(born 1947) is the doyen of living management gurus, a professor at Harvard Business School whose office is a whole on-campus house, home of his own Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness. A talented sportsman (like Frederick Winslow Taylor), Porter could have became a professional golf player.
Porter effectively redefined the way that businessmen think about competition, largely by introducing the language and concepts of economics into corporate strategy. He began by simplifying the notion of competitive advantage and then created a new framework for companies to think about how to achieve it.
Later he moved on to advising countries about how they too could gain competitive advantage, and this led him to another field of interest, clustering—the extent to which industries old and new (from diamond dealers to nanotechnologists) stay geographically close to each other, and the reasons for this. Porter maintained that countries do well economically in large part because of this clustering of specialised skills and industries that, through dynamic competition between them, produce superior products and processes.
Like many leading management thinkers, Porter trained first as an engineer. Then, after a doctorate in economics, he moved to Harvard Business School. Apart from being a bestselling author, Porter also found time to set up a successful global consulting firm called Monitor. He can command top-dollar fees for personal appearances—his own competitive weapon being differentiation, not low cost.