Best Business Strategy Books
An effective strategy is needed for every company to succeed. A lot can be learned from the best strategy books but you will need to think to apply the ideas.
You Already Have An Emergent Strategy
Whether you intended to or not, you already have a strategy. Something emerges from what you do inside your business and out in your market even if you haven’t taken the time to plan out:
– What you want to achieve in the longer term;
– Who you want to sell to;
– What you want to sell;
– Who you intend to survive the inevitable competition.
The question is…
Is It Working For You?
Is your emergent strategy working for you or against you? Is it really helping you to move to your long term goals, even if those goals are intangible thoughts you have about what to do when you retire.
If it isn’t, you need to change your strategy or to develop a deliberate strategy and implement it. These strategy books will help you think about how you can get what you want whilst delighting customers and beating your competitors.
The Best Books About Strategic Planning, Strategic Management and Strategic Thinking
You will only see the books I’ve rated at Four Stars (meaning good and well worth reading) and Five Stars (excellent and very highly recommended). Reviews of lower rated books appear on Amazon.co.uk but I haven’t brought the reviews across to my own website.
If you read my reviews, you’ll see I try to explain why I like them but also to identify any weaknesses. My job as a reviewer is to help you to find the most appropriate books rather than to help sell more books.
On that note, if you do decide to buy, I’d appreciate it if you could click through to Amazon on my links as (hopefully) I’ll earn a small referral commission.
Some of these books can be very expensive so, if you’re happy with a hard back or paperback book, take a look at the second hand options on Amazon. Personally I only buy if the condition is described as “As New” or “Very Good” unless I’m really keen and forced to drop down to “Good”.
This is one of my favourite categories.
I have a particular interest in how businesses differentiate from each other and therefore stand out from competitors. These are included in a separate category of the Best Differentiation Strategy Books which also includes books about branding and developing Unique Selling Propositions (the famous USP).
Five Star Business Strategy Books
Here are the strategy book rated at the Five Stars level which I want to bring to your attention in particular. Some are fairly hard going but will explode your understanding.
Porter set out to explain why some industries or sectors of industries are more profitable than others.
Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance by Michael Porter
In this book, Porter turned his attention from the industry to the business and it could create a competitive advantage and earn higher profits.
These books by Porter represent what can be thought of as the orthodox thinking, mainly because of the massive impact the books had when they were published back in the 1980s. They have formed the basis for what has been taught on MBA courses at the top Business Schools for years.
Competitive and Corporate Strategy by Cliff Bowman and David Faulkner
If forced to choose, this Bowman/Faulkner book is probably my favourite strategy book but it’s gone out of print.
Hypercompetition: Managing the Dynamics of Strategic Maneuvering by Richard A. D’Aveni
D’Aveni brilliant predicts how markets can be transformed when old competitive advantages become irrelevant. This is a challenging read.
Creating Value: Shaping Tomorrow’s Business by Shiv S Mathur and Alfred Kenyon
A different look at strategy and differentiation in particular. Hard going but very thought-provoking.
Blue Ocean Strategy:Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
Blue Ocean Shift: Beyond Competing – Proven Steps to Inspire Confidence and Seize New Growth by W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
Interesting look at how you can find a new market without competitors by finding an innovative solution to customers needs, wants and problems. The first book explains the ideas and the second tells you how tos et up your own Blue Ocean project.
Your Strategy Needs a Strategy: How to Choose and Execute the Right Approach by Martin Reeves, Knut Haanaes and Janmejaya Sinha
The Warren book is a critical look at the development of strategy as a discipline as technological changes have undermined existing thinking and the Reeves book goes a long way to explaining what you need to do to pick the right strategic approach for your particular market.
What I haven’t found is an excellent book on strategy for small business owners who are competing in markets where they have significant market share and their actions impact on competitors and vice-versa. I’m still looking.
Four Star Business Strategy Books
Strategy In Practice by Cliff Bowman
Simplified Strategic Planning by Bradford and Duncan with Brian Tarcy
Competing for the Future by Gary Hamel and CK Prahalad
Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
The Well Timed Strategy by Peter Navarro
Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
Value Drivers by Mark C Scott
Three Steps Ahead by David Silverstein
The Profit Zone by Adrian J. Slywotsky and David J. Morrison
Profit Patterns by Adrian Slywotzky and David Morrison
The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky
The One Page Business Strategy by Marc Van Eck and Ellen Leenhouts
Strategy Dynamics Essentials by Kim Warren
Other Categories of Best Business Books
Business Planning – Business Turnaround – Differentiation Strategy – Economics – Energy & Environmental – Finance – Getting Unstuck – KPI & Performance Measurement – Leading Your Team – Marketing – Profit Improvement – Project Management – Recession – Retail Business – Specific Niche Markets –