a book review
This slender volume makes an outstanding introduction to business strategy and execution through operational improvements. It is a book that covers a lot of ground in a relatively slender volume, pulling it all off without becoming dense or unreadable. In fact, it punches above its weight by stripping away a lot of the windy explanations and examples that business writers seem to love; I don't think there's a single case study that goes to more than 3-4 pages in the book. In the same vein, the author does a very concise job of evaluating some of the major trends in operational improvement activities (e.g. lean; six sigma), and recommending alternatives. The description that blends the "generic strategies" of Michael Porter and the "value disciplines" of Treacy & Wiersema alone are worth the price of the book.
But it's not simply an introductory text; the author uses his considerable business experience to clearly enunciate a number of ideas I haven't seen before. I loved the quote "Just as an army marches on its stomach, a bank lives and dies in accordance with the excellence of its information systems." If only the people who ran banks understood this!
I have used this book for my professional work and in my studies (a masters dissertation in risk management). I strongly recommend it as a thorough introduction to the material.