16 Best Business Strategy Books to Read in 2021

Home » Books » Business Strategy BooksUpdated: July 15, 2021

You discovered our list of top business strategy books.

Business strategy books are guides to developing organizational plans. These books cover topics like scaling growth, outpacing competitors, and achieving longevity. People read these books for insights on how to create and improve businesses.

These books are a type of business books and are similar to CEO books, project management books, marketing books and books on startups.

This post contains:

  • business strategy books for beginners
  • books on strategic thinking
  • books on business strategy
  • strategic planning books

Let’s get to it!

List of business strategy books

Here is a list of some of the best guides to business strategy, both new releases and best sellers.

1. Your Next Five Moves: Master the Art of Business Strategy by Patrick Bet-David and Greg Dinkin

Your Next Five Moves

Via Amazon

Your Next Five Moves is one of the best new strategic planning books. The book challenges readers to think like chess grandmasters and anticipate chains of events. The author urges business strategists to plan their next moves in succession instead of treating each as an individual decision. The book also gives advice on clarifying company missions, developing team building skills, and gaining the upper hand against powerful players.

Notable Quote: “Those who have a system for making better decisions win. Some decisions are quick, while others take time. You need a specific methodology to attack any issue, the same way a chess master knows how to play any opening or defend against one once the match starts.”

Buy Your Next Five Moves.

2. Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters by Richard Rumelt

Good Strategy Bad Strategy

Via Amazon

Good Strategy Bad Strategy is one of the best books on strategic thinking. Richard Rumelt dissects effective strategies and points out qualities that make these plans succeed. The author also identifies the markings of poor plans, and gives tips for spotting bad strategies. The book also covers topics such as leverage, proximate objectives, and chain link systems. Each section contains stories from companies like Apple, Wal-Mart, Toyota, and Roche to serve as examples. Good Strategy Bad Strategy is a field guide for crafting and evaluating strategic systems. The book helps readers see past the fluff and draw up better gameplans.

Notable Quote: “Good strategy works by focusing energy and resources on one, or a very few, pivotal objectives whose accomplishment will lead to a cascade of favorable outcomes.”

Buy Good Strategy Bad Strategy.

3. Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works by by A. G. Lafley, Roger L. Martin et al

Playing to Win

Via Amazon

Playing to Win describes how A. G. Lafley drastically improved Procter & Gamble’s sales and profitability by basing operational strategy on five key questions:

  1. What is our winning aspiration?
  2. Where will we play?
  3. How will we win?
  4. What capabilities must we have in place to win?
  5. What management systems are required to support our choices?

The book shows how this repeatable method can benefit other companies and business leaders. Playing to Win provides a practical formula for strengthening your band and organization through a series of educated and deliberate choices.

Notable Quote: “Strategy needn’t be mysterious. Conceptually, it is simple and straightforward. It requires clear and hard thinking, real creativity, courage, and personal leadership.”

Buy Playing to Win.

4. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry I Porras

Built to Last

Via Amazon

Built to Last examines the characteristics and behaviors of innovative and long-lasting companies. Drawing on extensive research, the authors analyze the factors that lead companies to survive and thrive through tough times and competitive landscapes. The book compares companies like Procter & Gamble, Walt Disney, and Marriott with lesser competitors and outlines the keys to industry leaders’ success and longevity. Built to Last covers topics such as setting goals, building a cult-like culture, and managing change, and lays out a framework for creating enduring enterprises.

Notable Quote: “Visionary companies pursue a cluster of objectives, of which making money is only one—and not necessarily the primary one.”

Buy Built to Last.

5. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

Good to Great

Via Amazon

Good to Great is one of the most popular books on business strategy. A companion to Built to Last, this bestseller examines what qualities differentiate mediocre companies from industry legends. The book hones in on concepts like leadership competencies, cultures of discipline, and technology, and shows how each factor helps organizations excel. Good to Great is a lesson on how to not only survive in the business world, but dominate it for extended periods of time.

Notable Quote: “Greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is largely a matter of conscious choice, and discipline.”

