Learning to Think Strategically: 4th Edition (Paperback) book cover

Learning to Think Strategically

4th Edition

By Julia Sloan


272 pages | 16 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780367141462
pub: 2019-09-24
Available for pre-order
Hardback: 9780367141455
pub: 2019-09-24
Available for pre-order

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Strategic thinking has become a core competency for business leaders globally. Overused and under-defined, the term is often used interchangeably with other strategic management terms. This textbook delineates and defines strategic thinking as an advanced, conceptual cognitive capability, focusing on the nonlinear, divergent, a-rational and informal nature of strategic thinking. This unique and practical text is an original primer of how successful strategists learn to think strategically.

In this fourth edition, the author offers an expanded definition of strategic thinking based on critical theory. This book highlights the role of informal learning, underscores the relevance of engaging in the arts, and has global application for those tasked with making strategy in this rapidly changing world. Sloan presents a previously unexamined account of the relationship between strategic thinking and the learning process involved — taking learning from the academic to the everyday. New features include an expanded list of learning methods to develop strategic thinking, a more extensive look at global cultural perspectives of strategic thinking, additional scenarios and case vignettes, and online resources comprising test bank questions and lecture slides.

This book is vital reading for MBA, Strategy, Leadership Development, and Executive Education students. The practical nature of this book also makes it valuable for business and policy executives, as well as managers and emerging leaders looking to develop their strategic thinking skills.


"Sloan has written a superb book that should be on the required reading list of every business executive and every business school. It offers a new perspective for both students and executives and is an indispensable roadmap for everyone who is willing to learn to think strategically." — Karl Nigl, Fmr. CEO Raiffaisen Bank, Austria AG

"Based on the underlying learning theory of strategic thinking, this book challenges the traditional perspective about how we conceptualize strategy. Dr. Sloan offers an unconventional approach that differentiates strategic thinking from strategic planning that is grounded in the application of original research. Sound and highly insightful, this compelling book makes a profound contribution to the body of strategy literature." — Christopher Croft, President, Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security, Washington, D.C.

Praise for the third edition:

"Sloan has written an exceptional, comprehensive book on the learning aspect of strategic thinking that makes a unique contribution to the strategy literature. Based on a masterful examination of how we learn to think strategically, this book offers an insightful, unconventional, and original proposition for developing strategic thinkers. Sloan is both erudite and practical in her approach. Highly recommended for policy and business leaders who aspire to strengthen strategic thinking." — Professor Kenneth Paul Tan, Vice Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore; author of Governing Global-City Singapore

"At the heart of strategy is the strategist, so it follows both that the strategic thinking of individuals is worth developing. Julia’s book clearly shows how people can learn to become better strategists, which is why it is so valuable for executive development." — Dr. Max McKeown, author of The Strategy Book and #NOW

"The starting point for many writers who focus on strategy is on the process side of strategy-making. Sloan is a pioneer in helping us understand that process and planning are necessary, yet insufficient elements of what it takes to be a successful strategic thinker. In her third edition Sloan takes us further and deeper in our comprehension of what it means to think strategically within complex environments and how to build strategic capacity. A must-read for executives and leaders aspiring to build strategic organizations." — Professor Ross Harrison, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, USA; author of Strategic Thinking in 3D: A Guide for National Security, Foreign Policy and Business Professionals

"Dr. Sloan uses her astute research acumen to judiciously detail the findings of how successful executives from different cultures learned to think strategically; then compiled them into this important book. This discerning and unconventional work will stimulate you to learn to think differently, and to eventually evolve your own strategy within an uncontrollable, unpredictable business environment. Most highly recommended book for business and policy leaders." — Ahmed Elsherbini A. Ibrahim, Brigadier General; former Egyptian Defense Attaché to Beijing, China

Table of Contents

Part 1: How did we Get Here? 1. Chronology of Strategy 2. Contemporary Competing Views of Strategy 3. Global Sketches of Strategy Part 2: How do we Learn to Think Strategically? 4. What is Strategic Thinking? 5. Informal and Formal Learning Defined 6. Context and Learning Transfer as Factors in the Strategic Thinking Process 7. Three-Stage Model for Learning Strategic Thinking Part 3: How do we Get Started? 8. Framing as a Structural Process of Strategic Thinking 9. Learning Domains Used for Strategic Thinking Part 4: How do we Test the Foundation? 10. Role of Critical Dialogue in the Strategic Thinking Process 11. Role of Critical Inquiry in the Strategic Thinking Process Part 5: How do we "Know" This?: Intuition as an Outgrowth of Experience 12. Intuition as a Must-Have for Learning to Think Strategically 13. The Roles of Analysis and Intuition in Strategic Decision Making Part 6: What Role Does Culture Play? 14. The Role of Culture on Strategic Thinking 15. Debunking the Myth of the Chosen Few: Five Attributes Part 7: How to Become a Stronger Strategic Thinker? 16. Strengthen Strategic Thinking Through the Arts 17. Three Unconventional Approaches that Support Learning to Think Strategically Part 8: Where do we go from Here? 18. Where We’ve Come From and Where We Can Go: Some Suggestions

About the Author

Julia Sloan is a Professor of Strategic Thinking at Columbia University, USA, and Principal of Sloan International, Inc., a New York-based consulting firm specializing in strategic thinking for global business and government leaders. A Fulbright Fellow and Researcher-in-Residence Fellow, she has also been recognized with numerous teaching awards.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Strategic Planning