The Lords of Strategy: The Secret Intellectual History of the New Corporate World

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Overview


Imagine, if you can, the world of business - without corporate strategy.

Remarkably, fifty years ago that's the way it was. Businesses made plans, certainly, but without understanding the underlying dynamics of competition, costs, and customers. It was like trying to design a large-scale engineering project without knowing the laws of physics.

But in the 1960s, four mavericks and their posses instigated a profound shift in thinking that turbocharged business as never before, with implications far beyond what even they imagined. In The Lords of Strategy, renowned business journalist and editor Walter Kiechel tells, for the first time, the story of the four men who invented corporate strategy as we know it and set in motion the modern, multibillion-dollar consulting industry:

Bruce Henderson, founder of Boston Consulting Group
Bill Bain, creator of Bain & Company
Fred Gluck, longtime Managing Director of McKinsey & Company
Michael Porter, Harvard Business School professor
Providing a window into how to think about strategy today, Kiechel tells their story with novelistic flair. At times inspiring, at times nearly terrifying, this book is a revealing account of how these iconoclasts and the organizations they led revolutionized the way we think about business, changed the very soul of the corporation, and transformed the way we work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“[Kiechel’s] ‘The Lords of Strategy’ is a clear, deft and cogent portrait of what the author calls the most powerful business idea of the past half-century…” – The Wall Street Journal

“This enjoyable book deserves consideration for your physical or virtual bookshelf.” — The Journal of Product Innovation Management

“I must say that you’ve written a great book that reads almost like a juicy tell all.” – Consulting Magazine

“Even though we are only 4 months into 2010, it is pretty likely this is going to be the best business book of the year for me. If you are considering, currently in, or recently graduated from, an MBA program, you really must read this book. If this book had been written 10 years ago, it would have saved me a good deal of trouble making my own career decisions.” – RibbonFarm.com

Named one of “5 Smart Books” on the origins of the strategies – SmartMoney.com

“…Kiechel has done a real service…in bringing his subject to life. The book serves as a primer as well as a history, and as such almost any executive or B-school student would do well to pick it up.” —The Conference Board Review

“engaging book” - Strategy + Business

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591397823
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Publication date: 3/3/2010
  • Pages: 347
  • Sales rank: 378,615
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Walter Kiechel III has been the editorial director of Harvard Business Publishing and the managing editor at Fortune magazine. He has written articles and columns on all aspects of business, and is the author of a previous book, Office Hours: A Guide to the Managerial Life (Little, Brown, 1989). He received AB, MBA, and JD degrees from Harvard, and served five years in the U.S. Navy.
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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface: Three Common Suppositions to Be Discarded

1. Strategy as a Case to Be Cracked

2. Bruce Henderson Defines the Subject

3. The Experience Curve Delivers a Shock

4. Loading the Matrix

5. What Bill Bain Wanted

6. Waking Up McKinsey

7. Michael Porter Encounters the Surreal

8. The Human Stain

9. The Paradigm That Failed?

10. Struggling to Make Something Actually Happen

11. Breaking the World Into Finer Pieces

12. The Wizards of Finance Reveal Strategy’s True Purpose

13. How Competencies Came to Be Core

14. The Revolution Conquers the World

15. Three Versions of Strategy as People

Coda: The Future of Corporate Strategy

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