Advance Reviews of Certain to Win
Michael Duncan Wyly, Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.) and Founder / Executive Director, Bossov Ballet Theater
As we enter the era of the world market, more than ever in the history of our nation, we must do so with the realization that a changing world calls for new ways of doing business. We are at a fork in the road where the choice is prosperity or obsolescence. We faced that same choice in military matters as the era of the World Wars of the twentieth century passed and we emerged from Vietnam, many of us with a sense of urgency for change. We are still learning.
Many of the lessons that we have learned in the field of tactics and strategy can be and must be quickly applied to economic and business matters for the very same reason they had to be incorporated in the profession of arms: survival. We changed our military by looking at ourselves, criticizing ourselves, discovering what worked, and discarding what did not. Chet Richards’s Certain to Win is the starting point for a similar revolution in business. It must be read and studied if one is not to be left behind. It is an invitation to modern thinking and to a new dialogue, bound to ferment and grow to project its participants forward. To ignore this book is to condemn oneself to obsolescence.
[Editor's note: As an instructor at and then Vice President of Marine Corps University, Mike Wyly was one of the founders of maneuver warfare, or as he simply calls it, "modern tactics."]
Robert Coram, author of Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War
In the John Boyd canon there has long been a gap concerning how “Patterns of Conflict” might be applied to the business world. Now Chet Richards has filled the gap. He uses the discipline of a mathematician to focus the magnificent sprawl of Boyd’s powerful ideas. He shows us how to use Boyd’s ideas as a lever that can move and radically change the world of business. From the day Richards’s book became available, all other business books and management books were obsolete.
Chuck Spinney, author of Defense Facts of Life, Defense Death Spiral, and "Genghis John"
As Chet Richards explains (I believe, for the first time), strategy and grand strategy are virtually the same thing in business, whereas in war, strategy and grand strategy are very different and in opposition, the former being destructive and the latter being constructive. Notwithstanding these fundamentally different aims, Chet shows (again, I believe, for the first time) how the same ideas that John evolved in Patterns of Conflict—the ideas which underlie maneuver warfare and guerilla warfare—also form the basis for such commercial successes as the Toyota Production System and explain why Southwest Airlines is making money while United and Delta are putting themselves out of business.
But this is just a taste of the intriguing thoughts you'll find in this book. I can say with complete certainty that John Boyd was excited about it. I encouraged Chet in his project from its inception, in part, because he was the only person I knew who was actually trying to expand John's theories. But it sat on the shelf until Robert Coram's biography of Boyd came out in 2002. The success of Coram's book, and some prodding from Robert and me, induced Chet to update and expand his efforts.
Even if you're not interested in business, Chet's book, Certain to Win, is a concise introduction to Boyd's theories and their general utility to winning the game of life.
[Editor's note: Chuck Spinney was a captain in the Air Force when he worked for Boyd at the Pentagon and he remained one of his closest associates until Boyd's death in 1997.]
Dan Denning, Editor, Strategic Investment and Strategic Trader Alert newsletters
CEOs, managers, and anyone interested in business owe it to themselves to read Certain to Win. Chet Richards gives the best explanation yet for why businesses need to think more strategically. What's more, he shows how using time as a competitive weapon may be the key for successful firms in the global marketplace.
If there's a better example of how to apply strategic military thinking to the fast-paced world of business, I haven't read it.
Chet's book is a pleasure to read. And more than that, it builds on the work of the late John Boyd to show what it takes to build successful—profitable—organizations in a competitive marketplace.
Lane Desborough, Director of Strategy, Honeywell Process Solutions
If you can get inside your competitor's OODA loop—whether you're a fighter pilot, a member of a sports team, or a business person—you will win every time. The key factors which enable this higher organizational tempo are focus and direction, mission responsibilities, intuitive competence, and mutual trust.
Boyd will one day be remembered as a man who not only changed the art of war, but through extension of his acolytes such as Chet Richards, the art of business and even the art of team sports. If you haven't read Coram's book, do so. Next, pick up Certain to Win, which sheds much more light on the steps individuals and organizations can take to move closer to their goal.
Basically, Certain to Win demonstrates how Boyd's principles can be applied wherever humans band together to improve their capacity for independent action. Highly recommended.
Michael Pittman, CEO, Lead the Way, Inc.
Certain to Win has changed the game. If “cheese hunting” did not bring you market dominance or even reduced cycle-times and increased margins, look no further. Chet Richards has built a masterpiece of strategy and execution; it’s simply the best guide I have found on how to apply John Boyd’s time-based principles toward business. I want everyone to read this fantastic work … except of course, my competitors.
In fact, based upon my experience in teaching Wall Street executives the leadership principles of America's Special Operations Forces—SEALS, Green Berets, Rangers—I know Certain to Win delivers information that if applied will deliver business success. From Schwerpunkt to ch’i/cheng maneuvers, Chet delivers the best read I have found for executives on strategy. It is the first “business work” I will assign for both my executive education participants, and my instructors. The best part of all, no black belt required.
Jeannine F. Addams, owner and founder, J. Addams & Partners, Inc.
The only way to run a small business is to stay more agile and more versatile than your large competitors, while always beating them on price and quality. We all know this, but since so many small businesses fail, a lot of people seem to be having problems making it happen.
Chet Richards’ new book shows how to develop and employ the ageless tools of mutual trust, initiative, professional skill and organizational focus to delight clients and run rings around the competition. Sun Tzu wrote The Art of War; Chet Richards has written The Art of Business.
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