Top 12 Business Strategy Books
Strategy is perspective, plan, performance, process, progress, and everything in between. These Top 12 Business Strategy Books are the best strategic management books to kick off your foundational learning with.
by Avinash K. Dixit, Barry J. Nalebuff
Dixit and Nalebuff create a world where everyday interactions are evaluated through their use or misuse of game theory, helping readers engage with the theory in a way that makes it relatable. Game theory is a strategic way of thinking and moving through the world. While some of the components of the theory come more naturally, others require that the user slips into another way of interacting with the world. The case studies here reflect the belief that nearly every interaction can have an element of game theory to it—from reality television to poker tournaments and a variety of other topics. Dixit and Nalebuff have created a book that helps readers master game theory, and in turn, become more successful in business and life.
The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist’s Guide to Success in Business and Life is available from Amazon.
by Spencer Johnson, Kenneth H. Blanchard
Does it ever feel like life and business are a giant maze where you keep moving toward a goal, only to have the goal move by the time you’ve found your way? This book creates four characters living inside a maze and searching for cheese, only to have the cheese move as they approach. Johnson draws the maze as a metaphor for any situation where you are searching for something and creates a character that deals with the changes in the search for the cheese well. This character then writes about how to find the cheese to help others looking for their own goals, which becomes this book on strategy.
Who Moved My Cheese is available from Amazon.
by Michael E. Porter
Porter’s three generic strategies—lowest cost, differentiation, and focus—exploded onto the competitive strategy scene and have become one of the most powerful competitive tools. Through demonstrating competitive advantage through relative cost and relative prices, Porter directly links the idea with profitability, adds structure to strategic positioning for business, and presents a new picture of profit creation and division. Porter’s work also includes an analysis of how to predict the competitive nature of rivals, which helps businesses anticipate and strategically prepare for the changes their rivals may make. Through his ideas n competitive theory, Porter helps companies create a strategy at the top of the competition.
Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors is available from Amazon.
by Joan Magretta
If you have read Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter and are left with questions or need to better understand his strategy, this book may help understand how to practically implement the strategy. Margetta, Porter’s former editor at Harvard Business Review, wrote Understanding Michael Porter with his full cooperation and even included a frequently asked questions section with answers from Porter himself. Margetta uses her own experience to create a guide on how to practically apply the concepts and ideas effectively, while also correcting the common misconceptions or misinterpretations of Porter’s work, helping readers to have a better understanding of the driving forces behind the theory.
Understanding Michael Porter: The Essential Guide to Competition and Strategy is available from Amazon.
by Patrick Bet-David
In the game of chess, one must plan their next five moves, both anticipating their opponent and putting themselves in the best position possible. Chess grandmasters and entrepreneurs, Bet-David and Dinken take this principle and apply it to business strategy in Your Next Five Moves. Bet-David and Dinken host the #1 YouTube channel for entrepreneurs, Valuetainment, and drawing from their own experience and the skills that they have learned from their show to create a strategy for businesses that are forward thinking and anticipatory of competitor’s strategies. This strategy helps managers and owners gain clarity, strategy, growth tactics, skills, and insight to drive one toward tremendous growth and potential.
Your Next Five Moves: Master the Art of Business Strategy is available from Amazon.
by Keith J. Cunningham
What if every time you made a bad decision, you had to pay tax? According to Cunningham, bad and dumb decisions do cost us. Cunningham hypothesizes that the key to getting and staying rich is to avoid stupid things that cost you. The way to avoid doing stupid things, according to Cunningham, is to avoid three things—generalizations, obsession, and faulty assumptions. Generalizations can upset clarity in thinking, obsession with the end goal will always distract from the journey, and assumptions cause us to ignore risk. Choosing to improve thoughts and analyze decisions will stop us from doing dumb things, and that in turn helps us to become and stay successful.
The Road Less Stupid: Advice from the Chairman of the Board is available from Amazon.
by Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann
Making decisions can be a difficult task, especially when we have not learned a model or framework for making specific decisions. While some mental models and frameworks can help people process through issues, these are often contained in difficult or inaccessible textbooks. However, Weinberg and McCann have taken these models and made them accessible and approachable to help decision-makers work through their most complicated problems and find clarity. The book is an illustrated trip through the different mental models, encouraging readers to try different methods to work through their problems. Mental models are an important upgrade to the toolbox of any innovator or creator to help solve problems and effectively expand the business.
Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models is available from Amazon.
by Richard P. Rumelt
Many people will tell you how to create a strategy and build a brand. However, not all advice is good advice. Rumelt sorts through the good, the bad, and the ugly of strategy and helps those looking to succeed find a way to do so. By ridding the definition of strategy from all of the things that try and distract, Rumelt finds that good strategy is a specific and coherent response and approach to the obstacles of progress. This theory looks at the ways that power can be harnessed and used to achieve the best results. Using examples and real-life scenarios, Rumelt helps readers harness the power and push forward to success.
Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters is available from Amazon.
by James Clear
Does it seem like every goal you set is unattainable and bad habits just keep popping up and ruining success? Then atomic habits may be a helpful resource to reorient your habits and create a clear path to a successful outcome. Clear uses ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to help readers find the systems that keep bad habits in place, learn how to overcome habits, and find new strength in good habits that push toward the goal. Atomic Habits help people default to good habits over bad and reshape the ways that they think about their reactions to the world. Whatever the goal, Atomic Habits will help achieve results.
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones is available from Amazon.
by W. Chan Kim, Renée Mauborgne
Competition often wears on a person or business. When a product or service covers only a small area of a market, there will be competition to the point where the market becomes a “red ocean.” However, Kim and Mauborgne posit that the oceans can remain blue through innovation and finding a new, untapped market that will leave competitors in the dust for years to come. The book moves through the strategy and suggests a way forward for businesses looking to achieve success. The revolutionary idea put forth in this book has shifted the way that businesses approach strategies with competitors and forge ahead in the marketplace.
Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant is available from Amazon.
by Chip Heath, Dan Heath
What makes an idea stick? Chip and Dan Heath hope to answer that question in their book on the anatomy of an idea. Heath and Heath analyze the similarities between the ideas that stick around and those that do not, finding that most ideas that stick share the same six traits. Encouraging readers to test out ideas such as the Velcro Theory of Memory, the human scale principle, and curiosity gaps, Heath and Heath can help readers shift the way that they communicate with each other and the world. Whether you are looking to get a promotion or create the next Google, Made to Stick will help you laugh along the way to finding out the best way to make messages stick.
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die is available from Amazon.
by Donald J. Robertson
Stoicism rose in philosophy in the Roman Empire and found its footing in various people, including Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Marcus Aurelius was considered to be the final famous Stoic philosopher. Psychologist Donald Robertson explores Marcus Aurelius’ journal, The Meditations, to draw from ideas and philosophy to find the pieces of the philosophy that may be useful for our time. Tracing his life, Robertson demonstrates how the emperor used the philosophy to create emotional resilience and overcome adversity. By humanizing the ancient philosophy, Robertson finds a way to relate Stoicism to modern life and creates a guide to living ethically now.
How to Think Like a Roman Emperor: The Stoic Philosophy of Marcus Aurelius is available from Amazon.