Strategy Books

Updated on April 11, 2024
Article bySayantan Mukhopadhyay
Edited bySayantan Mukhopadhyay
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM
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10 Best Strategy Books [Updated 2022]

The strategy will help you tremendously, even if you have nothing to do with business development. However, to develop YOU Inc. (which we all want to do), you must pick up these books and read them through. Below is the list of 10 best books on strategy for business and corporate:

  1. The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist’s Guide to Success in Business and Life ( Get this book )
  2. Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters ( Get this book )
  3. Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works ( Get this book )
  4. Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors ( Get this book )
  5. Business Strategy: A guide to effective decision-making (Economist Books) ( Get this book )
  6. The Strategy Book: How to Think and Act Strategically to Deliver Outstanding Results ( Get this book )
  7. Your Strategy Needs a Strategy: How to Choose and Execute the Right Approach ( Get this book )
  8. Strategy That Works: How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap ( Get this book )
  9. Strategy Maps: Converting Intangible Assets into Tangible Outcomes ( Get this book )
  10. Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant ( Get this book )

Let us discuss each strategy book for corporates and businesses in detail, along with its key takeaways and reviews.

Strategy-Books

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#1 – The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist’s Guide to Success in Business and Life

by Avinash K. Dixit and Barry J.J. Nalebuff

The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist's Guide to Success in Business and Life

This book illustrates how you can change your life by using game theory. It is not only applicable in your life; it is equally effective for your career progression. Have a look at the reviews and best takeaways.

Book Review:

  • The best part of this book is the culmination of ample examples. You will get incredible value if you manage to read only 50 pages tops. The book primarily revolves around decision-making ability, which is the basis of game theory. The most conspicuous feature of this book is its elaboration on the game theory in about strategy.
  • This book will be invaluable if your profession demands interaction with people all day.
  • If you think you are just starting with strategy and have yet to learn what strategy is and how it works, this is the first book you should pick up.

Key takeaways

  • This book is for you if you want to read a textbook designed and updated in a completely different package. You will be able to relate to a lot of examples and will be able to use most of the tactics in your life and business.
  • It is the primer of critical strategic thinking. If you want to outwork, outlearn, or outsmart your competition, pick this best strategy book up.
  • One of the most significant things about this book is that it not only dictates what you need to do but also tells you how to think about your opponent. For example, it mentions that your opponent would take advantage of you if they knew your move. So, it would help if you always kept a sense of randomness while acting strategically.
<< Get this book >>

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#2 – Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

by Richard Rumelt

Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

Even strategy is dichotomous. It has a good element that works and a bad element that fails to yield any measurable result. That’s why you must read this book to know what’s gold and dross!

Book Review:

  • Rumelt’s work signifies the difference between good and bad strategies. He has given a framework for implementing a good strategy and mentions that most companies don’t have a strategy; they forget about the good or bad strategy. You will learn how you can create and build a company with a good strategy with references like Apple, Ford, IBM, and many more.
  • If you pick up this best strategy book, you will understand that the chief task of a leader is to strategize. And the way she should do it is by stripping away all the excesses like financial goals, slogans, and buzzwords and concentrating only on how the organization will move forward.

Key takeaways

  • The best part is the simple three-step framework of good strategy. The first step is a diagnosis where you would get clarity about the challenges your company is currently facing. The second step is your approach to overcoming the hindrances. Finally, the last step is having a shared vision and taking action steps together to implement the same.
  • Many strategy books come down from the perspective of theoretical ideas. But this book on strategy concentrates on practical wisdom and how you can apply the ideas directly to your business. At the same time, this book doesn’t tell you exactly what to do; you need to think through and apply the same to your business as you see fit.
<< Get this book >>

#3 – Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

by A. G. Lafley & Roger L. Martin

Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

The strategy is simple but challenging because strategy propels people and organizations to make difficult choices when they can make the easier ones! You will learn to make better and more difficult choices if you read this book.

Book Review:

  • This best book on strategy will teach you that all strategy is risky, but having no strategy for your business is far riskier. In this book, you will learn the exact strategies the authors used to catapult P&G to incredible profits and increase market value by $100 billion in just ten years. If you are a business manager, it’s a must-read for you.
  • You should pick up this best strategy book for a reason: to avoid five troubles –defining strategy as vision, thinking strategy as a plan, denial of doing long-term / mid-term strategy, perceiving strategy as optimization of status-quo, and thinking strategy as following best practices.

Key takeaways

  • This book is very short compared to other strategy books. It is only 272 pages long. It has all the information required to win big in business.
  • The best part of this book is its five-question framework –
  • What is our winning aspiration?
  • Where will we play?
  • How will we win?
  • What capabilities must we have to win?
  • What are the management systems we require to support our choices?

