The Power of Simplicity

A Management Guide to Cutting Through the Nonsense and Doing Things Right

Jack Trout, Steve Rivkin

Publisher: McGraw-Hill, 1999, 205 pages

ISBN: 0-07-137332-2

Keywords: Marketing

Last modified: Aug. 4, 2021, 7:26 p.m.

It is high time for businesses to replace complexity with common sense, argues corporate guru Jack Trout in this impassioned yet practical guide. The best-selling coauthor of the classic Positioning shows manaers how to banish jargon, articulate their vision, simplify processes, and refocus on core issues — all without expensive consultants or money-wasting programs. The Power of Simplicity throws a life jacket of reality to readers drowning in management fads and wondering why their business isn't better.

  • Fight complexity. Trout and coauthor Steve Rivkin present guidelines for thinking in straightforward terms and cutting through ridiculous jargon.
  • Embrace simplicity. Marketing means turning simple ideas into strategy. Such concepts aren't too basic for Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines, Jack Welch of General Electric, and Andy Grove of Intel, to name a few successful CEOs who share their insights and war stories in these pages.
  • Be a contrarian. Information? Too much can confuse you. Growth? It can hurt your business. It's time to look hard at knee-jerk assumptions and adjust your business practices accordingly. You'll examine how GM, Gillette, Volvo, and Xerox have either done so and been better for it or ignored these truths at their peril.
  • Respect your people. Business ultimately lives or dies by people, not money. Trout's four chapters on "People Issues" are worth a library full of human resource tracts.
    • Introduction
  • The Basics of Simplicity
    1. Simplicity. Why people fear it so much
    2. Common sense. It can make things simple
    3. Complex language. It can cloud people's minds
  • Management Issues
    1. Information. Too much can confuse you
    2. Consultants. The source of a lot of nonsense
    3. Competitors. Simply think of them as the enemy
    4. Strategy. It's all about differentiation
    5. Customer orientation. It's a given, not a difference
    6. Annual budgets. A simple way to maximize your dollars
    7. Prices. Simple guidelines to get them right
  • Leadership Issues
    1. Mission statements. All they add is needless confusion
    2. Leadership. It's about leading the charge
    3. Long-term planning. It's just wishful thinking
    4. Organization. The simpler, the better
    5. Marketing. It's turning simple ideas into strategy
    6. New ideas. Something borrowed is simpler
    7. Goals. They sound nice but accomplish little
    8. Growth. It can be bad for your business
  • People Issues
    1. Motivation. Effort alone is not the answer
    2. Self-improvement. It's the emperor's new clothes
    3. Success. It's about finding a horse to ride
    4. The critics. Being simple will not be easy
  • In Conclusion
    1. Simplicity. Its power is alive and well


The Power of Simplicity

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Outstanding ********* (9 out of 10)

Last modified: Aug. 31, 2009, 1:56 p.m.

This is a really excellent book. Furthermore, the authors are so disrespectful against their own education and profession, that it will sooth an aspiring MBA's time.


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