Gooday. I can’t believe it’s time already for another business book review…

‘The Starfish and the Spider’ (written by Ori Brafman & Rod Beckstrom) is not your typical business book. As you can probably tell from its title.

It’s a fascinating read though. Weaving story after story about different business models & details why small organisations can gain competitive advantage over traditional large corporations.

Essentially Ori & Rod discuss 3 business models:

  • The traditional centralised model: everything is controlled by the boss
  • The hybrid model: some central control with de-centralised decision making
  • The de-centralised model: no central control, all the power is with the people

They liken a spider to the centralised model. If you chop off a leg, it’s still be able to function, in a limited capacity. But if you chopped it’s head off, killing its controlling brain. It would die.

A starfish doesn’t have a brain & if you chopped off its leg, it would grow another. And (in some cases) the detached leg would grow into a 2nd starfish. Likened to the de-centralised model.

De-centralised models are organisations like Wikipedia or Apache, where control is pushed out to their follows with little or no guidance.

A hybrid model is something in between, although more de-centralised than centralised. A good example would be eBay or Skype. Which have some central controls with much de-centralisation.

The book goes into much more detail than I can in a review & covers a whole load of examples of the different models. In a fun & engaging way.

My learnings. A de-centralised business with some central controls in a hybrid model is the future. Pushing power out to your teams & followers will provide many more positive results.

It’s a very thought provoking read. I’d recommend it to any existing small business owner or director & anyone with aspirations of starting their own business sometime soon.

‘The Starfish and the Spider’ gets a thumbs up & 5-stars.

If you’ve got any questions about the book, connect & message me on LinkedIn or drop me an email to

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Thank you for watching & see you next week.