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On John Kay’s Bookshelf – Archive page

Books that John has reviewed in the past...

How to manage blame

Managers are unavoidably charged to balance the benefit of innovation with the risks of new processes, and to do this well. But the disastrous effects of asbestos manufacture and BSE indicate that markets and regulation are not helping.

Premium mortgage advice

Some aspects of financial advice may not need to be tailored.

Buyers must master art of the particular

If stock-picking fails to beat the index, why should picking companies? It won’t, unless mergers carefully match the firms involved.

Mechanics of the market

Efficient markets make money for market participants, but not for market makers. That is something the enthusiastic promoters of B2B exchanges have yet to understand.

Beating the west at its own game

Commercial success with innovation depends less on the innovations themselves than on the other qualities of a firm. Sony’s use of Bell Labs technology is the classic example.

Manager from Mars

For all the analogies, war is not business. Sun Tzu will not tell you much about business strategy.

Blurring of responsibility

You can be responsible to people to whom you are not accountable; and you can deal with interlocking and conflicting responsibilities. Why do so many thoughtful people fail to realise this?

Facing supermarket forces

Is Wal-Mart’s entry into the UK market a sign of global retailing? It’s an interesting move, when Wal-Mart itself is solidly small-town American.

Evolution, executives and blurred vision

Incremental rather than radical change is usually the best business strategy. When radical change is needed it will usually be provided by new businesses altogether.