If you ever thought that you understood what Competition and Strategy are about, then think otherwise.

Understanding Michael Porter: the Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy

written by Joan Magretta, and published by HBR Press (2012), is the best book we have ever read on the topic, and most likely the best ever written.

It is a very, very good summary of Michael Porter’s work and contains many real-life examples (IKEA, Dell, Zara, Southwest Airlines, to name a few). And above all the book is very enjoyable and easy to read. If you have not done so already, then buy it and read it! You will gain a competitive advantage over those in the industry who have not read it so far.

In particular, you will learn that:

  • “Competition is about profit, not market share. There is no honor in size or growth if those are profitless.
  • Vying to be the best is an intuitive but self-destructive approach to competition. Competitive advantage is not about beating rivals; it’s about creating unique value for customers. If you have a competitive advantage, it will show up in your P&L.
  • A distinctive value proposition will translate into a meaningful strategy only if the best set of activities to deliver it is different from the activities performed by rivals. Competitive advantage lies in the activities, in choosing to perform activities differently or to perform different activities from rivals.
  • No strategy is meaningful unless it makes clear what the company will NOT do. Making trade-offs is the linchpin that makes competitive advantage possible and sustainable.
  • Good strategies depend on many choices, not one, and on the connections among them. A core competence alone will rarely produce a sustainable competitive advantage.”

Thanks Joan for writing this fantastic book. You’ll find the book on Amazon UK, as well as many other bookshops.