46 Reviews
5 star:
 (6)
4 star:
 (15)
3 star:
 (13)
2 star:
 (8)
1 star:
 (4)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is growth all it's cracked up to be?
Jim's book explores the ways that some outstanding small companies have grown very quickly and successfully. Jim assumes that all companies want amazingly quick growth too. Well, that is the conventional wisdom, and I do work for a company that has also grown amazingly from scratch over 13 years. But, there's a problem. If companies do go on filling the world with plastic...
Published on 14 Aug 2008 by Mrs. R.

versus
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars well intended
I'm giving it three stars because there are inspiring stories of companies that have achieved outstandingly. Unfortunately, the advice extrapolated from these successes is far too general and vague to be of much help at all. Examples: make friends, think global, squeeze nickels, look at the bigger picture, control what matters, think big, overcome inertia. (Do you really...
Published on 19 July 2008 by D&D


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars well intended, 19 July 2008
By 
D&D - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Outsmart: How to Do What Your Competitors Can't (Financial Times Series) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm giving it three stars because there are inspiring stories of companies that have achieved outstandingly. Unfortunately, the advice extrapolated from these successes is far too general and vague to be of much help at all. Examples: make friends, think global, squeeze nickels, look at the bigger picture, control what matters, think big, overcome inertia. (Do you really need tips like these?!)

Isn't all this somewhat like interviewing 8 top sportspeople and claiming that the athletes who won gold in the Olympics practiced a lot and really wanted to win (so, which of the Olympic contenders didn't)? This book potentially could have been great if they had carried out the research they appeared to have originally intended, on many more of the "1,000 high-velocity businesses with growth rates above 15 per cent" to figure out practical, measurable action steps for growth and success.

Yet another so-called how-to book modeling the incomplete thinking that is common to so many books on success, as explained in "Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense" by J Pfeffer and in "The Halo Effect" by Phil Rosenzweig.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is growth all it's cracked up to be?, 14 Aug 2008
By 
Mrs. R. "Polymath" (London, England, UK.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Outsmart: How to Do What Your Competitors Can't (Financial Times Series) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Jim's book explores the ways that some outstanding small companies have grown very quickly and successfully. Jim assumes that all companies want amazingly quick growth too. Well, that is the conventional wisdom, and I do work for a company that has also grown amazingly from scratch over 13 years. But, there's a problem. If companies do go on filling the world with plastic stuff at extraordinary rates, like the Jibbitz, things people use to decorate their Crocs plastic shoes, then the world is going to fill up with yet more plastic stuff. The company I work for has a neutral carbon footprint and every time you buy one of their products rather than one of the competitions, the planet benefits.

This books is very upbeat and inspiring; it's well written, easily understood and accessible. But it's another of those books which is making Americans miserable (see the many new books on happiness and in particular Oliver James's Selfish Caplitalism for the details) by showing how badly the rest of us are doing against these supersuccessful few.

So while I enjoyed reading about hardworking, inspired Americans who have struck lucky, I have two problems with it:
1) We are currently producing 6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year and the earth can only deal with 2 billion. More growth means a shorter life for our planet as we know it. I'd like to see business books showing some recognition that continued growth is a problem.
2) We have accepted the idea that if only we are a bit richer and a bit more successful, then we'll really be happier - when the stats show it's not so. Despite having a lot more relative income and stuff we, Americans, British and particularly Australians, have not got any happier since the 1970s. (The Indonesians, with far less money, consumer choice and fewer belongings, are the happiest.)

Jim says that "growth is about ambition" and he's probably right. But as he describes the wealth made from making more guns, things to keep iPods safe, Disney characters to stick into plastic shoes and robots that work in the nuclear industry, I wonder if a bit less ambition might make a bit less climate change and a healthier planet for millions of us, not just a few rich people.