Buy Good to Great.

6. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

Blue Ocean Strategy

Via Amazon

While many business strategy books explain how to dominate crowded markets, Blue Ocean Strategy takes the opposite approach. The book advocates for finding and seizing untapped opportunities. In other words, the best way to eliminate competition is to pursue a lesser-traveled path. The authors demonstrate how to identify previously neglected needs and generate new demand. Blue Ocean Strategy lays out a system for achieving this result, complete with frameworks and analytical tools.

Notable Quote: “Value innovation requires companies to orient the whole system toward achieving a leap in value for both buyers and themselves.”

Buy Blue Ocean Strategy.

7. The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist’s Guide to Success in Business and Life by Avinash K. Dixit and Barry J. Nalebuff

The Art of Strategy

Via Amazon

The Art of Strategy is one of the best business strategy books for beginners. Drawing on the principles of game theory, the book explains how to guess and prepare for competitors’ next moves. Through mathematical and scientific logic, the authors show how to find patterns in seemingly random occurrences and illogical behavior. The book is rich with case studies and concrete examples that make game theory easy to understand and applicable to a wide range of situations.

Notable Quote: “It may not be enough to play a game well—you must also be sure you are playing the right game.”

Buy The Art of Strategy.

8. Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors by Michael E. Porter

Competitive Strategy

Via Amazon

Two decades after its initial publication, Competitive Strategy is still relevant. Michael E. Porter shows readers how to sum up and surpass rivals by performing in-depth industry analyses and taking appropriate actions. The book consists of three sections: General Analytical Techniques, Generic Industry Environments, and Strategic Decisions. Each chapter examines a different aspect of studying and challenging opposition. The prose is dense, but the exploration of the topic is exhaustive. Competitive Strategy reads like a market advantage encyclopedia.

Notable Quote: “From my examination of many declining industries, the firms that seem to be the most objective about managing the decline process are those that also participate in the substitute industry. They have a clearer perception concerning the prospects of the substitute product and the threat of decline.”

Buy Competitive Strategy.

9. Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr

Measure What Matters

Via Amazon

Measure What Matters shows how businesses can achieve impressive growth by selecting smart objectives and key results, or OKRs. The book breaks down the process of choosing, tracking, and accomplishing goals through best practices like committing to priorities, aligning teams, and monitoring progress. Chapters illustrate these principles with examples from leading organizations like Google, The Gates Foundation, and Intel.

Notable Quote: “Ideas are easy. Execution is everything.”

Buy Measure What Matters.

10. The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M. Christensen

The Innovators Dilemna

Via Amazon

The Innovator’s Dilemma offers a new approach to business strategy. Instead of advocating for following tried-and-tested formulas, the book insists that experimentation is often the best strategy. Clayton Christensen argues that organizations cannot always rely on proven methods. Companies need to forge new paths to remain relevant and competitive. The Innovator’s Dilemma illustrates this concept by sharing anecdotes of triumphant and tragic companies while offering advice for navigating disruptive change.

Notable Quote: “To succeed consistently, good managers need to be skilled not just in choosing, training, and motivating the right people for the right job, but in choosing, building, and preparing the right organization for the job as well.”

Buy The Innovator’s Dilemma.

11. HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Strategy by Harvard Business Review

HBR Business Strategy

Via Amazon

HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Strategy collects the ten best Harvard Business Reviews essays on business strategy into one helpful anthology. The book explores topics such as clarifying the company mission, standing out amongst competitors, and measuring strategies with Balanced Scorecards. This collection contains valuable insight from industry experts, including the authors of top selling business strategy books.

Notable Quote: “Operational effectiveness and strategy are both essential to superior performance, which, after all, is the primary goal of any enterprise. But they work in very different ways.”

Buy HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Strategy.

