Often, businesses ignore strategy until an issue arises — such as a loss in product sales or new competition in the marketplace. As a result, they create a mediocre plan and constantly ask themselves what’s next.
A good strategy involves planning for various circumstances. That is what you need to maintain a competitive edge and survive. If you want to learn what good and bad strategy is, get great insights with this list of best business strategy books.
The Best Business Strategy Books
1. Your Next Five Moves: Master the Art of Business Strategy
Your Next Five Moves is one of the best business strategy books, helping you learn how to think ahead. Like a chess grandmaster, you have to anticipate a series of what will take place. Then, you plan your next moves in a sequential order rather than making individual decisions.
In addition to planning, you get great advice on team-building, effective decision-making processes, selling, negotiating, etc. You might enjoy this book because it covers mindset and other topics, including:
- Hiring and firing.
- Raising capital.
- How to manage a company.
2. Good Strategy Bad Strategy
You’ll enjoy Good Strategy Bad Strategy as this book clears the muddled thinking that underlies too many strategies. Rumelt often discredits strategies that executives and consultants pitch and shows you why they’re bad.
Then, he provides a clear-cut way to create an effective, actionable plan you can implement in the real world. Essentially, he debunks the poor strategy elements and helps you understand what a good strategy should possess.
3. Your Strategy Needs a Strategy
The top three Boston Consulting Group executives offer you a proven methodology to determine your business’s best strategic approach. This book also provides a comprehensive overview of overall strategies implemented by modern companies.
In addition, it helps you assess your business’s environment — its unpredictability, adopting the power to change it and how critical it is to get the right strategy. The book includes five strategy archetypes for different business environments and explains their strategic approaches.
Overall, this book will help match your strategic approach to the right environment, how to execute it and how to avoid a mismatch.
4. Good to Great
Another popular business strategy book, Good to Great, examines the differences between mediocre companies and industry champions. Collins gives you a lesson on how to thrive in the business world. He also teaches different concepts like leadership, discipline and technology, showing how each can help your business excel.
The findings of this book might also surprise you as it covers all the areas of management strategies and best practices.
5. Crossing the Chasm
Crossing the Chasm explains how innovative businesses fail to attract a broader, mainstream audience.
At first, they can build that initial momentum with early adopters passionate about their products. Yet as their business grows, they cannot win over a lucrative mainstream market. Therefore, they limit their future for business growth and fail to reach the full profit potential of a longstanding business.
In addition, Crossing the Chasm shows you how to market disruptive products to mainstream audiences. It gives you insights into products that break industry norms and how it requires customers to change their behaviors to use them.
If you find your business is challenging the status quo, this book is a must-read.
6. Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works
The author, A.G. Lafley, describes how he made drastic improvements to Procter & Gamble’s sales and profitability in Playing to Win. In the book, he uses an operational strategy based on five key questions:
- What is our winning aspiration?
- Where will we play?
- How will we win?
- What capabilities should we have to win?
- What management systems do we require to support our choices?
Playing to Win shows you that strategy shouldn’t be mysterious. While it requires creativity, critical thinking and personal leadership, the concept of it is straightforward.
With Playing to Win, you’ll learn to use simple, repeatable methods that can benefit your business. Essentially, you gain a practical formula to strengthen your organization through a series of choices you can make.
7. The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist’s Guide to Success in Business and Life
The Art of Strategy is a great business strategy book for beginners. The book draws on game theory principles, explaining how to guess your competitors’ next moves and prepare for them. This book is complete with critical strategic thinking, teaching you how to outsmart the competition through scientific and mathematical logic.
The authors will show you how to find patterns in random occurrences and provide several case studies for you to examine. With plenty of concrete examples, this book makes game theory simple and applicable in life and your career.
8. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant
Many business strategy books will tell you how to dominate a crowded market. However, Blue Ocean Strategy explains taking the opposite approach. It supports strategies for finding and seizing new opportunities.
In other words, you can find a better way to remove competition by pursuing a road less traveled. In this book, the authors describe how you can identify neglected needs of consumers and generate new demand.
Blue Ocean Strategy gets you to think about how you can become a big fish in a small pond.
9. Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors
Competitive Strategy’s initial publication was decades ago, but it is still relevant today. Michael E. Porter explains to readers how to summarize and surpass competitors by performing in-depth competitive analysis. Then, it shows you how to take appropriate actions.
This book consists of three sections:
- General Analytical Techniques
- Generic Industry Environments
- Strategic Decisions
You can expect each chapter to examine the various aspects of studying your opponents and challenging them. Competitive Strategy is virtually a market advantage encyclopedia, and the writing and exploration of this topic are dense.
However, it’s a great read for those who want to think ahead and innovatively.
10. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
Nothing is more exciting than reading about how other companies have succeeded. You can draw on inspiration with Built to Last by learning the characteristics and behaviors of thriving companies.
This book extensively analyzes factors that helped companies survive tough times and competitive landscapes. Build to Last notes the keys to industry success and longevity.
In addition, it covers topics such as goal-setting, cult-like culture building, change management and frameworks for a long-lasting duration.
11. Seeing Around Corners: How To Spot Inflection Points in Business
Seeing Around Corners focuses on inflection points — or major industry shifts. The author gives you a how-to explanation on predicting these changes and preparing for them.
Changing customer needs and expectations, technological advancements and competitor evolution can disrupt the market. However, innovative companies know what to expect from the challenges that come from these changes and are ready to adapt.
In this book, you can expect easy-to-follow techniques for anticipating and overcoming curveballs. It’s the essential guide to proofing your business for disruption.
Provide Yourself a Roadmap
The best business strategy books you see here guide you through achievable goals that give you sustainable results. Even though constructing a foolproof plan isn’t easy, you have no shortage of expert advice. These books share real-life observations and experiences that will lead you down the most innovative path.
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