- MP3 CD
- Publisher: Audible Studios on Brilliance audio; Unabridged edition (28 April 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1501227726
- ISBN-13: 978-1501227721
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.7 x 17.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
#8,27,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #2413 in Books > Textbooks & Study Guides > Higher Education Textbooks > Social Sciences > Political Science > Political History
- #3545 in Books > Textbooks & Study Guides > Higher Education Textbooks > Social Sciences > Political Science > International Relations
- #6344 in Books > Politics > International Relations & Globalization
Strategy: A History MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
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About the Author
Lawrence Freedman has been Professor of War Studies at King's College London since 1982, and Vice-Principal since 2003. Elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1995 and awarded the CBE in 1996, he was appointed Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign in 1997. He was awarded the KCMG in 2003. In June 2009 he was appointed to serve as a member of the official inquiry into Britain and the 2003 Iraq War. Professor Freedman has written extensively on nuclear strategy and the cold war, as well as commentating regularly on contemporary security issues. His most recent book, A Choice of Enemies: America Confronts the Middle East, won the 2009 Lionel Gelber Prize and Duke of Westminster Medal for Military Literature.
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Top customer reviews
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
While the book is long, the most important contributions occur near the end when Freedman offers his take on "best practices" in developing strategy. Here, he reveals his predilection for literature and story. It's a refreshing take, eschewing platitudes and cheerleading in favor of a more measured approach about the logic of the narrative versus formal logic, about the need to build in improvisation for any sort of resilient strategy, about the need to adapt, and so on. I found myself looking back at earlier parts of the piece and only then noticing the delicate foreshadowing of his views. To see this, reread his long passage on Churchill and note the similarities to Churchill's approach, as the author sees it, and the author's own approach.
I like it so much, I intend to assign it to my MBA Game Theory class.
The autor divides this work into four sections: strategy in the ancient world, the military approaches to strategy, the practise of strategy in the social and revolutionary sphere, and finally strategy as applied in the business world. There are a few final chapters on strategy based on game-theory and other quantitative approaches, with their conclusions and misgivings about this type of approach.
I work as a wealth manager and investment adviser, so I missed a section on strategy in the financial world.
The autor shows his enormous erudition regarding history, and at times, his abundance of knowledge regarding a historical subject contributes to digression and the writing can be often desultory. Therefore, the book is occasionally more about a specific period of history, than about strategy itself.
Nonetheless, the author develops his thesis well, that strategy is an activity whereby an actor ( be it a mythical figure, soldier, revolutionary or businessman ) tries to eke more out of a situation tan the hand he is dealt. He stresses that any strategy involves conflict with another, and therefore the outcome depends on how this conflict is resolved. He repeatedly shows the limitations of strategy in each of the spheres of action to which he refers. In each sphere, and especially in business, he points out that any strategy must be viewed in its overall context, and unexpected outcomes be accounted for. He gives the example of the battle of Trafalgar in which, in spite of Nelson achieving a glorious victory, Napoleón still remained in power on continental Europe. Of course, many more examples are provided. Because of the complexity of interaction which strategy involves, Freedman seems to advocate for a step-by-step approach to any activity regarding forward action, such as planning and strategic deployment of resources: over-confidence is to be avoided and continuous assesment is a must.
Freedman's style in this book is somewhat rambling, like someone who is thinking out loud, or that of a university lecturer evoking contrasting points of view. This can often oblige the reader to reach the conclusión in certain chapters because the author does not give them in cut-and-dried fashion. Nothing wrong with this I guess, but it does require more work on the part of the reader.
All in all I found the book interesting, useful and above all, I came away with the conclusión that strategy cannot be approached in a formulaic manner ( so popular today with writers on business ), but must be worked out carefully in each situation with a very broad idea of what is to be achieved and a willingness to cope with setbacks, such that a very flexible adaptive approach is necessary.
Any review of this book would have to start out by stating that this book is really of value to those with a very limited knowledge of strategy (four star value for those). For those with a more than novice level of knowledge of the topic, gained through undergraduate study in the fields of political science, international relations, economics, and business the book would not be of great value (two or three stars). The book is basically an introductory survey of strategy in these fields. Considering the topics that it does cover, however, it is no surprise that it is very, very long.
Due to its length it does quite a good job at providing the novice a decent survey of the topic. The author, Lawrence Freedman, is a Professor in the field of international relations and this is where the book is at its strongest. In fields outside of this, however, the book is weaker. The author makes a few minor mistakes. For example, in the field of business, Dr. Freedman makes the statement that Japanese companies made use of “just in time” inventory practices to reduce carrying costs associated with holding inventory. While this has been the reason it was used in the US (and is taught with this in mind in US business schools), in Japan the reason was that limited inventory stocks forced production to halt and thus enabled any bugs in the production process to be quickly (though not very cost effectively) to be found. This was a major factor contributing to the high quality manufacturing processes in many Japanese auto manufacturers as well as in other manufacturing industries in Japan.
IN short, a very good book for those without a background in the subject but not of great value to those with such a background. One last comment, the audiobook is very well read by a David Sedaris sounding reader. It is never monotone and always interesting.