12. Seeing Around Corners: How to Spot Inflection Points in Business Before They Happen by Rita McGrath

Seeing Around Corners

Via Amazon

Seeing Around Corners concentrates on inflection points, or major shifts in industry. Rita McGrath explains how to predict these changes and prepare for them. Changes in customer needs or expectations, competitor evolution, and technological advancement can shake up market rankings. Smart companies expect these challenges and are ready to adapt. The book outlines techniques for anticipating and overcoming industry curveballs. Seeing Around Corners is a guide to disruption-proofing your business.

Notable Quote: “The very concept of “industry” is an artificial categorization. Often the most important competition any business will face is from entrants who are not hamstrung by assumptions about what their “industry” expects of them.”

Buy Seeing Around Corners.

13. Your Strategy Needs a Strategy: How to Choose and Execute the Right Approach by Martin Reeves, Knut Haanaes, et al

Your Strategy Needs a Strategy

Via Amazon

Your Strategy Needs a Strategy is a masterclass in business plan execution. The book gives readers advice on how to select the best course of action and bring plans to fruition.

It breaks strategy down into five main categories:

  • Be Big
  • Be Fast
  • Be First
  • Be the Orchestrator
  • Be Viable

The book analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of these methods and recommends the ideal circumstances and conditions for each. Your Strategy Needs a Strategy shows readers how to align strategy with the business environment and choose the best-suited approach.

Notable Quote: “Strategy is, in essence, problem solving, and the best approach depends upon the specific problem at hand. Your environment dictates your approach to strategy.”

Buy Your Strategy Needs a Strategy.

14. The Invincible Company: How to Constantly Reinvent Your Organization with Inspiration From the World’s Best Business Models by Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, et al

The Invincible Company

Via Amazon

The Invincible Company analyzes how winning corporations are able to disrupt industries and dominate markets. The authors examine the practices of leading companies like Microsoft, IKEA, and Amazon and explore successful business models throughout history. The book includes many visuals and charts, as well as tools like strategy frameworks, innovation metrics, and culture maps. The Invincible Company is a blueprint for becoming an industry titan.

Notable Quote: “The Invincible Company explores the future, while excelling at exploiting the present.”

Buy The Invincible Company.

15. Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World by Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani

Competing in the Age of AI

Via Amazon

Competing in the Age of AI asserts that artificial intelligence is rapidly transforming the business landscape. To keep up with the algorithm revolution, business leaders must employ new approaches. This book outlines techniques to incorporate AI into operational strategy. Competing in the Age of AI shows businesses how to come out ahead in a world where machine learning increasingly affects business’ bottom lines.

Notable Quote: “We are moving from an era of core competencies, differing from firm to firm and embedded deep in each organization, to an age shaped by data and analytics, powered by algorithms and hosted in the computing cloud for anyone to use.”

Buy Competing in the Age of AI.

16. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal

Hooked

Via Amazon

Hooked lays out strategies for generating market popularity and user loyalty. The book explains how to design products that consumers will use repeatedly. Nir Eyal relies on case studies and scientific research to explore the nature of habit. Hooked suggests steps to make customers return, remain active, and keep singing product praises.

Notable Quote: “To change behavior, products must ensure the user feels in control. People must want to use the service, not feel they have to.”

Buy Hooked.

Conclusion

Business strategy provides a roadmap for achieving goals and favorable results. Devising a foolproof plan is not easy, and there are many factors to consider. Luckily, there is no shortage of experts willing to share experiences and observations to help current and future leaders pick smart and sustainable paths.

For more reading suggestions, check out our list of leadership books and this one with management books.

FAQ: Business strategy books

Here are answers to common questions about business strategy books.

What are business strategy books?

Business strategy books are guides that help leaders form actionable plans. These books cover topics like analyzing competition, scaling growth, and overcoming industry disruption. The purpose of these books is to help leaders prepare for likely developments.

What are the best business strategy books of all time?

Some of the best business strategy books of all time include Good Strategy Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt, Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne, and Competitive Strategy by Michael E. Porter.

Why should you read business strategy books?

Business strategy books help companies anticipate potential challenges and take reasonable precautions. These guides examine operations from multiple standpoints and enable leaders to make smart choices that lead to sustained success.

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Author: Angela Robinson

Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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