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Customer Review

on 28 November 2010
It has become a commonplace for management books to refer to military thinkers on leadership, but normally these thinkers are ancient Chinese writers, such as Sun Tzu. Here, Bungay has taken Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, architect of Prussia's astounding victories over Austria in 1866 and France in 1870.

Bungay shows that the system of command developed by Moltke addressed the problem of 'friction', first identified by Clausewitz, in ways that are fully applicable to modern business - and which show how incorrect is the traditional view of the German Army as rigid and inflexible. The explanation of friction presented here is the clearest I have seen in any work, and I would recommend the book for this alone, as it sheds light on a central factor in the problem of converting strategy into action that seems to escape most leaders. Bungay then goes on to discuss its implications for business in a straightforward and relevant manner, contrasting its core tenets with much of the management literature, which pulls in quite a different direction. Reading the book has certainly caused me to review my own approach as a senior leader, which must be the ultimate litmus test of any management book.

I should end by declaring an interest, in that Bungay references my own historical studies on Moltke.
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