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VINE VOICEon 17 October 2009
I'm bemused by this book.

On one hand, it assumes the reader has some knowledge of running a business.

On the other hand, it uses huge businesses the like of Paypal as examples and presents a "dashboard" for managing change which is, at heart, a painfully simple model. Then it tells us that sometimes data isn't enough, we must make a leap of faith.

So, is it for business studies students or already blooded entrepreneurs?

It did make me reflect on how I plan for change but, no, it hasn't really shown me anything new. And I'm just a sole trader...
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VINE VOICEon 27 August 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What I really love about this book is the idea the title gives you.

I've run several businesses. Some have failed, others have had reasonable but quiet success. The difference between them has been the ability to adjust and change for what the market is actually telling you. You might have a good idea, but ideas are worthless without execution, and this book tries to get you to hammer out the detail around strategic execution some more, and pushes you into the corner of needing to work out what to do next when that fails. It doesn't mean you will fail, but that you're always ready for when the change needs to come.

Weird thing is, this book is a great idea, but the execution is a bit lousy. There are a couple of highlights, and the dashboard tool is simple but useful if you've not done any business planning before. However, as others have pointed out the examples seem odd, the style rambles and overall it feels like it could have been so much more.

I suspect I'll come back to it and pick bits out from time to time, but is it a great business book classic? No. Is the idea behind it a great one? Yes. Shame really.
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VINE VOICEon 6 January 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
There are a lot of books which claim to help the reader in business, each presenting a particular author's insights and experience as if they are the answer to all business woes. A typical book of this genre will take a single idea which could probably be expressed in a page or two, and stretch it to a few hundred. This book sits squarely in such a stereotype.

When I first tried to read through this book I became somewhat disillusioned by about half-way through and gave up. The basic principle described in the introduction seemed compelling, but the execution in the rest of the book soon settled down to a few fairly obvious developments from the basic idea, interspersed with an increasingly similar set of case studies. I did not write a review at that point, and I'm glad I held off.

After abandoning the reading and review of this book for several months, I noticed that I had begun to mention the book to colleagues and acquaintances, and was even thinking in terms of the authors' "Plan A" and "Plan B" approach when considering business opportunities. Eventually these niggles were enough for me to hunt out the book and attack it again. On second reading it seemed more practical and valuable, perhaps because I was happier to skip the bulk of the case studies and focus on the meat of each section, applying it to my own experiences.

In conclusion, this is not quite the typical business book it appears. To get the best from it you may find that you need to set it aside for a while, or at least to leave wading through the case studies until you find yourself in an analogous situation.
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VINE VOICEon 28 April 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Let's be clear from the start - if you're looking at opening a new business, or are trying to develop/improve your existing business, it's highly likely that this book isn't going to help you in the way the title suggests. There's too little in the way of actual applicable business strategy to make it a guide and the examples are likely so inapplicable to the average business that they're unlikely to apply to yours. Yes, we all want to be the next big thing and it's something we can hope for but, let's be honest, most small-medium businesses are not going to be the next Google/Facebook/Amazon or evolve in the same way.

Another massive let-down is the writing style. Jargonistic at best, rambling and incoherent at worst. You can do much better for less investment. If you have any recommendations for decent business strategy books, I'm all ears!
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VINE VOICEon 23 September 2009
The best thing about this book is that when it refers to a business model it means the strategy and not the spreadsheet. The worst thing is that it rather rambles about, covering all sorts of perfectly fine and interesting cases that don't seem to have much to do with the premise of the book. That premise is, I think, that most first ideas aren't very good and probably won't work, but if one sticks at it and reacts quickly in the right way to what the market is telling one then one will usually live to have a second and subsequent go. It's hard to argue with that.

There are certainly very interesting examples and definitions included. I like the concepts of 'leaps of faith' and the analytical usage of analogs and antilogs. In addition I would recommend non-accountants to look at the authors' explanations of subjects such as revenue and gross margin among others. But there are also strange elements. They make much in the early chapters of the technique of 'dashboarding' to stress-test an original idea and to refine and develop it as a business progresses, but then the concept disappears completely and is never mentioned again.

So, worth reading, but not mould-breaking.
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on 17 March 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If I were starting a business and knew nothing about how to do it, I think there are many better books that this to read first. You would be better off reading books around doing internal/external appraisal of the business environment you wich to enter, SWOT analysis, including knowing exactly the resources you have and type of market you are targeting, pricing of your product, how you will promote it, how you will sell it and how it should look. Then maybe some theorys such Porters Value Chain Analysis, and 5 Porters forces and try to apply those.

Once you have read those, this is a good general business book and easy to read. The book is good for a bit of an inspiration read that talks about mega businesses evolving such as Amazon or Facebook etc, Most of the names you would have heard off, and indeed there will probably be some insights written in the book about those companies which you probably did not know.
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VINE VOICEon 17 September 2009
I selected this book as I work for a small business and I thought it might offer some insights into moving the business forward to the next level. Unfortunately, while being an OK read, it really just repeats the same basic ideas over and over again. I mean, is the insight that you might need to change your business plan as you go along really that much of a surprise to anyone? The most interesting sections were the asides into how some other (now mega large) businesses had started and then evolved, but I really struggled to stay with it all the way through and did end up skimming some sections.
I think if you are a student and just starting out on rudimentary business studies this might be a decent reference, but for older more experienced business types there isn't much insight here that isn't fairly obvious.
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on 27 October 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was looking for something to help with setting up a small business, and I thought this would help. Perhaps I got the wrong book, as this is more of a general strategy title than a how-to guide to small business. It assumes you already have business experience, and glosses over the fine detail that would really help first-time starters. I liked the textbook layout and the checklist style system but I got little out of the book apart from the fact I felt less confident than before I read it, which surely shouldn't be the case. If I had come to it with more basic knowledge then perhaps this review might be different. As for the writing style, it is workmanlike throughout, but then this is a business title after all.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 2 February 2012
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Talking or writing about business is a tricky task: entrepreneurs need good instincts, the ability to take risks and the determination to succeed rather than paper qualifications or book learning. Very few businesses rise to the stellar heights of the case study examples the book uses, such as Paypal; and, conversely, many businesses manage to stagger on despite being appallingly run.

This book is not a quick fix guide for business start ups. What it does is provide a more considered read, where you can gradually absorb information that will help you take your existing business up a notch.

It emphasises the necessity of your business being responsive to market changes, and helps you plan for that so you're not caught on the hop. If you haven't done much business planning before, like many entrepreneurs, you'll find the suggestions in the book helpful. The case studies can also be inspiring.

This is a book to savour, digest and be motivated by.
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From a child's first lemonade stand to corporate giants like Apple, all businesses start out with a plan, but few of these initial road maps go the distance. Rather, one of a company's subsequent strategies - its Plan B or C or even D - usually points the way to success. London Business School professor John Mullins, author of The New Business Road Test, and venture capitalist Randy Komisar, author of The Monk and the Riddle, explain how to develop a strong business model using a healthy dose of data balanced by the occasional terrifying-yet-exciting "leap of faith" that differentiates one business from another. getAbstract recommends this book to new entrepreneurs and leaders who are responsible for building businesses. It contains basic financial information to get you going, ample examples, inspirational characters and plenty of encouragement to trust your instincts and build a Plan B that delivers.
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