Books reviews

Famous or interesting books about investments and finance, reviewed in a throrough and balanced manner.

“Experimentation Works” by Stefan H. Thomke A Harvard Business Review Press Book Essentials

Expero,eWe all know experiments work – after all, this is how we got the IPhone, the planes and the vaccines. Yet, Stefan H. Thomke brings experimenting to a whole new level. His heavily-researched book (“Experimentation Works”) looks in-depth at how the businesses can create, develop and adjust their business models without committing too many resources in advance.

“Experimentation Works” is a book about a book – it looks at how a for-profit organization can re-arrange its activities so that they extract maximum value from pre-launching them. Thomke attempts to apply the classical scientific method in research to new business problems. The approach in itself is centuries old – and has been heavily popularized by Karl Popper in his 20th century scientific methods famous book. Yet, so far the method has failed to make substantial inroads in the mainstream business – and this is where Thomke tries to make a serious point about it.

The main issue with experimentation in business remains the risk aversion. Thomke warns that many organizations are reluctant to fund “uncertain-results” experiments – and this creates long-term serious development issues. If a business fails to experiment, it actually fails on a large extent to innovate. And if a business fails to innovate, it will slowly fall behind its competition – which becomes a kind of a downwards spiral.Read More »“Experimentation Works” by Stefan H. Thomke A Harvard Business Review Press Book Essentials

„Kings of Crypto“ by Jeff John Roberts, A Harvard Business Review Press Book Essentials

Kings of Crypto Book Essentials

a doitinvest.com book review

The title is deceiving, the content – much better. “Kings of Crypto”  narrates Coinbases’ story. In a new Harvard Business Review Press books style, one (insider) journalist embarks on a journey of telling the full story of how one of the largest crypto Trading companies started and grew.

As you can imagine, “Kings of Crypto” leans more towards Coinbases’  development then to the classical business insights. As such, journalistical narrating is more engaging. Imagine a business book structured on thematic chapters, which have at the end two pages of real stories with real people. “Oh God” you could say, “not another dry and thick MBA book full of how-to-do business lessons. Will leave it for the next year, when I will have more time.”

Luckily for us readers, “Kings of Crypto” leans towards the historical narrative way. Read More »„Kings of Crypto“ by Jeff John Roberts, A Harvard Business Review Press Book Essentials

“COLLISION COURSE – Carlos Ghosn and the Culture Wars That Upended an Auto Empire” By Hans Greimel and William Sposato, a HBR Book Essentials

Corporate development happens rarely without conflicts. Nissan’s ascension under Carlos Ghosn goes even beyond that: Ghosn led the Renault-Nissan alliance from a rapid rise to a dramatic fall. “Collision Course” is therefore a tale of money, business and greed – and about the spectacular fall from grace of one of the most different businessmen that ever was out there.

As a veteran automotive reporter, Hans Greimel had a decades-long chance to see how Renault and Nissan evolved during time. He worked in and with Japan for a 15 years, making him almost not only an knowledgeable car connoisseur, but also close to the local rumor mills.  William Sposato wrote almost two decades about the Japanese economy (for Japan Inc.).

“Collision Course” goes beyond the thriller narrative of the rise and fall of Carlos Ghosn. The authors take a much broader view – including the main actors and stakeholders within the story. For example, some important players are the Japanese government representatives, who can barely stand seeing their national car brands being integrated away in a foreign conglomerate.Read More »“COLLISION COURSE – Carlos Ghosn and the Culture Wars That Upended an Auto Empire” By Hans Greimel and William Sposato, a HBR Book Essentials

„The Imagination Machine – How to Spark New Ideas and Create Your Company‘s Future“ (by Martin Reeves and Jack Fuller) – a HBR Book Essentials

„The Imagination Machine – How to Spark New Ideas and Create Your Company‘s Future“

As a long-standing science fiction fan, I can only testify – best ideas come from people‘s minds. „The Imagination Machine – How to Spark New Ideas and Create Your Company‘s Future“ take the ideas further – from the realm of the possibilities to the reality field. Boston Consulting‘s Group Martin Reeves and Jack Fuller are embarking on building a prototype – for finding and bringing great ideas to help.

