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, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

Reviewing Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne.

Here’s the bad:

The authors forget (or ignore) something fundamental to business — all great innovations are copied. A blue ocean today is quickly a red ocean tomorrow. And in thier blissful forgetfulness they feel justified and safe enough to toss off the precepts of hard-won, timeless principles of strategy.

Just because the book is about moving into uncontested space doesn’t mean that the principles of competition and contest don’t apply. In the Art of War, Sun Tzu lauded the good general who wins a battle before it is fought. But he puts on a pedestal the general who achieves military objectives without the enemy ever knowing a contest had begun. What Sun Tzu calls the “Sheathed Sword Strategy” is the old name for Blue Ocean Strategy.

Speaking of new names for old things — the authors do alot of renaming. Funky new words, tables and figures add little value when the principles aren’t clean. For some reason they think a few tables and innovative words are the same thing as adding metrics. They aren’t.

Finally, for a book about blue oceans and uncontested markets — is there another market more heavily contested than that of business books? What’s innovative about their strategy? A quick trip to their website shows there’s been very little innovation at all.

So much for the bad.

For other “Blue Ocean Strategy” posts in this series:

When sharks visit your blue ocean: A quick glimpse of the choice at hand.
Blue Ocean Strategy: The one sentence overview.
The best sort of blue: The best of Blue Ocean Strategy.
Blue ocean revival: New interest in Blue Ocean process and discipline.

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