Book Review: Blue Ocean Strategy (W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne)

While not a career management or job hunting book by any stretch of the imagination, Blue Ocean Strategy does relate to employment in a fairly significant way — it gives you a great sense of how to identify the employers most likely to “win the game” and be able to offer steady, rewarding work to you and other employees for a number of years to come.

Simply put, this book is about a quasi-revolutionary (depends who you talk to) concept in marketing that involves those companies that get tired of “playing by the rules” and seek instead to completely redefine their customer base and create a totally unique “blue ocean” market niche that enjoys little or no competition — instead of competing on the same old tired factors (e.g. price, quality, customer service) that lead to constant battles and eroding margins in the “red ocean” markets that are already saturated with tough competitors.  In this sense, the book is probably most appropriate for those senior executives and marketing specialists who will be directly responsible for identifying a company’s market strategy and charting its destiny.  And yet, even to a layperson such as myself, the concepts presented in this book are extremely intriguing and are brought to life in a very satisfying way through the presentation of dozens of specific examples like Cirque De Soleil, Yellowtail Wines, and Southwest Airlines — all of which represent companies that have pulled off highly profitable “blue ocean” transformations.

Again, an odd selection for our career book of the month, to be sure.  As the best business book we’ve  read in quite some time, however, we felt it would be appropriate to recommend this inspiring publication as a nod both to the marketing executives among our candidate base, as well as all the rest of us whose paychecks rely on the ability of our employers to innovate, adapt, and be profitable!

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