A Porter Primer

For the past 30 years, Michael Porter of Harvard has been to the study of strategy what W. Edwards Deming was to Total Quality Management.  The size and scope of Porter’s remarkable body of work has, unfortunately, discouraged many from pursuing his contributions to this most important subject. A colleague of Porter’s, however, has done us all a great service by penning a wonderful summary of his work that should serve as a handbook on strategy for anyone who wants to play a key role at his or her company.

Understanding Michael Porter” by Joan Magretta might be described as “Michael Porter for Dummies” but it’s an easy weekend read by one of Porter’s close collaborators that summarizes the tools and concepts of how to truly understand, and respond to, competition.

In addition to his book, here are three videos that summarize Porter’s work that you might want to watch first:

“What is strategy?” (7 min):  Great insights into what strategy is (and isn’t)

Porter’s Five Competitive Forces (13 Min): A fine summary of what competition really is ( are you fighting the wrong battle?).

Michael Porter Competitive Strategy Overview (60 min): (A good video summary of the book)

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