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Strategy: A History (Anglais) Relié – 31 octobre 2013

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

[Strategy: A History] elegantly synthesises strands of thought. (RUSI Journal)

This is an epic undertaking, of considerable intellectual ambition. It displays the familiar Freedmanian virtues: clarity, economy, proficiency, sagacity a compound of deep immersion, practised exposition, and a certain practical wisdom in it... In strategy, everything is connected. Freedman shows us how. (The Guardian)

To the best of my knowledge, this is the only book ever attempted on the entire historical and conceptual domain of strategy. Indeed, I am somewhat awestruck by the scope of the mission that Freedman set himself. ... Strategy is a very considerable, indeed monumental, product that no one else has had the temerity to attempt. (Colin Gray, International Affairs)

A discursive account with many interesting passages ... There is much of interest in Freedman's book. (Jeremy Black, History Today)

Arguably the best book ever written on strategy (in its widest sense). (Gerard DeGroot, Washington Post)

Freedman offers a wide-ranging, scholarly and entertaining history of the concept. He ranges from David and Goliath to Peter Drucker, by way of Marx and Machiavelli - and emphasises the importance of responding flexibly to events. (Books of the Year, Financial Times)

This is a book of startling scope, erudition and, more than anything, wisdom. (Janan Ganesh, Financial Times)

Magisterial ... wide-ranging erudition and densely packed argument. (The Economist)

[A] fascinating, at moments playful book. (Bruce Anderson, The Sunday Times)

Freedman's writing is admirably lucid, and the breadth of his knowledge and scholarship astonishing...Both as a history of ideas and as a work of reference, it is invaluable Erudite, wise and illuminating, Strategy is a book to be savoured and treasured. (Sir David Goodall, The Tablet)

This is an original and intriguing approach. (Richard Overy, Literary Review)

[A] vast exploration of strategy that is difficult to read, full of surprises, and marked by unsurpassed erudition. It also is witty and reminds us that he in the world who knows most about strategy may be the one who is the most unimpressed with it. (Victor Davis Hanson, National Review)

An ambitious and sprawling book ... With admirable candor, Freedman tells us that he received the contract for this book in (gulp!) 1994, and that he made a "number of false starts" with the manuscript. Considering the daunting scope of the subject, this is entirely understandable. Considering the wisdom and analytical brilliance he brings to bear on that subject, it's been well worth the wait. (The Daily Beast)

Will surely become a standard reference in the discipline ... ambitious and impressive. (strategy+business.com)

A marvelous grand tour of the meaning, implications, and consequences of strategic thinking through the ages and in multiple contexts. Freedman is a master of the subject and unsurpassed in his ability to unravel the twists and turns of strategic complexities and paradoxes. (Robert Jervis, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics, Columbia University)

Lawrence Freedman shows here why he is justly renowned as one of the world's leading thinkers about strategy, which he defines as the central art of getting more out of a situation than the starting balance of power would suggest. (Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Harvard University and author of The Future of Power)

Erudite, wide-ranging, and covering an astonishing array of subjects relating to strategy. (Azar Gat, author of War in Human Civilization)

Freedman's writing is admirably lucid, and the breadth of his knowledge and scholarship astonishing... Both as a history of ideas and as a work of reference, it is invaluable Erudite, wise and illuminating, Strategy is a book to be savoured and treasured, not least in its conclusion: that "in the end, all we can do is to act as if we can influence events. To do otherwise is to succumb to fatalism." (The Tablet)

So erudite, so wide-ranging, and so knowledgeable ... impressive achievement. No single book on strategy is as intellectually intimidating; and none moves as easily as his does across time and space. (The World Today)

Immensely learned and wide-ranging, beautifully written and full of insight ... a fine book. (Michael Williams, University of Hertfordshire)

Présentation de l'éditeur

In Strategy: A History, Sir Lawrence Freedman, one of the world's leading authorities on war and international politics, captures the vast history of strategic thinking, in a consistently engaging and insightful account of how strategy came to pervade every aspect of our lives. The range of Freedman's narrative is extraordinary, moving from the surprisingly advanced strategy practiced in primate groups, to the opposing strategies of Achilles and Odysseus in The Iliad, the strategic advice of Sun Tzu and Machiavelli, the great military innovations of Baron Henri de Jomini and Carl von Clausewitz, the grounding of revolutionary strategy in class struggles by Marx, the insights into corporate strategy found in Peter Drucker and Alfred Sloan, and the contributions of the leading social scientists working on strategy today. The core issue at the heart of strategy, the author notes, is whether it is possible to manipulate and shape our environment rather than simply become the victim of forces beyond one's control. Time and again, Freedman demonstrates that the inherent unpredictability of this environment-subject to chance events, the efforts of opponents, the missteps of friends-provides strategy with its challenge and its drama. Armies or corporations or nations rarely move from one predictable state of affairs to another, but instead feel their way through a series of states, each one not quite what was anticipated, requiring a reappraisal of the original strategy, including its ultimate objective. Thus the picture of strategy that emerges in this book is one that is fluid and flexible, governed by the starting point, not the end point. A brilliant overview of the most prominent strategic theories in history, from David's use of deception against Goliath, to the modern use of game theory in economics, this masterful volume sums up a lifetime of reflection on strategy.

