"Good Profit", by Charles Koch

Brian Gongol

One-paragraph review: "Good Profit" is Charles Koch's third book outlining and updating his concept of "Market-Based Management" (following "Market-Based Management" and "The Science of Success"). It has two main shortcomings: First, the tone of the book is mostly dry and straightforward, which obscures the fact that the content is actually quite compelling. The author is an engineer by training and quite clearly a man deeply committed to rationality, so an all-business tone is probably the only way he could have written it in an authentic voice. Second, the framework of Koch's "Market-Based Management" relies heavily on uncommon mental models and operations; in naming these, and referring often to the names, the text requires that the reader absorb and accept them quickly. It's probably a necessary evil, but the repeated capitalization of concepts like "Principled Entrepreneurship" can seem a bit heavy-handed. For these reasons, the book's predecessor ("The Science of Success") actually feels like an easier read; however, since Koch's management philosophy remains a work in progress, it probably behooves the reader to study the latest book. Shortcomings notwithstanding, Koch's approach is philosophically satisfying (think of it as the rigorous application of a free-market political philosophy to the operation of a business) and backed by results (it would be naive to dismiss the success of Koch Industries or to chalk up its long-running success to chance, luck, or some fluke). It contains a considerable volume of useful and original insights as well as a surprising amount of tactical advice that can be implemented across the spectrum of businesses. Serious students of business and management should read it without delay.

Verdict: A bit dry, but definitely worthwhile reading for the conscientious student of business management