Sorry to pour cold water on his burning ambition, but I think businesses need a bit more of a sense of responsibility.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ironically enough- not smart enough,not dumb enough, 22 July 2008
By 
M. W. Hatfield "mwhatfield" (Gainsborough, Lincolnshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Outsmart: How to Do What Your Competitors Can't (Financial Times Series) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is an odd one.In an attempt to ditch theory-led, academic and unrealistic business advice, Champy has gone for a practical guide to a small group of successful companies,attempting to identify the reasons for their success and drawing a few simple conclusions from his observations. Some fascinating examples are given, and the conclusions are clear and sensible,so an aspirant entrepreneur could certainly learn something from this book. But not enough. And an experienced entrepreneur would find it too facile and simplistic. Result:the book falls uneasily between two stools- too dumb for the intellectuals, too boring for the beginner. A self- help book which doesn't really help.
Which is a shame,really,because Champy has plenty to say of value, particularly about corporations. But not in this particular book.
Oddly, for someone so savvy regarding marketing, he has produced a book which is difficult,indeed nigh-on impossible, to market. A truly smart business person will not take kindly to a book which contains whole pages WRITTEN IN BIG PRINT TO POINT OUT IMPORTANT IDEAS.
And someone who needs to have ideas spelled out in capital letters will not be able to grasp the use of Darwinian theory to underpin business development strategies.
Not worthless-there is real food for thought here-but not nearly smart enough.In Darwinian terms, this book is a dodo.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wont give you the advantage, 5 Oct 2009
By 
Scully Bloke (Wiltshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Outsmart: How to Do What Your Competitors Can't (Financial Times Series) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is quite an interesting book. It looks at different ways that companies have grown and tries to extrapilate advice for the reader to do the same with his business. But the book is too general, the advice given is very vague. The author has made some money and the reader would be better off spending the time with a white board thinking new ideas rather than trying to use what other people have tried before.

Its an good read but wont give you the advantage you are looking for.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't show this to your competitors, 27 July 2008
By 
Mart (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Outsmart: How to Do What Your Competitors Can't (Financial Times Series) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Outsmarting your competitors won't be achieved with words, but Jim Champy has plenty of them, many of them clichés, to offer the prospective entrepreneur.

The back cover claims he can teach us how to achieve `breakthrough growth by outsmarting your competition'. Can someone tell Jim not to sell this book to our competitors please?

Seriously though, this may be a great read for the business buzz-word in-crowd, but it offers little new in the way of tactics. Anyone who thinks good advice is `whatever worked was the right thing to do' (I quote from the introduction) will be easily pleased by this book. And for those who enjoy Champy's suggestion that Charles Darwin's theories could equally relate to business speak like `businesses breed beyond available customers', are being sadly misled.

Books like these which claim to reveal the secret of financial success are great entertainment but invariably the most financial gain is likely to be had by the author.

It's a great handbook for budding Alan Sugar Apprentices though!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worthless, 27 July 2008
By 
Mr. M. P. Duffy (Littlehampton, West Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Outsmart: How to Do What Your Competitors Can't (Financial Times Series) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've worked self-employed for most of my working life & have recently set up a new business, so thought it was worth checking out this book, after all every businessman wants to succeed. Now I've never read a business book before, and if this is what they're like I shan't bother. There's very little in this book that even the dumbest of people wouldn't have thought of - "a product will only sell if people want it" & you must "pay attention to service"...really? Who would have thought it! To be honest if people need advice like this I'm suprised they manage to even set a business up in the first place.

On a more stylistic level - the layout is truly awful. I can't abide the all capital introductions to each chapter, most of which was irrelevant nonsense presumably designed to try & elicit some sort of interest in Michael's upcoming interview or Jodi's watering eye. I'm sure the author knows his stuff, but this book did little to inspire, inform or interest me & was just very disappointing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Waffle, 21 July 2008
By 
William Cohen (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Outsmart: How to Do What Your Competitors Can't (Financial Times Series) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I love good business books. I work as a corporate speechwriter and I need meaty ideas and colourful insights to make my speeches shine. This book seems to me a bland recitation of management platitudes. I didn't like the block capital introductions to chapters. I didn't like the frequent statement of the bleeding obvious. I didn't like the glib subtitle - How to do what your competitors can't - because anyone can buy this book.

