Book review: The Wide Lens

The Wide LensI’m always on the lookout for good business books as a way to expand my knowledge base and management skills. So when a friend suggested I pick up the The Wide Lens by Ron Adner, I figured I’d give it a shot.

With a subtitle of “A New Stategy for Innovation”, it’s pretty clear that the book is about developing winning go to market strategies for products and services. Adner spends a lot of time analyzing both successful and failed new product marketing strategies and uses the lessons learned to develop principles that one can use to create a successful product launch.

Unfortunately, I found the book to be a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking, where the author critiques mistakes and successes of the past to develop a future formula for success. The problem I have with this approach is that hindsight is always 20/20, and using the past to predict future does not always equate to success. So while many of his suggestions are based on solid research, I don’t agree that they can be directly applied to your current products and markets as there are too many variables in play to apply prior strategies to current markets.

I wouldn’t recommend The Wide Lens as a business strategy book. It’s an interesting read on the history of market successes and failures, and that’s what I would suggest you look to get out of it should you decide to pick it up.