Optimize Your Business Strategy with These 8 Must-Read Books

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Optimize Your Business Strategy with These 8 Must-Read Books
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Optimize Your Business Strategy with These 8 Must-Read Books

It’s no secret that to be successful, you need to have a winning business strategy. What may be less obvious is that to create a winning business strategy, you need to think like a strategist.

Why? Because business strategy is about making choices—choosing to do some things and not others. It’s also about allocating resources in a way that will create the most value.

In other words, business strategy is about making trade-offs. It’s about saying “no” to good ideas to focus on the best ones.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. This is why we’ve rounded up 8 of the best books on business strategy. These books will help guide you to think like a strategist, make better choices, and allocate resources more effectively.

So if you’re ready to take your business game up a notch, read on!

Essential Business Strategy – Book Summaries

1. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

Built to Last - A Book on Business StrategyAuthor: Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras
Publication Year: 1994

We begin our list with one of the most influential business books of all time, Built to Last.

The authors studied 18 “visionary” companies to try and understand what made them so successful. They found that the key to these companies’ success was not their products, their services, or even their business model. But qualities that are a little more nebulous like culture, values, and purpose.

The most successful companies had a few things in common. For one, they had an outrageous goal that the authors termed a “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” or a BHAG.

The second thing they had in common was that they were what the authors called “clock builders.” That is, they built their companies to last, not just to make money for the founders or shareholders.

The third quality of these visionary companies was that they had a “core ideology.” This was a set of beliefs and values that guided everything they did.

The fourth and final quality was that they had the right people on the bus. That is, they hired people who fit their core ideology and who were passionate about the company’s BHAG.

Built To Last is definitely a must-read for anyone looking to create a lasting, successful business.

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

Your Strategy Needs a Strategy BookAuthor: Martin Reeves, Knut Haanaes, and Janmejaya Sinha
Publication Year: 2015

Most businesses have a strategy, but few companies have a good strategy. That’s why Your Strategy Needs a Strategy is great for thinking about strategy in a more holistic and effective way.

This book is a great introduction to the study of business strategy. It covers all the essential concepts, from market entry to growth strategies.

But the real strength of this book is its focus on execution. The authors explain that there are five main types of business strategy: Classical, Adaptive, Visionary, Shaping, and Renewal.

Most businesses only use one or two of these approaches, but the best companies know how to use all four. That’s what it takes to execute a winning strategy. They call this ambidexterity which is analogous to being able to use both hands equally well.

3. BOLD: How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World

BOLD - A Book on Business StrategyAuthor: Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler
Publication Year: 2015

Next on our list is BOLD, a book about how to create wealth and make a positive impact on the world.

In BOLD, Diamandis & Kotler lay out a step-by-step guide for anyone with an idea that could change the world. The book is based on the premise that we are living in an age of “abundance.”

With the help of technology, we now have unprecedented access to resources and capital. This means that anyone with a big idea has the potential to make it a reality.

The book provides readers with a framework for taking an idea and turning it into a world-changing business. It covers everything from developing a product to raising capital to build a team.

When it comes to business strategy, BOLD is all about thinking big. By taking an audacious, moonshot approach to your business, you can achieve incredible things. So, if you’ve got a big idea that could change the world, this is the book for you.

4. Love as a Business Strategy: Resilience, Belonging & Success

Love as a Business Strategy BookAuthor: Mohammad F. Anwar, Frank E. Danna, Jeffrey F. Ma , Christopher J. Pitre
Publication Year: 2021

Don’t let the title fool you; this book is NOT about finding love in the workplace. Rather, it’s about using love as a business strategy to improve your company’s bottom line.

The mindset is “people first” because, as the authors explain, if you take care of your people, they will take care of your customers and your business.

This book talks about the behaviors that have the biggest impact on business outcomes. The authors focus on emotional intelligence, empathy, and resilience. Because the human connection is at the heart of love, these are essential skills for anyone in business.

But this isn’t just about touchy-feely topics. The authors provide concrete examples and actionable advice that you can use to make your business more successful.

If you want to learn about business strategies that focus on resilience, team bonding, and success, then Love as a Business Strategy is for you.

5. The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success

The Outsiders - Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success BookAuthor: William N. Thorndike
Publication Year: 2012

The CEO of any company has one major responsibility – returning value to shareholders. That’s exactly what The Outsiders sets out to do.

