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Customer Review

on 16 March 2001
This book is an educational text aimed at students wishing to grasp a concept of business operations in general, and strategies applicable in business management. As the title suggests, little, or no previous knowledge of business strategy is assumed. Written by the senior and principle lecturers of business strategy at Newcastle University, it can be assumed that rather than a cover-to-cover read, the book is intended to serve as a reference text for undergraduate students.
Uniquely in my experience, the contents pages are followed by a key concept index, listing the pages where 'key concepts' for the subject are found. 'Financial Statements', for instance are from page sixty four.
The book has a recursive structure in the way it covers topics. Beginning each chapter with an introduction to the topic and the objective it is to serve. This is before the chapter has even begun to cover the main subject matter. Throughout the chapter are definitions of terms and the key concepts mentioned above, further reinforcing the glance referencing style of the book.
In addition to the core text, are study materials such as case studies located at the rear of the book. Rather than cluttering up the body with these, as is the case in other text books, it sections them all to the rear, allowing them to be applied to more than one section for analysis.
As a student this book is excellent in the way in which it approaches topics. Diagrams, though not numerous, are always relevant. Unlike other business textbooks, the body of each chapter is not dense enough to bore, and the layout is 'student friendly'. It allows for topic glancing, perfect for pre-lecture reading. Definitions are clearly marked as such and key concepts explained in simple, everyday terms. Though as a textbook, this could be one of its failings. Rather than going into (perhaps necessary) detail in each of the topics, it merely skims over them to a level whereby it creates an understanding. A foundation for further reading, or precursor to the degree course. It could not really be used as a source of subject matter for an essay for instance.
At a different angle, this book could also serve as a good background read for small business managers. It again covers relevant topics at a level of detail into which they could be implemented. Being a modern book, recent, mainly English, companies serve as examples for different topics. Allowing you to relate on a more personal level. Though not aimed at this market it is another viable alternative.
I also found some of the case studies inspiring in the way they encourage entrepreneurial creativity - more notably the Ben and Jerry vs. Pillsbury case.
This is a well-written book that covers subject matter well. Though not necessarily a 'reading' book, it would serve as a good book to follow a course, or to use as reference. The main failings being that topics are not covered in a lot of depth, so would not probably last further than the first year degree in Business. It would serve well throughout a non-business course that includes business aspects, examples being Information Systems.
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