Adaptability: The Art of Winning in an Age of Uncertainty

Max McKeown, Author
Max McKeown. Kogan Page, $19.95 trade paper (228p) ISBN 978-0-7494-6524-7
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"The first rule of winning," McKeown writes, "is that there is no one way to win—" success requires adaptation. It sounds simple, and McKeown (The Truth About Innovation), a consultant whose clients include Microsoft and Sony, deftly makes it so, expounding on relevant examples in confident, straightforward prose. Case studies range from a fascinating investigation of ants, who "create complex societies with simple rules," to quantum game theory, which reveals "the danger of clinging onto stability at all costs." "Actions are relative to circumstance," and sometimes success depends on "Embrac[ing] unacceptable wisdom," as opposed to going with the status quo. Focusing on discerning adaptation, the author also highlights what not to do, as when Tropicana rebranded in 2009 and panicked after sales plummeted 20%. Within two months, they had reverted to their original packaging. McKeown maintains that the most successfully adaptive companies (and individuals) are those that, in some ways, never grow up—opting instead to feed off new creative energies and ideas. Though this treatise is grounded in diverse, concrete examples, McKeown's advice is germane enough to appeal to anyone stuck in a rut—from entrepreneurs to established companies. (May)
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