Reading List: Fewer, Bigger, Bolder

UPDATED: August 9, 2014
PUBLISHED: August 9, 2014

When Sanjay Khosla joined Kraft Foods International in 2007 to head developing markets, he faced many challenges. Chief among his immediate concerns was figuring out the future of Oreo cookies. Stateside, the iconic cookie was celebrating its 100th anniversary and yet, despite multiple efforts, the Chinese market wasn’t buying it.

Khosla set about streamlining Kraft’s smorgasbord of products (including Oreos) and projects by figuring out “what’s working and what has the potential to grow.” Soon Kraft implemented its 5-10-10 action plan, with company initiatives concentrating on five strong categories, 10 power brands and 10 key markets. Oreos made the cut; Kraft Macaroni and Cheese didn’t. Kraft’s leaders refocused and retooled their Oreo campaign, and—thanks to former National Basketball Association star Yao Ming—Oreo is now the top cookie in China.

In Fewer, Bigger, Bolder, Khosla and Mohanbir Sawhney, a Kellogg School of Management professor, explain why focusing on a few “big bets” helped Kraft increase profits. The authors’ less-is-more mantra plays a major role in their seven-step strategic framework “that any business, big or small, startup or corporate giant, can implement to improve and expand market share.” This “Focus7” framework is clearly presented, and the book brims with smart ideas to help readers discover growth opportunities, identify the best bets in their businesses, reduce costs, delegate efficiently, communicate the company vision and measure success.

Khosla’s metrics prove his accomplishments. During his six years at Kraft, the developing-markets division more than tripled its revenue.

by Sanjay Khosla and Mohanbir Sawhney

Portfolio/Penguin; $27.95

Jessica Krampe is the digital managing editor for A graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, Jessica has worked for news, entertainment, business and lifestyle publications. Outside of the daily grind, she enjoys happy hours, live music and traveling.