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Publisher's Summary

This is A.G. Lafley’s guidebook. Shouldn’t it be yours as well?Winning CEO A.G. Lafley is now back at the helm of consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble. If you want to know the strategy he’ll use to restore P&G to its former dominance, read this book.

Playing to Win, a noted Wall Street Journal and Washington Post best seller, outlines the strategic approach Lafley, in close partnership with strategic adviser Roger Martin, used to double P&G’s sales, quadruple its profits, and increase its market value by more than $100 billion when Lafley was first CEO (he led the company from 2000 to 2009). The book shows leaders in any type of organization how to guide everyday actions with larger strategic goals built around the clear, essential elements that determine business successwhere to play and how to win.

Lafley and Martin have created a set of five essential strategic choices that, when addressed in an integrated way, will move you ahead of your competitors. They are: (1) What is our winning aspiration? (2) Where will we play? (3) How will we win? (4) What capabilities must we have in place to win? and (5) What management systems are required to support our choices? The result is a playbook for winning.

The stories of how P&G repeatedly won by applying this method to iconic brands such as Olay, Bounty, Gillette, Swiffer, and Febreze clearly illustrate how deciding on a strategic approachand then making the right choices to support itmakes the difference between just playing the game and actually winning.

Playing to Win outlines a proven method that has worked for some of today’s most celebrated brands and products. Let this book serve as your new guide to winning, as well.

©2013 A.G. Lafley and Roger L. Martin (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Playing to Win

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The A-Z guide on Strategy formulation

While this is a great book for those at the leadership level, I am not sure if I would ever reach that level to be able to effectively use the model and tools presented in this book.

However, I should still be able to follow along the discussions that happen around strategy when leaders collaborate and use the tools presented in here. The author provides a framework with which companies could apply their strategy. Also, there are wonderful tips on Dos and Don'ts of the five strategy related questions -
1) What is your winning aspiration?
2) Where will you play?
3) How will you win?
4) What capabilities must be in place?
5) What management systems are required?

The authors also introduces Procter and Gamble's activity system which captures the core capabilities, relationships between them and the activities that support them.

The authors also introduce us to the strategy logic flow which could be used to develop multiple possible ways of where to play and how to win choices.

Strategy is choice. The author concludes with Dos and Don'ts in each chapter and at the end too.

I liked the organization of the content. There is no confusion on where exactly we are at any point in time.

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Worth the time.

The book is a masterpiece on making strategy and a need for every business that wants to win and create a mark.

it is also useful for every CEO and Consultant to create a framework that will help create sustainable processes and results

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Excellent Book

A book that simplifies Strategy and breaks its down to the nuts and bolts. The P&G examples helps in understanding the concepts

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Great book

Narrator voice is good.
Content is great.

Should accompany the PDF which is missing which references diagrams. Audible please add it.

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Excellent to craft strategy

Sequential steps for a robust strategy, filled with examples.
Recommend to everyone in marketing or strategy.
Genuine, practical & logical & not very theoretical.

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  • G. Roukas
  • 09-05-16

Excellent and comprehensive book on strategy

I've been reading about strategy over the last 20 years from many authors and from many angles, but this is the first one that I think takes a really comprehensive view of strategy and the process of crafting one.

I noticed that some of the other reviews criticize the authors for focusing on P&G, but I think they're missing the point: P&G is a large and diverse organization, and illustrating how strategy works there covers a massive spectrum of businesses. Many will find that while strategic options don't look the same in their organization, the general lessons from P&G can be applied to just about any kind of business. And the authors do salt the text with examples from other industries where the nature of those industries create meaningful illustrations.

In all, I think this is an an extensive and extremely worthwhile book. I recommend it highly!

16 people found this helpful

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  • lniles
  • 14-04-15

The P&G Story

This book is all about the author's experience as CEO of Proctor & Gamble. It's a reasonably good exposition of a well-founded approach to strategy in that context, but there is virtually no discussion of how the approach might apply to other environments. In the end the book is a case study of the strategic decision-making process at P&G rather than a tutorial for a business leader.

20 people found this helpful

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  • M. Murphy
  • 04-02-20

Great advice if you’re the size of P&G

Maybe I lacked imagination when I went through this one but I just could not find any relevant information to the business I’m currently in. That’s unusual even a story or lessons learned from another industry can spark new ideas for something that could be implemented in the market I play.
But this one, nope.

In fact there so was much talk of leveraging P&E size and abilities I wonder if it could be useful to small players in similar markets.

Dud.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-05-17

"This is how awesome we were at P&G"

Any additional comments?

The themes in the book are solid themes but the "key takeaways" were very generic..."so, we applied dedication and resources...". The book glosses over significant components of managing priorities in an organization. Resources constraints, cost benefit trade-offs, prioritization, cross-functional complexities, for example. Would've done well to include more related and detailed examples

7 people found this helpful

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  • rbn12
  • 12-07-18

Okay for strategy

Some of these things are straightforward. Although most of them seem short-termist, as is evident today. This is a good book to understand P&G businesses. There are probably better strategy books.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Bon Xiong
  • 19-06-21

Huh?