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Détails sur le produit

  • Relié: 768 pages
  • Editeur : OUP USA (31 octobre 2013)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0199325154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199325153
  • Dimensions du produit: 23,9 x 5,8 x 16,5 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 46.474 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Pierre Blanchard le 2 août 2014
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Le sens et le contenu de la stratégie sont déterminés d'abord par "l'écosystème" dans lequel l'organisme (être vivant, organisation, pays, entreprise, individu, ...) est plongé et dans lequel il cherche à survivre et à s'épanouir. S'adapter à "l'écosystème" et chercher à l'influencer à son avantage sont les bases de la stratégie.
Ce livre donne une bonne perspective historique de l'évolution du concept (c'est le sous-titre: "A history").

La perspective historique est un exercice à pratiquer, mais elle à ses limites car les réponses aux défis actuels et à venir sont à inventer: les écosystèmes évoluent en permanence, et les évolutions récentes et les connaissances que l'on en a amènent à utiliser avec prudence, voire circonspection, les leçons de l'histoire.

La prospective stratégique est toujours plus complexe, et il faut une intelligence toujours renouvelée des données et des incertitudes pour décider et agir.

Ce livre contribue à rendre intelligent, mais aussi prudent quant à l'utilisation des expériences passées.
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51 internautes sur 54 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Strategy: it's not for amateurs 21 décembre 2013
Par R. Blanchard - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This book presents a sweeping historical narrative in a way that is intellectually challenging and stimulating. Even "experts" (those heavily engaged in military, business or other strategic studies or research) will enjoy a nicely-written (and flawlessly edited) overview that starts with chimps (as a proxy for prehistoric man) and ends with contemporary theories of rational decision-making based on the latest brain science (Kahneman, et al). The book is long (650 pages) and has an additional 100 pages of annotated footnotes. Freedman is careful to credit the many other writers and specialists upon whom he relies both in the text and notes. However, there is no bibliography. Nevertheless this book is an ideal starting point for the serious student or researcher who is in the early stages of delving into the history and challenges of strategic thinking.

Freedman may be a specialist in war studies but I found his chapters on business and other non-military topics more interesting and insightful. He does an especially good job of weaving game theory into the narrative (without the math that so often gets in the way).

The book is not without biases (he tears Tom Peters and his ilk to shreds). There are also a few imbalances and peculiarities. The sections on biblical analysis (David and Goliath, etc.) bring nothing new to the discussion. And, like many authors and historians before him, he occasionally gets lost in the endless cast of revolutionaries and the equally endless permutations in bottom-up strategic thinking in the decades after the French Revolution. For example he devotes several pages to Gramsci (a minor player who was irrelevant in his own lifetime and only marginally relevant thereafter) but only 1½ pages to the whole of women's and gay rights movements in the 20th century, which actually broke some new ground in social organization. Also, the last several pages of the book are devoted to a discussion of the plot of the Capra movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" as an illustration of scripts and plots as a format for comparing dramatic fiction with real-life strategic thinking. I got more out of the last chapter when I reread it minus the movie plots. I don't think we learn much of value about strategic thinking from what comes out of Hollywood.

In the end this books offers little in the way of profound breakthroughs in how to develop and implement successful strategies. If anything, it lowers our expectations about the results that can be achieved from even the most carefully-crafted strategies. This is good, however. The conventional wisdom that strategy is for amateurs while capacity is for professionals may be true. But after reading Freedman one can better understand that as a starting point for cooperation and/or conflict resolution any strategy despite whatever inherent limitations it may have is better than no strategy at all.

Overall, an excellent book, one that I really enjoyed reading.
62 internautes sur 68 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A lot of good material, but needs to be about half the length. 7 janvier 2014
Par W. COX - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
The reviewer who said that this is not one history but several histories was spot on. The first third of the book, dealing with military strategy, was very good, although the first couple of chapters dealing with chimpanzees and Biblical history did not add much. The second third of the book, dealing with "bottom-up" strategy and including revolutionaries and Marxism, was terrible. Pointless, rambling and disorganized, it had really very little to do with the rest of the book, or strategy in general. I didn't go back and check but I would guess that there the book would go 20, 30 pages at a time without addressing anything related to strategy. It became really a history of political change and revolutionaries at that point, but tough to tell as it jumped around quite a bit.

I was thankful that I did not stop reading during the middle third (I was tempted many times) because the final third, dealing with business and economic strategy, was much better. The conclusion, talking about strategy as a script or story, was a decent attempt at bringing the subject together and moving it forward, probably the best that could be done with such a broad subject.

