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Only The Paranoid Survive

BOOK REVIEW: “Only The Paranoid Survive: How To Exploit The Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company” by Andrew S. Grove

This book is about corporate disruption and strategic inflection points.  Andrew Grove, the founder and former CEO of Intel offers real life examples of where companies become complacent and ignore market and industry factors that destroy their success.  He also walks us through how Intel dealt with a flaw in their Pentium processor that threatened its future.  It’s a good book about strategic leadership without it being a public relations piece for Grove or his company.  Unfortunately, the book seemed to take a long time to make its points.

Key Points:

“A strategic inflection point is when the balance of forces shifts from the old structure, from the old ways of doing business and the old ways of competing, to the new. Before the strategic inflection point, the industry simply was more like the old. After it, it is more like the new. It is a point where the curve has subtly but profoundly changed, never to change back again.”

Business success contains the seeds of its own destruction. The more successful you are, the more people want a chunk of your business and then another chunk and then another until there is nothing left. I believe that the prime responsibility of a manager is to guard constantly against other people’s attacks and to inculcate this guardian attitude in the people under his or her management.”

“We all need to expose ourselves to the winds of change. We need to expose ourselves to our customers, both the ones who are staying with us as well as those that we may lose by sticking to the past. We need to expose ourselves to lower-level employees, who, when encouraged, will tell us a lot that we need to know.

“Of all the changes in the forces of competition, the most difficult one to deal with is when one of the forces become so strong that it transforms the very essence of how business is conducted in an industry.”


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