"The Essential Advantage should be 'essential' reading. Leinwand's and Mainardi's unique approach of assessing internal strengths first — then one's product or services portfolio — is a fresh way forward that should be part of every CEO's and business leader's playbook."
President and CEO, Siemens Corporation
“A refreshingly new approach. Water naturally flows downhill — and companies naturally slide into an incoherent strategy. This book teaches how to pump water uphill by orchestrating three elements for coherence: the way to play, distinctive capabilities, and the portfolio."
Executive Director, Tata Sons
"Long-term success must stem from the marriage of carefully considered, unique capabilities and appropriate market opportunities. Leinwand and Mainardi show that the proper role for business strategy is to find the most promising new products and markets that can be served with distinction by the core capabilities that endure and evolve over time."
Chairman, CEO, and President,
Harrah's Entertainment, Inc.
"For at least thirty years people have been trying to figure out how to build corporate strategy around a company's capabilities. Leinwand and Mainardi offer an elegant solution, one that demonstrates the power of having all the pieces fit together into a coherent, focused way forward. Their real-world examples are persuasive, the steps they recommend at once imaginative and sensible."
Author, The Lords of Strategy
"Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi have captured a concept that is relevant for all of us in business today: Just because a company can doesn't mean it should. Their book's key insight — the idea of coherence — is of particular importance as companies face pressure to increase their comparable sales year over year and begin to turn outside of their core business to build revenue."
Former President and Chief Operating Officer, McDonald's Corporation
"Here, at last, is a book that helps a CEO sort through the many conflicting demands on him. Strategic opportunities and distracting temptation often look a lot alike. The framework that intrinsically links capabilities to strategy is clear; it makes sense; it's practical; and, I know from experience, it works."
Saud Al Daweesh
CEO, Saudi Telecom
"Companies have many strategic options, especially in fast-growing markets and industries. The Essential Advantage is a powerful reminder that capabilities should play the central role in sorting through them. Strategy should start with understanding what your company does really well — and using that knowledge to generate a corporate direction where you can be confident of winning."
Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar
Group Chief Operating Officer, Etisalat Group
"The Essential Advantage picks up where most business books end. Rather than presenting an abstract treatise on capabilities-based strategy, the authors provide deep insights into what a capability is, the value of coherence among activities, and most importantly how executives can earn the right to win in their markets."
Professor of Management Practice,
London Business School
"The Essential Advantage provides a pragmatic, holistic, and useful framework for understanding how to deliver performance. This straightforward read provides credible examples and a culmination of considerable thought and experience. There is no reason for competitive disadvantage, other than failing to deliver coherence."
Former President, Shell Oil; CEO, Citizens for Affordable Energy; and author, Why We Hate the Oil Companies
"This is a powerful book about strategy as choice. It demonstrates that coherence — treating your internal practices and your external business environment as interrelated and mutually focused — leads to competitive advantage. This path is not always easy to follow, but it will resonate at any company that is serious about its future."
Co-author, The Game Changer (with A.G. Lafley) and author, Boards That Deliver
"The Essential Advantage sizzles. It is instantly useful in determining your organization's capabilities and how to make the most of them. Leinwand and Mainardi use elegant, easy-to-follow models and compelling company stories to show what works and what doesn't in strategy. Using their exercises and terminology will give your organization a common footing and source of leverage."
President, Global Leadership Network and
author, The Truth About Being a Leader