Professionals today, whether scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, or managers, need to maximize their effectiveness. Real world problems are complex and must be tackled with adequate conceptual tools. Hard work and motivation are not enough. Professionals need to think strategically in order to choose the right problem to solve, to solve it in a cost-effective way, to use resources efficiently, and to be innovative and productive. Written in a concise, accessible style, Thinking Strategically goes beyond brainstorming motivational books to provide the power tools needed to dissect problems and to find innovative solutions. These tools are based on an understanding of the power of bottlenecks, paradox, scale and perspective constraints, and feedback as leverage points for getting a grip on the problem. The result is a practical book for managers and other professionals about the strategic use of effort that can lead to astonishing levels of productivity. Reviews The main premise of the book is that professional productivity requires skill, motivation, and strategic use of time and effort, with the latter being the ultimate key to success. In turn, strategic thinking requires: 1) creativity; 2) discovery; 3) structuring work to bring new creation into fruition. The author also stresses the importance of finding the right problems to solve and ties this with creativity. This is an excellent point, often overlooked.
From the introduction it appears that the book's goal is to teach the strategic use of time and effort. But it falls short there: it provides neither a cohesive conceptual nor a practical framework for achieving that goal. Instead it covers a set of tools useful for thinking strategically, and discusses practical application of those tools to solving problems. The discussion on tools includes sections on discovery as finding of patterns or using paradox and contradiction for identifying and solving problems, which I found interesting. However, as a whole the book does not teach how to think strategically - it only covers some of the tools helpful to achieve that. Reviews The author spends half the book proving the theory in a very slow and boring fashion. As a business professional, I was expecting to get some more practical knowledge and not so much theory. Thankfully I bought the book used so all I was out was my time invested in reading it. Reviews This is a must-have guide for anyone in, or preparing to work in, a professional field involving scientific discovery, creating things, or solving complex real-world problems. Reviews Knowing how to increase my productivity has benefited me in several ways: monetarily, satisfaction, competitive advantages for myself and clients, etc. Leohle explains why skill, motivation, and strategic use of time and effort results in professional success. Worthy library addition for any thinker. Reviews Politicians have trusted advisers and strategists who guide them in their every move. There are, however, many professions that require innovative thinking and decision making, and whose practitioners have to be their own strategists. Of course, people in such occupations could do what most people do, which is to use a trusted colleague as a sounding board for their ideas. However, many times a colleague is not available, and even if one were, there is no guarantee that he or she will have the level of discernment needed for a particular problem. It is possible to circumvent the lack of a guru, a spin doctor or a discerning friend, by verifying our own ideas before implementing them. Loehle's book Thinking Strategically: Power Tools for Personal and Professional Advancement, teaches us how to condition our intellect to think ahead so that we can plan a strategy to attain that which is important to us. Naturally, this includes choosing the best path whilst avoiding pitfalls, side-tracking and even derailment from the path. For that, we must learn how to study the particular, while keeping an eye on the whole, and to keep in perspective several logical and causal connections simultaneously. Then, when we master how to think by ourselves, we must learn how to be our own sounding board, that is, how to check our results against all possible errors that can occur during the thinking process and compare them objectively against a known standard. This aspect of strategic thinking is referred to as reality check. The author distinguishes two types: internal and external. The former is important because many of the patterns we perceive are not real but artefacts of our imagination or, may have resulted from an array of potential errors of thinking such as faulty generalization, bad use of logic, incoherence and bad risk checking. The external reality check is like scientific hypothesis testing or the test drive of a new car, and it requires us to submit our result to an array of tests to discredit it, and finally to peer review. One does not need to be a book worm to fully appreciate this book but being reasonably well-read in scientific and technological matters will help to fully appreciate the examples taken from the great innovators. Thinking Strategically is a cornucopia of rich pickings of allegories, common sense and wisdom tempered by the amusing illustrations of Richard Loehle. I recommend this book for anyone challenged to provide novel ideas or solutions to problems still untackled by routine manuals. firstname.lastname@example.org
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