Chapter One

What Is Value?

“Oh Happiness! our being's end and aim!”

– Alexander Pope, English poet, 1688–1744, An Essay on Man, Epistle 4

What does the word “value” mean to you? In a business context, perhaps you define it as your company's share price, or the book value on your corporate balance sheet. If you're a marketer, you may think of it in terms of market share or customer satisfaction. As a parent, spouse, friend, or shopper, you may consider it a measure of something decidedly more personal.

With so many competing notions of value, and with the temptation to interpret value as whatever notion is most convenient for us at the time, how can anyone confidently talk about “managing for value”?

In the pages that follow, we offer a perspective ...

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