Score: 96/100 (9.6 out of 10)
Business Leadership in Turbulent Times by Michael Lawrie & George Tsetsekos should be required reading for all MBA students, entrepreneurs, and business owners. It could be argued that this is THE definitive encyclopedia of business. It covers a diverse range of topics including business leadership, planning, strategic choice, value creation, risk management, value-chain analyses, SWOT analyses, asset deployment, economies of scale, competitive advantage, corporate/organizational culture, board participation, lessons from the pandemic crisis, and so much more! What more could you ask for in a business book?
The book is well-written, well-researched, and very well-organized. Yes, the information is presented in a very straight, matter-of-fact, and dry way. It can be a bit boring. However, if you came to learn then you came to learn. Entertainment value comes second with a book of this kind.
For comparison's sake, we had several business books we'd read in the past (like The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt) and ones we read this season (like Flying Penguin by Asoka Jinadasa, Never Sit in the Lobby by Glenn Paulos, and Twelve-Minute Risk Management by Ivy Walker). It is so interesting to compare these books to each other. Tonally, this book is a lot like Twelve-Minute Risk Management. The language is very plain and simple, what you'd expect to find in a textbook. It's very... dry.
By comparison, Flying Penguin was a much more idealistic, fun, and exciting business book, but you could also make the argument that's not necessarily a good thing. Do you want people to live with their heads in the clouds or do you want them to know the cold, hard facts? Flying Penguin had a lively pep in its step. Business Leadership in Turbulent Times comes at you with a sledgehammer. If there were ever two books that reminded us of the difference between Shiva and Visnhu, it would be these two books. They're two very powerful business texts with two separate approaches to success.
If we were going to narrow down the thesis of this incredible book with such a broad scope, it would be something like the following:
It is often said that strategy is the most important aspect of business. However, strategy is secondary to the people involved in planning and executing that strategy, mainly good leaders.
Leadership is at the heart of this book. Ineffective leaders cause coordination problems, distrust, loss of morale, and failures in identifying problems or potential problems. The authors have a very Goldratt-like view about assets and value. They remind us that business is ultimately about value—the value of our products and services to the customer or client. These things lose value and increase in value. Value is a flexible, mutable, and sometimes even fickle thing. Toilet paper in 2020 had a lot more value than toilet paper does now owing to scarcity. Gas in 2022 is arguably more valued than in 2019 for very similar reasons. As a business owner, you have to be sensitive to these changes. Hope for the best and plan for the worse. Have a plan B and a plan C. Have an exit strategy. Value is also influenced by inefficiencies in production and distribution, by bottlenecks. By finding these inefficiencies and bottlenecks, you can increase your potential to make a profit.
If you're someone who runs a business or are interested in it someday, this book is definitely worth a read! Check it out on Amazon!