Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It

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Date: Fall-Winter 1997
From: Journal of Consumer Marketing(Vol. 14, Issue 4-5)
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing, Ltd.
Document Type: Book review
Length: 881 words

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In Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It, Al Ries makes some excellent points. He takes what appears to be a logical management strategy, achieving growth by entering into more product categories, and turns it inside out to expose its flaws. For each point he makes, the author gives some good examples illustrating the inherent lure, and ultimate folly, of growth by diversification. Then he gives some more examples, and more examples, and more examples. In short, this is a good book. It is an interesting and important book, and it is an easily read book. Unfortunately, it is also about 150 pages too long. Focus gets very repetitive; at several points my margin notes say "OK! I get the point already!" This book on focusing your company would have benefited from a little focusing of its own.

"'Deep penetration on a narrow front' is the mantra of a military mind. In a business war the same principles apply. In concentration there is strength. In diversification there is weakness" (p. 125). This is the crux of the author's argument and the definition of focusing. In theory, it is a simple concept: put all your eggs in one basket and really watch that basket. As Ries ably points out in the first three chapters, however, the temptation for CEOs...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A20326583