If a company answers this five-question framework well, it will gradually dominate the market as P&G uses the same methodology.

<< Get this book >>

#4 – Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors

by Michael E. Porter

Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors

This book is the most popular on strategy. Albeit it is very complex and hard to read, it is well worth the effort.

Book Review:

  • If you are a business student (MBA), this book by Michael Porter is a must-read. It is the first book on a strategy revolutionizing how companies looked at competition and their core competency. If you want to start with any book that will transmute your business from “merely existing” to “booming,” this is the book you must pick up first.
  • This book has changed the course of strategic management in the eyes of students and practitioners. This book consists of three parts – general analytic techniques, generic industry environments, and strategic decisions. You will also be able to read through two appendices, e.g., portfolio techniques in the competitor analysis and how to conduct an industry analysis other than the main sections. That means it’s a complete book once you pick it up.

Key takeaways

  • The best takeaway from this book is, of course, Porter’s Five Forces Model –
  • Threats of Entrants
  • Bargaining power of sellers
  • Bargaining power of buyers
  • Rivalry among competitors
  • The pressure of substitute products
  • This best book on business strategy first introduces the concept of competitive advantage and how it can help an organization succeed.
  • Even if it was written back in 1980, it’s still relevant in the present market scenario. The examples Porter has given are incredible. For example, in the 1970s, HP faced competition with electronic calculators. Now, the same competition is prevalent; only the elements of the competition have changed.
<< Get this book >>

#5 – Business Strategy: A guide to effective decision-making (Economist Books)

by Jeremy Kourdi

Business Strategy: A Guide to Effective Decision-Making (Economist Books)

Today, what you do in your business determines what you will face shortly – success or failure. It turns out that the better your decision-making, the better would be your chances of success.

Book Review:

  • This book is for beginners who want to understand strategy at a basic level. If you are a novice in business, this is the best strategy book to start with. It discusses business fundamentals and covers almost all aspects you need to know about the business.
  • If you have read many books on strategy, this book will stir your thinking. From aligning your vision, forecasting, and resource allocation to implementation and flawless execution – you will learn all the fundamentals in this book.

Key takeaways

  • It starts with where you are, where you want to be, and how to get there. It is the basic fundamental that most businesses ignore.
  • As per the author, a good strategy stands on the sole ground of its effectiveness. The effectiveness of a strategy depends on the gap between implementation and the strategy. The lesser the gap, the better the chances of organizational success.
  • One of the best parts of this book is the emphasis on managers in the organization. Usually, the strategy is believed to be a leader’s task. But you will learn here that as a manager, you are always responsible for how the strategy is being implemented.
<< Get this book >>

#6 – The Strategy Book: How to Think and Act Strategically to Deliver Outstanding Results

by Max Mckeown

The Strategy Book: How to think and act strategically to deliver outstanding results

This book on corporate strategy is useful for business owners, and people from all walks of life can read and enjoy the insights shared in this book.

Book Review:

  • This book was written keeping the average reader in mind. The chapters are short, and the explanations are apt. Without using any management mumbo jumbo, this book exceeds the expectation of any business owner who would like to learn the most pressing questions about their business, e.g., how to go global, how to win strategy games, how to grow my business again, and again and so on.
  • It is a book that you would not read once. You will keep returning to the book to reference and understand the concepts again.

Key takeaways

  • You can bet on this book if you are thinking of going to the next level in your business or career. This book contains useful examples and insights from many global leaders who have made big in their businesses and life.
  • If you need to learn about strategy, this 272 pages book will help you start your journey with the practical approach of strategy.
  • This book has given a clear outline between managers and leaders. If, as a manager, you think strategically, you are already a leader. The author opines that a manager can’t become a leader without strategic thinking. It’s true, and if you don’t think you can’t make any decision-making because you don’t have the position, authority, or thinking muscle, it’s difficult for you to represent yourself as a leader.
<< Get this book >>

#7 – Your Strategy Needs a Strategy: How to Choose and Execute the Right Approach

by Martin Reeves, Knut Haanaes, and Janmejaya Sinha

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

If you are diving through an insane amount of complex questions and trying to find the right approach to execute your strategy, this book will help you immensely. Grab this, and you will have a blueprint for your strategy execution.

Book Review:

  • If you don’t read any classic book on strategy, this best book on strategy will save you time, effort, and cost. Pick this book up, and you will learn everything about an overall marketing strategy. Each page of this book is worth more than you pay for the entire book. According to the strategists of the 21st century, this book is un-put-downable.
  • According to the readers, this book comes at the beginning of the topper list. If you have read Porter’s book on strategy, you will love this book. Many readers also mention that this book can be a perfect start for anyone just beginning their strategy journey.

