A philosophical account of how modern ideas have obscured the true nature of strategic thinking.
This unusual work resists the conventions of both business books and academic treatises. Debut author Qureshi ambitiously attempts to pin down what strategy is and apply that understanding to organizations of all kinds as well as to individuals and nations. His definition of strategy is deceptively common-sensical: “A strategy, I think, is about getting from where you are today to where you want to get to sometime in the future.” However, he argues that modern intellectual abstractions have buried such practical interpretations. The author devotes much of his analysis to explicating the nature of destructive modern philosophy, taking readers on a far-reaching tour of historically significant thinkers, such as René Descartes, Martin Heidegger, and Immanuel Kant, to name only a small, representative sampling. The central sin of modern thought, Qureshi says, is that it tends to overemphasize its own objectivity, missing strategy’s subjective elements and breeding complacent dogmatism. The author counters this epistemological hubris, as he diagnoses it, with a general skepticism about the reach of human knowledge. Also, he avers that all strategy begins with an articulate sense of self-identity, something that modern categories have failed to adequately capture: “self-identity is a difficult concept to get to grips with….Its relationship with strategy isn’t obvious. It requires a bit of thinking, reflection and breathing space.” The author’s erudition is impressive, which is unsurprising for someone with a Ph.D. in epistemology, international relations, and strategy from the London School of Economics. However, his wide-reaching, scholarly explorations may prove frustrating for readers who may be looking for immediately actionable strategic advice. However, the book’s depth and Qureshi’s breezily unpretentious style make it a worthy read.
A delightfully nonstandard approach to strategy that doesn’t get bogged down by hypertechnical language.
Pub Date: June 30, 2014
Page count: 440pp
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Review Posted Online: March 27, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015
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