Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World’s Most Successful Companies

New book from New York Times best-selling author Gary Shapiro shares success strategies learned from the world’s greatest innovators

What leads to success? Why do some companies thrive while others fail? For 30 years, Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, has worked with the world’s most innovative and successful businesses – companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, Intel and Microsoft. Today, for the first time, Shapiro shares the strategies that made these businesses and smaller companies successful in CEA’s new book, Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World’s Most Successful Businesses (Harper Collins, 2013). The book launches in conjunction with CEA’s opening of the 2013 International CES®, the world’s largest annual innovation event.

Incorporating lessons learned from his study of martial arts, “ninja” is a metaphor Shapiro uses to draw parallels between business and ancient warriors, to demonstrate how to create a “killer strategy” that’s defined by clear goals, flexibility and a focus on competition and innovative thinking.

“To be successful, one has to move beyond what has come before,” writes Shapiro, author of the 2011 New York Times best-seller The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream. “One must take the lessons learned through study, experience and failure, and apply them in ways that change the game, so to speak. You must innovate or die.”

When a ninja undertakes a dangerous assignment, he must have a strategy that will guide him through to completion. He must have firm goals, and he must consider all possible obstacles and be open to any unforeseen crisis. For ninjas, survival is just the first step; success is the ultimate objective. The same is true for businesses.

Ninja Innovation offers readers a proven plan for success. From defining one’s initial goals to building an army of “ninja” collaborators, Ninja Innovation shows readers how people and companies get on top, stay on top and change the world. For example, Shapiro analyzes:

  • eBay’s rise from a small start-up to a billion-dollar business;
  • IBM’s uncanny ability to beat the competition consistently for decades on end;
  • Jeff Bezos’s use of “ninja skills” to make Amazon one of the most innovative and dynamic companies in the world; and
  • Alan Mulally’s leadership in saving the struggling Ford Motor Company and turning it into an innovative machine – without taking a government bailout.

Ninja Innovation is more than a study of particular companies or executives; it is a how-to manual that will teach readers to work like a ninja: how to define goals, achieve flexibility and build successful enterprises. Ninja Innovation shows how anyone can bring innovative thinking into his or her professional and personal life.

International editions of Ninja Innovation will be available in Portuguese, Russian and Czech under agreements with foreign publishers Saraiva, Azbooka and Zoner. Foreign-language editions are expected to be available within 18 months.

Praise for Ninja Innovation

“Shapiro’s chapter on strategy formation, which he considers an art, not science, is top-notch. … [T]hose eager for a more stealthy and versatile approach will appreciate Shapiro’s treatise on discipline, shared goals, and mental toughness.” – PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“[E]vents have brought Shapiro into close contact with innovators like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, among others, and provided him with additional insight into business and its leaders.” –KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Gary Shapiro’s ‘ninja’ approach to business success is exactly what the American spirit is all about – impatient, bold and agile. It’s what propels the most innovative companies, keeping us around for the long haul, as we continue to transform and make meaningful progress in the world.” – URSULA BURNS, Chairman and CEO of Xerox Corp.

Ninja Innovation is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the secrets to successful entrepreneurship in a world of rapid innovation. Pandora is popular because we are agile, and have always remained intensely focused on what’s best for listeners and artists.” – TIM WESTERGREN, Co-founder of Pandora Radio

“With Ninja Innovation, Gary Shapiro has boiled down the mystery of business success to its foundational precepts: Risk, passion, failure, and, above all, innovation. Having spent 30 years at the Consumer Electronics Association, Gary knows what it takes to create a successful business and change the world.” – NOEL LEE, Head Monster of Monster

About the Author

Gary Shapiro is the president and CEO of CEA the U.S. trade association that represents more than 2,000 consumer electronics companies, and owns and produces the annual International CES®, the world’s largest annual innovation event. As head of the CEA for more than two decades, he has effectively ushered the consumer electronics industry through major periods of technological upheaval and transformation. Shapiro is the New York Times best-selling author of The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream. A regular columnist for the Huffington PostForbes, and the Daily Caller, he has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and other national publications. He also appears regularly on CNBC, CNN, C-SPAN and Fox News. He is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center. He splits his time between Detroit and Washington, and is married to Dr. Susan Malinowski.

About CEA:

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $209 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services.