Key takeaways

  • This book is the step-by-step approach to the remarks offered by management guru Peter F. Ducker – “There is nothing as useless as efficiently doing something that shouldn’t be done at all.” Most importantly, this book isn’t only for marketing managers or business strategists. If you are a Human Resource professional, insights, execution procedures, and managing people would be invaluable to you.
  • Business owners need more than a toolkit in this age of faster pace and cut-throat competition. They need a hardware store where they can pick and choose the right tools per the situation. This book will provide almost every possible tool for a strategy that any business owner can get their hands on.
<< Get this book >>

#8 – Strategy That Works: How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap

by Paul Leinwand & Cesare R. Mainardi

Strategy That Works: How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap

This book about business strategy is different in its approach and scope. This book can be called a bridge between strategy and execution. That means you will learn how to do gap analysis and act on the insights you get.

Book Review:

  • The book emphasizes the need to focus on an identity that pierces the noise and can ensure growth instead of doing it the other way around. Once you set your specific identity, you can translate the same strategic approach into your day-to-day structure.
  • This book will help you understand the “knowing-doing gap.” In strategy, the same gap translates into the gap between “strategy” and “execution.” Most organizations suffer from this gap issue because they concentrate too much on thinking and very little on execution and feedback loops. If you read the book, you will understand where the flaws are and how to fix them.

Key takeaways

  • There are five broad things you will learn from this book.
  • Creating and committing to an identity.
  • Translate the same identity into a strategic approach.
  • Take charge of your culture and put it to work.
  • Reduce costs to strengthen your bottom line.
  • Shape your future.
  • In this strategy book, the best part is that the authors talk about unconventional ways to make your strategy work. You will learn why conventional strategy increases the gap between strategy and execution.
<< Get this book >>

#9 – Strategy Maps: Converting Intangible Assets into Tangible Outcomes

by Robert S. Kaplan & David P. Norton

Strategy Maps: Converting Intangible Assets into Tangible Outcomes

This duo has previously introduced the revolutionary concept called “Balanced Scorecard.” Their book on “Strategy Maps” will help businesses around the globe find a link between intangible assets and outcomes.

Book Review:

  • After reading this book on strategy, you will learn that only 5% of the workforce understands the company’s strategy, 25% of managers have incentives linked to strategy, 60% don’t link their budgets to strategy, and 85% of executives discuss strategy less than one hour per month. This data is staggering for an organization when they want to align its objectives and well-being with its strategy. Reading this book will help you learn how to centralize your strategy within your organization.
  • This top magnifies an HBR article written by Kaplan and Norton. In that article, they first introduced their theme of the balanced scorecard. In addition, based on a balanced scorecard, they have published three consecutive books. This book is one of them. Even though it has received criticism from some readers, this book looks at strategy from a different angle. But we recommend reading the book “The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action” before reading this book.

Key takeaways

This book has a five-step framework which is the best takeaway:

  • Take the strategy to the level of operations.
  • Align the organization to the strategy.
  • Help everyone to adapt to the organizational strategy.
  • The strategy should be a continuous process.
  • Accelerate/mobilize change via executive leadership.

This book introduced a new concept, “strategy map,” which discusses a document. This document consists of primary strategic goals pursued by the organization. It is new, as the relationship between drivers rarely discusses the desired outcomes.

<< Get this book >>

#10 – Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition

How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant

by W Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne

Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant

Book Review:

  • It is a ground-breaking strategy book that sold 3.5 million copies worldwide. Many thought leaders and business giants read, assessed, and applied the step-by-step process given in this book. It’s an unmissable book if you are a student of strategy.
  • This book is on value innovation. This concept will help the client find a different value and low cost. If you are new to strategy, you should read a basic book first before coming to this book. Blue Ocean Strategy usually talks about creating a blue ocean for your business and creating barriers for other businesses to imitate.

Key takeaways

There are four things you would learn specifically:

  • Alignment barriers: Creating barriers in the value proposition, people, and profit
  • Cognitive & Organizational barriers: Where your value innovation conflicts with the conventional logic of competitor
  • Brand barriers: Where your value innovation conflicts with the brand image of a competitor
  • Economic & Legal barriers: Creating a patent and volume advantage

You can’t make it big by being a small fish in a big pond. All you need to do is to be a big fish in a small pond. However, using the blue ocean strategy, you can become a big fish in a small pond (think niche).

<< Get this book >>

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