Humans have many things that other species miss – but there is nothing like imagination. It is the only capacity known to transition from one realm to ours – and back. *The Imagination Machine“ apply a wealth of consulting techniques and cases to build the above mentioned prototype. From the ancient caves to the realm of science fiction, humans are able to use various combinations of artifacts and abilities to create new products. Or new ways of seeing the same things – in a new light. Imagination has given us the greatest inventions, those who make our lives richer than those of a Roman Emperor. Yet, many companies fail to invent anything substantial for decades, even fail to innovate. Others do and manage to change the world in the process. Read More »„The Imagination Machine – How to Spark New Ideas and Create Your Company‘s Future“ (by Martin Reeves and Jack Fuller) – a HBR Book Essentials

“Better, Simpler Strategy – A Value-Based Guide to Exceptional Performance” by Felix Oberholzer-Gee – a HBR Book Essentials Review

Better, Simpler Strategy – Book Essentials by Doitinvest.com

Stuck with quite a few strategic dilemmas? Not sure what your business should do next? Maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board – or even back to school. “Better, Simpler Strategy – A Value-Based Guide to Exceptional Performance” by Felix Oberholzer-Gee goes beyond the theory books, into the realms of the organizational practice.

One could theoretically argue that not one, but 10 books can be written on the strategy implementation topic. Strategy deployments seems to be ever-elusive – and the more experience a Board of Director’s has, the more the doubts on the potential pitfalls. Kaplan and Norton (2005) estimate that fewer than 15% of the organizations around the world are successful in their strategy implementation. Think about it, one in 6 companies is happy with the strategic outcome of their own-decided actions!

Felix Oberholzer-Gee takes this topic at the next level. First of all, he is no-nonsense scholar. He starts with 2 strong statements:

“Strategy is simple” and

“I am not sure if this is the right sentence to begin this book”.Read More »“Better, Simpler Strategy – A Value-Based Guide to Exceptional Performance” by Felix Oberholzer-Gee – a HBR Book Essentials Review

“What is Strategy? An Illustrated Guide to Michael Porter” by Joan Magretta, A Harvard Business Review Press Title – Book Essentials

What is Strategy?

A HBR Press Title Book Essentials

Strategy is notoriously difficult to explain.the most famous business thinkers are still struggling to convey to the Boardrooms what they think the strategy should be. Yet, as the countless courses, consultants and breakdowns demonstrate, the strategy is often properly understood.

This is why this HBR illustrated book is actually a keeper. “What is Strategy? An Illustrated Guide to Michael Porter”, written by Joan Magretta, does a great job of bringing strategy down to Earth. “What is Strategy?” decomposes all of the elements envisioned by Michael Porter since 1980s and re-assembles them in visual style. Think of it as one of the best business graphical novels ever put on paper. Or as the most worked-on strategy power point presentation brought to you. Add to it a light-hearted, interactive visual style – and voila, you have a reference, easy to use guide to strategy.

This does not mean that the illustrated guide to Michael Porter’s idea is for children. It is not even beginners’ exclusive. The guide looks detailed enough to be used by any experienced person as a quick reference guide or, why not, as a strategy concepts refresher. For example, it starts with a depiction of the the executive team that goes into the boardroom. This description serves two purposes:

– to introduce the characters that play different roles in the business world and

– to describe the most common roles in the C-suite – what does each do and what are their responsibilities.Read More »“What is Strategy? An Illustrated Guide to Michael Porter” by Joan Magretta, A Harvard Business Review Press Title – Book Essentials

“When More Is Not Better: Overcoming America’s Obsession With Economic Efficiency” by Roger L. Martin, a HBR Press Review – Book Essentials

Roger L Martin The win-win American capitalism might be skewed towards extremes, leaving the middle exposed. Roger L. Martin, a famous strategy professor, decided to take a new look at this “democratic capitalism” model. More importantly, he takes on a journey on how we can fix it. How well is Martin faring?

“When More Is Not Better – Overcoming America’s Obsession with Economic Efficiency” crosses the border of the WIFM business books. It might even become one of those titles that made famous the Chicago tribune economists – and propelled them in the driving seat of America’s economic policies. For a few decades, the US economy was transformed (at least conceptually) in a money making machine. Well, we all know the problems with the machines, do we?:

– their behavior is deemed predictable;

– they function constantly, based on well-known principles;

– the machines cannot learn and certainly cannot adapt to new ever-changing reality factors.

Read More »“When More Is Not Better: Overcoming America’s Obsession With Economic Efficiency” by Roger L. Martin, a HBR Press Review – Book Essentials