Mr Champy may have written good books in the past, and this could be a rather misguided attempt to capitalise on his success. Champy quotes Charles Darwin at the beginning of the book, a scientist much admired by Warren Buffet's sidekick Charlie Munger. If you want to read a smart book about business, written with a pinch of cynicism and wisdom, I recommend Munger.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visionary companies that changed the marketplace, 27 May 2009
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Is your company an "incumbent" firm, stuck in the mud and going nowhere? Or is it a bold, visionary enterprise, able to see and exploit new business opportunities that incumbent firms miss or are too frightened to pursue? In his new book, business guru Jim Champy, co-author of Reengineering the Corporation, discusses how visionary "smart firms" seize the future while incumbent firms let it pass them by. Even while cautioning that surely some middle ground exists, getAbstract warmly recommends this book, and its fascinating case histories. You'll want to read it if you are responsible for strategy and growth at your firm.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Admirably short, but a recipe for success? Be careful..., 31 Aug 2008
By 
KalteStern (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Outsmart: How to Do What Your Competitors Can't (Financial Times Series) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Be careful, because the name Champy comes with a health warning - he was one of the (in)famous champions of Business Process Re-engineering, one of the earlier management fads to sweep the world. Even his own later research showed that application of this 'world beating' recipe willy nilly produced no discernible benefit to many of the companies who tried it, and quickly became a euphemism for ruthless downsizing and large scale redundancies. This time, he is jumping onto a bandwagon which has been rolling for some time - the need to adapt to changing markets and technologies, to be flexible in applying existing capabilities and resources to emerging consumer demands, the need to think globally to stay ahead of the competition, etc. etc.
Like many management consultants/gurus his basic method is to look at the (presently) most successful companies, try to deduce their basic recipe for success and then urge everyone else to follow suite. That this fundamental model is at best unproven, and at worst inherently wrong - (I suggest he try reading Henry Mintzberg on that subject) seems to worry him not one whit; he has the typical American self-belief that assumes that if his recipe fails, everyone else was just applying it wrong.
On the plus side, this latest book is at least eminently readable, in stark contrast to many writers on Business Studies, as any one can attest who has had to grind their way through them, so at the very least you are getting a digestible and concise 'Pass Notes' version of this decade's main management fads, which will only take an hour or two to read, and which will allow you to bluff your way through the next business strategy meeting armed with all the right buzz phrases. Just don't take any of it too literally.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Need to look beyond the Americanization to find the value... but its there!, 23 Aug 2008
This review is from: Outsmart: How to Do What Your Competitors Can't (Financial Times Series) (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The premise of this book is a familiar one: select a few successful companies, find out what they do and then write about it. Nothing wrong with that - who would know better how to succeed than those who have; and as the book points out, success is largely a matter of attitude, not any magic formula.

Here growth is assumed to be the measure of success, which is one thing which rankled me - there are many small companies which are profitable and achieving what they want to achieve without expanding. Ironically the author writes about his involvement with Swiss-Air when as a consultant he advised them not to expand but concentrate on their ground activities - they ignored his advice and as a result got into debt and were purchased by a competitor.

The writing also follows a very American style - forgetting the Introduction, first chapter and Epilogue, each of the remaining eight chapters focusing on individual companies also has its own introduction, 'GET SMART' key points summary at the end and finally 'Questions to ask yourself.' On top of this sections are simply repeated IN BOLD TYPE- is that because people are too thick to realize how important the message is when reading it the first time? Or just to fill space? Or for people who don't own a highlighting pen?

Along the way I wondered who this book is for... not many people start their own businesses and of those statistics say most will fail - I doubt this book or any book would save them. Equally if you are selected to run a business you will have shown you have the personality, ability and experience to do that job - attributes not acquired from reading a book.

If you can look beyond the presentation, then I have to concede the messages are worthy. I was at the Epilogue before I started to appreciate what was being written: comparing how successful growing companies listen to their customers whereas larger incumbents track their competitors, are governed by a culture as opposed to rules and processes, willing to take risks and encourage innovation form employees as opposed to not doing so. It sounds basic stuff, yet I have experienced these exact things watching a small growing company turn into a slow 'dead' giant! Also the comments on supplier relationships are spot on in my book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Outsmart: How to Do What Your Competitors Can't (Financial Times Series)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews