Awesomely Simple

by Jennifer Miller on February 14, 2010

in Book Review


Awesomely Simple by John Spence

Book Review:
Awesomely Simple: Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas into Action

By John Spence

In the introduction to his book Awesomely Simple, author John Spence declares: “everything in this book is from real life: you’ll find no fluff, no grand theories, no intellectual back-flips.” Readers who want complex organizational theories or a rigorously annotated bibliography will have to look elsewhere.  Spence promises a comprehensive roadmap for ensuring organizational success and he delivers.  To get the most out of this book, you’ll just have to trust that Spence knows what he’s talking about, based on his track record as a successful business owner, strategic consultant and guest lecturer at many prestigious universities.

Spence’s premise is that organizational effectiveness is simple, but not necessarily easy to implement.  He offers up his Six Principles of Business Success:

  • Vivid vision
  • Best people
  • Robust communication
  • Sense of urgency
  • Disciplined execution
  • Extreme customer focus

The above list isn’t ground-breaking. It’s common sense, which Spence acknowledges readily.   In fact, he says that the ideas set forth in his book are “largely common sense, but not common practice.”  Spence asserts that if companies consistently practice all six business principles, they will be far ahead of their competition because most only can manage to be good at just one or two principles.

This book has real “meat” to it.  Spence has a way of presenting the information very clearly, with just enough detail that the reader can envision doing what he suggests, rather than feeling overwhelmed.  That’s quite a feat considering the book tackles very broad subject matter.

I would highly recommend this book to:

  • C-level players of small to mid-sized companies
  • Leaders in Strategic Business Units of large companies who have the authority to affect organizational change
  • Leaders in any organization who want to improve their leadership effectiveness, even if they don’t have ability to implement all of Spence’s ideas

Awesomely Simple is ambitious in its scope, yet pragmatic in its recommendations.  Read it and let me know what you think—which of these Six Principles can you implement in your organization?

[Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book as part of the review process.]

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