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on 13 February 2015
Useful tools, but not a particularly easy read on Kindle. Would suggest the paper version instead.
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on 29 March 2013
The vast majority of managers and entrepreneurs don't have business degrees. Nor do we feel we need them. We just get on with the job of running a business. We see books galore on business strategy, but one says one thing, another says the opposite and a third says the lot, but is 1000 pages of academic debate!

This book is different. It sets out a simple, practical, tried and tested, nine-step strategy development process - what Evans calls the 'Strategy Pyramid' - and within each step is a brief summary of important tools you must use and other tools that you might think about using. Each tool gets appraised - how to use it, when to use it and when to be wary of using it. And that's it! You can develop your business strategy using just the essential tools or, if they seem appropriate to your business, dip into the inessential but useful tools as you require.

The book is so well constructed that you marvel that it has not been done before. It is exactly what we need. Eureka!

Loxley McKenzie
Managing Director
Colordarcy Investment
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on 4 November 2013
Vaughan Evans has done all the hard work for us. This book pulls out all the most important strategy tools and stacks each one of them on an appropriate 'shelf', with each shelf being a different stage of the strategy development process. The book then takes it one step further: on each shelf it brings to the fore those tools which are essential, placing those that are less so towards the back. When developing strategy, you can delve as deep as you need into the shelves to get the job done practically, thoroughly and economically. An extraordinarily useful book.
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on 27 March 2013
Vaughan Evans' latest book does exactly what it says on the tin, providing key strategy tools for the modern strategy manager or executive.

Reading this book you feel like you are learning from an expert in his field, with a raft of hands-on experience, reflected in the down-to-earth style and the recurring use of motivational examples (Woolworths, Google and the like). Not only a practical guide, as a professional economist and student of strategy myself, I recognise the firm academic underpinnings behind his approach but presented in an accessible way for the modern executive short on time. Be they a reference to the now-classic Porterian five forces or the fundamentals of consumer behaviour that drive markets such as elasticities of demand, Vaughan Evans makes them real to the reader.

The book opens with the observation that many managers and executives find strategy daunting, but that strategy should be do-able for everyone. With this book, it will be.
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This is an excellent book for anyone tasked with developing a strategy but for whom the "s" word conjures up images of consultants and business school professors spouting incomprehensible jargon. Vaughan Evans has spent much of his professional life advising potential investors on mergers and acquisitions, and it shows. The book is beautifully written in a crisp, informative, yet personal style, and is laced with great case histories that bear reading on their own. Most impressive of all though is Evans' mastery of the 80+ strategy tools. They are grouped into nine blocks which, taken in turn, set out the necessary steps to building a strategy. Evans' mastery of the tools is evidenced in his deep understanding of their genesis and application and in his balanced, wise approach to using them. I strongly recommend this book.
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on 20 February 2013
Vaughan Evans really delivers in his latest book on corporate strategy. As a manager or business leader, being asked to articulate a strategy for your company's future can be likened to fumbling for the light switch in the dark. You know the right tool is within reach -- but where? As the author point out, a strategy that will truly serve its purpose requires both an overall process and a toolkit. Evans cites Michael Porter in observing that "the company without a strategy is willing to try anything" and isn't that true in our more desperate moments of uncertainty?

This compendium is well-researched, and -- importantly -- lovingly cited. Evans takes your understanding to the next level; Porter's classic 'Five Forces' is explained in pitch-perfect shorthand, but then the author makes it immediately real by profiling the fairly recent demise of our beloved Woolworths, once so affectionately held, but no more.

In this book, Evans pre-digests the body of relevant academic research and succesfully avoids the 'overwhelm' so common in other works. He also puts known research into context; in the case of Porter's work, Evans aptly explains the developing narratives of a 'Sixth Force', briefly presenting it for your consideration.

Complete with case examples from companies you will know and identify with, the process of setting goals and objectives inherent to strategy are brought to life. In addition to the task of profiling your "ideal player", you are invited to be mindful of more emergent trends such as 'corporate social responsiblity' and social phenomena such as was explored in Gladwell's 'The Tipping Point' and Maslow's 'hierarchy of needs'.

From a refresher on the author's own 'Suns and Clouds' risk-assessment tool to a fond and well-deserved introduction to visionary Dr Charles Handy (who was the author's lecturer many years ago) you're going to enjoy this whistle-stop tour of exactly what you need to know if you're in the dark. You'll not be inclined to dig out those 27 academic books that are gathering dust in the spare room -- it's all here in one place.

Clear out a few shelves on your bookcase -- this is the one volume that's a genuine keeper when you just need to know what to do, and get on with it.

Max Eames
author of Under the Hood
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on 7 April 2013
Vaughan Evans' new book, Key Strategy Tools: The 80+ Tools for Every Manager to Build a Winning Strategy, should be prerequisite reading for any manager, private equity investor or entrepreneur trying to evaluate the value and growth potential of a business they own, are starting, or are looking to purchase. The stroke of genius is in the grouping of each strategy tool for easy comparison and evaluation, making the chore of finding the right tool for the right job a walk in the park. I've actually purchased two copies for nephews who do corporate valuations for a living as I know they'll find this to be a treasured resource in their collections.
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on 12 February 2013
As a management consultant, I am used to frameworks and tools and have developed my favorites over the years. This book sharpened up the way I will use the old favorites and introduced me to some new methods which weren't around when I was at college. (I particularly liked the commentary on Porter's forces to include complementary products - very relevant in the Amazon age).

This book is an enjoyable read with interesting and relevant examples but will also be something that I refer to again when thinking about a new problem. Well written.
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on 18 March 2013
Complete, thorough, useful AND enjoyable
so you will read it and you will find what you need and you will actually apply it. As manager or entrepreneur you must develop and improve your business strategy and, important, communicate it a convincing manner, whether to funders or employees. Contemplate the normative banana (Evans has drawn widely on the classic work in the field, drawn out its relevance today, and added his own analysis and tools, for example on sizing the market through market crafting) and see whether, say, the resolute Five Forces or the rather more iffy SWOT analyses are for you (all tools get the How to use it; When to use it; When to be wary treatment). Examples from businesses you know about, be they long-established like RBS, recent, but also with problems today, like Facebook, or old and small, like The Beatles (only four, remember).
Evans takes you lightly through it all, and wishes you good luck at the end. So, follow the Strategy Pyramid. Read the book, peruse and apply, and increase your chances that fortune will smile on you!
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on 13 February 2013
This book provides a handy reference book of strategy models and techniques, combined with a sound process manual. In a humourous way, the author reminds us of most of the tried and tested tools and introduces some stimulating new ones too.
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