Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less -and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined

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Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less -and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined

 “It seems only natural that the more you have, the more you can do and the better you’ll feel. But…it regularly fails to produce the best outcomes because it leads us to go after resources we don’t need and to overlook the full potential of the resources we already have at hand.” Scott Sonenshein 

 Can having less deliver more?

Organisations working with constraints often deliver much better results than those with more free flowing resources. The beer entrepreneur Dick Yeungling refused to let his family firm wither in the face of stiff competition and huge marketing budgets from the big players. Instead of selling out or trying to acquire smaller companies to grow, he emphasised the company’s heritage and created demand by only selling in a few regions, generating a sense of scarcity that drove demand. Enthusiasts became the beer’s best advertisers and started campaigns to bring the beer to them. As the business grew he bought used tanks, bottlers and labellers to keep costs down and is now America’s largest domestically owned beer producer. Despite being worth $2 billion he still drives a modest car and turns the light out in his office, commenting: “They say I’m cheap, but I’m economical.”

Author Scott Sonenshein believes that people who routinely stretch ask what more they can do with what they have, instead of asking what’s missing. The consultant and management professor has studied psychology and management research and real life business experiences to try and examine why some organisations succeed with so little, while others fail with so much.

Research into the dot com boom and bust era shows that the companies that survived ignored the ‘get big fast’ business model, avoiding the heady quest for more capital, more engineers and more advertising by building businesses that grew at a more modest and measured pace.

Sonenshein’s advice includes:


Stretching takes the concept of less is more and demonstrates how much we can achieve if we are constrained by either external forces or simply our own caution. Recognising that we need to flip our mindset from one of constant acquisition to one of doing more with less, is the basis of not only a more productive organisation, but a more enjoyable life too.

About the author

Scott Sonenshein is a professor of management at Rice University. His award winning research, teaching, and consulting has helped Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals in industries such as technology, healthcare, retail, education, banking, manufacturing, and non-profits. He holds a PhD in management and organisations from the University of Michigan, an MPhil from the University of Cambridge, and a BA from the University of Virginia. He has also worked as a strategy consultant for companies such as AT&T and Microsoft and lived the rise and fall of the dotcom boom while working at a Silicon Valley startup.


“Rather than perpetually chasing after more (time, money and resources), the professor of management at Rice University illuminates the advantage of stretching to make more of what we already have. The result is a powerful framework of resourcefulness that allows us to capitalise on the power of constraints and perform better and more creatively in business and in life.”

“I always appreciate a book that challenges me, forces me to think, and creates constructive discomfort. And I especially value such a book when its key conclusions have a base of research. Dr. Sonenshein has accomplished all this with Stretch, and I am thankful for the chance to grow from reading his work.” Jim Collins, bestselling author of Good to Great and Great by Choice


Book Details

Author: Scott Sonenshein

ISBN: 978-0062457226