Strategy: A History

Paperback | August 26, 2015

byLawrence Freedman

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Selected as a Financial Times Best Book of 2013In Strategy: A History, Sir Lawrence Freedman, one of the world's leading authorities on war and international politics, captures the vast history of strategic thinking, in a consistently engaging and insightful account of how strategy came to pervade every aspect of our lives. The range of Freedman's narrative is extraordinary, moving from the surprisingly advanced strategy practiced in primate groups, to the opposing strategies of Achilles and Odysseus in The Iliad, the strategic advice of Sun Tzu and Machiavelli, the great military innovations of Baron Henri de Jominiand Carl von Clausewitz, the grounding of revolutionary strategy in class struggles by Marx, the insights into corporate strategy found in Peter Drucker and Alfred Sloan, and the contributions of the leading social scientists working on strategy today. The core issue at the heart of strategy, theauthor notes, is whether it is possible to manipulate and shape our environment rather than simply become the victim of forces beyond one's control. Time and again, Freedman demonstrates that the inherent unpredictability of this environment - subject to chance events, the efforts of opponents, themissteps of friends - provides strategy with its challenge and its drama. Armies or corporations or nations rarely move from one predictable state of affairs to another, but instead feel their way through a series of states, each one not quite what was anticipated, requiring a reappraisal of theoriginal strategy, including its ultimate objective. Thus the picture of strategy that emerges in this book is one that is fluid and flexible, governed by the starting point, not the end point. A brilliant overview of the most prominent strategic theories in history, from David's use of deception against Goliath, to the modern use of game theory in economics, this masterful volume sums up a lifetime of reflection on strategy.

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From the Publisher

Selected as a Financial Times Best Book of 2013In Strategy: A History, Sir Lawrence Freedman, one of the world's leading authorities on war and international politics, captures the vast history of strategic thinking, in a consistently engaging and insightful account of how strategy came to pervade every aspect of our lives. The range o...

Lawrence Freedman has been Professor of War Studies at King's College London since 1982, and Vice-Principal since 2003. Elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1995 and awarded the CBE in 1996, he was appointed Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign in 1997. He was awarded the KCMG in 2003. In June 2009 he was appointed to se...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:768 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:August 26, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190229233

ISBN - 13:9780190229238

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Customer Reviews of Strategy: A History

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Every strategist needs this book I was fortunate enough to purchase a copy of "Strategy" online. I am embarrassed to say that had I come across this book in a book store, the "weight" of the volume may have dissuaded me from making the purchase. Despite the intimidating length of this book it is a strategy students dream. Professor Freedman touches upon both classical and contemporary literature and makes valid arguments on each. His conclusions may seem unsatisfactory to a generation who has been weened on explicitly manufactured theorems - more often than not, professed by self promoting experts in a given field. The book is a refreshing change from numerous volumes that approach the subject from only one point of view. I am glad I took the plunge. I would recommend this book to everyone!
Date published: 2014-04-10
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Getting at the heart of Strategy A thought-provoking read, but found it a tad rambling.
Date published: 2013-12-10

Extra Content

Table of Contents

DedicationPrefacePart I ORIGINS1. Origins 1: Evolution2. Origins 2: The Bible3. Origins 3: The Greeks4. Sun Tzu and Machiavelli5. Satan's StrategyPart II STRATEGIES OF FORCE6. The New Science of Strategy7. Clausewitz8. The False Science9. Annihilation or Exhaustion10. Brain and Brawn11. The Indirect Approach12. Nuclear Games13. The Rationality of Irrationality14. Guerrilla Warfare15. Observation and Orientation16. The Revolution in Military Affairs17. The Myth of the Master StragegistPART III STRATEGY FROM BELOW18. Marx and a Strategy for the Working Class19. Herzen and Bakunin20. Revisionists and Vanguards21. Bureaucrats, Democrats, and Elites22. Formulas, Myths, and Propaganda23. The Power of Nonviolence24. Existential Strategy25. Black Power and White Anger26. Frames, Paradigms, Discourses, and Narratives27. Race, Religion, and ElectionsPART IV STRATEGY FROM ABOVE28. The Rise of the Management Class29. The Business of Business30. Management Strategy31. Business as War32. The Rise of Economics33. Red Queens and Blue Oceans34. The Sociological Challenge35. Deliberate or EmergentPART V THEORIES OF STRATEGY36. The Limits of Rational Choice37. Beyond Rational Choice38. Stories and ScriptsAcknowledgments

Editorial Reviews

"An erudite, encyclopedic study that will surely become a standard reference in the discipline." --strategy + business