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Best Business Strategy Books

Competitive Advantage by Michael Porter – 5 Stars

The full title of this important book by Michael Porter is

Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance“.

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave this book a rating of Five Stars. This means I think it is Excellent and is Very Highly Recommended to anyone with a deep interest in business strategy and how competitive advantage is created.

Here is my book review.

Very challenging but very rewarding if you’re interested in competitive advantage

I first read this book in 1990 when I realised strategy was the subject that combined (and reconciled) my interest in finance and marketing. I’d been very impressed with his book, “Competitive Strategy” and wanted to understand more about how you create competitive advantage through cost leadership, differentiation and focus. [continue reading…]

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Strategy Dynamics Essentials by Kim Warren

I rated

Strategy Dynamics Essentials by Kim Warren

as a Four Stars book in my review on Amazon.co.uk. This means I think the book Is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

Turn your strategy into a detailed model and stop it being wishy-washy good intentions

This is not an ordinary book on strategy and therefore it won’t be suitable for many people who are looking for a how to guide.

The author recognises the problem of well meaning but wishy washy strategic plans that are intended to increase long term profits and cash flows but fail to provide a link from strategic objectives through to tactics and performance numbers. [continue reading…]

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The full title of this mind-blowing book by Martin Reeves, Knut Haanaes and Janmejaya Sinha is

Your Strategy Needs a Strategy: How to Choose and Execute the Right Approach“.

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave this book Five Stars. This means I think it is Excellent and it is Very Highly Recommended.

Here is my book review.

A very helpful guide to making sense of the different ideas for how to “do strategy”

Kim Warren’s excellent book “The Trouble With Strategy” is a harsh criticism of how badly strategy has performed as an academic topic and as a professional service.

Too often new ideas have been introduced on the basis that older, more established ideas are wrong. Proper academic and real world subjects (like physics and engineering) build on what is accepted and only knock down and replace existing theory when there is strong evidence that old thoughts were wrong (e.g. the world is round). [continue reading…]

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The full title of this book by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur is

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers“.

In my review on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book a rating of Four Stars. This means that it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

More style than substance

This is a remarkable triumph of visual design. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a book like it before.

I have some criticisms about how easy it is to read and the fact that the content is more style over substance. For one thing, to create space for all the funky images, the words are in a small font. I was OK but I know that some people will struggle.

I really like the idea of the one page Business Model Canvas which is described as “a shared language for describing, visualising, assessing and changing business models.” It looks very useful to summarise your existing business model and for moving towards better ways to create, deliver and capture value. [continue reading…]

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In my review of

Competing for the Future” by Gary Hamel and CK Prahalad

posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave this famous strategy book a rating of Four Stars.

This means I think it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

Still relevant for big companies

This book popularised the important insights and ideas that came out of resource based strategy in the early 1990s because it’s one of the few strategy books that crossed over into the mainstream management books.

It was written at a time when business process re-engineering and restructuring were the popular panaceas for business success but there was one fundamental problem…you can’t cut your way to growth. [continue reading…]

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The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky

When I reviewed the book,

The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky,

on Amazon.co.uk, I rated it at the Four Stars level.

This means I think it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

A fable for different business models

This is a fascinating book which reveals twenty three different business models which an entrepreneur can use to build a profitable business.

What Is A Business Model?

It is the way your business creates value for customers and captures its fair share as profit. The best business models build their own momentum so success automatically leads to more success. [continue reading…]

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Hypercompetition by Richard A. D’Aveni – 5 Stars

The full title of this ground-breaking book on strategy by Richard D’Aveni with Robert Gunther is

Hypercompetition: Managing the Dynamics of Strategic Maneuvering“.

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave this book a rating of Five Stars. This means it is Excellent and Very Highly Recommended to the appropriate people.

Here is my book review.

A very important book that challenges the orthodoxy of strategic planning

This is a book I’ve wanted to read for many years and finally, in 2011 I did. Although it dates back to 1994 I’m very impressed about its ideas on strategy dynamics.

The view of business strategy presented in book is both scary and exciting.

The essence of strategy is building competitive advantage but in a world of hypercompetition, no competitive advantage is sustainable. [continue reading…]

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The full title of this book by Robert W Bradford and J Peter Duncan with Brian Tarcy is

Simplified Strategic Planning: The No-Nonsense Guide for Busy People Who Want Results Fast“.

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book a rating of Four Stars. This means I think it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

Very good book for SMEs who want or need to put together a strategic plan and then implement it.

The full title summarises this book well. It is a very good guide for the management team of any medium sized business which feels lost when thinking about business strategy.

Strategy is one of those words that nearly everyone feels obliged to use but it’s often difficult to put a finger on what it means when you are trying to think strategically or even to prepare a strategic plan. It is hard to see effective strategy in action although when you do see, you are wowed by how well everything fits together. [continue reading…]

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Three Steps Ahead by David Silverstein

The full title of this book by David Silverstein is

Three Steps Ahead: Thinking Strategically to Avoid Unintended Consequences“.

In my review posted on Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book Four Stars. This means I think it is Good and Well Worth Reading.

Here is my book review.

Very interesting

By definition, it’s unusual to think about unintended consequences but these are the usually unwanted events that turn a good idea into a bad one. That’s obviously a mistake but how do you think about the unknown unknowns?

Unintended consequences are also a problem with performance measures and incentives. I remember blogging about the time when the Accident & Emergency departments in hospitals were set a target to see people in four hours and it resulted in the measure being gamed by leaving patients in ambulances and tying down these first responders to the hospitals instead of being free to deal with emergencies. [continue reading…]

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Strategy In Practice by Cliff Bowman

When I posted my review of

Strategy In Practice by Cliff Bowman

to Amazon.co.uk, I gave the book Four Stars.

This means I think it is Good and Well Worthwhile.

Here is my book review.

A very practical guide to strategy for senior managers

This is a book for managers who contribute to the strategy debates going on within their businesses. It is very different from many of the strategy texts which are either written for MBA style students or for strategy experts.

Cliff Bowman is Professor of Strategic Management at Cranfield University in the UK. He is also the co-author of probably my favourite book on strategy, “Competitive & Corporate Strategy” – a lost classic. [continue reading…]

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