Thorndike looked at how these CEOs ran their companies and what strategies they used to achieve such great results.

The Outsiders is based on the author’s study of eight CEOs who outperformed the market by a wide margin. These “outsiders” all had one thing in common: they followed a radical, rational approach to business.

They were the original “disruptors,” a breed of entrepreneurial CEOs who transformed entire industries by ignoring the conventions of the day.

They built companies that were valued not by the crowds or the press, but by investors for their per-share profit margins. They had a knack for allocating capital as well as human resources; they knew cash flow is what mattered most in determining long-term value.

And their passion was not for empire-building or power, but for doing what they loved and were good at.

6. Good Strategy/Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

Good Strategy Bad Strategy Book by Richard RumeltAuthor: Richard P. Rumelt
Publication Year: 2011

In today’s business world, there are a lot of so-called “strategists” who don’t understand what a good strategy is. They may have read a few books or attended a couple of seminars, but they don’t have the critical thinking skills to make sound strategic decisions.

Too many businesses are being led astray by an overload of information and bad strategy, and it’s costing them dearly. Unfortunately, a bad strategy can lead to missed opportunities, wasted resources, and even bankruptcy.

Good strategy, on the other hand, can help you achieve your goals and create a sustainable competitive advantage.

In this book, Rumelt provides a framework for understanding and evaluating strategy. He draws clear lines between good and bad strategies and provides insights into how to create a good well-informed strategy for your business.

The three parts of this book deal with the difference between good and bad strategy (Part I), sources for potential advantages in making well-crafted plans (Part II), as well how you can think like a strategist (Part III).

This book is all about getting to the “core strategy” that will make your business successful. And that begins with a change in diagnosis. Once the diagnoses are clear, the task is one of creative problem-solving through a guiding policy that is supported by a set of coherent actions.

If you want to learn how to think like a strategist and create sound strategic plans, then this book is for you.

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

The Art of Strategy BookAuthor: Avinash K. Dixit and Barry J. Nalebuff
Publication Year: 2010

The last several decades have seen a revolution in our understanding of strategic behavior. Game theory has emerged as the dominant framework for thinking about rivalry and conflict, and it has been applied to a wide range of business problems.

What is Game Theory? Game theory is the study of strategic behavior. It’s the study of how people interact with each other when they have something to gain or lose.

It is not about winning or losing, but about understanding and predicting what people will do in given situations. Game theory has been called “the science of strategy” because it provides a framework for understanding how people behave in situations where there are conflicting interests.

In The Art of Strategy, Dixit & Nalebuff provide a comprehensive and accessible introduction to game theory. They show how it can be used to understand a wide range of business situations, from competition among firms to the pricing of products.

The authors use a variety of case studies to show how almost every business and personal interaction has a game-theory component. This includes examples from pop culture, TV, movies, sports, politics, and history.

Whether you’re a business person, a student of game theory or just someone interested in how people interact with each other, The Art of Strategy will show you how to think about competition and conflict in a whole new way.

8. Strategy Rules: Five Timeless Lessons from Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs

Strategy Rules - A Book on Business StrategyAuthors: David B. Yoffie and Michael A. Cusumano
Publication Year: 2015

In today’s business environment, the ability to adapt and innovate is essential for success. However, many companies struggle to keep up with the pace of change, often due to obsolete business models or inflexible organizational structures.

In their book Strategy Rules, David B. Yoffie & Michael A. Cusumano examine the strategies of three highly successful tech entrepreneurs: Bill Gates of Microsoft, Andy Grove of Intel, and Steve Jobs of Apple.

By studying the way these leaders approached strategy and execution, the authors identify five key rules that can help any company stay ahead of the competition.

The authors show how these rules can be applied to a variety of industries and business situations. They also provide insights into the unique challenges that companies face as they attempt to implement them.

Whether you’re a business student or a business professional, Strategy Rules will give you a new framework for thinking about how to create and sustain a competitive advantage.

Strategy Rules is an essential guide for anyone seeking to build a lasting business.


Are you looking for a new perspective on business strategy? If so, you should consider reading one or more of the books on this list. These books offer valuable insights and lessons that can be applied to a wide range of businesses and industries.

They will also help you think about how to create a competitive advantage. And teach you how to approach problems, think about the long term, and build resiliency in your team.

By reading these books, you will be better equipped to develop strategies that can help your business succeed. So why not add one or two to your reading list today?


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