I think the author could have done a better job with half the pages. I recommend reading the first section, skimming the second and then reading the third section and conclusion.
30 internautes sur 34 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An important history and commentary on "strategy" - over time and across fields of endeavor 12 décembre 2013
Par Justin Anderson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This book arrives at an important time for "strategy," which in the early 21st century is a term that is applied everywhere, from public and private organizations to every aspect of personal life. As a result, strategy - once associated most closely with military or geopolitical endeavors, but gradually appropriated by institutions or individuals who wished to convey a sense of purpose, importance, and long range thinking to their corporate plans or personal goals - has become a buzzword essentially devoid of meaning.

On one level, Freedman's book is a history of strategy, with the first section tracing military strategy from ancient to modern times, before moving on to in depth discussions of strategy in other fields, such as business. The book nimbly moves between eras and strategic thinkers, offering rich insights into strategy as it was developed (and practiced) by individual philosophers and field marshals and then bringing these key strategic thinkers into dialogue with one another. In doing so, it stands on its own as a compelling work of history both in terms of strategists and strategizing. But the book goes beyond historical narrative in offering a compelling commentary on how strategy as a distinct concept is defined and used, while also serving up a pointed critique of the the idea that no challenge, in whatever field, is beyond the reach of near-omniscient "strategists." History, commentary, and critique are brought together seamlessly by Freedman's writing, which simultaneously educates and charms the reader with crisp prose and wry anecdotes. In addition to representing an important work of scholarship, it serves to raise important questions for the consideration of strategies (and strategists) from a across a range of fields. If you have ever had to read a "strategy" document - and particularly if you have ever been assigned the responsibility to write one - you should read this book.
16 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Dynamism and Fluidity at the Heart of Strategy Which Is Never a Final, Stable Destination 8 décembre 2013
Par Serge J. Van Steenkiste - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Lawrence Freedman thoroughly reviews the permutations of strategy in war, politics, and business mainly in the Western thinking since its beginnings in the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Greece. Mr. Freedman defines strategy as the art of creating power which is measured as the difference between the outcome anticipated by reference to the prevailing balance of power and the actual outcome after the application of strategy. Strategy comes to the fore in the presence of conflict.

To his credit, the author convincingly demonstrates that strategy is not about reaching some prior objective due to its dynamic and fluid nature. This conclusion remains true regardless of the use of superior force and / or guile for that purpose. Think for example about the evolving fortunes of Honda in business after WWII, the early victories of Nazi Germany during the Second World War, or the successes and failures of Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. in the last decades.

Strategy is at best a tool that will allow you to move from one stage to the next one, which will not necessarily be a better place. The next stage is a place that can be realistically reached from the current stage. Mr. Freedman adds that without some sense where the journey should be leading it will be challenging to assess alternative outcomes for reaching the next stage. The author also recommends that the strategist display both flexibility and imagination so that he / she can better keep up with an evolving situation, regularly re-evaluating risks and opportunities.

In summary, strategy invites its practitioners to display humility and realize its strengths and weaknesses in the absence of a final, stable destination.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Magnificant and maddening. 7 novembre 2014
Par William K. Berkson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This book is both magnificent and maddening. It is magnificent in its amazing scope, with short summaries and interesting insights on practically every strategic thinker in history, and many others who are not thought of as strategists, but whom Freedman rightly and insightfully includes. It is maddening in its failure to actually address the question of what strategy is best, under what conditions. In fact, the book is mis-titled, because it is not about strategy, but about theories of strategy. It could be more accurately titled: "The Pretensions of Strategists: A History," because that is its actual theme.

What is most maddening about the book is its consistent ducking responsibility for saying that any strategy is good under certain circumstances. It is an "academic" book in both the best and worst ways. It has massive erudition, keen critical intelligence and brilliant insights. But it sticks to criticism, and fails to offer any positive advice on good strategy. For every thinker Freedman follows this formula: he summarizes the theory of the thinker, describes the initial case for it or temporary success, and then points out where it has failed. Then he magisterially pronounces all views limited in applicability. This is a maddening ivory tower game, because the author is so risk averse that in his evasion of possible criticism he avoids also avoids insights that might actually be helpful to a decision maker.

In spite of the avoidance of positive recommendations, Freedman does have themes that he keeps coming back to, and are interesting and informative. One of these themes is that leaders often radically get wrong what can be accomplished by victory in a battle. G.W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" is the most glaring example of this, but Freedman has numerous other illustrations, including Napoleon. In this respect, clearly Clausewitz is one of his heroes for his insight that battles need to serve political ends.

As far as military strategy, one of Freedman's really interesting insights is that the decisive thing in wars is more often alliances more than any cleverness on the battle field. The weight of allies tips the balance. This would indicate, as with Napoleon and Hitler, ISIL has now doomed itself by allying the world against it.

A third theme, and the one that he returns to most and is perhaps the most innovative in the book is that persuasion is a key part of strategic leadership, whether in battle, politics or business. Freedman's breathtaking breadth of scope really works in discussing this theme, where he brings people as disparate as Foucault and Lee Atwater into the same story--rightly.

I couldn't put the book down, all 650 pages of it, and will return to study parts of it, which I made note of. But I had the weird sensation of being continually dazzled, grateful, and disappointed all at the same time.
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