strategy+business: 15 years, 50 classics

Here is a terrific opportunity to read brilliant business articles that, until now, were only available to those who subscribe to strategy+business magazine, published by Booz & Company.


Here are summaries of five of the 50 “classics” that are available. To check out summaries of all of them, please click here.

If you wish to read any/some/all of the articles, you need to register by clicking here. This will also enable you to check out other resources at no cost.

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To celebrate a decade and a half of publication, we asked the s+b editors to look back and choose the articles that have had the greatest impact.
by Art Kleiner

Since its inception, strategy+business has focused on the value of management thinking and practice. This week, we celebrate the magazine’s 15th anniversary by looking back at the wisdom we have published in our pages. Much of it is still worth reading now.
When strategy+business was founded in 1995 by former Harvard Business Review editor Joel Kurtzman and a group of farsighted partners at Booz & Company (then part of Booz Allen Hamilton), the dot-com era was just beginning, and the shape of the world economy was very different than it is today. Amazon had just been launched and Google did not yet exist; neither China nor India was seen as a global economic force. The United States, the magazine’s central focus at the time, was at a peak of prosperity, with rising equity prices, a sound federal budget heading toward surplus, and strong business confidence. How could anything published in those years matter to anyone in 2010?

Yet despite all the turbulence since then, there has been a slow but steady increase in knowledge involving economic value and organizational capability. Our magazine — through the editorships of Kurtzman (1995–2000), Randall Rothenberg (2000–2005), and me (since 2005) — has been at the forefront of developing and publishing that knowledge. Indeed, our primary editorial mission has been to help readers find the most profound and most pragmatic forms of management insight, and put it to use.

We polled the editors-in-chief, past and present (the three noted above), plus former editors Amy Bernstein, Lawrence Fisher, Ann Graham, and Larry Yu, to identify the articles in our first 60 quarterly print issues that are management classics. The articles most favored by the editors follow in chronological order. To help narrow what could have become a long list, I imposed one limit: no more than one article per single author, two per coauthor. In my view, all these pieces have stood the test of time. They are as relevant to management today as they were when they were first published.

1. Why CEOs Succeed (and Why They Fail): Hunters and Gatherers in the Corporate Life – Edward F. Tuck and Timothy Earle, Fourth Quarter 1996 An innovative venture capitalist and a prominent anthropologist explained why modern CEOs and boards play out the same roles that the chiefs and elders of prehistoric tribes established thousands of years ago.

2. Finding the Knowledge Needle in the Technology Haystack – David Berreby, Fourth Quarter 1996 Written when knowledge management was in its infancy, this article laid out some basic principles for finding patterns, trends, and relationships hiding in the stream of data generated by operations.

3. How to Manage Creative People: The Case of Industrial Light and Magic – Lawrence M. Fisher, Second Quarter 1997 The special effects shop that George Lucas founded built its success on good relationships, explained this frequent contributor. (Larry Fisher’s many other brilliant articles for s+b over the years included Creative Mind profiles of Jay Forrester, Ricardo Semler, and Fernando Flores.)

4. 10X Value: The Engine Powering Long-term Shareholder Returns – Charles E. Lucier, Leslie H. Moeller, and Raymond Held, Third Quarter 1997 A fascinating study of 30-year growth patterns of 1,300 publicly traded companies in the U.S. showed that it was possible to raise a company’s value 10-fold, by fostering the right kind of innovation.

5. How Harley Davidson Revs Its Brand – Glenn Rifkin, Fourth Quarter 1997 This piece profiled how the iconic motorcycle manufacturer, a pathfinder of nontraditional routes to marketing excellence, had built a community of enthusiasts around its product.

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Art Kleiner is the editor-in-chief of strategy+business, the award-winning quarterly management magazine published by Booz & Company. He is a writer, lecturer and commentator, with a background in business management, interactive media, corporate environmentalism, education, scenario planning, and organizational learning. As the editorial director of the best-selling Fifth Discipline Fieldbook series with Peter Senge, he was a co-author of Schools That Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Parents, and Everyone Who Cares About Education with Senge, Nelda H. Cambron McCabe, and Timothy Lucas and The Dance of Change: The Challenges to Sustaining Momentum in Learning Organizations with Senge, Charlotte Roberts, and George Roth.

Kleiner is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism (1986), and a faculty member at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, where he has taught scenario planning, writing for new media, and other courses for several years. His published books also include The Age of Heretics: A History of the Radical Thinkers Who Reinvented Corporate Management (Second Edition in 2008) and, previously, Who Really Matters: The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege, and Success.

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