The Innovator's Dilemma - Book Review

Innovator’s Dilemma Cover

This is the best book I have read about disruption. The biggest takeaway for me was that disruption of incumbent businesses is natural and inevitable. The reason disruption happens is that existing businesses have structural problems they cannot overcome. Those problems come naturally with scale. A big company over time has accumulated operational knowledge which helps it stay in the market. This accumulation and the incetives it creates for the existing leadership get in the way of innovation. No matter how much the incumbents want to change, they are just not able to do so within the constraings of the same business.

When I read this book, it was eye-opening for me. I have long had an interest in entrepreneurship, but most books about it are bad. They just repeat keywords, but fail to capture insights about how innovation happens or why entrepreneurs succeed. Clayton Christensen manages to capture insights that few others found. Not only that, but the book is full of real-world examples which do an amazing job to illustrate the point. Since reading it, I have witnessed many other examples in my work, proving his theory.

To be good, a book doesn’t just have to contain interesting ideas. It also needs to tell a story and create a memorable impression. This is why Christensen succeeds - his style and writing are accessible, interesting and human. I really enjoyed reading the Innovator’s Dilemma and it’s an exciting journey about disruption. I recommend it to anyone in business, even those who don’t think of themselves as entrepreneurs. Anyone who is interested in innovation.


I had a blog before, but it’s gone. I killed it several years ago. It was one I started as a student, so most things I wrote appeared very naive and badly written. I have been toying with the idea of starting again for years now. There are things I want to say, but I never got round to it. However, the idea of writing always comes back. It’s one of those devil figures at one’s shoulder in children’s cartoons that never goes away and has an agenda. I recently went back to reading Scott Hanselman, who is one of the most prolific bloggers I’ve seen, and I wanted to figure out why he does it. Here’s what he says:

“A lot of people say, ‘Well, Scott, you’re doing all this stuff. Why do you do it? Are you not sleeping?” Hanselman says. “It’s because, I must dance. I can’t stop. Whenever I think about stopping, I think about this little boy and how excited he is about doing what he’s doing.”

Unlike Scott, I can stop, and I did for a long time. But doing that keeps the voice in my head and it doesn’t go away. So after a few years, I’m finally trying again. If blogging is what it takes to drive that devil figure away from my shoulder, then so be it. Here it is.