Books For You: What Alibaba’s Success Reveals about the Future of Strategy

Editor | Non-fiction

Here is a book about how strategy works in an interconnected, automated world. Ming Zeng, Chief of Staff and strategy adviser to Jack Ma at Alibaba Group, in this must-read book, Smart Business: What Alibaba’s Success Reveals about the Future of Strategy (Published by Penguin Random House), gives you valuable lessons.

Leaders already know that the classic approach to strategy–analyze, plan, execute–is losing relevance. But they don’t yet know what replaces it. As everyone and everything becomes more interconnected and digitized, how do you operate, compete, and win?

Ming Zeng, the former Chief of Staff and strategy adviser to Alibaba Group’s founder Jack Ma, explains how the latest technological developments, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, the mobile internet, and cloud computing are redefining how value is created. Written especially for those outside the technology industry or the startup arena, this book introduces a simple, overarching framework to guide strategy formulation and execution in this data-rich and highly interactive environment.

Revealing the revolutionary practices that he and his team have developed at Alibaba, Zeng shows how to:

Automate decisions through machine learning

Create products informed by real-time data from customers

Determine the right strategic positioning to maximize value from platforms and suppliers

Repurpose your organization to further human insight and enable creativity

Lead your company’s transformation into a smart business

With insights into the strategies and tools used by leaders at Alibaba and other companies such as Ruhan and Red Collar, in a variety of industries from furniture making to banking to custom tailoring, Smart Business outlines a radically new approach to strategy that can be applied everywhere.

About the author

Ming Zeng was the Chief of Staff and strategy adviser to Jack Ma at Alibaba Group for over a decade (2006-2017) as it blossomed into a $400 billion company. He is currently Chairman of the Academic Council of Alibaba Group and Dean of Hupan School of Entrepreneurship, founded by Ma and other Chinese business leaders. Previously, he taught at INSEAD and, in 2002, he was one of the seven professors who founded Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing. He wrote one of the first cases on Alibaba in 2000. The book he coauthored with Peter Williamson, Dragons at Your Door (Harvard Business Review Press), remains one of the most cited books about the strategies of leading Chinese companies.

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