Today’s book of the day is The Crux: How Leaders Become Strategists, written by Richard P. Rumelt in 2022 and published by PublicAffairs.

Richard P. Rumelt is an internationally known writer, speaker, and consultant on strategy. He is also Emeritus Professor at UCLA Anderson. He received his MSEE from UC Berkeley and his doctorate in business from Harvard Business School.

The Crux, by Richard Rumelt

I have chosen this book because lately I have been involved in positive discussions about what can be defined as a business strategy.

When I thought about who I consider being among the best expert in strategy, I immediately remembered that Richard Rumelt had written a book last year.

One of the core ideas of this book is that we need to cancel theory in what we use when we are doing strategy.

Rumelt is quite clear in showing that in many businesses, governments, and also in military ops strategy is just a useless series of unrealistic ideas and incoherent practices, driven by a mistaken sense of understanding about the topic, often just imposed from the top.

The breakthrough concept of this book is that a manager, a leader can become more effective in designing strategies by concentrating on overcoming the challenges rather than thinking about hypothetic goals.

The innovation here lies in the ability a leader should have or develop to become aware of, and then work on the most important points of the challenges the business faces. Once these key points have been pinpointed by the strategist leader, then the next step is taking effective, coherent, and decisive decisions that will achieve the result of creating the greatest and most important results.

If you ask how one can find the point to be addressed by strategy, Rumelt suggests a practical method:

  • list all the (actual and potential) problems you face
  • give them a value on a scale from 1 to 10 on how critical they are
  • give them another value on a scale from 1 to 10 on how addressable they are
  • map the results and choose the issue whose values’ sum is highest.

The absolute winning point of this book is showing that strategy is not about magic or vision. It’s about being at the same time extremely practical and extremely creative in addressing those issues that, once solved, lead us to the greatest progress and growth.

I definitely recommend reading this book if you work in a job that ever requires you to take key decisions or if you want to learn about strategy from one of the best experts in the world.


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