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The zombie economy - book review

Andrew May
Professional Manager Magazine
March 2010

Mark Thomas is head of PA Consulting’s Strategy and Marketing Practice.  His book is primarily intended for business leaders and offers advice on the actions that they should be taking to prepare themselves for the post-recession business environment.  The research underpinning his advice is detailed and right up-to-date and his presentation is a model of clarity. 

The zombie economy has 4 major components – banks, governments, companies and consumers.  Thomas summarises the underlying economic realities of each group and how their situation will affect future economic growth.  Between the present and the economy recovering, perhaps in many years time, each group will act in a ‘living dead’ state and be unable to contribute as previously to the smooth functioning of the economy.

The first 3 chapters look at the impact of the 4 zombie groups on the economy and on each other.  He demonstrates how the downward spiral of pressure on the economy results from the zombie groups’ interaction and provides many examples which support his thesis.

The main content of the book is a concise and insightful sector-by-sector analysis which shows how the recession has affected every major sector.  A clever graphical representation shows the extent to which there are organisation which will be winners and losers.  Most of the significant business restructurings of the past couple of years are mentioned and a detailed understanding can be gained in very little time.

The final part of the book show how companies can adapt to the zombie economy.  A 4-step plan is developed around securing liquidity; business portfolio management; remodelling the business to suit the changing business environment; and taking action to secure future market share.  He closes by offering guidance on building an effective team to take a business forward and a diagnostic guide to evaluating the position of a business.

Thomas has synthesised into a slim volume a masterwork for business leaders grappling with the future.

To view the article in Professional Manager Magazine, please click here 

This article was reproduced with the kind permission of Professional Manager Magazine.


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