CHAPTER 3

Pyramid Thinking

C. K. Prahalad

Anil K. Gupta (Chapter 6) told us a revealing story. In 1975, Gupta arrived at Harvard Business School to begin a doctoral program. It was a move out of India into the academic ferment of Harvard. As Gupta arrived, another young Indian scholar, C. K. Prahalad, was leaving Harvard, having finished his doctorate. The two met for dinner.

“If I asked you the three best academics on strategy, you could tell me,” said Prahalad over dinner. “But then, let me ask you, What’s the name of the CEO of General Motors or Procter & Gamble? Do you know that?”

Gupta admitted that he did not. Prahalad said that knowing the leading practitioners was as important as knowing the thought leaders. It had a profound impression. ...

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