My Favourite Book for Strategic Vision – Ask Evan

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Hi I’m Evan Carmichael and welcome to a special video edition of Ask Evan. Today’s post is brought to you by American Express Canada. They have just launched an exciting new contest on their Amex for Business Canada Facebook Page where you can enter for the chance to win $10,000 and a consultation with Facebook Canada but I’ll talk more about that at the end of the video.

Today I’m going to answer a question from one of my readers, Ahmed, who asked for a recommendation on  my favourite books for strategic vision:


Can you help by recommending books to me which talk about competitive intelligence or strategic vision?

Thanks for your concern.


Thanks for the question Ahmed. If you haven’t already seen my page of my favourite books you should check it out!

My favourite book for strategic vision would be Radicals & Visionaries by Thaddeus Wawro. The book highlights the stories and advice from over 70 famous entrepreneurs. I’m a strong believer in modeling success so whatever challenges you’re facing right now with your business, there’s a good chance that at least one of these entrepreneurs had to overcome it as well.

Here are three of my favourite profiles that I hope you can learn from:

1) Jeff Bezos,

“Our vision is to be the world’s most consumer-centric company, where customers can come to find anything they want to buy online.”

If you’re looking for a visionary and someone who disrupted his competition, Jeff Bezos is a great person to model. At age 30, Bezos was already senior vice president at a Wall Street investment bank. He was making a six figure salary and was on the fast track to corporate success.

In 1994, he saw that the Internet was growing at 2,300% a month and wanted to capitalize on it by launching his own business. He made a list of 20 potential products to sell and settled on books. He realized that physical bookstores could only carry a limited amount of titles, giving him a huge advantage online. He launched in 1995 with over 1 million titles and called it “Earth’s Biggest Book Store.”

Today the company has over $34 billion in sales, thanks in large part to Bezos’ unrelenting vision to focus on customer satisfaction. He’s constantly monitoring trends and following his customers into new markets which have fueled the company’s growth.

2) Ray Kroc, McDonald’s

“The definition of salesmanship is the gentle art of letting the customer have it your way.”

Ray Kroc was a milkshake machine salesman and, as he approached his 50th birthday, had a successful career in sales by paying personal attention to his clients.

When he met with the McDonald brothers to sell them his milkshake makers he was impressed with how they ran their restaurant. He crafted a vision where they could go from a single location into a national chain. When they told him that they weren’t interested in doing it themselves, they sold their business to Kroc and let him run with it.

Today, McDonald’s is the world’s largest fast food company with sales of over $24 billion. To think that it all began with a single restaurant location that wasn’t even his to start with is a testament to the visionary qualities that Kroc possessed.

3) William Hewlett and David Packard

“What I’m most proud of is the fact that we really create a way to work with employees, let them share in the profits, and still keep control of it.”

Bill and Dave started their business with $538 in a small garage behind Packard’s house. They flipped a coin whether to call the company Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett.

As the business grew, they became known for the sensitivity they showed towards the people working for them. HP became the first company to offer flexible hours and profit-sharing. They gave their staff more autonomy and created open offices to break down barriers between management and employees. Their philosophies became known as the “HP Way” and have been used as a model for generations of companies since.

Today, Hewlett-Packard has revenues of over $126 billion and Hewlett and Packard are considered two of the most respected businessmen in the country. It all started with $538, a garage, a passion for tinkering with electronics, and a desire to build a company where everyone could take pride in what they were doing.


I hope that helps Ahmed! These are just a few of the stories that are highlighted in this book. There are over 70 profiles that you can draw inspiration and ideas from so I hope you go pick it up!

Thank you for joining me for another edition of Ask Evan. This post was brought to you by American Express Canada. Now I promised at the start of the video that I’d share with you the details about the Take Off With American Express Facebook contest. Here’s the deal. They’re looking to reward a Canadian business owner with a $10,000 cash prize and a 1 on 1 consultation with Facebook Canada to help reach more customers online.  To enter, all you have to do is visit their Amex for Business Canada Facebook page and tell them where you’d like to take your business. Good luck and stay tuned for the next episode!


About the Author

I #Believe in entrepreneurs.

49 Responses to “My Favourite Book for Strategic Vision – Ask Evan”

  1. jesse says:

    the rational optimist

    1. Some great ones Jesse – thanks for sharing!

  2. 3 Personajes que cambiaron el escenario del emprendimiento – inglés

  3. My Favourite Book for Strategic Vision – Ask Evan

  4. IsabellaMise says:

    My Favourite Book for Strategic Vision – Ask Evan

  5. Crissy says:

    Thanks for bringing the book Radicals & Visionaries onto my radar – I will definitely check it out!

  6. Estelle says:

    Wow, both the consultation with Facebook Canada *and* the $10,000 sound like excellent prizes.

  7. Rita says:

    Great video, and great post!

  8. Molly says:

    I wouldn’t have known about this contest if not for your blog, thanks for sharing.

  9. Nancy says:

    Jeff Bezos is a genius. Look at how many other .com and internet businesses that started around the same time have done – amazon is continuing to beat them out.

