28 April 2014

Book Review: Quick and Nimble

Quick and Nimble:  Lessons from Leading CEOs on How to Create a Culture of Innovation
By Adam Bryant
Henry Holt & Co., 264 pages

While writing the series Greetings from Startup Land, I noticed this new book by Adam Bryant, the Corner Office columnist at the New York Times, titled Quick and Nimble.  So, as a bonus extra to the Startup Land series, here’s a nimble version of the Ad Majorem Book Review.  (Slightly less nimble book reviews here, here and here.)

Bryant starts on the premise that big companies can learn from startups how to be quick and nimble.  A competing theme is that companies in general can learn from so-called innovative companies how to be more innovative.  The book doesn’t really deliver on either of these promises.  Instead, it’s a collection of Things Big Company CEOs Have Learned.  Which probably makes sense, because the source material is Bryant’s weekly profiles of Big Company CEOs Who Have Learned Things.

In fairness, much of what emerges from these interviews is a response to the generally bureaucratic nature of big companies in an era when technology has made interpersonal communication much more instantaneous.  In other words, communication has been democratized and corporations are still catching up.

So if you are currently in a leadership position, or wish to be, this book requires two hours for a speed-read, or four to six hours for more careful consideration.  Either way, you’ll probably take away a couple of techniques worth emulating.  But it won’t make your company more nimble.

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