How can your organization stay relevant in a rapidly changing environment? How can you align different parts of the organization and counter “disruptive technologies” or new business models like Uber or AirBnB? What’s the best way to rejuvenate your company and sharpen your competitive edge? These are real challenges that any organization, not matter how large or established, will face. We’ve carefully handpicked 6 of the best strategy books to help you make sense of shifting trends, identify your blind spots, and develop sound strategies that can last the test of time. Check out the links below to our free book summaries to get a quick overview of the key insights, tools and strategic frameworks.
No time to read them all? Simply get our detailed infographic, text and audio summaries for all 6 books here!
Top 6 Best Strategy Books
PLAYING TO WIN
Any organization without a sound strategy is bound to fail. Yet, most leaders don’t truly understand strategy nor how to apply it. In large organizations, the confusion is multiplied across different departments and business units. This book demystifies strategy by breaking it down into 5 cascading choices, then break it down into a Strategy Playbook (with concepts, frameworks, tools and processes) to help your organization to revitalize its strategy, communicate and achieve buy-in, to win. This approach can be applied to any business, function, or organization; more importantly, it can be used to integrate various parts of your business (including sub-brands or business units) into a cohesive strategy. Read the Playing to Win free summary here, or get the full infographic/ text/ audio summary bundle here.
2. BUILT TO LAST
How do you create a brand that lasts for generations and consistently out-perform competitors by as much as 15 times? How do companies like 3M, American Express, Marriott, Proctor & Gamble and Walt Disney stay successful across generations of chief executives, thrive through multiple product/ services life cycles, and retain their position as the leaders of their industries?
This strategy book lays out 12 myths about great companies to avoid, the vital principles behind lasting successes, and how Visionary Companies use 5 key mechanisms to institutionalize their success, so they build institutions that last the test of time. Read the Built to Last free summary here, or get the full infographic/ text/ audio summary bundle here.
3. BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY
In a world of cut-throat competition, Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS) is about carving out new market spaces that render your competition irrelevant. This strategy book offers a set of powerful tools, strategies and frameworks that you can use to systematically brainstorm new ideas and options, and to shape your breakthrough strategy. Here, you’ll learn how to create a quantum leap in value through Value Innovation, develop novel yet commercially-viable blue ocean ideas using tools like the Strategy Canvas, Four Action Framework, ERRC Grid, PMS Map, Buyer Utility Map, and reconstruct your market boundaries. The book also addresses key organizational hurdles and how you can overcome them. Read the Blue Ocean Strategy free summary here, or get the full infographic/ text/ audio summary bundle here.
4. THE INNOVATOR’S DILEMMA
Good, successful companies that do all the “right” things can still fail or lose their leadership, in face of unexpected competition. While you work on building the right strategic foundations for your organization, it’s important to also identify potential blind spots (both internally and externally) which can lead to your demise. Some of these factors can ironically be the very practices that led to your initial success in the first place. This strategy book addresses how to identify disruptive technologies that can render your business irrelevant, and how you can even proactively develop your own disruptive technologies to shape your industry. It explains the Innovator’s Dilemma of how good management principles can lead to your downfall, and what you can do to solve the dilemma. Read The Innovator’s Dilemma free summary here, or get the full infographic/ text/ audio summary bundle here.
5. HOW THE MIGHTY FALL
No matter how established or successful your organization, it can fail. In fact, all institutions will stumble at some point. The question is whether you recover or if you start down the slippery road of decline. This book answers the vital questions: “how do you know if you’re on the verge of a decline?” and “how can you turn things around?” Learn to identify the symptoms of the 5 stages of decline that great companies go through— hubris from success, undisciplined pursuit of more, grasping for salvation, and resignation to downfall. Read How the Mighty Fall free summary here, or get the full infographic/ text/ audio summary bundle here.
6. THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE
In today’s increasingly dynamic and complex word, an organization’s ability to learn and renew itself is a sustainable competitive advantage. On the other hand, no company can remain successful if it doesn’t continually learn and adapt. This book explains the 7 Learning Disabilities that most organizations face, as well as the 5 Learning Disciplines that form the blueprint for building a Learning Organization—systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, shared vision, and team learning. Each discipline is made up of various components. When harnessed together, they form the backbone that will support your organization’s ability to constantly learn and renew itself like a living organism. Read The Fifth Discipline free summary here, or get the full infographic/ text/ audio summary bundle here.
These are certainly 6 of the best business strategy books that we’ve come across. While they’re the most relevant for large, established organizations, the insights are valuable for any business leader or executive. Do read all 6 books if possible, as they offer different aspects of business strategy which are equally powerful.
Looking for book recommendations for other areas, topics or challenges? Check out our visual book map for the best books to read here.