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Competition Demystified (getAbstract Summary)

Here’s another great example of why I love getAbstract summaries: I was able to read the summary of what turned out to be a rather weak book, Competition Demystified in about 10 minutes. Under normal circumstances I would have bought the book and fought my way through the first few chapters before deciding it’s not right for me.

Why the low rating on this one? Two reasons: Oversimplification and “master of the obvious.” The authors talk about commodity vs. dynamic markets, saying that in the former, you can’t out-think your competition, you must operate as efficiently and inexpensively as possible and therefore strategy fades in importance. Huh? How about efficiency strategies?! WalMart, which ironically is cited in other examples in this book, is the king of efficiency, so I don’t think I’d be so quick to dismiss it as a viable strategy.

They go on to say that for an entrenched leader in the market, high barriers to entry are a good thing since they’ll keep out new players. That’s rather obvious, isn’t it?

After covering the challenges involved in competing solely on price, the authors note the lasting consequences of other strategies. They mention that Lowe’s made a major commitment to build new stores in strong markets for Home Depot, and with a commitment like that, Lowe’s can’t simply walk away when Home Depot proves to be a stout competitor. Actually, yes, I think they could walk away at some point, when it becomes clear that they (Lowe’s) are losing a boatload of money on that store, year in and year out. There’s a point at which you just have to acknowledge a bad decision and limit your losses.

I don’t generally give a thumbs-down in a book review, but I didn’t get anything out of this one, so I’d have a hard time recommending it.


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