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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 16,8 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 8.658 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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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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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 53 commentaires
33 internautes sur 33 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.
47 internautes sur 53 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.
25 internautes sur 29 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.
15 internautes sur 17 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 
Strategy: a biography 19 juin 2014
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Five stars is a minimum to books like this. It's a masterpiece for whoever interested in history as a whole. And it's a masterpiece for whoever interested in reading a masterpiece as if it was for beginners. Strategy, by Lawrence Freedman took to me three weeks of reading although It's a long book (600 pages). Despite of it I was always submerged and concentrated in the reading, which talks very well about the author.

So what is the topic of this book: this book is about the history and the evolution of strategy through the ages. To do that, Mr. Freedman invites you to a voyage of four thousand years to see how this method for solving problems was changing over time, and how, despite of the changes, kept its tenets until today.

So the book is not only about war which is the strategy's most natural and common environment but also about politics, management, religion, bureaucracies, and so on. And that is so because strategy is a discipline that needs to be nurtured through other sciences and disciplines. Perhaps this is the most dependent of all disciplines and that's why it captures the attention and the dedication of scholars like Mr. Freedman. And of readers like myself. Or yourself.

Some reviews say that this is not a book for amateurs, but who is an expert on strategy if it is so hard to define what strategy is. Maybe an expert in strategy is a general who has lost all his battles. Or the scholar who follows and studies him. I don't know, but I do know that strategy is about the facts of the world when the world posses questions with no definitive answers. So all that you have as a capital is a handful of solutions. Which one will you pick?

As long as the complexity of a problem increases, less certain is the future even if you don't do nothing at all. And this is because to do nothing is a strategy too. And it has its costs. Sometimes to lose today is a way of winning tomorrow. Sometimes that excellent strategy won't work. And this is the point in Mr. Freedman's book: there is no prescription or recipe. And if this is so, what we can do?

Strategy is one of the best approaches to the topic I've ever read. The strategy of the devil in Milton's Lost Paradise or the strategy of the nonviolence's promoters in the U.S. during the twentieth century, both share the same dilemmas and the same old conundrums that faced Julius Cesar and Napoleon. To link people, facts and ideas with a very elusive concept like strategy is a task that demands not only a good professor but a good writer also.

Mr. Freedman exercises the art of writing with the same simplicity that Hemingway used to encourage. And this is no small. To talk about strategy is one thing; to write about it, is another. I highly recommend this book to whoever want to know about this topic which mingles science and art in strange and veiled proportions. Just as the author says, this is not a book for those interested in being advised on how to win a "battle." This is a book for knowing what strategy is and how has changed over time to become what it is today.
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