The Unfair Advantage: A book review by Bob Morris

The Unfair Advantage: How You Already Have What It Takes to Succeed
Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba
St. Martin’s Press (June 2022)

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re probably right. “ Henry Ford

The title and subtitle of this book really make no sense. Nowhere in Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba’s narrative do they explain (at least to my satisfaction) why an advantage that is “unfair” initially is in fact permanent. As for the subtitle,  if those who read the book already have what it takes to succeed (e.g. the ability and temperament to preserve their good fortune), they don’t need the book…or any other form of assistance.

One man’s opinion, the value of the material in this book is found in the lessons to be learned from the real-world examples on which Ali and Kubba focus. Companies such as Amazon, Google, Grubhub, Just Eat, Nintendo, Snazpchat, Stripe, Walker & Company, White Hat; and executives such as Jeff Bezos, Euan Blair, Richard Branson, Patrick and John Collison, Kylie Jenner, Huda Kattan, Evan Spiegel, Nikola Tesla, Tristan Walker, and Oprah Winfrey.

Some of those who read this book have launched a start-up or are now planning to do so. However, much (if not most) of the material in this book can also be of substantial value to executives in established small-to-midsize companies as well as to C-level executives in large companies as well as those within those c companies who aspire to reach that level.

Consider the MILES framework within which Ali and Kubba examine the core elements of what they call an “unfair advantage”:

o Money
o Intelligence/Insight
o Location/Luck
o Education/Expertise
o Status

According to Ali and Kubba, an unfair advantage “is a condition, asset, or circumstance that puts you in a favorable business position.” Yes, at least initially, people have POTENTIALLY unfair advantages if they have all five of the MILES set without having had to do anything to earn and thereby deserve them. Most people are not so fortunate. Fortunately, at least some (but not all) of them already have the POTENTIAL to achieve — over time — great success in business.  Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba wrote this book for them.


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