Too high level for me. Hard for me to follow because I don’t have the executive experience or expertise the author has in order to comprehend all the lessons in each chapter. Author utilizes business school level terminology and theory and gives many examples of how many major corporations either succeeded or failed which is easy for the experienced executive to comprehend but for the novice business executive or aspiring business executive, it will be difficult to understand.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Zeusthink
  • 02-05-19

Overly long with no new insights. Don’t even bother

A very disappointing effort. Highly capable authors with an analysis that has little in the way of specific insights and is long on dated anecdotes. I couldn’t even bring myself to finish the book, even though I really enjoyed Roger Martin‘s previous book On design thinking.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sean
  • 06-04-22

Winning Strategy

This book is great for creating strategy in big companies or SMBs. While the author has multiple key takeaways, he highlights two; where to play, and how to win. Where to play entails finding market fit - brand positioning, where to sell geographically, based on category, price, market segment, etc. When you figure out where to play, you strategize how to win which is not only making the right choices, but eliminating bad choices. This includes going over multiple scenarios, reverse engineering them and see what must be true for it to succeed.

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  • NA
  • 01-04-22

Tons of value

Great book! Tons of value and lessons. Great book for all business sizes. Solid insights.

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  • ricardo
  • 07-09-21

Gran libro sobre estrategia, práctico

estructura clara y concisa, la narración es muy buena y hace fácil de seguir el contenido

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  • Temi Mogaji
  • 09-01-18

Out dated but good

Some outdated frameworks like segmenting but very good knowledge you have to have. Overall good.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mr S Harrison
  • 07-01-21

Obvious and arrogant

Oh dear, this book is awful!!! Full of obvious rubbish coached in the worst of American corporate language. The information in this book is at best common sense and at worst middle/senior management justification for existence/compensation respectively. This isn’t help by the cheesy infomercial narrator, who seemingly doesn’t know how to pronounce 50% words f the words in the English language. Avoid unless you aspire to be a talentless middle manager with little/no conception of what your company/product actually is!!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ilse
  • 20-01-20

Weak story, don’t bother unless NO knowledge about business

No new examples, stories are not very interesting and only interesting when you have no knowledge of business to begin with. The examples are not useful for real life as (and the book does state this) every situation is different and there is no set rule on what to apply “to win”. Again, can provide some ideas if you don’t have business knowledge to work from, but otherwise use your time for other works.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ras
  • 27-08-19

cliches of brand management and strategy

Nothing interesting! It is very basic strategic marketing concepts that are chewed endlessly with examples from P&G. It is so boring that I could not finish.

1 person found this helpful

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  • JedHoll
  • 27-11-17

P&G focused

Interesting book but PARTICULARLY focused on P&G and rarely strays off the company for long. While some lessons from multinationals can be applicable to different situations - some can’t

1 person found this helpful

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  • multichannelblog
  • 15-12-15

Very useful and enjoyable to listen to

Excellent book with some particularly interesting stories about P&G. learnt a lot and will probably listen to it again!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-02-22

PNG counter is out, monotonous and dry

This book is not well rounded but can't say for sure because I could not finish it. I might give it another shot later.

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  • Tilio
  • 01-07-21

Interesting Story, but not greatly executed.

Overall, it is a good book with tons of useful insights. Although, the titles of the chapter could be more informing, having the name of the topic instead of having only a number. That change would help to navegate and review some of the topics.

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  • NK Kaur
  • 03-05-21

Fantastic recommendation, perfect for new SMEs

Takes a little while to get in to it but it is worth it.

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  • RK
  • 09-01-21

Great book to help you focus for projects strategy

Great book to help you focus for projects and strategy at all levels but also helps to understand senior. management in how to approach them.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-10-21

Excellent strategy approach- needs PDF graphics

I liked the examples, very easy to understand and get your head around .
A PDF of the graphics would have give this a five/five.

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  • Courtney Brown
  • 09-07-21

Great insight, little dated but the principles are sound

Great focus on practical implementation and easily understood case studies. Where to play and how to win. Opportunity to discuss the ‘why’

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  • David
  • 02-12-18

Must have for anyone who wants to see strategy at work

This is a such a practical guide for anyone who wants to understand strategy. I chose this book because I do not consider myself a strategic thinker and now use many of the strategies and questions asked in the book. A valuable resource.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-10-18

Great tool

A really good insight into developing a strategy and a great tool in the arsenal

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  • Darryl Clarke
  • 15-12-14

must read for any business wanting to win

this book is a must read for businesses of any size or market place. sage, concise advice from some of the best minds in business.

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  • gallluke
  • 20-07-15

Good audio book

Great for listening to in the car. Have bought a hard copy, not overly complicated.