  10. Nancy says:

    That’s a really funny anecdote about Mr. Packard and Mr. Hewlett. Who knew such an influential decision was just a coin flip to them?

  11. Kim says:

    Reading about all these successful people intimidates me a little bit, but it also gives me hope. I’ll look at the book.

  12. Gladiz says:

    Amazon is so much more than books now, it’s great to see how things can take off.

  13. Janae says:

    Business can be stressful, so I like to keep myself focused by reading success stories like those in Radicals & Visionaries. There’s so much to learn from every one!

  14. Vasily says:

    Such great success stories – let’s hope we can be just as successful! It looks like a good read.

  15. Nathan says:

    Wow, I’m sure the MacDonald brothers are kicking themselves right now, and for the past several decades. I’d love to read that story!

  16. Steve says:

    Radicals&Visionaries has collected some really great stories, no doubt it will be an interesting read. It’s on my amazon wishlist, coincidentally.

  17. Ross says:

    Amazon and Jeff Bezos are definitely giving every other bookstore or marketplace a hard run for the money. I wonder what kind of advice he has for other business owners entering into the competitive pool with him I hope we stand a chance!

  18. Tony says:

    Evan, your blog just keeps getting better and better. I just found it the other day and can’t stop reading it!

  19. Marlon says:

    The contest prizes sound great – too bad I’m not in Canada. Please let us know if you have any prizes to offer your US readers :)

  20. allen says:

    I had a similar question as Ahmed, so I really appreciated this post.

  21. ellen says:

    I’m constantly reading, and looking for good things to put on my reading list. Definitely adding Radicals and Visionaries :)

  22. Aaron says:

    Thanks for letting us know about the contest. I’m going to enter – wish me luck!

  23. Jay says:

    This is really a nice book and I can’t wait to get a copy of it. The way you explained it makes it more interesting.

    1. Glad you think so Jay – I hope you enjoy it!

  24. Arnie says:

    The contest is awesome. I hope they can give it as well to individuals to start a business. That would be great!

  25. Dorothy says:

    I was surprised to hear the story of McDonald’s and you can see McDonald’s almost all over the world. Such a great story and it is so inspiring.

  26. Jared says:

    I cant wait to read all the profiles on the book. How much does it cost? And about the contest, do they have deadline?

  27. Argie says:

    If we going to look at Amazon its surely is the biggest library online and I imagine how much they earn in a day. If they just let me get 1 day of their earnings then that would be a lifetime support for me. LoL

  28. Bruce says:

    Evan, I would also want to know what was the first book that you’ve considered the most important book that lead you to your success?

  29. Natalie says:

    This is great and for sure I will learn a lot of things from this book! :)

  30. Lanie says:

    Wow! Thanks Evan. You really give your followers such great information and I will tell my wife to buy the book for me. I just love reading books.

  31. Jenny says:

    Good for those guys they really are born to make those businesses successful. I wish I could be part of that list and be the 71st (correct me if I am wrong cause I don’t know how many are them in the list) But still this book is awesome.

  32. Tara says:

    How about you Evan? How did you start? I wish to hear your story.

  33. Levy says:

    Can I share your video on my blog?

  34. Miley says:

    Did you make the video intro? Its amazing! And its perfect on your video. Looking great Evan!

  35. Ryan says:

    Why is it only for Canadian business Owners? How about a contest for the book? Open for everybody… that’s sounds interesting. I will surely join for a free copy of this book.

  36. Knaux says:

    My uncle would love to read this, because right now he is so depressed having all the challenges when starting a business and I hope that the story of my uncle’s business will go the same way as those person on the book.

  37. Elen says:

    I got inspired even just by watching you giving the details. How much was the book again?

  38. Julius says:

    How come there is no milkshake on McDonald’s? But I guess they wont be needing it since they already conquered the world when it comes to franchising. I can see a lot of McDonald’s in Asia and I mean A LOT.

  39. Charles says:

    Hi, Evan. Is it okay for me to ask questions in here, in the comment field? Anyways, I want to know more about SEO and other stuff but I don’t know where to start or what book should I read. I just thought that its much better for me to ask you directly if you have any recommendation because I really want to learn.

  40. Sam says:

    If I will ask around 10 profiles from the book then who will be your top 10?

  41. Cyril says:

    This just made me a bit jealous on how much they’ve earn from their success compared to mine but in a good way, I am really inspired to catch up and pass all of them.

  42. Manuel says:

    Count me in and I am a positive type of person so I know I will win. Yeah!

  43. Martin says:

    When will be the next video on ask Evan? I can’t wait to see the next one.

  44. Steve says:

    Its amazing how Jeff Bozos started everything on Amazon on his 30’s but still managed to make more success from it. You are my idol Jeff Bozos!

  45. Mike says:

    Does anyone know where can I get a softcopy of this book? So I can just download it. I really can’t wait to have a copy and start reading.

  46. Very informative post here. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with me. I will definitely be back.

    1. Great to hear Krissy!

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