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Once companies fall into what Hartung calls the "Defend and Extend" mindset, only seven percent will ever grow consistently again, and fifty-five percent will remain in permanent decline. Yet academia keeps teaching the "basics" that will repeat this formula for failure. Businesspeople, who ought to be more practical than academia, are just as blind. Hartung gives many examples in which companies sabotage new thinking and approaches through management indifference or hostility, by organizing new projects for failure, by hamstringing resources, and by outright "cooking" of financial analysis to reconfirm that it is more sensible to continue a weak or failing strategy than to take a risk on something new. Hartung does more than critique the status quo or describe the many subtle techniques of the "Status Quo Police."
He also provides many examples of companies from multiple fields that have broken away from locked-in thinking. This book is replete with examples of companies that not only disrupted their own business but redefined entire markets. He takes the additional, and usually overlooked step, of how companies can bring along their customers, who are also locked in to the old way of doing things on the successful journey moving ahead.